Sequels are a funny thing; generally speaking they are incredibly unpredictable, but there are some easily noticeable trends for success. A sequel should almost always be made in the hands of the cast that made the first, with some relation to either the scriptwriter, the director, or at the very least the same producer
If not, that’s when work spirals out of control, and a sequel is almost unidentifiable to its predecessor. Often, sequels are primarily a way of cashing in, with little appreciation for the fans who made the first film successful, and in the context of this list, that statement’s totally true.
We’ve had some truly fantastic film series and trilogies throughout cinema history, but…they won’t be appearing here, because consistency is almost always a sign of quality when it comes to sequels. Let’s trek through the bizarre world of sequel mistakes and how these 10 films became barely noticeable in comparison to the films that sparked their creation…
10. Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace (1999)
Wait, wait, hold on a second, let me explain this one. Contextually, Star Wars: The Phantom Menace appears as the only film on this list that isn’t completely awful. Episode 1 strayed from the formula the initial trilogy had established in order to show a different side to Lucas’ world and properly establish the story at the very beginning of the Star Wars legacy.
Episodes 4 through 6 mostly take place in space, and on spacecraft, constantly moving in their choice of scenery and setting. In addition, combat, war, and espionage are alawys on the forefronts of the narrative. However, Episode 1 offers a much more mild approach and is more focused on the politics of the universe during peacetime, and establishing the mood and tone for films to come.
The Phantom Menace takes place almost entirely on Naboo, with a brief excursion to Coruscant and is generally quite grounded in its settings as per the plot dictates. Many criticisms come from the film’s fascination with Anakin as a boy, and the whole pod racing sub-plot that was relatively dull for audiences to watch, not to mention wholly irrelevant in the grand scheme of things.
The change in pace that made The Phantom Menace feel wholly different to the original trilogy wasn’t necessarily negative, just different. Then again, I guess a calm before the storm was a reasonable approach. Nevertheless, Episode 1: The Phantom Menace is a shining masterpiece compared to the scaling ladder of increasingly unbearable sequels on this list…
This article was first posted on August 7, 2013