A short while ago, I wrote about 10 terrible sequels to awesome movies and it got me thinking that sometimes, bigger is not always better. While sequels aim to outdo their great predecessors they often in the execution end up a convoluted, overblown mess. Sometimes it’s the result of a bad script, a change in actors or directors, but sometime it’s the over dependence of mind-boggling effects that cause the film to fail.
It’s not always sequels that substitute special effects over a decent scripts. Quite often it’s those big, flashy summer blockbusters that might be thrilling to watch but ultimately leave you with a bad taste in my mouth. The majority of the films in this list fall into those two categories. Too much style over substance.
So let me take you through a catalogue of flashy films with effects that might blow your mind, even when the plot and characterisation is as dull as a limp, soggy piece of grey cardboard.
10. Alien Resurrection
The perfect melting pot of messy plotting and effects. There are a number of questions as to why the Alien franchise was (cough – bad pun alert) resurrected. As grim and as disappointing as Alien 3 was, it had the perfect ending. Ellen Ripley sacrificed herself to stop the alien queen gestating inside her and her story was over.
Except a few hundred years later she was back; a half human/ half alien clone of her former self. Alien Resurrection had some bold ideas. The cloning of human and alien DNA. The alien queen giving birth to the monstrous hybrid. Aliens finally making their way towards Earth. It was originally written by the great god of geekdom Joss Whedon himself, who set the entire third act on Earth with the battle for humanity at its heart.
Of course, his script was vastly re-written, including the Earth setting eradicated completely. Joss Whedon is understandably bitter about this and so is any fan of the Alien franchise (myself included). We might have finally had ‘Earth Hive’ story line from the comic and novel spin-offs re-imagined on screen. But no, the film makers ripped the heart out of Whedon’s script and made…well the film we know today…the film that stopped the Alien franchise as we know it dead in its tracks.
I’ll admit, there is a lot of enjoyment still to be had. I love the scene where Ellen Ripley discovers the deformed clones of herself in the lab and destroys them in a rage. It’s the one genuine moment of the old Ripley in the whole film. And the sequence with the swimming aliens pursuing the hapless survivors is rather cool.
The trouble is, rather cool is about all we get. The film looks visually stunning but leaves you with nothing. The hybrid slaughtering its alien queen ‘mother’ and the caressing Ripley is not only weird but lacks tension. It comes across as some bizarre art house project. It seems like the only concern was to make the clone experiments, the hybrid, the xenomorphs themselves bigger and more spectacular than anything we’ve seen on screen before. It definitely wreaks of too much money spent on film, less on the story.
Though its still a hundred mile ahead of the Alien Vs Predator films…particularly the aliens meets Beverly Hills 90210 sequel…
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