Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Thursday Movie Picks: Sequels


Why oh why didn't I look ahead to this one all those months ago? I have used almost all of my favorite sequels in previous posts, and my goal was to never double up. I've used Spider-Man 2. I've used The Dark Knight. I've used The Godfather Part II. Just last week, I used T2. Damn it!!

Anyway, this gives me a chance to do something interesting. This week I'm not focusing on the second film but the third. There are instances, although rare, where the third in a trilogy or series is better than the second, or even the original.

Another Thursday is here. This week on Wandering through the Shelves' Thursday Movie Picks, we pay tribute to the Sequel.


Here are my picks:

Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
Dir. Steven Spielberg, 1989


When I was a kid, this was my favorite of Steven Spielberg's Indiana Jones films. As I've gotten older, I have realized the importance of Raiders of the Lost Ark on a whole other level and believe it to be the best of the series. But there is so much to love her. It stands as the only true sequel to Raiders in that it follows the events of the original in chronology, taking place a few years later, but offering another adventure in keeping the Nazis from getting their grubby hands on a priceless artifact of great power. This time, it's The Holy Grail, the quest for which is the life's work of Henry Jones, Sr. (Sean Connery), Indy's father. The chemistry between Ford and Connery is amazing, and this movie is every bit as fun, if not more so, than the original. "Only the penitent man will pass."

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
Dir. Alfonso Cuarón, 2004


I might as well see if I can continue picking movies directed by Alfonso Cuarón. This is my third in as many weeks, and, if that's not enough coincidence for you, his only installment in the Harry Potter happens to be the third, the best movie of them all...period. It's also my second favorite of the novels after Half-Blood Prince. Cuarón handles this part of the franchise the most imaginative way, making it probably too dark for some of the lovers of the books, but gorgeously dark nonetheless. And a lot of fun!

The Bourne Ultimatum
Dir. Paul Greengrass, 2007


Jason Bourne movies are good because Matt Damon is so capable of being badass. That was my running theme when I covered the original Bourne Trilogy as part of my When I Was Thirty series. Damon needed a badass director, and he found one in Paul Greengrass. Doug Liman's work on the first one was fine. It's a great movie. But, when Greengrass took over (much to the chagrin of shaky hand-held haters), he really amped this trilogy up to another level entirely. The Bourne Ultimatum is not quite as good as The Bourne Supremacy in terms of story, but it is a great conclusion to said story and the badassness is amped up to an even higher level. The Morocco set piece is seriously one of the most exciting sequences I've ever seen. 

24 comments:

  1. Great picks! You're right, The Last Crusade is soooo much fun. By the way, I prefer Ultimatum to Supremacy.

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    1. Right on, man. It's a tough call. Ultimatum and Supremacy are both great and are true companion pieces, almost playing as one long movie, when watched back-to-back. I don't know which I actually prefer. Both great!

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  2. I love Harry Potter (side note, I can't believe I didn't pick one from there!) Prisoner of Azkaban was probably one of my least favorite entries, but I loved that it made the series darker. Great picks!

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    1. The first two Harry Potter movies are borderline unwatchable for me. Azkaban is the one that stands out for me simply due to Cuarón's abilities behind the camera. The style is noticeable. But they are all pretty much awesome from this one on. I really loved the last two/three. Thanks!

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  3. LOVE these picks, man! Last Crusade is one hell of an adventure, and Connery works really well with Ford. Probably not as good as Raiders but still a hell of a lot of fun. Ultimatum is probably my least favorite of the Bourne series, but only by default, as I really like the first one and the second has Franka Potente. But it's a great action flick.

    Prisoner of Azkaban is easily my favorite book of the series, and it's really no surprise that Cuaron directed the best of the series. Actually, when they announced the films, Cuaron was my third choice to direct, almost solely based on how great A Little Princess is (he was behind Tim Burton and Guillermo del Toro). I actually don't like the movies all that much (the design is great, but they move too fast and inevitably leave out my favorite parts of the books; Rowling just packed so much in!), but this one really works as a film in its own right, and that gets my respect. I've actually come across people on the web who think it's the WORST of the series, and I will never, EVER understand that.

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    1. Last Crusade was boss when I was a kid. Such a blast! I would still watch it any day. All of the Bourne movies are great. I can't choose between the second two. They are just one great, long movie to me.

      It proved impossible to perfectly adapt any of the Harry Potter books to the screen. None of the movies are near as good as the book, even the last one that got split into. It was still missing some great stuff. Rowling is a genius storyteller, and those books are precious to us all. Cuarón was a perfect director for this, and I wish he'd done one or two more. I'm glad he at least did one, the best stand-alone film of the series.

      Thanks, man!

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  4. Love all three of your picks and that's a clever theme within the theme. Last Crusade put the trilogy back on its legs after the wobbly Temple of Doom and the chemistry between Ford and Connery is something so special. It's a pity they didn't work together again. The Harry Potters got progressively better as they went along, the first was SO dull, and this is a strong entry. The Bourne films are one of those rare series which doesn't have a weak film in its lineup, I like the first best but Ultimatum is excellent as well.

    My first choice is the fourth in its particular series but they are all more or less sequels and I like it the best of all the films. My extra pick was my first thought but I assumed it would be all over the place today so I put it in as an addition but so far I haven't seen it show up. My three:

    Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (1986)-When a probe causes havoc throughout the galaxy the crew of the Starship Enterprise return via time travel to the San Francisco of the mid-eighties in search of a pair of humpback whales to repopulate the species and save the universe! Relying on a blend of humor and nostalgia this is one of the best sequels in the series.

    Father's Little Dividend (1951)-In this sequel to Father of the Bride shortly after the wedding of the first film young bride Elizabeth Taylor announces that she is expecting a baby. Everyone one is delighted except granddad-to-be Spencer Tracy who goes into a tailspin. The gist of the film deals with how he works his way through the panic of impending grandfatherhood.

    Son of the Sheik (1926)-In his last film before his sudden death at 31 Rudolph Valentino plays a dual role of the sheik from the original film that made him a star and his son who falls in love with Egyptian dancing girl Yasmin, Hungarian silent star Vilma Bánky who looks about as Egyptian as your Aunt Tillie from Pomona, who he is led to believe has betrayed him. Much riding through the desert and sword fights follow, an interesting artifact of a bygone era and a chance to see the man who was at the time the biggest star in the world but not much of a film.

    Honorable Mention-Aliens (1986)-In this brilliant kinetic sequel to Alien the recently awakened Ripley, after being in hyper sleep for 57 years, returns to LV-426 with a team of marines when contact with the human colony that has been established is lost. What follows is an action packed fun ride fantastically directed by James Cameron during which Sigourney Weaver could not be tougher and the cast that surrounds her offers terrific support.

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    1. Thanks, Joel! So glad you liked these picks. Couldn't agree more on the Last Crusade. Love the Ford/Connery duo. Harry Potter is much better on the page, but this is the best screen adaptation. Love Bourne!

      If you can believe it, I have not seen one single Star Trek movie. Never thought I'd get into it, so I never tried. Your other picks sound great. I really need to see the original Father of the Bride and, now, this one, which I didn't even know existed. As a kid of the 90s, I watched the shit out of the Steve Martin versions. Love 'em! But Spencer Tracy. Can't beat that.

      I so almost picked Aliens before I decided to do third parts. I love that movie. Cameron took that franchise to another level. Not that Scott's original isn't a masterpiece in its own right. But this sequel is just so much damn fun and full of that Cameron invention I love so much.

      Thanks for sharing once again! Love your input.

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  5. Oh gosh these are all great. I am not a huge fan of the Indiana Jones flicks but love Harry Potter and the Bourne series with Matt Damon. I have chosen "Father Little Dividend" as well-Tracy and Taylor were great together. "Naked Gun 2 1/2" I love-all the Leslie Nielsen films are fun and make me laugh even though they are so silly. My last is Star Trek: First Contact"-between Troi getting drunk and have creepy but sexy Borg queen wrecking havoc-it is a great film

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    1. That's great that you enjoy Father's Little Dividend too!

      Something that I love with old films is that when they made a sequel they trusted the public enough to give it its own name and not just stick a number after the title of the first one. As if the moviegoers with the same cast assembled and pre-publicity wouldn't know that it's a follow up to the first picture. This film and it's remake is a perfect illustration of that point. Here they came up with something inventive but which retained a connection to the first but when Steve Martin made the sequel to his remake and it would have made sense to appropriate this title as well he, or the studio, didn't trust the audience enough to recognize the link and stuck part II on instead. Disappointing.

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    2. You make an excellent point!-So true and I wish they would stop remaking remakes

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    3. Oh, Naked Gun 2 1/2! That is genius. Love those movies, especially that one. Leslie Nielsen spoofs are so silly and ridiculous, but he just has that ability to pull it off. Like I told Joel, I never got into Star Trek, haven't seen the first movie in the series, or any of the series. Maybe one day. I will say that I am so into checking our Father's Little Dividend and the original Father of the Bride.

      Thanks for stopping by! And I too wish there weren't so many remakes all the time. And I wish movie studios would stop treating the public as if we're idiots. But, title aside, Father of the Bride 2 with Steve Martin is hilarious. I love his versions! Grew up on 'em.

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  6. The Bourne Ultimatum is such an excellent choice. i liked the first movie, found the second to be average but the third one was just such a rush from the beginning to the end - I think my adrenaline levels were constantly rising

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    1. Yes. The best thing about Ultimatum is how balls-to-the-wall it is. It never lets up, even for a second. And that conclusion with scary Albert Finney is perfect.

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  7. The 3rd Harry Potter book was my favourite, mostly because it was great that Voldemort (not afraid to say his name) was not the main focus. So follows that I enjoyed the 3rd film the best. Can't beat a trip to Hogsmeade or the fabulous Marauder's Map. And the Indiana Trilogy is pure gold. 'We named the dog Indiana!'

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    1. Yes. Azkaban really brings in the human relationship layer to the Harry Potter saga. Loved the book. Love this movie adaptation. And, yes, everything about Indiana Jones is great. I even love the fourth one.

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  8. Woo hoo!! We have one film in common. I set a parameter of only sequels released in the last 10 years for my list, otherwise I would have included Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, it's just so epic!!

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    1. Nice! The Bourne movies are so great, right? And, yes, sooooo epic!

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  9. Great picks! All three are my favourite in their respecitive series. Alfonso Cuarin is the only director who should have been allowed to make Harry Potter movies.

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    1. Thanks! And I would've been fine with Cuarón going the distance on these. Probably for the best he didn't since we got so much other greatness from him during those years.

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  10. Harry potter is the only film I've watched from this list :( It's very awesome though!

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    1. Agreed. You should definitely see the Indiana Jones and Bourne movies. All great!

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  11. Yes to Bourne 3. Don't remember much of Indiana Jones. Harry Potter 3 seems to be a lot of film fans favourite, many says it's darker. I probably need to see them in sequence because I can't really differentiate between them in terms of style. To me they were all Harry Potter films and it was just the story and characters that stood out.

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    1. Yes. Bourne. See Indiana Jones. They are all great! The first two Potter are very light kids' movies. The third one is easily the most stylistically charged and very dark. Totally different from the first two. The fourth and fifth weren't worth seeing at all in my opinion. The books are much better there. I loved the last two.

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