Summer sequels disappoint
State of Entertainment
The movie industry has a problem: they are completely devoid of an original idea. Someone at the top of the Hollywood hierarchy must have thought, "Hey maybe this summer instead of releasing high quality films that come from unique screenplays, we should just release a sequel to every high grossing movie made in recent years." And that's exactly what happened.
"The Matrix: Reloaded," "2 Fast 2 Furious," "Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle," "Legally Blonde 2: Red, White and Blonde," "Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines," "Bad Boys II," and "Tomb Raider: Cradle of Life"...do you see a pattern?
There have been a few solitary instances in the history of film when a sequel has actually lived up to the original (think The Empire Strikes Back and The Godfather 2), but those released this summer have all, to put it mildly, been disappointments.
Let's start with what I personally believe represents all that is wrong with our society, "2 Fast 2 Furious," which truly cannot be 4 gotten 2 quickly. While the first one may have been solidly amusing, the sequel works like a high budget made for TV movie with the worst acting ever seen on the big screen. But of course, just as the producers hoped, "2 Fast 2 Furious" has been avidly received by the American public and has grossed well over a million thus far.
"Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle" has recently been released by Hollywood's most promising director known as McG (seriously, what?!?) and is by far the most gratuitous film ever made. The film, in one scene which is of course extremely key to the development of the plot, features the title characters as strippers-- sorry I mean dancers-- and basically does everything it can to give the film's male viewers their money's worth.
"T3" and "Legally Blonde 2" are certainly not the atrocities that the above films turned out to be, but they lack in quality. "T3," which offers a solid action-based plot and a kick ass terminatrix, of course had to go and ruin itself by leaving the ending open to yet another sequel. "Legally Blonde 2" is actually funny (and boasts a top-notch Dupont Circle joke that only those living in DC will truly appreciate), but unfortunately is unoriginal and will come off as annoying to the majority of viewers.
The sequel to "Tomb Raider" does not need an explanation; because it will undoubtedly be terrible, since the first one was, well, terrible.
The weak plots, or lack thereof, the unoriginality, the flashy filmmaking that does nothing to advance the film art in any way and ridiculous acting that has defined the majority of these recent releases is sad, but it does not mean that they have not all been fairly entertaining. And by entertainment I of course mean the mindless, juvenile kind that ignores the fact that all humans (as far as I know) are born with a brain.
There have of course been a few films released this summer that have actually been worth watching because apparently there actually are a few filmmakers left who are not just in it all for the money.
Pixar, perhaps the best thing to happen to animation since Walt Disney made "Steamboat Willie," has made the best movie that has been, and probably will, be released this summer, "Finding Nemo." This film, which has taken animation to an entirely new level, is where filmmaking should be going.
The non-American filmmakers have also been busy making worthwhile films. "Whale Rider," "The Sea" and "28 Days Later" are all evidence to the fact that other countries may actually still believe that film is not just about infantile entertainment for the masses. Danny Boyle's "28 Days Later" may not be truly unique as it is essentially a disguised remake of George Romero's "Night of the Living Dead," however its cinematic approach is unconventional and the film provides social commentary on the human condition.
It is sad, but also extremely genius, that Hollywood has found a winning formula, but it is sadder that it is acceptable to use this formula over and over again to make money. Film is certainly entertainment, but it is also necessary to remember that film is also art.
I would personally encourage anyone whose brain still works to pay for movies that are worthwhile and original, not the ridiculous sequels that have recently been pervading the silver screen. Maybe if the public shows that we want more than Cameron Diaz's airbrushed behind, Hollywood will respond--although at this point chances are not likely because as we are all aware, Diaz's ass sells tickets.