New Installments of Classic Franchises that Were More than Mere Cash Grabs
Posted on Nov. 9, 2023, 8:33 p.m. by DemonDragonJ
In the past several years, film studios have produced movies that are sequels to classic movies from the 1980's and 1990's or movies that otherwise are new installments in beloved franchises that had reached their conclusions but remained popular in the public consciousness, with some prominent examples being Top Gun: Maverick, Independence Day: Resurgence, Blade Runner 2049, Ghostbusters: Afterlife, the Jurassic World trilogy, the Star Wars sequel trilogy, and the fourth and fifth Indiana Jones movies. These movies are not necessarily poorly-written films, and I am certain that some viewers enjoyed watching them, but I am of the opinion that these movies are little more than shameless cash grabs, attempts by corporations to capitalize on nostalgia for classic franchises, movies that recycle old ideas and plots without actually adding anything new to the franchises, and, for that reason, I have not seen the majority of these films.
However, I would like to believe that not all of these long-delayed installments are terrible, that some of them are actually good and do contribute something new to their franchises, so I wish to discuss that subject, here, and see what everyone else has to say about it.
For my own example, I shall mention The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance, which is technically a prequel, but still qualifies for this discussion, in my mind; The Dark Crystal is a standalone film that tells a complete and self-contained story that does not leave any unanswered questions or the audience seeking more, yet, at the same time, the movie is only 90 minutes long, so it has barely sufficient time to tell its story and develop its characters. AoR is most certainly not a cheap cash grab, as its creators clearly put a great amount of care and effort into making it, with each character feeling fully developed and the world being almost real; the series adds so much depth and detail to the world of TDC that the viewers enjoyed it, very much.
What does everyone else say about this? Are there any recent installments of popular franchises that were more than merely cash grabs, installments that were well-written and actually added something new to the franchises?
It’s really weird to see someone whining about movies that they didn’t bother to see… when one of those movies was nominated for Best Picture specifically because it did add something new for the franchise… and another won two Oscars for the labour of love which went into the visuals, and which also received critical acclaim for its writing.
Frankly, this entire thread reads a lot like “I prejudged a bunch of stuff without bothering to keep an open mind, and I’m going to repeat my prejudged opinion as if it were fact, though, if I had bothered to read literally any review of the film, I would have seen my preconceived notions might have been wrong and I should have given them a chance.”
November 9, 2023 10:27 p.m.
November 10, 2023 2:37 a.m.
But also, as with basically everything that exists, personal choice and taste are factors here. You could have something that is wildly popular and beloved by millions of adoring fans, and you personally find it annoying and disgusting and ignorant. Likewise, you could have something that is considered an intolerable failure and regarded as one of the worst things in its medium, and yet love it to pieces.
Here's a personal example of mine, to sort of explain.
2014's TMNT. Many people hated that movie. I mean, just look at Rotten Tomatoes review. However, I personally loved it. Why did I love such a terrible movie?
Firstly, it's a movie about mutated river turtles who are raised by a rat that has a passion for the Renaissance as well as Japanese martial arts? So like, I'm not exactly going into this movie with super high expectations. The bar for this type of movie is so low that you'd need an excavator to dig it up. Basically if it has teenage mutant ninja turtles, it's pretty much lived up to its expectation. And yes, there have been movies (or content in any form, really) that have had a bar so low that you'd need an entire dig site to uncover it and somehow they STILL MANAGED to trip over the damn thing. Looking at you, 1993 Super Mario Bros.
Secondly, one of the biggest criticisms of the movie was their look. Really? Okay so from their original debut in the comics 1984 all the way through until 2014's movie, they all looked exactly identical; A green turtle with a different colored headband. There was a short stint where, in the CGI animated movies / cartoons, where they had physically different builds such as being stocky, lean, lanky or "normal", but more or less they still looked the exact same albeit a slight tint on the green. But this time, they each had a physical representation to their individual identity, personality and persona. For the very first time in well over 30 years they felt like individuals within their own universe. So many people hated this, but I personally fell in love with it.
Third, Shredder. God that mech suit was awful. I'll admit I absolutely hated how they put Shredder in a mech suit, rather than having him live up to his expectations as a master assassin. Then again, I understand you have to raise the stakes. When you have four giant body builder ninjas that are like six feet tall, you can't exactly have a shorter lean man throw a few punches and call it good. We literally discover that their shells are so hard that they are essentially bullet proof. So I highly doubt some punches and kicks would suffice. So yes, I understand. I'll admit, the concept of a mech suit sounds kinda cool, but they really could have toned it down several notches. That being said, they could have also made it significantly much worse.
A lot of people felt the plot and story were disjointed, rushed, sporadic, etc. Look, this isn't the type of film you go to expecting a paradigm shift. You aren't looking for meaning and reflection. This isn't some sort of nuanced poem for the soul. It's a movie about reptiles kicking butt. Get over yourself and learn to enjoy some senseless action.
Yes, I absolutely loved the movie and so many people hated it. And that's okay, because their opinions (which is what they are; Opinions) have no bearing on my enjoyment.
If YOU enjoy something, it doesn't matter what the rest of the world thinks.
Similarly, if YOU hate something, your OPINION doesn't matter.
End of the day, you are the only one who has to live in your head. So surround yourself with the content you enjoy, and don't worry about the rest.
November 10, 2023 2:56 a.m.
TypicalTimmy - Top Gun: Maverick was up for Best Picture and currently sits at a 8.3 IMDb rating, making it the 129th highest rated film on the platform, and holds on Rotten Tomatoes a 96% critical review score and 99% audience score.
This film worked because it was equally a love letter to the original film and a critique of the original film. It commented on the toxic masculinity and culture of the original film (which, knowing plenty of flyboys, is 100% an accurate depiction of Navy pilots), looked at how changing real world dynamics might effect that, and looked at how some of the main characters from the first would have developed given the interceding years.
But it managed to do all of that without ever insulting the original film--it dripped with love for the characters and the plot, managing to both criticize the culture while simultaneously celebrating the ways the good parts of that culture (the competitive spirit, comraderies, etc.) still remained relevant in 2022.
All told, it was exactly what it needed to be--and managed to say a surprising amount about such difficult topics as loss, without loosing any of the fun of "pew pew, look at pilots doing some awesome things" energy that makes the original such a good time.
Blade Runner 2049 sits at an extremely respectable 8.0 on IMDb (just below the 8.1 of the original film), with a very strong 88% for both critics and audiences on Rotten Tomatoes (the original had an 88% and a 91% respectively). It also won the Oscars for Best Cinematography and Best visual effects.
This film worked because it was directed by the greatest modern science fiction director--Denis Villeneuve (Dune, Arrival). This is a man who clearly loves the genera and puts an obsessive amount of detail into his movies, trying to show the viewer through writing, visuals, and direction just how much he loves and respects the projects and the genera, and make the viewer feel the same way.
November 10, 2023 10:09 a.m.
For my part, I honestly loved the new Dune... I look forward to the next one. I see alot of criticisms as: "having it both ways"... alot of critiques said it was basically for fanboys. Then, alot of others said it wasn't enough for fanboys. Anyway, I thought it kicked ass. Love how it didn't feel the need to really spell out symbolism like burning palm trees or dining under the Bull's head.