Sequels and remakes are just something we as moviegoers have learned to accept, for better and for worse. After all, it isn't that hard to revisit a movie that was pretty good in the first place, right? Simply find out what viewers liked about the first film, copy it, and resell it to a hungry audience (this is known as the Force Awakens strategy).
But sometimes, the original movie contains a subtle moral or theme -- an underlying message that the filmmakers were trying to get across amidst all the dinosaurs and vampires. And sometimes that message completely escapes the folks in charge of the sequel/remake/reboot, or it is deliberately ignored in order to make room for more bitchin' action sequences.
5 The New Planet Of The Apes Films Blame The Apes For Everything
20th Century Fox
The Original Message: Humanity's blind pursuit of military superiority will ultimately doom the planet.
While the original Planet Of The Apes is now considered kind of hokey, possibly because of the weird cheesy ape costumes and/or Charlton Heston's chin, it's actually a rather serious flick with an undeniably haunting ending. When Heston's character escapes his ape captors, only to discover the remains of the Statue of Liberty, he's horrified by the implication. The planet of the apes was Earth all along, centuries after humanity had wiped itself out in a nuclear war. That's why the ruling apes keep the fact that humans were once the dominant species a secret -- they don't want apes going down the same self-destructive path.
20th Century Fox
Also because they don't want to have that whole "evolution is wrong because humans exist" argument again.
The New Message: Humanity will destroy itself by wasting time on science and medicine instead of building weapons.
There have been approximately 8,000 sequels, spinoffs, and reboots of Planet Of The Apes, ranging in quality from "fine" to "horribad". But we'd like to focus on the most recent iteration: the well-regarded Rise Of The Dawn Of The War For The Planet Of The Apes.
The first movie, Rise, is a gritty reboot which shows us how the human planet becomes the ape planet. There's no massive nuclear war, followed by the slow, centuries-long ascent of ape here -- instead, a botched medical experiment grants apes intelligence while killing off the vast majority of humanity. Was it an attempt to create some sort of hideous biological weapon? Nope, James Franco wanted to cure his father's Alzheimer's. Humanity isn't doomed by the thoughtless pursuit of warmongering violence, but by the pursuit of medicine that would better the world. Hope you ... learned your lesson?
20th Century Fox
That'll teach you to help people with degenerative diseases!
Then, in Dawn, ape leader Caesar learns about how useful violence is, which is exactly the opposite of the original point. For most of the movie, he's a firm adherent of the philosophy that "ape shall not kill ape." But after one of his followers, Koba, conducts an elaborate false flag operation to trick the apes into starting a war with the smart, resourceful, and (mostly) peaceful humans, Caesar decides he was naive for believing that apes were superior to man and kills Koba. The next film in the series, War For The Planet Of The Apes, will be about precisely what the title promises, but it's a war that's 100 percent the apes' fault -- humanity is still awesome. Our only crime was caring too much. And not making enough weapons to defeat the monkeys.
4 Jurassic World Is About Totally Dominating Nature
The Original Message: Nature cannot be controlled by technology, no matter how advanced.
The first Jurassic Park is about one thing, or two if you count hilarious early '90s computer speak. But it's mostly about chaos theory:
And getting women wet.
Jeff Goldblum's flirtatious ramblings are admittedly distracting, but the point is that nature is unpredictable and impossible to control. Laura Dern even lectures the park's founder on the futility of trying to tame it. Despite our best technology, we're all victims of the universe's cruel whims, a point expertly demonstrated by the dinosaurs busting loose and eating everyone. "Life finds a way."
The New Message: Science is basically magic, and nature will do whatever we command, dammit!.
Jurassic World was spitting in the face of the original before it even came out. We mean, look at this banner ad:
"Don't forget your waivers!"
The park -- a symbol of mankind's hubris -- is open. Come on down and check it out! Buy some raptor nuggets; they're delicious! The supposedly mysterious and unconquerable nature got curb-stomped by the shiny boot of science, and now mankind is raking in millions by displaying its corpse for the amusement of gawking yokels.
"Please funnel into this narrow walkway for easier consumption."
"But Cracked," we're hoping you're saying, because this hypothetical counterargument leads perfectly into our next point, "Jurassic World is about the park going to shit. It's the same message on an even grander scale." But consider the main (dinosaur) villains. In Jurassic Park it's the T. rex -- a huge, relentless force of nature that's neither good nor evil. It just is. The tyrannosaurus is even on the poster, a constant reminder that nature can wreck all your science bullshit if it decides to and there's not a damn thing you can do about it.
But the big bad of Jurassic World is the Indominus rex, a genetically modified dinosaur that humanity has given superpowers (it can turn invisible, even though the whole point of its existence is to be a tourist attraction). The only thing that can destroy man's awesome new park is a monster they create themselves. It's a symbol of man utterly dominating nature; it's even in the stupid new dinosaur's name.
"It's not a bad name, but I feel like I've heard 'Oedipus Rex' somewhere before ..."
Now think about how the movies end. In Jurassic Park, the heroes survive a raptor attack by dumb luck -- the tyrannosaurus happens to wander in and kill the raptors, the random force of nature conveniently working in their favor this time. In Jurassic World, one character tricks a T. rex into fighting the Indumbnamus rex while Chris Pratt commands his trained raptor to join the fight. That's right, man has mastered raptors. There's even a subplot about weaponizing them for military use. Instead of barely surviving the onslaught of nature and learning a valuable lesson about its awesome, timeless power, our heroes use one set of giant toys to stop another giant toy that was misbehaving. It's like when a roller coaster malfunctions and kills someone -- other guests go right back to the park the next day.