On extremely rare occasions film sequels are better than their predecessor. The only three that immediately spring to mind are ‘Terminator 2: Judgement Day’ ; ‘Addams’ Family Value’ (thanks to Joan Cusack playing the insane nanny Debbie) and ‘The Godfather Part 2’. While some people claim that ‘Aliens’ is better than ‘Alien’ I don’t agree. ‘Alien’ is a vampire movie on a spaceship and is all the more tense and nailbiting as a result. ‘Aliens’ is an action film in space.
I loathe action films – Sigourney Weaver’s brilliance notwithstanding.
The reasoning for sequels sucking is blatant – they exist to make money. Now any film that gets to the cinema screen exists for the same reason. But an original film (one which is not based on a bestselling book at least) seems more of a jump into the unknown, and can seem exciting and original. Sequels so rarely are – they are generally flogging a dead horse, trying to squeeze an extra drop of blood from a drained corpse; soulless exercises in exploitation.
A film series built around a series of books tends to be of higher quality – largely because the source material hasn’t been created by committee in some film lab. (Notable exception ‘Fifty Shades of Drivel’.) Therefore the Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings are exempt from my amateur attempts to sound like a serious film critic. (That being said turning a wonderful – but short – story like ‘The Hobbit’ into three lengthy films is the very definition of crass exploitative commercialism).
I rarely go to the cinema these days. I still check the listings regularly but the choice is so limited.
You have the option of a children’s cartoons. No thank you. I am not attending. I don’t care whether there are jokes for adult ears contained in them or not. There will be screaming children in attendance. Life is too short to spend unnecessary time with Shitty Little Betty or Pissy Little Peter.
Unless I know the parents on a personal level I have little interest in spending avoidable time near children. I wish them well in their future endeavours but I enjoy quiet times.
Then you have the superhero films. Again not for me. I am too old to go for the idea that grown men and women in rubber suits and bondage gear, with superpowers are somehow heroes. I’ve seen too many Friday evening Channel 4 documentaries about the strange practises of loners to feel comfortable with these films. And the fanaticism they inspire among teenagers (and older) is terrifying.
Finally the sequels – the relentless stream of regurgitated drool, as original films are reworked and squeezed dry of all joy in an ever decreasing circles.
There’s truth in the view that television is where the talent is these days.
What – you may be asking– is the inspiration for today’s screed?
Well I have an admission to make – I’ve just started rehearsals for my new short play. It’s called ‘Mother’s Little Holiday’. It features in Firedoor Theatre’s Uncut season in August. This is a bi-annual showcase for new writing. I’ve written and staged several pieces with this group over the last eighteen months.
My new play is a sequel.
In February of this year we staged ‘Mother’s Little Treasure’. This was a piece about a blowsy, leopard-print clad woman named Maureen Moore. Maureen is fretting because her son is being released from prison next Friday. She needs to make him feel welcome home after his terrible ordeal. Maureen believes that he’s been framed. Set up as the patsy, for a crime he didn’t commit – embezzling and laundering money from his employer. As if! Her concerned friend and neighbour Carol ‘Vinegar Lips’ Delaney expresses her wide-eyed and innocent concern for her friend’s state of mind (all the while needling and sneering at Maureen and storing up the gossip to spread at the next ICA gathering).
The alleged white collar criminal son Gary (pronounced ‘Gorry’ by Maureen – she has Dublin 4 notions of grandeur, despite her origins in Dublin 24) is in a relationship with a Spanish woman called Rosario – whom Vinegar Lips delights in calling Rosemary. Rosario arrives to tell Maureen that Gorry will be skipping the country the moment he is released and reveals that he was in fact guilt of the fraud for which he’d been jailed. Rosario was the brains of the operation. The star crossed lovers will be fleeing the country and paying cash for a beach bar in Tenerife. Maureen is aghast. Aghast in her new IKEA kitchen – that had been financed with proceeds of crime. The shame.
It was a comedy.
The sequel – cunningly titled ‘Mother’s Little Holiday’ – sees our intrepid pair Maureen and Carol in Tenerife, having a few discreet cocktails (with umbrellas in them of course) as they wait for Gorry to appear.
My disdain for sequels does not extend to my own plays. This might be hypocritical but I have a good explanation. The characters I created have a full story. Chapter one did not tell it all. Therefore it had to be continued.
So in a sense it is not a sequel but a continuation (as I try to furiously justify myself).
The audience and cast seemed to like the first play. The three women playing Maureen, Carol and Rosario all agreed to reprise their roles before reading the script.
So rehearsals have begun.
To Tenerife. And beyond.
Y viva Espana.