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Cady is a staff writer here at The Hudsucker. She is an English major and Writing minor at Grand Valley State University. Her dream is to be a novelist or to work for a publishing company. She enjoys reading, traveling, and watching Boy Meets World, The Voice and Back to the Future. Follow her on Twitter as @cadyelizabeth9

Prequels And Sequels And Remakes, Oh My!

When we’re shelling out ten or more dollars for a movie ticket, even before adding in our salty and sugary goodies, we want to be pretty sure that we’re going to like the movie we’re about to see. Movies are, of course, subjective, and there is no guarantee that we’ll love that new action-packed thriller or the new feel-good romantic comedy. It seems that Hollywood has caught on, and to be sure that they’ll get our hard earned cash time after time, they decide to throw sequels, prequels, and remakes our way, thinking that if we liked it the first time around, we’re sure to love it the second and third times.

I don’t think anyone is surprised that that’s not always the case. Too much of a good thing is never good. Original plots for movies are few and far between, and, depending on who you ask, may not even exist anymore. Many have pointed out that there are only seven basic story plots, and all movies are just some variation on those seven.

Image Credit: M4D Group

Take for instance Beauty and the Beast. It’s a beloved fairy tale that has been adapted into various movies and television shows. It has been rehashed dozens of times, like in the animated Disney classic Beauty and the Beast, the recent modern-day take on the tale called Beastly, and a new CW series, also called Beauty and the Beast. Direct remakes aside, there are also countless examples of television shows incorporating elements of this story, and other classics, into an episode or story arc. So if plots are so often reused, it only makes sense that we would be given sequels or prequels of relatively popular or well-received movies because they were proven to be liked the first time.

Recently, it seems that animated movies aimed at children are the targets for way too many sequels. Shrek, Toy Story, Ice Age, Madagascar, and Despicable Me, which has a sequel to be released this summer, are all examples of studios banking in, over and over, on sequels. Something can be said about the appeal of reworking popular kids’ movies. Kids become attached to characters they like, and will want to see more movies where their favorite character is the star. So from a profit standpoint, it really is smart of Hollywood to cash in on the lovable cartoon characters that kids like to watch.

Take a look at this week’s top films at the box office. Oz the Great and the Powerful is at the top of the list. What is it? A prequel to The Wizard of Oz. This brings to mind another reason why plots and characters are so often recycled in the movie industry: trying to gain a new target audience. Not all kids today have seen the original The Wizard of Oz. With the lack of high-tech special effects and violence, if they were to see it it’s likely they wouldn’t enjoy it. So this new, flashy, colorful movie toting the same name comes along, and kids want to see it. Maybe if they like it, they’ll want to see what the original was all about.

According to IMDB, there are quite a few sequels and remakes in the Top 250 movie category. The Godfather Part II, Terminator II: Judgment Day, and Toy Story 3 are all representing sequels at the front of the pack. A personal favorite of mine is Back to the Future Part II, which I felt was able to stay true to the quality of the original, but also had a compelling enough story to make it feel new again. Plenty of sequels are able to do that, and do it well. However, there are just as many prequels, sequels, and remakes that didn’t do it so well. Anyone remember The Next Karate Kid? What about Speed 2: Cruise Control? Or Herbie Fully Loaded?

There are both some definite hits and definite misses in the categories of sequels, prequels, and remakes. The enjoyment of movies is such a personal thing, and I doubt there ever has been, or ever will be, one that everyone can agree was great.

What are some of your favorite (or least favorite) movie sequels, prequels, or remakes?

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