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Hollywood's obsession with sequels and prequels

Tom Pheby suffers through some sequels, prequels, reboots and remakes to find out what he's really looking for in these movies, and asks the question, why is Hollywood so obsessed with making them?

Do you remember a time when a film was a single installment and not an excuse to make sequels and prequels?

Now I'm not suggesting for one minute that some do not live up to the originals, or to our expectations, but you have to be honest that some are as unpleasant as a visit from a group of Jehovah's Witnesses after a late night in the local pub! I remember a Hollywood insider suggesting that it was nothing more than a marketing exercise, getting the paying public to "buy into the franchise" (at least he's honest).

The first example of this which made me physically wince was the desperate "Honey, I shrunk the Kids" which was followed by " Honey, I blew up the kid" and will no doubt be resurrected as "Honey, the kids are all cocaine addicts" or the more implausible "Honey, the kids have all got jobs". It's been an increasing trend that once 'Joe Public' likes something, Hollywood squeezes the brimming milky breast of ideas until its as dry as weathered timber. No doubt you are sitting there hunched over your Honey Nut Cornflakes or trying to avoid eye contact on the train or tube, recalling your own pet hates in this genre.

Let's take the Matrix films for instance. The first One was fantastic, a visually compelling comic book with groundbreaking effects. Two ? Ummm more effects white Rastafarian twins and that bloke who turns into lots of blokes. Three ? Wasn't Neo blind? and that bloke who turns into lots of blokes, turned into another bloke. Yes, they were forgettable and even the DVD player had an impromptu snooze when I tried to watch them recently. I was suckered into the franchise trap by the seductive film mistress of Hollywood and if I see her in the future I will push her down a flight of stairs! How dare she take advantage of us (Me) and hypnotise us (Me) to part with our (My) hard earned cash?

Since then I have tried to resist being dragged in to mindless situations that make me fork out a fortune for something that left me bewildered and empty (I'm not referring to a recent visit to PizzaHut). People are still talking about the Harry Porter series but I freely admit, I haven't watched one all the way through, even in my role as a loyal boyfriend. People assume you must be ill if you haven't joined them on this journey of prepubescent wizardry, full of broom hockey and bushy beards. At least these were based on books which gullible children and adults were coaxed into sleeping out doors to purchase, not just tag-ons to cash in.

So many sequels: Jaws (1 - 95), Rocky, Rambo, Iron Man, Spider-man, Batman and worst of all The Incredible Hulk, which was far from what it's title suggests. Some of these follow up films don't even require you to watch the previous ones .We know how Spider-man and Batman came into being and yet new films tread over familiar ground like a dog marking its territory, yet again we have to suffer Peter Parker being bitten by another green throbbing arachnid and Bruce Wayne having a bad day and then developing a peculiar fascination with bats after falling into a cave or a well or whatever the hell it is now (yawn).

Alien is still a brilliant film which has stood the test of time in every respect, that was followed by Aliens (yes the clever addition of a single letter) and then there was Alien³ (yes the clever use of a number), which was surely the most awful of all sequels. Sigourney Weaver was tied to a script so poor that an Argos catalogue would have made a better film, full of poor acting, worthless characters and lame effects. We won't even go on to discuss Alien Resurrection, because I suspect it was named ironically.

We haven't even mentioned Home Alone, that commercial cop out by John Hughes, when he bought Macaulay Caulkin's entire soul for a $100 and prostituted it for millions.

Now all I want is to be treated fair by Hollywood and not made to look like the idiot I so obviously am. Having been personally drawn into all sorts of spurious remakes and rehashes, I believe a little bit of quality rather than quantity is what we need.

Let me know your thoughts on this.

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