Once More Without Feeling: Movie Franchises that Have Gone on Too Long
Picture this. The year is 3008. Cinemas still exist, one of which you happen to be at. Pre-film trailers are still around too, and when the lights dim and you’ve taken that first mouthful of popcorn the first trailer to flash on screen is none other than…
Or Saw 84 to those of us not fluent in Roman numerals.
Hopefully the infamous slasher franchise will not reach such longevity (or if gore is up your street you’re probably praying for it), but you have to admit six installments is a little excessive. Admittedly the methods of death got increasingly creative, and I felt the posters were effectively chilling (“Give till it hurts,” anyone?) but as each instalment was released, it seemed to become more about what was bankable than what actually scared anybody. I find that when films become about bank balance as opposed to creativity and entertainment (I fear Twilight may be heading down this route, as did Fast and the Furious before it) they become lacklustre and lame.
Take “Bring It On” for example – the first one I could just about stand, and I’ll admit I knew the cheerleading chants as well as the next schoolgirl: I said Brr…It’s cold in here…
By the time the franchise reached In It to Win It, I was tired of the whole thing. Can you believe there are now FIVE “Bring It On” movies? Five! I thought there were three at first and even that made me want to lie prostrate in a corner and weep for the diminishing state of teen films. Here’s another fact for you: the first Bring It On was out in 2000. That’s TEN YEARS AGO. Quick, somebody pass me my tartan blanket and a glass of prune juice- I feel ANCIENT.
Here’s a little something I discovered today. That film “The Prince and Me?” You know, the one with Julia Stiles and the attractive-if-you-squint Luke Mably? FOUR FILMS. I’m serious, here’s a role call – The Prince and Me, Royal Wedding, Royal Honeymoon, and Elephant Adventure – anyone else think that that last sounds like a feature length episode of Fairly Odd Parents? The original story was good, and I love Julia Stiles, but after that the franchise seemed like a way for studios to cash in on the dreams of many a girl. The storyline got poor, the acting; poorer, the dialogue verging on abysmal, and the majority of them went straight to DVD. Even Grease 2 was an insult to the first Grease.
Take Harry Potter, though; this time next year it will have seven films under its belt- yet this will be perfectly okay with most people- myself included. Maybe it’s because you can see that, with each movie, care and creativity and fun has gone into them, each film has hugely talented adult and young stars, they try to stay as true to the book as possible, and they involve characters that people like myself have grown up with- I turned the first page of Sorcerer’s Stone when I was eleven – luckily I didn’t know Jigsaw at such an age. Perhaps if Saw were to reach an 84th run, the producers should take notes from the vibrancy and fresh life breathed into each Harry Potter release. But, as an avid fan of The Boy Who Lived; I would say that.