3 of the Best vs 3 of the Worst is exactly what it sounds like – 3 of the best examples of either an actor, film series, genre, etc. versus 3 of the worst. It’s also an opportunity for you to have your say on my choices and whether you would have placed something ahead of my best or my worst.
Prequels are either a very good way of extending your franchise and adding relevant and interesting back-story or a cheap and often damaging way of cashing-in when a story is already finished. There are some great examples of prequels working very well and actually complimenting their original movie and other times prequels can actually ruin the great work that has already been put in place. This is my run-down of 3 of the best and 3 of the worst but these are by no means the only ones so feel free to add yours below;
3 of the Best
3 – Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom
This feels like it is a cheat because it is technically a prequel to Raiders of the Lost Ark but you wouldn’t actually know it. There is no tying of stories here or reason to even suggest this is a prequel other than people discovering it was afterwards. That could be the reason it works so well and although many people think it the weakest of the Indiana Jones’ initial trilogy, you can’t deny it is one of the better examples of prequels.
You can argue either way for whether X-Men First Class is a reboot or a prequel but when the bold move to tie the newer, younger heroes directly with their older counterparts was made, this movie automatically became a prequel. It is a great example of how to make a prequel too, with the movie connecting the rebooted universe with the original and using a very clever time-travel device to undo the mistakes of the original trilogy, specifically X-Men: The Last Stand.
Whether we will ever actually get to a straight Planet of the Apes movie is up for debate and until we actually get that film, these two (and the newest movie War) serve as prequels to the Charlston Heston classic. They work because they tell self-contained, focused and compelling stories of their own which don’t require too much actual links to the originals. Audiences know the destination the franchise will reach but the need to force the story there early is unnecessary. Also, Andy Serkis has created an incredible character (and performance) in lead Ape Caesar.
3 of the Worst
There were high hopes for the back story of the creepy doll from The Conjuring. The Conjuring itself was a decent horror movie with plenty of potential but knowing that possessed doll Annabelle had a back story (and one which was supposedly true) made the prospect of this movie high. Unfortunately, the tale was nothing more than generic and the doll was never as scary as it truly could have been. It was less Chucky and more creepy Toy Story.
2 – Dumb and Dumberer: When Harry met Lloyd
Dumb and Dumber was a fantastic comedy which did not need a prequel (or sequel). It especially doesn’t need one when that prequel requires two unknown actors to do poor impressions of the excellent Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels. This always felt more like a cheap cash-in than the actual sequel the film deserved (but still didn’t get).
There isn’t much I can say here that hasn’t already been said. The poor story-line, the strange character decisions and the fact that something with as many, awesome potential aspects as Star Wars was reduced to a political dispute over trade routes. Clearly not how you make a prequel.
Overall, three good prequels and three bad prequels. There are so many more to choose from that this may get another post later but so far these are the key choices. Feel free to disagree or more importantly offer your own suggestions that I can put into a second post at another time.