Absence Makes the Heart Grow Fonder: A Look at Movies
and Their Sequels Years Later.
Article by: Greg Roberts
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In 1844, a writer named Thomas Haynes Bayly wrote a poem titled, “Isle of
Beauty” where the following words were found: “Absence makes the heart grow
True? Well, when it comes to movies, it is a mixed bag indeed. This week
Tron: Legacy, the sequel to the 1982 Disney bomb Tron is released in
theatres. The wait between the original and the sequel totals a staggering
28 years. The public seems interested and the marketing campaign for the big
budget follow up is through the roof, but what can we honestly expect a
quarter of a century later? Killerreviews spent some time looking back on
film franchises with extended time separating a movie from its sequel. As
you can see, the results don’t favor a good return on entertainment value
for Tron: Legacy.
Star Wars: The Return of the Jedi (1983)
Sequel: Star Wars: The Phantom Menace (1999)
Difference: 16 Years
The Return of the Jedi was the third film of the highly profitably Star
Wars trilogy. It concluded the story of the defeat of the evil Empire and
gave closure to the characters of Luke Skywalker and his Rebel gang. It took
16 years for George Lucas to go back in time and present audiences with the
first of another trilogy that leads into the Star Wars: A New Hope (1977).
The result: A massive disappointment. Audiences lined up around the block
and advance ticket sales for The Phantom Menace was breaking records. But
critics and audiences alike failed to connect with the child Skywalker and
his journey to the dark side. The film was the box office winner of 1999,
but the film has grown in reputation as being an incredible misstep by the
Lucas camp and Jar Jar Binks has become a character that will long be
parodied and reviled in the Star Wars mythos.
The Rage: Carrie 2 (1999)
Difference: 23 Years
The original Carrie, based on a Stephen King novel, was a classic. John
Travolta, Sissy Spacek, Nancy Allen and Amy Irving all contributed to
bringing King’s pages to life in gruesome fashion. Spacek was even nominated
for an Academy Award for her role as the troubled teen with a supernatural
fury. It took 23 years for horror fans to get another taste of a high school
girl who discovers she has the power to kill with her mind.
The result: Awfulness. True Awfulness. Sissy Spacek wasn’t back (although
Amy Irving did reprise her role) and neither was the magic. The film bombed
at the box office and is hardly a worthy companion piece to the original
work. Stephen King didn’t write the sequel and it shares nothing with the
originality and the horror of its predecessor.
Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
Sequel: Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008)
Difference: 19 Years
Poor Harrison Ford. He shows up twice on our list. The Indiana Jones
trilogy was one of the best things to come out of the 1980 theatres. Raiders
of the Lost Ark and Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom were thrill rides
that made the character a Smithsonian protected hero. Rumors abounded for 19
years of an eventual sequel before Spielberg, Lucas and Ford agreed on a
script and came back with Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal
The result: Disaster! Shia LaBeouf playing Tarzan, killer ants, an atomic
blast and aliens were all thrown into a script that cheapened the franchise
and was one of the worst films of 2008. Ford looked tired and on auto-pilot
and bad special effects and uninspired action choreography assisted in the
fourth film being one of the worst films on each of the participants
The Wizard of Oz (1939)
Sequel: Return to Oz (1985)
Difference: 46 Years
46 years. 46 years!! Surely if you wait that long you are making sure you
get it right. Right? The original is one of the best films ever made and
transported audiences in 1939 (and thanks to TV and DVD, every year since)
to a wonderful world of Oz where Lions can talk and Scarecrows come to life.
Almost half a century later, Walter Murch directed the sequel which centered
on the Dorothy character going back to world with a yellow brick road.
The result: Mass vomiting. The magic was truly gone. And Faruiza Balk was
no Judy Garland. Return to Oz was much darker and creepier than the original
film and although it doesn’t cheapen the wonderment of the original, it does
nothing to make you want to return to the place over the rainbow ever again.
The Hustler (1961)
Sequel: The Color of Money (1986)
Difference: 25 Years
Hell, it took so long between sequels in this mini-franchise that the
original wasn’t even in color. Paul Newman played a pool hustler in the
original film which also starred a wonderfully robust Jackie Gleason. A
quarter of a century later, director Martin Scorsese dusted off Newman and
brought him back as Eddie Felson in a sequel that also starred a hair raised
The result: A mild victory. The Color of Money won’t go down as one of
Scorsese’s best films, but it showcased Cruise and Newman in an interesting
story of master and protégé. Newman was superb as the elder Eddie and won an
Oscar for Best Actor.
Wall Street (1987)
Sequel: Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps (2010)
Difference: 23 Years
Oliver Stone’s Wall Street was made when Stone was in his prime. Michael
Douglas played a corrupt stock market player and a young Charlie Sheen
played the broker looking to land the ‘elephant’ that was Gordon Gekko.
Douglas took home an Oscar for his role as the greedy Gordon and the film
solidified Stone as being one of the best directors the decade had to offer.
Flash forward 23 years and Stone and Douglas reteamed for Wall Street: Money
Never Sleeps. The timing seemed impeccable due to the present day economics
of the corrupt banking world and trailers for the film reminded us of how
much we missed the man who coined “Greed is good”.
The result: Two and a half hours of boredom. Shia LaBeouf makes our list
for the second time as he plays a young Wall Street trader that happens to
be dating the recently paroled Gekko’s daughter. With greed still at the
forefront of the script lines, he and Gekko try and manipulate the system to
their benefit and survive in a world that is forced to receive hand-outs
from Federal governments. But the film was too smart for its own good and
way too long for a film that is shoving derivatives and leveraging terms
down our throats. All might have been forgiven if the film ended 15 minutes
before the actual credits. But Stone and Douglas beat our powerhouse Gekko
down to an emotional softy and audiences left the theatre feeling betrayed
by a character they thought they knew.
Sequel: Psycho II (1983)
Difference: 23 Years
Alfred Hitchcock made us fear motels with his incredibly scary Psycho in
1960. Anthony Perkins played Norman Bates, a psychopath that happens to run
the secluded Bates Motel. The original film was in black and white and is
still considered to be one of the best horror films of all-time. Twenty
three years later, Perkins was back in Psycho II playing the Bates character
after having been released from prison.
The result: A mixed bag. When released in 1983, Psycho II was uniformly
panned by critics and audiences didn’t exactly flock to the Richard Franklin
directed sequel. But as time has separated fans from the release year,
Psycho II has picked up a few fans along the way and is hardly the travesty
that is some other titles on the list. Still not a great follow-up to a
masterful original, but definitely worth a rental to give some closure to
one of the great cinematic characters of all-time.