Why good sequels are bad sequels

James Curnow of Curnblog has some thought-provoking thoughts on sequels in general and “Blade Runner 2049” in particular.


“How could the addition of an exceptional sequel have subtracted rather than added to the value that this film has had for me throughout my life? I can only answer this from my own personal perspective, and hope that it might ring true for others.

If I think about the kinds of films that I’ve always championed as examples of brilliant filmmaking, the vast majority have been those that raise questions or proffer ambiguity rather than provide cohesive and reductive answers or conclusions. Films like Andrei Tarkovsky’s Solaris (1972) and Stalker (1979), Kubrick’s The Shining (1980), Kurosawa’s Ikiru (1952), and Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s World on a Wire (1973) are all radically different, but they have one comment trait…. they are cinematic questions rather than answers.”

It’s not that kind of article you need necessarily agree or disagree with its author, however. That’s why I thouroughly enjoyed it.


8 thoughts on “Why good sequels are bad sequels

    • Definitely, I actually caught myself on a thought that even if I don’t totally agree with it, the author definitely raises up very valid points.

      I personally prefer to ignore the sequel when it’s just baaad or too non-canon (like I ignored Jumanji 2)… nevertheless every time I think of Jumanji 1 it is impossible to not think of its sequel too.

      Liked by 1 person

      • True enough….sequels can be a bit if a hit and miss with me as well. Totally agree with you 😊😊
        Having not yet seen Jumanji 2 yet, can’t really judge on it, but have to say that I see that most reviews are pretty positive for it 😊

        Liked by 1 person

  1. Thanks for linking the posts, Going to seek out World on a Wire (1973) the writer recommends.
    I’m still on the fence about Blade Runner 2049, I enjoyed the stunning visuals and it benefits from a massive screen, but I wasn’t moved emotionally. There were new directions in the story, but it was a cold film to me, and some aspects felt like rehash. I’m going to see 2049 a 2nd time as I may have been too harsh in my review last year! I’m not sure it needed a sequel, as the new things you could imagine in your mind when watching Ridley Scott’s masterpiece. So in that regard I agree with Curnow that it’s sad a big film can no longer be “a closed text” and nowadays is made with sequels in mind.
    Force Awakens (another long-awaited sequel) did a better job of evoking the emotions I wanted to feel. I agree with Curnow that great sci-fi such as Blade Runner (1982) asks questions, and for me BR2049 doesn’t really add much philosophically. But I enjoyed seeing Rick Deckard again and BR2049 is probably the most beautiful film of 2017!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’ve also had World on a Wire on my watchlist for quite a long time now 😁 Yes, on many points I agree with you, except the powerful “threesome” scene which totally blew me away. That was something special. In that scene (and some others) I felt something different, like asking question, rather than hearing answers… But I live the film anyway. I also don’t think that the original film was absolutely perfect 😂 But it surely was more ambigous.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. A very thought-provoking post. It is true that some “magic” may be lost when you open up the world of the film more in the sequel, but isn’t this a sacrifice worth making? I think Villeneuve was very cautious not to damage the original film. His new film feels both the same and very different at the same time. In my opinion, there wasn’t much damage done to the original film. The original film just stands in its own right. I don’t even think about the sequel when I watch the original film – I can just regard the as two different films – that is how cautious and respectful Villeneuve was in his latest film. Besides, Blade Runner 2049 raises so many new questions and does not really that straightforwardly answers those posed by the original film. Ambiguity and magic are still there in both films. Thus, I don’t really agree about magic lost completely.

    Liked by 1 person

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