Like plastic surgery; Rob Schneider movies no one sees and sassy comebacks, sequels will always be part of the Hollywood landscape. But it can be frustrating seeing which films get a follow-up and which don’t. For this week’s blog I’m gonna mention some sequels I believe Hollywood should make NOW. Just my opinion, but I’m willing to go on record as saying all these should be made before a twelfth Air Bud movie gets off the ground.
Sam Raimi’s 2009 horror Drag Me To Hell represented a magnificent return to form for the legendary director after the bland lows of Spider-Man 3. So much energy and enthusiasm came through in this film, it was clear he was playing in his favourite sandbox. While the film was reasonably well-received, some people simply couldn’t get over the ending, (SPOILER ALERT – although it is on the poster) in which our main character Christine (Alison Lohman) gets sucked down into the firey bowels of hell while her incredulous boyfriend Clay (Justin Long) watches.
I was blown away by the boldness of this ending, but it didn’t stop me from fantasizing about a sequel that would follow Clay’s attempts to retrieve Christine from the dark below. It’s fun to imagine Long as the rational Clay having to explore the world of the occult, and eventually perhaps even venture down into hell himself. This could lend the movie a different dynamic to the first while continuing the story. And it would be worth it just to see Raimi’s conception of the underworld.
Potential title: Drag Me 2 Hell and Back
For reasons a tersely-worded embargo form prevents me from disclosing, I was recently lucky enough to meet director Tim Burton. I only had a few moments to chat with him, and so the first thing I said was that Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure (Burton’s first film) changed my life. He offered a quizical smile and said it changed his too. Makes sense. Then I told him I wished he would make a sequel to his second movie – Beetlejuice. Burton immediately got evasive, and wouldn’t be drawn further than a coy “We’ll see”.
Literally days later I read that fantasy/comedy scribe du jour Seth Grahame-Smith, author of the book (and upcoming movie) Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, and a screenwriter on Burton’s latest project Dark Shadows, was working on a new Beetlejuice script. It has since been revealed that the project is indeed designed to be a sequel (and not a reboot thank god), and that Grahame-Smith sought out Burton’s blessing on the project. AND that they want Michael Keaton to return as the title character. This is all good news. I hope Keaton agrees to reprise his role, and that they can convince Burton to direct it. Hell, they could even get Winona back.
Potential title: Beetlejuice And The Big Freakout
He made many films both technically and artistically more accomplished, but 1985’s Commando remains my favourite Arnold Schwarzenegger flick. It’s pure unfiltered Arnie cheese, and one of the best action movies ever made. At the height of his powers in the mid to late ’80s, Arnie developed a “No Sequels” policy that prevented a planned follow-up to Commando (and The Running Man, and Predator. James Cameron eventually got him to break that policy for Terminator 2: Judgement Day, and it could be argued that NOW is a better time for a Commando sequel. A retired John Matrix must once again venture into society from his mountain retreat when both his now grown daughter (once again played by Alyssa Milano) and wife (Rae Dawn Chong – the helpful stewardess in the first film) are kidnapped by an old enemy. Let Arnie grow a beard and be slightly worse for wear. And then have him blow heaps of shit up and take on a thousand dudes by himself. Again.
Potential title: Commando: Sins of the Father
1991’s The Last Boy Scout, directed by Tony Scott and written by genre legend Shane Black (Lethal Weapon; The Long Kiss Goodnight), was both the final gasp of the ’80s-style action movie and a knowing satire of the genre. In short, it is the perfect movie. How tempting is it to presume that Joe Hallenbeck (Bruce Willis) and Jimmy Dix set up their own private detective agency after the credits rolled? Just imagine them sitting across from each other in a dingy office space, trading quips as they grow ungracefully older?
I’d pay to see that. Since 1991, Shane Black moved into directing (with 2005’s Kiss Kiss Bang Bang) and is slated to helm the upcoming Iron Man 3. This demonstrates an ability to handle big action set-pieces, and with his affinity for the characters, who better to steer a follow-up? They could even delve further into some of the political corruption stuff from the first film, and maybe have Halle Berry appear as a ghost.
Potential title: The Last Boy Scout Strikes Back
With a fourth Back To The Future film understandably not happening anytime soon, the most recognisable ’80s movie property that hasn’t had some sort of modern follow-up has to be Gremlins. The underrated 1990 sequel expanded the universe in a very satisfying way, but nobody bothered to see it. It’s amazing they haven’t made a third Gremlins film based on name recognition alone. A reboot would be a very bad idea, and they would have to recruit original director Joe Dante, whose uniquely macabre sensibility so greatly informs the first two films.
The biggest issue would be whether or not the makers could restrain themselves with the use of CGI. The more or less flawless practical effects from parts 1 and 2 hold up well today, and the puppet-ish motion makes up a lot of the creatures’ charm. At the same time, CGI could allow for a greater variety of action and locations for the Gremlins. Also, Zach Galligan could probably do with the work.
Potential title: Gremlins 3: Breakin’ All The Rules
1998’s Zero Effect is a criminally underseen comedy starring Bill Pullman and Ben Stiller. And Stiller’s the straight man. Pullman plays Darryl Zero, a brilliant private detective with terrible social skills who relies entirely on his put-upon lawyer (Stiller) to gather information and deal with clients. But Zero always gets the job done. Directed by Jake Kasdan (Freaks and Geeks; Bad Teacher), Zero Effect is a wholly unique film that brings a lot to the crowded “modern noir” table. Pullman (who has always been underrated as a comedic actor) is amazing as Zero, and his chemistry with Stiller is both touching and hilarious. Kasdan attempted to mount a TV version in 2002 (with Alan Cumming as Zero), but it never got off the ground. A sequel could flesh out the character’s histories more, and provide an opportunity to re-visit the film’s ahead-of-its-time mixture of comedy and pathos.
Potential title: The Curse of the Zero Effect
I consider District 9 to be the best film of last decade, bar none. Neill Blomkamp’s masterful integration of emotive character-based storytelling and kick-ass sci-fi action set a new standard for genre movies. And the ending tantalizingly leaves many threads dangling, all but announcing a follow-up. I am very happy that Blomkamp is currently working on another original story of his own, Elysium, but I very much would like him to return to the world of District 9. Then maybe an Elysium sequel. Then something new. Then a third District 9, and so on.
Potential title: District X
Over the past year or so, Keanu Reeves has been irresponsibly hinting at the possiblity of a third Bill & Ted film. You shouldn’t play with our hearts like that Keanu. As much as I want this film to exist, the chances of it happening feel very low. There has been a Bill & Ted remake script floating around Hollywood for a while now, but with any luck that will just go away. Alex Winter (who played Bill) is currently directing a documentary about Napster, but I’m sure Keanu could persuade him to step in front of the camera one more time. For Wyld Stallyns.
Potential title: Bill & Ted’s Radical Retirement Plan
When Unbreakable was released in 2000, writer/director M Night Shyamalan repeatedly stated he planned it as the first film of a trilogy. But while Unbreakable was a success by any reasonable standard, the fact that it wasn’t quite as rapturously received as M Night’s previous film – megahit The Sixth Sense – seemed to sour the filmmaker on revisting its universe. Unbreakable is a wonderful movie, but to deny it a follow-up is outright antagonistic towards its viewers – the entire film is merely prologue to a larger story. After a decade of stinkers, an Unbreakable follow-up could be the film that restores faith in Shyamalan.
Potential title: Unbreakable 2: Somewhat Breakable
Are you onboard with any of these potential sequels? What films do you wish there was a sequel to? What sequels should they definitely NOT make? Here’s one: Top Gun 2. No thanks! Sound off below!