You know the old adage: ‘The more things change, the more they stay the same’? Well, it was never more truer than in the case of sequels. Forever, sequels have been the bane of movie production companies all over. Very rarely do you get the same magic the second time around; especially if you wait a decade or so to try and catch said lightning. And, apparently, it doesn’t matter how great a run the former show had either.
Last year the fan favorite Heroes returned with much anticipation. The original show had a real rough run, true. After an amazing first season, they were forced to cut season two short thanks to a writer’s strike back in 2007. They never seemed to get the momentum back although they carried on through two more seasons and the real fans stuck by. They ended their fourth season in 2010; seemingly to never return. However, NBC gathered their courage and returned to the show in 2015. It plodded along and many fans followed, but in the end it just didn’t live up to the original. Sadly, Tim Kring just couldn’t recapture the lightning.
I could bring up many sequels in the past year or so that crashed and burn and most that just should have never been filmed.
But I only have to go to the last month or so to prove the point YET again!
First up, the X-files made a return to tv after over a decade. That fact alone should have warned the creators that it just wasn’t the best idea. Of course, it was great seeing Fox Mulder and Dana Scully side by side after all these years. But having them inexplicably called back to the X-files to work for the government was a bit strained. The first episode gave us hope that they would work with an organization outside the federal government. But, instead, the original writers, Chris Carter rushed the story right back where it left off. Of course, RUSHED is the operative word in season 11; rushed and strained. The dialog through most was flat; especially with Duchonvy. Only Gillian Anderson seemed fresh and, well, human. They say Chris Carter is reading all the reviews. Let’s hope if he gets lucky enough to get that next season, they will learn from their mistakes and redeem themselves.
Just this month, we saw the return of another iconic comedy movie…from 2001! To wait a whole 15 years to reignite that lightning is truly gutsy. But Zoolander 2 was STILL much anticipated. The comic brilliance of Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson was expected to just pick up where they left off. And, in a way, they did. But, I’m afraid the iron was indeed cold. There always seemed to be something missing. It descended into more of a Dumb and Dumber hit the catwalk. Ben Stiller returned also to the director’s chair. It didn’t help. Most of the jokes were beaten to death (like Hansel’s love interest, a group called ORGY and their insane pregnancies). But there were a few bright spots.
Nostalgia was served. Billy Zane returned along with a myriad of cameos like Justin Bieber, Sting, Katie Couric, Jane Paulie, Matt Lauer, Kiefer Sutherland, Susan Boyle, Naomi Campbell, Willie Nelson, MC Hammer, Kate Moss; all of whom played themselves. Oh, and Neil deGrasse Tyson…lol.
There were bright cameos by acting greats like John Malkovich and Dubstep master, Skrillex. Also, if you look close enough, you get a peep of Andy Dick as one of Don Atari’s posse. Kristen Wiig as the incomprehensible Alexanya Atoz, the fashion leader in this one, was nearly overused but funny. And, of course, Will Ferrell reprised his roll (quite brilliantly) as the evil mastermind Mugatu. But the brief but brilliant cameo of the movie was by Benedict Cumberbatch as the enigmatic, androgynous ALL. The one scene with him and Owens and Stiller was as uncomfortable and funny as anything else the whole movie. He really should have been given a bit more time on the screen.
But, in the end, it went the way of most sequels; it failed to repeat the success of the original. It ended great comic franchise on a down note and guaranteed that Stiller will never attempt to bottle that lightning ever again.