Picture it. Hollywood executives discuss their next mega money maker and among the melee of buzzwords, margins, and other business bollockry is the go-to selling point for any sequel: make it bigger. Independence Day Resurgence gets the green light and kick starts a global marketing campaign that drives home the fact that more than anything else this belated sequel will be bigger than the 1996 original. But they didn’t stop there. Continue reading Independence Day Resurgence Review
Ever since the Harry Potter franchise adaptations of young adult literature have been a lucrative Hollywood trend. Yet the quality has descended into a ceaseless torrent of substandard replicas piloted by a toxic, pseudo-feminist, profit-driven vampire saga. That was until 2012 with the arrival of Gary Ross’ flawed, yet hugely successful The Hunger Games which towered above its feeble competition and though it failed to stem the flow it offered enough to restore at least a little faith in young adult films. Though fans remain loyal to their beloved franchise, a degree of scepticism remained to greet its successor, but Catching Fire surprises us all over again as a darker, more serious and far more mature sequel that surpasses the first in every way and reignites a genre that looked all but extinguished.
Almost a year ago exactly, Peter Jackson’s An Unexpected Journey opened to great financial success, but disappointed critically as many viewers failed to indulge in its epic length, the often trivial plot embellishments and frankly pointless high frame rate experimentation. Restrained by the trepidation that these failures provoked, The Desolation of Smaug failed to repeat its predecessor’s box-office triumph, but this gutsy sequel returns Jackson’s Hobbit trilogy to familiar ground – a bigger, bolder adventure with detailed characters and breathtaking action set pieces.
Tiptoe through the tulips
During a sorry era where even dull, clichéd mainstream creations such as Paranormal Activity were being lauded, James Wan’s exceptional Insidious emerged as a timely reminder of the quality audiences should expect from a horror film. Wan’s bold horror was fully deserving of its critical and financial triumphs, but no amount of success could quell audiences’ fears when a sequel was announced. Unlike his Saw franchise, that grew weaker with every subsequent release, Wan returns to direct a terrifying follow up that lives up to the expectations of its predecessor.
To idly go where so many have ventured before
J.J. Abrams found success with his refreshing Star Trek rebirth four years ago, but plunges his enterprise into darkness with a lazily written sequel that lacks the charm and quality of its predecessor.
Once Upon a Time in “Istanbul”
Unlike other senior action headliners returning to the genre in an attempt to cash-in on their popularity and reputation, Liam Neeson made his debut in mainstream action cinema late on in his acting career. Pierre Morel’s 2008-hit Taken was the spark that ignited the, then fifty-six year old, actor’s remarkable rejuvenation that saw him subsequently star in at least eight action flicks. Four years since the original, Neeson returns to his role as retired CIA operative Bryan Mills for a predictable sequel, but in this case under the direction of the underwhelming, but brilliantly named Olivier Megaton.