When is a Sequel not a Sequel?

Sequels make for big business when it comes to movies. You might think to yourself “I want something original, not another sequel” … But box office takings prove you really do love those sequels. Hollywood doesn’t just make sequels however, they can remake entire movies or franchises, or better yet, go back to the beginning in a prequel. It’s all about taking something audiences spend up big on and trying to milk it for a lot more.

The latest in this bankable product conga line is Prometheus which isn’t just a prequel, it potentially has new sequels. Yes, you heard correctly … They can have sequels to prequels now … It’s happened with Star Trek, which was a remake as well as a prequel which had a plot that explains why all the current Trek movies are no longer valid allowing for all new Sequels. But Promtetheus goes one step further than that, the movie itself isn’t complete, it’s a prequel to a movie you haven’t seen yet, yes it will have a sequel (well at least it needs one).

The movie was marketed as a sequel to Ridley Scott’s 1979 Alien. One look at the trailer for Prometheus and there is no way you couldn’t see the similarities between the two films. It even looks to have some answers to some of the mysteries of Alien. However, for anyone who has seen the movie, they would know it wasn’t a prequel at all. In fact the ending of Promtetheus is so far removed from the start of Alien that it raises even more questions instead of answering anything at all.

Before Prometheus was released its scriptwriter was talking about the idea of not just one but two sequels to the film. Yes you heard correctly, it seems when they wrote the script they had a larger plot arc in mind that they wanted to explore. So, for those who have seen the movie, you now know that last twenty minutes which answered nothing and raised even more questions was really just about laying the ground work for a second, and maybe third movie. Do you feel like a chump yet?

I don’t mind sequels, even though I prefer original stories, a good sequel (or prequel) is worth watching. What I don’t like is seeing a movie that isn’t a complete story. I don’t mind some sub-plots being unresolved, or an open ending that paves the way for more story, but I do mind the major story arc explored in a singular movie not even remotely coming to a conclusion.

The climax in Prometheus is a bit silly, you get to the moment where you expect the “why” to be explained and instead of answers, the stories mysterious Alien decides he’s rather punch someone in the head. It would be like getting to the end of The Empire Strikes Back and instead of Vadar revealing he’s Luke’s father, he just kicks him off that platform instead. It would have ruined that movie, it would have left you without that major revelation that gave the story some real weight.

Audiences shouldn’t have to wait for a sequel, or sequels of prequels, or remakes to explain the basics of a movie’s plot. Every film should be able to stand alone on a central story arc even if other elements remain unresolved and fodder for a sequel. Of course, this is a moot point really … We all know we’re going to fork out for Prometheus 2: Want to know what Prometheus was all about?




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