RETURN TO THE CLONE ZONE

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Indy Lifestyle Online
It's not difficult to see why people make sequels, or indeed, why audiences are drawn towards these second-rate cinematic sirens like dumb sailors offered a bit of mermaid thigh. But wouldn't it be wonderful if some Hollywood law could be introduced to put a stop to them once and for all?

All right, so there is the odd exception. The Godfather II, Aliens, and Terminator 2 were all projects that not only followed up on the promise of their parent-films but, in fact, surpassed them. But for every wunderkind movie that outstrips its celluloid progenitor how many idiot children must we suffer? There seems to be some inverted ratio that means the worse the original the more prolific its spawn. Jaws had four, Rocky five, Police Academy six.

Keanu Reeves rather admirably turned down a Speed sequel to tour with his band Dogstar, but like the bus of that movie, the sequel is already thundering relentlessly towards a cinema near you, it's route pre-programmed by greedy studio executives.

It's a phenomenon abundantly illustrated by the action genre (how else could Paramount pull off the ultra-cynical stunt of Naked Gun 33 1/3: The Final Insult an action spoof sequel that spoofed action sequels?) but certainly not confined to it. Fantasy films aren't above making up a few extra chapters (The NeverEnding Story III: Escape from Fantasia made some people fear that the title of the first film was to be taken literally) while Warner's Gold Diggers series in the 1930s was an early example of the multiple musical. The story goes that when The Madness of George III was made into a movie, the title had to be changed to The Madness of King George so the American audience didn't wonder what had happened to the first two.

In drama, the process tends to be a more insidious policy of following hits with something "the same but different". The success of A Room With a View, for example, led to reams of white linen from Merchant Ivory.

This week sees the release of Fierce Creatures and She's the One. The former is a retread of the over-rated A Fish Called Wanda, the latter a warmed over version of The Brothers McMullen. Both carefully echo the mood and cast of their predecessors. Both are pale imitations, with an diluted, second-hand charm.

Too much to hope that Hollywood will stop this cloning, so you'd better get ready for the next Lethal Weapon - Mel Gibson is.

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