Remember Space Jam? Most of you will. If you don’t, it’s a film about Michael Jordan and the Looney Toons playing basketball against cartoon aliens. That’s literally it – and it’s brilliant. Of course, in this age of sequels, Justin Lin has confirmed he’s to direct a sequel. Starring LeBron James, because of course it will star LeBron James, it’s odd to see a second instalment of a film that practically defines “one trick pony”
However, it’s not the only time we’ve had completely unexpected – or completely bonkers – sequels. It seems that nothing is safe from becoming a franchise, and it’s to be expected that every concept or film could become something more than a singular instalment. I mean, I’d like to see how a second Deadpool movie turns out, but that’s beside the point.
It’s not the first time we’ve seen a childhood classic return to our screens – the first one that comes to mind would have been when your grandparents were children. Fifty years after the unbelievable success of the original 1939 film The Wizard of Oz, a second instalment was released by Disney in 1985 starring Fairuza Balk. This film, whilst not an official sequel, is completely out of this world. If the original film was a silver-screen LSD trip, Return to Oz is a straight-up heroin overdose. Monsters on rollerskates, clay-animated creatures, and themes of extinction lie beneath the overarching subject of mental health – turning a childrens’ film into something far darker.
“Take The Mask, the zany Jim Carrey film about… well, a mask which turns him into something like The Joker with superpowers and slightly less death”
It seems like successful films for a younger generation are always doomed to the “weird sequel”. Take The Mask, the zany Jim Carrey film about… well, a mask which turns him into something like The Joker with superpowers and slightly less death. Of course, they had to add in a sequel, starring the Norse Gods, a return of the all-powerful mask, a magic superpowered mask-baby… you get the gist. A film which was already just plain odd, made even weirder?
“I mean, suit nipples can’t be effective in any way. A Bat-Credit-Card? Arnold Schwarzenegger as Mr. Freeze? Those one-liner puns? Awful”
And who can forget George Clooney in the 1997 Batman and Robin? Of course, the earlier instalment, Batman Returns, was always going to be much darker – Tim Burton as director, with Michael Keaton’s Batman being the dour individual expected from our more recent series, directed by Christopher Nolan, but I digress. Whilst the first sequel to this was decent –in 1995’s Batman Forever, having Jim Carrey as the Riddler was, as expected, strange – but it can’t compare to Batman and Robin. I mean, suit nipples can’t be effective in any way. A Bat-Credit-Card? Arnold Schwarzenegger as Mr. Freeze? Those one-liner puns? Awful. Sadly, I can’t say I have any positive thoughts about it. And let’s not even get into Jaws 3D. or any of the Jaws sequels after Jaws 2. They’re all just completely bonkers.
However, whilst odd and unexpected sequels tend to ruin franchises, there’s always hope – if George Miller’s original Mad Max can get weirder and weirder with the releases of Road Warrior and Beyond Thunderdome – and I mean, Tina Turner in spike-armour is undeniably weird – and still be successful, maybe it goes to show - if there’s method in the madness, perhaps there’s a chance Space Jam 2 can work out.