The Story Continues...whether you want it to or not. The idea isn't always a bad one. It's the execution and end product that leaves many with regret. Like...
With the successes of Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince and Transformers 2: Revenge of the Fallen, the Hollywood sequel machine seems to be rolling strong but even though people are racing out to see the continuing adventures of their celluloid heroes / heroines, is it always the right thing?
The Karate Kid is a classic 80's flick that told the story of a runty kid from New Jersey that ends up in California and gets the crap kicked out of him in lieu of a welcome basket, only to meet up with an Okinawan gentlemen who slowly but surely teaches him how to give as good as he gets...still getting the Tab kicked out of him being forced into a karate tournament with only a few weeks training BUT winning in the end.
We see Daniel LaRusso win the girl, show up some douchy future CPAs who respect him for kicking their asses, and we all go home happy.
Wait. Karate Kid II arrives two years later.
Did I miss the definition on "The End" while in school?
All right, there's more to the story. And the movie studio needed some more green.
The kid has more growing to do so when his mentor's dad gets sick and he heads to Okinawa and when they get there, they confront an old rival who demands a fight to the death match between the two 50 somethings which would've made for a fairly interesting movie in itself.
Turns out the rival's nephew is pretty Americanized as he's learned how to be as douchey Daniel's L.A. buddies, harrassing the hell out of our hero, knowing more karate than the Bob Villa style Daniel learned in the previous movie and beating him down with it. So Daniel is taught the movements of a rythymic drum and learns a new fighting style which he uses to shame the aforementioned bully, winning yet another battle where days before he was getting his ass kicked AND he scored an Okinawan chick, Bravo.
Karate Kid III. Seriously? I'm seeing an unhealthy progression here.
The teacher from the original movie, a black belt pyschopath is down on his luck since the kids he trained to beat the bane of his existence (pretty strong words, but it's what the movie's about) showed him up meets up with an old war buddy and the two concoct a plan to have Daniel beaten down in public, which he is a pro at but LOSE this time.
First of all, at the time, Ralph Macchio was 25. "Kid"? We're already off to a bad start. We're treated to a story that involves the reluctant Daniel being goaded into fighting a guy that could snap his spine like a Wheat Thin, yet another woman that we know he's gonna hook up with, and helpful hints to take care of Bonsai trees. And he learns a totally ripping Marcel Marceau maneuver his mentor teaches him, he defeats the bad guy and makes the afroementioned vengeance seekers look stupid.
The Next Karate Kid. Whoa! WTF?! Now, you're just being rude.
Throw the mentor into a situation with another geek but (here's the twist)...it's a GIRL! Ha! Box office is going to justify those brand new BMW's for sure, Hollywood execs! As much as Hilary Swank turned into a good actress, it was more painful than Krese slamming his fists through those car windows to watch this movie. And what was the reason behind it?
The Harry Potter franchise, one of the biggest ever in the film industry is actually a set of stories written by J.K. Rowling so the studio was telling the story from beginning to end. Pretty damned good stories that draw in the reader and when translated to film, make for a movie going experience.
Every good story has a beginning, middle, and end and it's not always told in one film. Trilogies became popular on this premise and even without prewritten material, movies like the Back To The Future franchise were penned out and made for an entertaining ride WITH the story continuing and having finality.
And then some films make so much money, the movie studios say "this will work again...get me a sequel script". Even if we've been on that "ride" and had no intention of getting on it again.
Couldn't they just bring the treasure to HIM at this point?
When the sequel who's name we dare not mention is made and people go out to see it, they'll make another. They won't stop. It's like making a brand new soda with the crisp taste of landfill in each can. If enough of it is purchased, they'll keep making it, no matter how many people thought how bad an idea it was and turned away from it. it's too much of a high five to these studios when these "suck-uels" make curiosity money to continue to make them.
This leads to the other more popular option if "Grandpa" Al Lewis can't star in the remake of "The Munsters":
The "re-do" or "re-imagining" or as I like to call it the "raping the joyful memories that I have operation".
After "Superman IV: The Quest For Revenue" radiated more badness than the actual nuclear missiles in the movie, they decided to back off of making "Superman V: How Kal El Got His Groove Back" and let the last son of Krypton rest for awhile. With the injury of Christopher Reeve, the idea of another movie really made it seem impossible...but a little over two decades later, Superman was leaping over tall buildings on the silver screen again.
But didn't quite clear the building. Scared the hell out of a lot of people in the process.
An uninspired Brandon Routh? An under used Kevin Spacey? An apathetic Kate Bosworth? The re-used image of Marlon Brando integrated into this kryptonite laden film? Where did it go wrong?
Maybe it should've been left alone. It is one of the most popular comic book characters out there, but if you don't do it right, why do it at all? Re-using the music from the original film: tribute to a classic theme or precursor of an uninspired re-do? After Schumacher ripped the rubber nipples off of the original Batman franchise, the re-do with mellow fellow Christian Bale had a successful "Batman Begins" and "The Dark Knight" having these Hollywood execs thinking that re-do is doable.
Superman...Returns? But where did I go? And does anyone notice I'm not Christopher Reeve? Enough questions to keep the viewer interested...
Pat Morita passed not too long ago, Ralph Macchio is more a man now than he was when they were filming Pt. III. How do we do another sequel to this that will surpass the glory of Academy Award winner Hilary Swank's performance?
Time to tackle this Big Willie style!
Here's how this works:
The Daniel LaRusso character will be replaced by Jayden Smith
The Mr. Miyagi character will be replaced by Jackie Chan
Whoa. Can Jayden pass for Italian? Isn't Jackie Chan Chinese, not Japanese?
And with a few clever edits, we take the core idea of "The Karate Kid" and transform it into "The Kung Fu Kid". See what they did? It's still the same ideal of the movie that we loved from back in the mid 80's, just tweeked to change a few races, transforming the actual story and making it something completely different. Yet standing on the back of the old idea, ready to point the figer of blame if it fails squarely at the original. Dick Sergeant was cool and all but I didn't silently accept the Darrin switch either.
How the fuck do you think I feel?
When uninspired sequels start to flood the movie market, the re-dos will accompany them and the movies that we all love will see the "Kung Fu Kid" treatment.
Are we all waiting for a re-do of "Citizen Kane", a raucus comedy starring Will Ferrell?
Remember that scene in the original "The Day The Earth Stood Still" where Micheal Rennie addresses everyone on how he's come to Earth to warn people that if they don't change their ways, they can't benefit in the wonders that are in the universe? I won't equate the "suck"uel and re-do's to the extinction of our society.
Just to the idea that brought us all out to the movie theater in the first place.
And they re-did "The Day The Earth Stood Still" with Keanu Reeves.
Where the hell is Gort when you need him?