Inferior Sequels That Are Inexplicably Preferred Over their Predecessors
For some reason, many mortals prefer certain sequels over the films that created the possibility of a sequel in the first place. There is no guarantee that the first of a series will be the best of its lot. But in the following cases, the original films have all taken a back seat in popularity to their upstart progeny. And somehow these sequels receive more adoration despite being markedly inferior. Three puzzling examples of this bizarre phenomenon stand out.
Bride of Frankenstein Preferred over Frankenstein
James Whale’s Frankenstein is a straightforward tale that does not overly strain believability despite its fantastic content. Whale follows this with Bride of Frankenstein, a film so full of silliness that it makes the first movie look like a documentary. From miniature bottled humans with perfectly tailored clothing to multiple ridiculous reasons for constructing the bride (collaborating with a mad scientist is always what occurs to me first when my spouse is kidnapped), the whole story is preposterous. Plus the heavy-handed comedic elements clash so uncomfortably with the horrific that Bride suffers from an uneven tone that makes The Devil’s Rejects seem stodgy.
Aliens over Alien
Alien is an efficient and terrifying film. Aliens is an inefficient and tedious film. Despite its many virtues, Alien does have the problem of unlikable characters. But Aliens is swamped with a legion of them. Even Ripley is less likable. In fact, the only truly likable character in Aliens (besides Newt) is Bishop. And, as Parker would say, “It’s a Goddamn robot!”
The Road Warrior over Mad Max
Mad Max is a bleak and nihilistic movie demonstrating that one cannot opt out of the craziness of existence. In Max’s case, we first see him as a noble savage in the form of a fearless cop. By the end of the film he is transformed into an empty monster drained of humanity. The world is depicted as offering no options other than the unpleasant and meaningless. While oblivion always lurks nearby.
The Road Warrior drives straight into stupidity town. Max decides to cruise around aimlessly in no man’s land? What does he do when he needs a new oil filter? All the comic book characters populating this film run their contraptions with no evidence of a garage anywhere. The hapless Gyro Captain is an irritating comic relief character approaching the level of Jar Jar Binks. Gone is the oppressive gloom of the first film. The Road Warrior ends with the hope that the settlers will actually prevail. And as Nietszche said, hope is the final evil.