There is much heat surrounding the proliferation of Hollywood’s remakes: re-hashes, re-boots, re-vamps and re-works, perhaps more so than the actual motion picture itself.
There is much heat surrounding the proliferation of Hollywood’s remakes: re-hashes, re-boots, re-vamps and re-works, perhaps more so than the actual motion picture itself. The third instalment of a movie franchise or a ‘threequel’ as they’re frequently referred to, tends to have an unavoidable stigma associated with them, commonly that they tend to suck.
They’re normally constructed on the basis of a two-hour assault of explosions, poor storylines and unfamiliar faces, which just doesn’t live up to your initial expectations or the franchise. That’s not to say that ‘threequels’ are a recipe for total disappointment, there are a few recognizable exceptions but they’re exactly that, exceptions.
A clash of money and ideas
So why are so many ‘threequels’ so horrifically bad? It stands to reason that the third time’s a charm, yet there’s a whole IMDB of follow-up flops. Arguably, there are many explanations as to why they all so frequently disappoint their audience of devoted fans. Besides sequels, prequels, remakes and reboots are typically ‘never as good as the original’ surely there’s only so many ways to skin a cat.
Hollywood is essentially a business and the desired outcome of every business venture is profit. As a medium film is in most cases the best way to tell a story to a large audience. Consequently if you neglect quality over commerce it’s no surprise such drivel is being repackaged and distributed to us year in, year out.
Maybe the problem is in fact that mainstream cinema is completely idea-bereft. Traditionally good filmic ideas are a result of books, screenplays, old TV-shows, or talented scriptwriters and directors. Surely the material is out there but it’s less of a financial risk to re-invent a comic-book franchise into the next summer blockbuster than perhaps a piece of indie cinema gold that may or may not bring in a profit.
A way out
There’s a standard formula to movie one and to the sequel. In the first movie you identify with characters, he/she discovers their destiny and a typical love interest develops but not before the villain is apprehended and the day is saved, at least until the sequel returns with a bloated blockbuster budget the following summer.
This is commonly where the hero wants to return to normality but something stands in his way. It’s often that the ‘threequel’ has no direction and is overly indulgent in plotlines, characters and action or needlessly converted into 3-D, the biggest pet peeve of all.
The curse of the ‘threequel’ is perhaps more so a curse attached specifically to superhero franchises, which makes perfect sense as they tend to bring in the most profit as they already have a basis to work from. This isn’t the norm of course it’s been proven that you can milk more than a marvel story, Jurassic Park 3, Alien 3 Jaws 3 to name just a few examples not because I can’t name anymore but there is a word-count and fear of over-exceeding it.
In most cases remakes result in a default fail however it’s wrong to say they’re all bad there are the lucky few who’ve managed to escape the dreaded curse of the ‘threequel.’
What do you think of the threequel? Have your say in the comments section below.
Image: chirinecarlao / Flickr