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01 August 2004 @ 12:12 pm
Part 2  
Okay, so I guess I should tell y'all what I thought of the two movie sequels I've seen lately, Shrek 2 and Spider-man 2.

Let me start by saying that I think sequels should have better names. I really think it's kind of lame to just add a number on the end of a film's title when you make a sequel (and calling it "part 2" is the same thing). Obviously that's the most common sequel naming convention , but to me that sends the message that here's a movie that is no good in its own right, and is just resting on the laurels of the original.

Here are some good sequel titles:

Terminator 2: Judgement Day
(Hooray for James Cameron, pity about that shit ship movie)
Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back
Star Wars: Return of the Jedi
Indiana Jones and...
(Hooray for George Lucas, pity about The Scrotum Menace)
Any Star Trek sequel (especially after 6, when they dropped the numbers altogether)
Any James Bond film
Hell, even the Police Academy movies had proper sequel titles

What I don't like is when they try too hard to be clever:
(Abbreviating a film's title, because it's so well known you don't need a full title, is wanky in the extreme. ID4 wasn't even a sequel!)
Ocean's Twelve

was genuinely a really clever sequel title. Besides, it's descriptive of the film's content.
Alien3 on the other hand... "Alien cubed?". Actually, that is accurate. Alien had 1 alien, Alien3 had 13 aliens.

Can anyone think of any other really good or really bad sequel titles?

Okay, so on to what I intended to do in the first place, review those sequels.

Shrek 2
I have to say it started slow, and I was a little worried that it was going to be a disappointment, after the good things I'd heard.
However, it was really just because they had to do a lot more work to set up the story than say "here's a big, scary lovable ogre", "here's a talking donkey", "here's a quest". For Shrek 2 they had to set up a lot of back story involving a whole raft of new characters, as well as establish the relationships between the new and old characters. Anyway, once it got rolling, this movie was hilarious.

Oddly enough, John Cleese's role as the king wasn't particularly funny, but he put a lot of emotional impact into this pivotal role.
Jennifer Saunders, as the fairy godmother, was extremely irritating, which I thought was to good effect.
Antonio Banderas was fantastic as Puss-in-boots, showing some real comic timing (although that may be tweaked in animation).
Banderas was, however, upstaged by the animators, who did an amazing and hilarious job of creating an anthropomorphic cat that was both a believable "human" character and a brilliant caricature of our beloved house-pets.

However, the show was well and truly stolen by a character from the first film. No, not Shrek or Fiona, and, no, not Donkey.
The show was stolen by Cody Cameron, as Pinocchio. If you've seen it, I'm sure you know the scene I'm talking about (the one that begins with the Mission Impossible parody). I was in tears.
To be fair, the credt really should go to the writers (Andrew Adamson, Joe Stillman, J. David Stem & David N. Weiss).

Spider-man 2
Well, I have to say that, overall, this film was a disappointment.
I can appreciate what they are trying to do, give the film a real story, instead of just cartoon violence, but they've taken it too far.
They made me want to punch Peter Parker, right in his moral dilemma.

Basically the middle section of this film was way too long.
There's too much angst, not enough action.
Let's face it, the audience is there to see the wall-crawler in action. If I wanted to see a tragic romance, I'd go and see Dirty Dancing 2: Havana Nights (I did not make that up!).
Alfred Molina was no-where near as good as I hoped, although he was pretty good. Willem Defoe was so much better.
Anyway, when it eventually got there I was pretty happy with the climax of the film, but I was kind of left with the feeling that it wasn't worth sitting through the boredom of the middle.
Hopefully they'll do better on Spider-man 3: The search for more money.

Oh, and another thing I did like was the opening credits, when they re-capped the first film with comic-book style drawings. Neat-o.