Thursday, July 16, 2009

Sequels

Chick flicks never have sequels. The sequels that do exist are rarely worth watching (The Prince & Me 2? Really? And there was only one person from the original in the sequel, so why didn’t they just make a completely different movie?). The question is, why? Why is it that Disney feels that it’s necessary to make sequels for everything, even sequels for sequels, and there have been, what four Die Hard movies and three terminators, and yet you never find sequels worth watching for chick lit movies? The women who watch these movies, and the men who suffer through them with their significant others, would more than likely go to see what happens next, and yet you never find them.

I have a theory. I think it’s because we like to watch the people fall in love, we like to watch the struggles they get into at the time, but we don’t really like to think about what happens next. We don’t want to think about the struggles that they’ll have in their marriage afterward. We don’t want to think about the way their marriages might fall apart. The divorce rate in the United States is around 50% and we have no reason to believe that these relationships in these movies should be any different. Yes, these stories have romantic stories of the couples falling in love, but chances are, so do many of the marriages in the US that end in divorce.

Not only do we not want to see the struggles, but we get tired of seeing them. If we were to have these sequels there couldn’t be a plot, the story just wouldn’t be the same, unless there was some kind of conflict that might possibly separate the lovers in the story. However, after a while we would get tired of seeing the problems over and over again. We’d get tired of watching as Suzy Busybody time and time again does something to alienate Not-Quite-Prince-Charming-But-Pretty-Darn-Close to the point that they break up or almost break up and then in the end she somehow does just the right thing so that he’ll take her back. We’d get tired of watching Jenny Insecure worry that her boyfriend/husband is cheating on her so she goes into all these crazy situations to find out only to discover that he’s planning a surprise party just for her and then she ruins it, almost ruining their relationship. We don’t want to see these things and we certainly don’t want to see them over and over again. But in the sequels that we do have these are the inevitable things that appear.

And the alternative is worse. What happens when Suzy or Jenny don’t get the guy back in the end and they end up with someone new? Can we go back to the original and watch it the same way ever again? No. A bad sequel can totally ruin the original for the reader/watcher. I’ve had it happen to me. I’ve read a book and loved it and then read the sequel and thought, I can never read that again because I know what happens and I don’t like it.

We want to see the possibility in the relationships in movies and books. We want to see what might be. We want to write our own happy ending even if it’s not realistic and even if it wouldn’t be possible to make into a good movie or book. It’s a fantasy, and we want to keep reality as far away from reality as we possibly can.

1 comment:

  1. So true, sequels can totally ruin the beauty that was the original. But the answer to the romantic comedies sequels and why they dont work is motivation. Motivation is what matters to both the audience and the character and once its gone there is no longer a story. It just becomes everyday life and as you said everyday life isn't always happy...

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