Whether we like it or not, sequels are as much a part of the movie making business as excessive make-up and Liam Neeson’s mustache. If a movie is financially successful, and leaves any sort of opening for additions to the story, you can bet your entire DVD collection that Hollywood will make a sequel to bilk as much cash money as they can from the same characters. It is when the threequel movie is released that the movie franchise is born. Now, when a movie franchise is created, it can go one of three ways. It can be a great franchise, with the third film equaling the first and second in impressiveness and leaving fans hungry for more:
It can be a mediocre franchise, with the third film not being as good as the original or the sequel, but still being successful enough to continue on:
And then there’s the franchise of shame, with the third film being a disgrace to the original movie and to filmmaking in general. These are the franchises we will be focusing on in this article, because I had to watch these shitty movies, and I want you all to know of the sacrifices that I’ve had to make for the sake of you, and your paltry chuckles.
#5 Batman Forever
Batman Forever was a project that was doomed from the start. The original Batman was a masterpiece of film, featuring two strong leads in Michael Keaton and Jack Nicolson. The sequel was another strong film that warranted promotion into franchise status. Things began to go wrong right from the get go, when studio executives decided to find a new director for the movie, proclaiming Tim Burton did not make them enough coke money. So, they brought in Joel Schumacher.
Responsible for this.
Mr. Schumacher had some fresh new ideas for the film that he was sure was going to make it a good one. He completely scrapped all the sets and props from the first two movies, seeking to meld the New York City from the 1930’s with modern day Tokyo to create a “fabulous” city. He added more nude statues and stuck neon on everything he could, including the barrel drums of Tommy Guns. He also had the Batsuit redesigned, based on Greco-Roman sculptures, which, naturally, featured nipples and large codpieces.
Batman, upon discovering how big his new suit made his junk look.
It was at this point that Michael Keaton wisely bailed out of what he recognized as an express train to stupidity, and they had to find a new Batman. Val Kilmer accepted the role without even reading the damn script. This would become important later on. Rene Russo was originally cast as Dr. Chase Meridian, but Schumacher considered her too old for Val, so he went with the much more well endowed Nicole Kidman. It was at this point that Schumacher exhibited his closet racism with his next casting choices. Lando Calrissian played Harvey Dent in the original film, with the anticipation of being Two-Face in a later movie. Schumacher replaced him with the very white Tommy Lee Jones. Marlon Wayans was originally cast as the boy wonder, Robin, but Schumacher replaced him with the even more white Chris O’Donnell.
He’s so white, vanilla ice cream says “Damn!”
To complete the cast, Schumacher turned down the services of Robin Williams as the Riddler, instead hiring the man child Jim Carrey. His cast of characters complete, the nipples affixed to the Batsuit, and neon thus attached to machine guns, filming was ready to begin. There was more drama offset than there was on the screen, what with Val Kilmer getting into fisticuffs with members of the film crew and not speaking to the director like a sulking child for weeks on end.
In the end, Batman Forever was financially successful, earning over 300 million dollars worldwide. The film was awful compared with the first two, but amazingly, wasn’t the most awful film in the franchise. That honor belongs to Batman and Robin, a film so retarded that it took the combined might of Christian Bale and Liam Neeson to dig the Batman out of the deep grave George Clooney put him in. But that, my friends, is a story for another article.
#4 Robocop 3
Robocop is one of those movies that you wish they had stopped messing around with at one film. Robocop was a classic that has developed a cult following that rivals the Rocky Horror Picture Show. Things started going wrong when they made Robocop 2, unleashing another murderbot that machine gunned 12 year old crime lords and craved hallucinogens.
I don’t know about you, but I tend to avoid cities that require shoulder mounted miniguns to fight crime.
The plot of Robocop 3 reads like a made up adventure story told by a ten year old. Meaning, it sounds really awesome in your head, but when you put it to paper, or in this case, to the silver screen, it crosses into the realm of batshit insane. Peter Weller failed to reappear for the third film, so they were forced to find another actor, one whose voice was noticeably deeper and decidedly more tacky in his one liner delivery. They murdered Robocop’s trusty partner, Anne Lewis, for just, no reason at all. Attempting to strap a jetpack to Robocop may sound like a good idea, but in practice it just makes him look like a lumbering retard. Finally, ninjabots.
It is impossible to make any of this stuff up.
Yes, Robocop 3 featured the introduction of Japanese evil corporate villains. And because the only thing Japanese bad guys know how to make is robots carrying swords, this is what we’ve arrived at in this franchise. Basically, this scene summarizes the entire movie:
The only redeeming factor in this movie is getting to see Jill Hennessy in action pre-Law and Order. But that’s like finding a minute nugget of gold inside 2 cubic meters of cow dung: sure it’s valuable, but is it worth it to go and get it? The movie was a flop, and with the exception of a couple of failed TV shows, ended the Robocop film franchise. Quite an undignified end to a great roboman.
Rest in Peace, you magnificent bastard.
#3 Look Who’s Talking Now
The Look Who’s Talking Franchise is a prime example of what happens when you take a great idea and abuse, twist, and otherwise misuse it until it is a shadow of its former self, bereft of all validity in the endless quest to make money. The original Look Who’s Talking brought forth the idea of the inner thoughts of a sperm (voiced by Bruce Willis) who impregnates an egg and becomes Mikey, the son of a rich executive and his tax attorney in a steamy affair. The tax attorney (Kirstie Alley) winds up raising Mikey herself, and later marries a cab driver/pilot in training (John Travolta.) The movie is very good, and memorable. The sequel is good as well, introducing Rosanne Barr as the voice of Julie, Mikey’s little sister. Things got screwy in the third movie, Look Who’s Talking Now.
In more ways than one.
Look Who’s Talking Now takes place several years after the first two movies, the two kids are now old enough to talk, leaving Bruce and Rosanne to die quietly offscreen. They justify it being a “Look Who’s Talking” movie by turning the focus of the franchise from the smartass antics of two babies to another movie where dogs talk, presumably trying to cash in on that sweet Air Buddies money. The situations got more outlandish, what with two dogs saving their owners from a crazy woman wanting sex, being lost and trapped in a snowstorm, a pack of wolves, and doubts about the belief in Santa Claus all in one night.
And found some time to pose for some Internet meme photos.
The entire movie ruins the premise of the franchise, previously built on wisecracking Die Hard babies, in a cheap attempt to squeeze some more money out of misguided parents who thought they were taking their children to see Beethoven. It’s an abuse to the system, and it made John Travolta look like even more of a douchepotato than he usually does when he plays in comedies. It’s hard to believe a man who once played a hit man is incapable of fighting off the attentions of a gilted woman and a couple of wolves.
This is not the face of a pussy.
#2 Jurassic Park 3
This is another example of taking a good idea and strangling every last penny from its mouth at the expense of creativity. Jurassic Park. Dinosaurs brought back to life and eating modern man, this is a good premise for a movie. The sequel featured a Tyrannosaurus Rex running amok through Los Angeles. Seems a little Godzilla style campy to me, but what the hell, Los Angeles is a crappy city anyway.
“Alright, so I was wrong. Let’s go back to Detroit and the roboninjas.”
But the third movie is going to have us believe that after two islands infested with dinosaurs go nuts and start killing folk, including one that ran wild in a major American city, that there are still going to be dinosaurs around to worry about? The US military would be kicking some ass, and Isla Sorna would most likely be a nuclear wasteland. And of course, you’ve got Alan Grant, coming back for one more round Rocky style, even though a normal person who survived an encounter with dinosaurs, he should know better than to be seen within 100 miles of a non fossilized dino.
This is not a good idea.
Then you have the woman who so cleverly decided it was okay for her 12 year old son to go parasailing on an island infested with dinosaurs with her fiancé? There is a lot of bad judgment going on in this movie, but it basically falls back to the old standby plot device of dinosaurs devouring all the minor characters and the rest of the people running about trying to escape a situation that, in this case, is entirely their fault.
Has anyone ever told your son that he’s a dumbass? Because he is.
It may have been financially successful, but it was tired and the premise has since shown its age by being retired as a franchise. Don’t expect to see any more raptor victims in the morgue anytime soon.
#1 Honey, We Shrunk Ourselves
To be perfectly honest with you, I thought the original Honey I Shrunk the Kids was pretty stupid. An inventor with a shrink ray accidently turns a bunch of children into microscopic size, and they proceed to become involved with some adorable hijinks like being drowned by sprinklers, being involved in a fight to the death with a scorpion, and almost being eaten with a bowl of Cheerios.
It’s adorable if you don’t think about almost devouring your son with your morning fiber.
The sequel was some craziness about turning your child into the Nutty Professor or something, and then there’s this direct to DVD piece of crap. Rick Moranis decided to keep the stupid shrink ray that caused so much trouble in the first film, and used it to shrink some ugly Tiki Man statue that his wife told him to get rid of. Somehow, he did not foresee that this would only end in tears, very tiny tears. They end up in midget format, and undergo the same sort of hijinks the kids had to undergo, but with the twist that the children are home and having a party instead of, you know, looking for their missing parents.
Eh, serves ‘em right for building that damn machine in the first place.
Tired plot lines? Hell, it’s the same goddamn plot, but with different characters! There is simply no excuse for this kind of lazy filmmaking, and this was a sad way to end the talented career of Rick Moranis.
By Ben Adelman