Two Isn’t Always Better Than One: When Sequels Go Wrong

By Gabrielle Sirois

Some stories are meant to be told continuously over the span of multiple movies, and some stories are only meant to be told in one. Things get messy when we try to turn the latter stories into the former. Often times when a movie becomes popular, executives look for any way to make more of  a profit off of it, even if it means making a sequel when there is no more story to tell. This can leave us with movies that don’t really build on or add any value to the original movie. Here are just some of the examples of sequels that really just didn’t need to be made.

1. Mean Girls 2

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There is a reason that the original Mean Girls is as popular as it is today. It starred some of the most popular actresses of their time and was written by Tina Fey, an extremely well-known comedian. On top of that, it was produced by Lorne Michaels, the man behind Saturday Night Live. It is no surprise that with the brain and star power behind it, Mean Girls was able to captivate audiences with its smart and witty humor. It still remains popular and feels fresh to this day, 14 years after its initial release.

Mean Girls 2 was produced as a made for TV movie and released on ABC Family in 2011. I’m not really sure if it can really even be classified as a sequel considering it doesn’t have any actual connections to the original film other than the fact that it takes place at the same high school. The film itself plays like a low-budget remake of the original that lacks all of the talent, humor and charm that made Mean Girls so successful. Predictably, it was not met with good reviews.


2. Any Disney Sequel

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Disney movies are a staple of most people’s childhoods. I know there are a lot of people out there that do enjoy the Disney sequels, but the truth is none of them hold a candle to their predecessors. They don’t really take away any value from the original movies since most of them were released straight to DVD, and not actually watched by many people. That being said they don’t really add any value to the original storylines either, which is why they are on this list.


3. Pitch Perfect 2 & 3

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The original Pitch Perfect was a sleeper hit. I don’t remember seeing any ads for it on TV or at the movies before it came out. I hadn’t even heard of it until after it came out and my sister suggested that we rent it to watch. After that, however, it suddenly seemed to be everywhere. Everyone was talking about it, listening to the soundtrack and singing the songs at school. My choir even attempted to hold our own riff-off (which ultimately failed) because we loved the movie so much. It had something for everyone: great music, dancing and comedy. Although it was none of its leads first movie role, it did seem to be what launched them all into stardom and made them the big names they are today.

With the Pitch Perfect sequels, it isn’t so much that they didn’t need to be made, its more that they shouldn’t have been made the way they were. When Pitch Perfect 2 was announced, everyone was excited. The first movie had ended in the perfect way to set up a sequel, there were so many possibilities of where the story could go following the first film. My friends and I got tickets to see it the week it was released. However, when we saw the movie, it just didn’t live up to our expectations. It wasn’t horrible, but they could have taken it in so many different, better directions. It had all of the potential and opportunity to be great, but that was all squandered. Overall, the music wasn’t as good as the original, the plot was strange, and the writing and comedy just weren’t where they should have been.

There isn’t really anything to say about Pitch Perfect 3 other than it was flat out not good and shouldn’t have been made at all.  


4. Grease 2

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I am going to start this off by saying that I actually love Grease 2 (unpopular opinion, I know). Yes, I know it is cheesy, but I think it is fun and I actually do like the songs. Despite that, there is no denying that it is an awful sequel. Much like Mean Girls 2, I don’t really think it can be considered a sequel because it doesn’t attempt to carry on the story from the original movie at all. It attempts to make a connection to the first movie by making the leading man, Michael, Sandy’s cousin and by keeping the character of Frenchy from the first film. Other than that there is no mention of the events of the original film.

For a movie as popular as Grease, when you announce a sequel, people are going to expect and want to see the story of all of their favorite characters continued. Since Grease 2 made no attempt to do this, I had to put it on this list. I personally think it should be categorized as a Grease companion film, and it probably would have been better if it had been marketed as such, rather than as a sequel.


5. Jaws and Jurassic Park Sequels

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I’ve lumped Jaws and Jurassic Park together for two reasons. The first being that they are very similar movies. They are both monster(ish) attack thrillers directed by Steven Speilberg. They both had profound impacts on the film industry, and are widely regarded as two of the greatest movies of all time.

The second reason that I have lumped them together, is because I view their sequels in exactly the same way. There are only so many time times you can fight the same monster before it starts to get old, and I think in the case of both of these movies, one time is perfect. All sequel attempts for both of these films seem stale because it feels like you are just watching the same story over and over again, except worse. The original films were so great because everything was new and you didn’t know what was going to happen next or how things were going to end. With the sequels, you pretty much already know what is going to happen because of the original film, so you lose that sense of excitement and suspense that drew viewers into the original films.

Overall, when a sequel is done well it builds upon the original story in a way that is meaningful. It adds dimension and value to the original film. Sequels should only be made if there is still story left to tell, not just to profit off an existing movie.

Día de Los Muertos

By Anna Hayes

The day of the dead is a day to remember family that has passed away, but also to bring the living family together. Most people are familiar with the holiday because of movies. I wanted to use today to look at how 3 movies in particular capture the traditions of Día de Los Muertos.

First is a short film from 2013 titled: “Día de Los Muertos.” This story follows a young girl who is visiting her late mother’s grave. This short film shows the true meaning of the celebrations: taking a couple moments to remember our families past and helping them on their journey. This is the most simple of the three movies. It only shows the mother’s grave and then the festivities in the afterlife. While this film is simple and short, it is a heartwarming story that captures the basic traditions of Día de Los Muertos.

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The second movie is “The Book of Life” (2014). While this movie has the most of Mexican folklore and mythology, it lacks in emotion as opposed to “Dia de Los Muertos” and “Coco”, which we will later discuss. It mostly focuses on a love triangle instead of family, which is the center of the holiday. However, this film gives the most detail of the holiday concerning the fates of the deceased; some enjoy the afterlife’s never-ending fiesta, while others who are forgotten go to “the land of the forgotten.” While it may lack the emotional storyline that the other two films have, it is a gorgeous film that has a more detailed look at the holiday’s traditional beliefs.

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And of course this discussion wouldn’t be complete without taking a look at Disney’s “Coco” (2018).

This film is my favorite out of all three. With it being a Disney film, it’s given all the magic a film needs- the visuals are stunning, the storyline is emotional, and the film stays true to the themes of Día de Los Muertos. Out of the three films Coco is the only one to show the families ofrenda, which is a table with family portraits, food, water, and other items one might need to their “journey to the spirit world.” The ofrenda is a staple to the holiday because some family members may not have a grave to visit, such as soldiers. Ofrendas allow families without graves for  certain members to remember and honor the deceased within the home.

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All three movies give a good representation of Día de Los Muertos and each show different aspects of the traditions. In the short film Día de Los Muertos, a simple yet sweet representation of the holiday is told showing a daughter at her mother’s grave. In The Book of Life, the story has a fun storyline that shows some of the more traditional Mexican folklore. While Coco, is true to the traditional themes of the holiday the family.

If you would like to watch any of these Día de los muertos films here is where they are available:

Día de los muertos: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-v4-1wFEzM0&t=10s

The Book of life: For rent on Amazon, iTunes, and Youtube. Or you can watch it for free on youtube here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XbJnwUtv9eM

Coco: Is on Netflix and the same rental options as listed above Amazon, iTunes, and Youtube.

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¡Feliz viendo y feliz día de los muertos!

5 Movies to Watch on Netflix This Halloween

By Kyndall Stoker

There are only two more days until Halloween, and you know what that means: it’s scary movie season! Here are the top five films you should binge before October ends:

1. The Shining

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One of the most well-known horror films of all time, Stephen King’s The Shining is like nothing else. Most people have either seen the movie already or read the book, but if you haven’t, get ready for weird. This movie will have you questioning Stephen King’s sanity within the first half hour.

Summary: Jack Torrance, a writer, becomes the caretaker of the Overlook Hotel in Colorado, and brings his wife and son with him. While Danny, his son, has disturbing psychic premonitions, Jack’s sanity unravels over the course of the movie as the dark history of the hotel becomes known.

Scary Rating: 3.5/5

2. The Conjuring

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We all know how it goes: a family buys a house that is super old and sold for way under market value because, surprise, it’s haunted. But then there are those five words that make movies like this so much scarier: “based on a true story.”

Summary: Based in the 1970s, the Perron family becomes terrorized by the ghosts of their house’s horrifying past. Famous paranormal investigators, Ed and Lorraine Warren come to help the family and get entrapped in the horror as well.

Rating: 4/5

3. Hush

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This movie is interesting because it was something that had never been done before. The main character is deaf, and the element of silence is very effective and adds intensity to the film.

Summary: A deaf writer moves into a house in the woods to isolate herself from the world. All is well until a masked killer appears. Unable to hear him approaching she is left completely vulnerable, or is she?

Scary Rating: 2.5/5

4. The Sixth Sense

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“I see dead people.” One of the most famous movie lines of all time. If you didn’t know what it was from, now you do. While it isn’t terrifying, this movie is very interesting ,with a plot twist that most people didn’t see coming.

Summary: Cole Sear is a young boy who has the ability to see ghosts. Many of them visit him with unresolved problems. The only person who knows about his ability is child psychologist, Malcolm Crowe. Throughout the movie, Crowe tries to figure out the truth about Cole’s ability until a surprise leaves both Cole and the audience in shock.  

Scary Rating: 1/5

5. Train to Busan

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If you like zombie movies and don’t mind reading subtitles, than this movie is for you. This Korean horror film revolves around a man and his daughter trying to survive a zombie outbreak while trapped on a train. Though the zombie craze has died down over the years, this film does a good job at revamping the genre. This one is definitely the most gory on the list, so if you don’t like blood, beware.

Summary: Seok-woo is a distant father and is reluctant to take his daughter, Soo-ahn, to his ex-wife’s house on her birthday. As the train departs, a virus quickly spreads throughout the carts that turns people into flesh-eating monsters. The remaining human passengers fight for their lives, and Seok-woo steps up to the plate to protect his daughter.

Scary Rating: 3/5