Tag Archives: movie sequels

Flashback Friday: Independence Day: Resurgence (2016)

When the sequel to a highly successful film is released, the expectation is that this second narrative will hold up on its own while giving proper respect to its predecessor.

Independence Day: Resurgence (2016) is the follow-up to the blockbuster 90’s movie Independence Day. It takes place a generation after Earth was nearly obliterated by an invading alien army. Humanity has taken thorough advantage of the advancement in technology. When the aliens return with revenge on the mind and a military force that has doubled in size, our heroes must once again save the day.

Two generations combine forces. the newbies Jake Morrison (Liam Hemsworth), Patricia Whitworth (Maika Monroe), and Dylan Hiller (Jessie T. Usher) eagerly join the fight. Backing them up are veterans David Levinson (Jeff Goldblum), Julius Levinson (Judd Hirsch), former President Whitmore (Bill Pullman), and Jasmine Hiller (Vivica A. Fox). It will take all of them working together to repel the attackers and keep our world going.

I love the first movie. It is everything a film of this nature should be. I wish I could say the same about Independence Day: Resurgence. While the visuals are fantastic, they cannot make up for the meh storyline and unimpressive character arcs. The emotions that I felt while watching Independence Day are missing. It was as if the screenwriters and creative team lost the spark. Unfortunately, it comes off a soulless easy cash grab based on nostalgia, which doesn’t always work.

Do I recommend it? Not really.

Independence Day Explosion GIF by 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment - Find & Share on GIPHY

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Obi-Wan Kenobi Review

When the original Star Wars film, A New Hope, premiered in 1977, no one could have foreseen the narrative junctions that have come out of this one movie.

The new DisneyPlus miniseries, Obi-Wan Kenobi, premiered on Friday. Ten years after the events of Revenge of the Sith (2005) the Jedi appear to have been wiped out. But a few have survived in hiding. The Empire sends The Grand Inquisitor (Rupert Friend) to find those that are still alive. One of the Inquisitor’s lieutenants, Inquisitor Reva, Third Sister (Moses Ingram) is intent on locating one Jedi in particular: Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor). His former Padawan, Anakin Skywalker (now known as Darth Vader) is eager to see his former master again

While living under another name, Obi-Wan is keeping an eye on Anakin’s son, Luke Skywalker (Grant Feely). But Luke’s Uncle and guardian, Owen Lars (Joel Edgerton) would prefer that his nephew remains in the dark. Meanwhile, on Alderaan, Princess Leia Organa (Vivien Lyra Blair) is kidnapped. Her parents turn to Obi-Wan to rescue their daughter.

Obi-Wan Kenobi is amazing. After watching both The Mandalorian and The Book of Boba Fett, I thought nothing would top them. I was wrong. My eyes were glued to the screen the entire time. There were multiple easter eggs (if you know where to look), many mouth drops, and quite a few expletives. I am already hooked and ready for the rest of the series.

It would be easy to make another soulless sequel. But it is not. It is full of so much love and respect for the material that it radiates from the screen. McGregor is back in perfect form, with the obligatory changes since the last time we saw the character. He is starting to become the grizzled old man who has come to terms with what was and will never be again. But there is still a little bit of hope, just enough to inspire him to pick up the lightsaber one last time.

Do I recommend it? 100% yes. Don’t be surprised if the program makes the cut for “best of” lists in December.

Obi-Wan Kenobi is available for streaming on DisneyPlus. New episodes premiere on Friday.

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Chip ‘n Dale: Rescue Rangers Movie Review

There seems to be a rule that in every generation, Hollywood looks to the past and uses nostalgia as a reason to reinvigorate old IPs.

Chip ‘n Dale: Rescue Rangers is one of the newest releases from DisneyPlus.Thirty years after the original series has ended, they are living far from the limelight. Chip (John Mulaney) has a desk job. Dale (Andy Samberg) is still trying to cling to his past. When their old teammate Monterey Jack (Eric Bana) is kidnapped, they have to put their animosity aside to work together. Assisting them is Ellie (KiKi Layne), a cop who is determined to solve the case.

First of all, shoutout to the homage to Who Framed Roger Rabbit. It is a subtle touch, but if you know, you know. I loved that Chip, who is the straight man is still in traditional 2D animation while out there Dale is in the form of modern animation.

The best thing about the film is that it appeals to both adults and kids. For those of us who remember the cartoon back in the day, there is humor that the grownups will get but might go over the heads of younger audiences. There are also easter eggs and cameos that may require repeat viewing to catch. It has the flavor of its predecessor while also standing on its own as a sequel.

Do I recommend it? Absolutely.

Chip ‘n Dale: Rescue Rangers is available for streaming on DisneyPlus.

Chip N Dale Smile GIF by Disney+ - Find & Share on GIPHY

P.S. The show’s theme song is a total earworm. Just an FYI in case it gets into your head as it is now in mine.

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Flashback Friday: Shrek 2 (2004)

In the lifetime of a romantic relationship, one of the major milestones is meeting your significant other’s family.

Shrek 2 takes place just after the ending of Shrek (2001). Shrek (Mike Myers) and Fiona (Cameron Diaz) are in the midst of newlywed bliss when an invitation from her parents arrives at their doorstep. Traveling to the kingdom of Far Far away with Donkey (Eddie Murphy), they are initially given a warm welcome. That welcome is quickly rescinded by the King (John Cleese) and Queen (Julie Andrews), who are shocked and well, unhappy about their daughter’s choice of a spouse.

Among movie sequels, this one is near the top of my list. The film takes what made its predecessor successful and builds on it. It expands the world and the characters while using the same humor and heart of the first movie. What I personally love is that it represents a reality that is something not seen on screen and not seen in fairy tales. It shows that even in the happiest of families and the seemingly most perfect of marriages, there are still problems and conflicts.

Do I recommend it? Yes.

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Throwback Thursday: Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian (2009)

Movie sequels have a tenuous reputation. Some are worthy of the reputation created by their predecessors, others are nothing but an unnecessary retread of what came before.

Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian premiered in 2009. In the sequel to Night at the Museum (2006), the audience is taken on another journey with Larry Dailey (Ben Stiller). When his friends Jedediah (Owen Wilson) and Octavius (Steve Coogan) are shipped to the Smithsonian Museum in Washington D.C. by mistake, Larry has to find a way to return them to New York City. Along the way, he is helped by new pals Amelia Earhart (Amy Adams) and old Teddy Roosevelt (the late Robin Williams).

I liked this movie. It has the charm of the original with enough buildup to keep the overall narrative going. What makes it stand out from the first film is the subtle history lesson that the audience may or may not be aware of.

Do I recommend it? Yes.

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Flashback Friday: Addams Family Values (1993)

Subversive comedy is in my mind, the best kind of comedy. While we are laughing, the gears in our brains are turning, bringing up questions that we might not otherwise ask.

Addams Family Values (1993) is the sequel to the 1991 film, The Addams Family. Gomez and Morticia Addams (the late Raul Julia and Angelica Houston) have just added a third bundle of joy to the family. Their elder children, Wednesday (Christina Ricci) and Pugsley (Jimmy Workman) are not exactly pleased to have a new baby brother. In the usual Addams Family style, they do everything they can do to get rid of him.

As many parents have done before them and will do after them, Gomez and Morticia hire a nanny to help with their little one. Debbie Jellinsky (Joan Cusack) is supposed to take care of the baby. But while she is doing this, she is pretending to fall for Fester (Christopher Lloyd). The rest of his family knows that her feelings for her new fiance are merely an act. Can they stop her and reveal her true intentions before it is too late?

I was a preteen when this film was initially released, so some of the humor was above my head at the time. But looking at it with adult eyes, I find myself laughing. My favorite scenes are the ones in which the kids are at camp. When they dramatize the first Thanksgiving and delightfully shock the audience of white upper-class parents.

Do I recommend it? Yes.

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Flashback Friday: The Mummy Returns (2001)

The purpose of a sequel is to take the narrative of one IP and then build on it by adding additional characters and stories. While this task may seem simple, the reality is that it is complicated. Especially when its predecessor is well regarded.

The Mummy Returns (2001) takes place after The Mummy (1999) and before The Scorpion King (2002) and. Rick O’Connell (Brendan Fraser) and Evelyn Carnahan (Rachel Weisz) are now happily married and living in London with their son. They are still in the archeology game and believe that Imhotep (Arnold Vosloo) will never enter their lives again. But when an artifact emerges and Imhotep’s remains arrive in the city, they will again have to send him back to the world of the dead.

I appreciate the addition of a precocious, troublemaking child, Evelyn’s growth as more than a damsel in distress, and the backstory set in ancient Egypt. It adds depth, allowing the audience to see Imhotep as more than just a generic villain. But my main problem is that Evelyn still needs Rick to rescue her, even when she claims to have learned some form of self-defense.

Do I recommend it? Maybe.

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Flashback Friday: The Parent Trap II (1986)

Divorce is a hard thing on a kid. You want your parents to be happy, but their happiness is no longer dependent on one another.

The 1986 TV movie, The Parent Trap II, is the sequel to the 1961 movie, The Parent Trap. Nikki Ferris (Carrie Kei Heim) and Mary Grand (Bridgette Andersen) both have divorced parents. Being best friends, they plan on bringing Nikki’s mother Sharon Ferris (Hayley Mills) and Mary’s father Bill Grand (Tom Skerritt) together. Their goal is to prevent Sharon and Nikki from uprooting and moving to New York City. But the girls are not doing it alone. Sharon’s twin sister, Susan Carey (also Haley Mills) is more than eager to provide help in whatever ways she can.

I haven’t seen this movie in thirty plus years. I remember watching it countless times when I was young. Its a cute movie and overall, a nice extension to the narrative of the original film. With films like these, important thing is the balance between nostalgia and moving the story forward. Granted, I have only seen it it through a child’s eyes, but as sequels go, I have seen much worse.

Do I recommend it? Yes.

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Throwback Thursday: Little Fockers (2010)

When we go, we want to know that our legacies and our families are settled for the future. But there can be a point in which this desire overwhelms our relationships and makes us forget what is important.

The 2010 film, Little Fockers, is the third movie in the Meet the Parents trilogy. After the chaos of Meet the Parents (2000) and Meet the Fockers (2004), Greg and Pam Focker (Ben Stiller and Teri Polo) have settled down into a happy life as spouses and parents. All is right with Pam’s father Jack (Robert De Niro). Before the entire family comes into town to celebrate the birthday of Greg and Pam’s twins, Jack finds out that Greg has a side gig working for a pharmaceutical company due to finance issues. Once more, Greg has to prove himself to his father-in-law that not only is he worthy, but will be able to lead the family one day.

A final movie in a film trilogy or series is supposed to once and for all, tie up the loose ends while maintaining the magic that brought audiences into the theaters. Unlike Return of the Jedi or Avengers: Endgame, which were both able to keep the narrative going and fans engaged, Little Fockers falls flat on its face. The jokes that elicited laughs in the first two movies are empty shells of what they once were. While the chemistry still exists between the actors, the honest truth is that this film illustrates once more why sequels have a bad name.

Do I recommend it? Not really.

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Flashback Friday: D2: The Mighty Ducks (1994)

Success breeds success. But that does not mean that there will be a few bumps and bruises along the way.

The sequel to The Mighty Ducks, D2: The Mighty Ducks was released in 1994. After the success of his underdog team in the first film, Gordon Bombay (Emilio Estevez) has returned to rink playing for a minor league team. When a knee injury sidelines his career, he is hired to coach the Team USA for the Goodwill Games held in Los Angeles. Taking most of the original Ducks with him and adding a few new players to the roster, it looks like they are heading to an easy win. But when Hollywood comes calling and Team Iceland stands in the way of their championship, the Bombay and the Ducks realize that they have work to do.

As sequels go, this film is pretty good. Granted, I haven’t seen it in a very long time, but based on what I remember, its not bad. The bar is that might higher, forcing to the characters to deal with new challenges in order to reach their goals. I also appreciated the additional diversity of the newer cast members.

Do I recommend it? Yes.

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