Sequels. They’re ubiquitous. It seems like at least half of the movie news I see is regarding some sequel or prequel. Action movies of various stripes (fantasy, science-fiction, superhero, and more) are the genre most prone to receive sequels, but comedies and the occasional drama are known to receive them as well. There are over a dozen sequels being released in 2012, and it’s not even a big year for sequels. And there are, of course, more on the way. But this isn’t a new trend in Hollywood by any stretch; it’s been going on since The Fall of a Nation in 1916, which also started the trend of sequels that were directed by a different person.
And sequels aren’t an inherently bad thing. Hollywood wouldn’t keep churning them out if people didn’t go to see them, and people wouldn’t go to see them if they didn’t at least hope they would be entertained. Some have even achieved critical acclaim, with The Godfather: Part 2 winning an Oscar for Best Picture, and Toy Story 3 receiving a nomination for the same. But there’s also no question that there are a lot of bad, or just disappointing, sequels and prequels out there. So, under the same presumption that went into my Guidelines for Adaptations, I thought I would take a look at what can make or break a sequel. Again, none of these suggestions are absolute binding rules… but they’re pretty reliable guidelines.
So what goes into a quality sequel? Continue reading