Monday, June 11, 2012

Why Prequels In Movies and Literature Suck

Put your reading glasses on. Pull out your pipe. Get your sports coat with the patches on the elbow. We're going to talk literature. By literature, I mean any form. Books, movies, screenplays, anything.
Cross your legs: no, not at the ankle. At the knees. Back straight. Feel like a douche?

Good, let's get started.

Prequels suck.

This poster is so much more interesting!
Let's start with Prometheus. It was not terrible as much as it was lackluster. But as a prequel, it may have ruined the Alien franchise. The Aliens are deadly, frightening, gross and apparently very intelligent. Yes, I'm interested in where they came from. Yes, I'm curious as to why such a powerful race hasn't taken over the entire known universe. Yes, I want to know what a world filled with these beasts must be like.

But don't show me unless it's going to blow my fucking mind!

Prometheus did not do that. Prometheus made me think that perhaps I was mistaken about how bad-ass the Alien race actually was. It also made me think that $7.50 is a lot for a movie.

This is the baddest mofo there ever was!
Prometheus is not alone. Star Wars...oh Star Wars. Darth Vader was arguably the greatest menace the universe has ever seen. He is frightening and powerful and cool. When I was a kid, I didn't want to be Luke Skywalker. I wanted to be Lord Vader. I used to hear the Imperial March in my head as I walked down the street.

Now when I think of Darth Vader all I see is this:

I'm one bad-ass mofo! It's all the midichlorians I did in college!

I don't give a rat fart about Caprica. I KNOW the Cylons are coming. Everything you try to share with me pales when compared to what I know is going to happen: Those Cylon bastards are going to blow up a lot of planets, kill a lot of humans, and chase what's left of the human race across the galaxy like a man chasing a mosquito through the apartment. I find I don't really care about a girl who is confusing her real self with her virtual reality self.

Young Indiana Jones. Negative.
Young Sherlock. Bitch, please.

A good story starts where it's supposed to start! Stephen King did not start The Stand with "General so and so thought that creating a super virus would be a great idea. He and his assistant spend the next 100 pages creating the virus so that it can be released in another 200 pages." He started it where it needed to be started. And there will not be a prequel to the Stand. Do you know why? Because even though we may be interested in some of these people's backstories, what we really care about is the original story.

Cormac "I'm gonna depress the shit out of you" McCarthy doesn't start his books off with a bunch of explanation and tripe. You get down into it. If the characters have something interesting and important in their background, we learn about it as the story goes on. We do not need to read "No Country for Youngish to Middle-Aged Men" in order to find out why Anton Chigurh became a hitman. You don't want to ruin his mystery, his majesty, his power. If we find out he was sold by his father to work as a sex slave for a British spy and then he had to live in a cave and blah blah blah, then the odds are he won't be as frightening and we will be left with this:

I'm gonna become one badass hitman. My mom says I can!

You're curious, but do you want Janet Evanovich to ruin the mystery that is Ranger? Do we care where Remington Steele came from before he walked into Remington Steele Detective Agency and took it over? Do we want to know what the parents of the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants did before they had kids? Good lord, no!

Now, look, I'm not arguing that every sequel is pure shit. My argument is that they are a let down, that they don't actually elevate the original story, that the explanation itself either takes away from the magic of the characters, or that the delivery is so terrible that you stink up the original. I mean, did you SEE Hannibal Rising? Holy stink jobs, Batman!

Alright, let's here your rebuttals. There have got to be some out there. Head to the comments and fire away!



  1. Consider Godfather II which served as both a sequel and a prequel to the original. Possibly one of the greatest movies ever made. Of course, I do have a fear that someone will decide to do "To Hatch A Mockingbird: The Law School Years"

  2. You make a compelling point, until you consider.... Dumb and Dumberer: When Harry Met Lloyd. I mean, what else can I say? Of course, if you want to talk sequels, one need look no further than Breakin' 2, Electric Boogaloo!!!!!!

  3. I'm waiting for the prequel to "Gilligan's Island." What the heck were they doing BEFORE the ill faited 3 hour tour anyway!

  4. JnnyB (and anonymous), you guys are onto something. Prequels suck. The next post will be prequels that we actually want to see? I'm starting it off with Gilligan's Island!

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