He Said, He Said: Sequels vs. Originals

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By: Anthony Del Vecchio

Asst. Arts and Entertainment Editor

Watching films has always been something special to me. You learn to appreciate different things as life moves on and it goes to show that there is a real art in the moving image. We see a piece of ourselves in films. Many films comment on how we live and who we are and you can learn and experience a lot from the screen, depending on what you’re looking for of course.

Some films are so good, or make enough money, that they make way for other movies to be made, continuing the story in one way or another. Sequels, prequels and spin-offs within cinematic universes can be made and can all be interesting. However, those films almost never top the original. The original will always be the staple for what got these franchises to where they are and it is only in certain circumstances where the sequel, top to bottom, is better than the film that came before it.

Think of all the great franchises in film, or even trilogies for that matter. All of which are jump-started by stellar first acts that are usually unforgettable and some of the later acts just don’t reach the same level. Look at the “Jaws” films. The film franchise that should’ve only been the first movie, is only made because of how brilliant the first picture was. Not being able to see what you fear was an element that happened by accident, but helped the film in so many ways; whereas in the “Jaws” sequels, all come off cheesier because now we all see the shark, which is now poorly made CGI.

I think people need to realize that certain things in life are like lightning in a bottle. Sometimes you can recreate greatness but not every film can change the game. There’s this incredible thing called timing. Being at right place, at the right time, with the right people, making something truly unique is something people can only dream of.

The “Star Wars” franchise is an interesting case in this because of where it started and what it has become. When you say the “originals” you can be talking about 1977’s “Star Wars” up against the first sequel 1980’s “The Empire Strikes Back”. Others then shift the argument saying the original trilogy, the first three films from 1977–1883 are better than the prequel trilogy which was from 1999–2005 and now that Disney owns it, we even have a sequel trilogy and a series of spin-offs. So many films to watch and examine but in the end, the whole reason why people love the franchise in the first place is because of that initial film. That first adventure.

Now I do think one can debate certain sequels being better than the first movie. I’d say “Empire Strikes Back,” “The Dark Knight,” “Spiderman 2,” and a few others can make valid arguments.

The first time you do or experience something always stays with you and realizing that does kind of point this argument in my favor, but that’s up to the viewer to decide. Why do you like the films you do? How do they make you feel? For me, I’ll never forget the feeling of seeing a film for the first time. Good or bad, first impressions are the ones that stay with you.

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