When Sequel-naming Goes Horrifically Wrong 2: Electric Boogaloo
Posted on Monday August 29, 2011, 15:07 by Ali Plumb in Empire States
This is a worryingly long blog that sets out to highlight when movie sequel-naming gets done, like, well badly. So to kick things off, here are some horrific examples of when film naming goes terribly, embarrassingly wrong:
The Underworld Series
Underworld: Evolution (2006)
Underworld: Rise Of The Lycans (2009)
Underworld: Awakening (2012)
Seeing the words “Evolution”, “Awakening”, and “Rise Of The…” after a movie title immediately sets off alarm bells, doesn’t it? And that many colons, all in a row (stop it now...) , it's all a bit Resident Evil, isn't it?
The Terminator series
The Terminator (1984)
Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991)
Terminator 3: Rise Of The Machines (2003)
Terminator Salvation (2009)
Okay, “Judgment Day” actually works – and aside from the Star Trek movies, might be responsible for making the whole “Original Successful Movie Title: Other Phrase” sequel naming technique coming to fashion in the first place – but there’s “Rise Of The…”, as well as another alarm bell number, “Salvation”. Not even a colon there, too. Very worrying.
The Fast and The Furious series
The Fast And The Furious (2001)
2 Fast 2 Furious (2003)
The Fast And The Furious: Tokyo Drift (2006)
Fast & Furious (2009)
Fast Five (2011)
All bow down to the Lord Chief Emperor of bad movie sequel naming, the Fast and The Furious franchise. Not only is there a 2/too pun in the first sequel, an “Original Successful Movie Title: Other Phrase” for the threequel, a repeated version of the original successful movie title (more on this one later) in Fast & Furious, and them finally seeming to give up with Fast Five / Fast & Furious 5 /Fast & Furious 5: Rio Heist by not working out what its actual official bloody name is, but they ALSO get the chronology TOTALLY WRONG. It’s so bad, it’s almost good, this. Much like Fast Five, really. That's right, I WENT THERE. IN CAPITALS.
The Matrix Trilogy
The Matrix (1999)
The Matrix Reloaded (2003)
The Matrix Revolutions (2003)
No colons, but like “Evolution” and “Awakening”, “Reloaded” and “Revolutions” are movie sequel naming weasel words and no mistake. We should have known they’d be pants really. Got ourselves to blame.
Romero's Dead series
Night Of The Living Dead (1968)
Dawn Of The Dead (1978)
Day Of The Dead (1985)
Land Of The Dead (2005)
Diary Of The Dead (2007)
Survival Of The Dead (2009)
There was a beautiful sense of time passing with the first three films, night going into dawn going into day, but everything goes skew when lands and diaries start getting involved. Seriously, since when were diaries supposed to be exciting?
The Halloween series
Halloween II (1981)
Halloween III: Season of the Witch (1982)
Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers (1988)
Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers (1989)
Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers (1995)
Halloween H20: 20 Years Later (1998)
Halloween: Resurrection (2002)
Halloween II (2009)
The only franchise we can think of that went back to the original original title, then made a sequel to that that happens to have the same name as the original’s original sequel, the Halloween naming committee have been cocking it up for decades. Plus, how similar do “Return” and “Revenge” look and sound on the billboard? And why the jump from “III” to “4”? Don’t think we can handle Roman numerals, eh? And as for the H20 / H2O pun, the less said about that the better.
Oh, and there's another weasel word, “Resurrection” – as also seen in Alien Resurrection, of course. Shame, really, as Alien/Aliens is genius and Alien 3 is, well, fine. Alien Resurrection, though? Not so fine. And don't get me started on AVPR... A "Requiem"? For what? A nightmare?
The Nightmare On Elm Street series
A Nightmare On Elm Street (1984)
A Nightmare On Elm Street 2: Freddy's Revenge (1985)
A Nightmare On Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors (1987)
Elm Street 4: The Dream Master (1988)
Elm Street 5: The Dream Child (1989)
Freddy's Dead: The Final Nightmare (1991)
Wes Craven's New Nightmare (1994)
Freddy Vs. Jason (2003)
A Nightmare On Elm Street (2010)
Another back-to-the-starter, this suffers from similar sound-alike sequel naming with “Dream Master” and “Dream Child” not to mention a “Vs.” naming – always very worrying – and a in-title director namedrop. If you’re naming the director within the title, the director may well be much better than the movie itself.
The Die Hard series
Die Hard (1988)
Die Hard 2: Die Harder (1990)
Die Hard With A Vengeance (1995)
Live Free Or Die Hard/Die Hard 4.0 (2007)
We get it, Die Hard 2’s suffix is a bit of a gag, as is Die Hard With a Vengeance, but as for Live Free or Die Hard/Die Hard 4.0… 1. Make up your mind, and 2. That's one crap pun. And “4.0” to make it sound sort of technological? Really?
The Superman series
Superman II (1980)
Superman III (1983)
Superman IV: The Quest for Peace (1987)
“The Quest For Peace”? The quest for soul-crushing disappointment, more like.
The Apes franchise
Planet Of The Apes (1968)
Beneath The Planet Of The Apes (1970)
Escape From The Planet Of The Apes (1971)
Conquest Of The Planet Of The Apes (1972)
Battle For The Planet Of The Apes (1973)
Planet Of The Apes (2001)
Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes (2011)
No numbers? More prepositions? Brave. Very brave. Also, if we hadn't put their release dates to the right, could you have ordered these chronologically? Without Wikipedia? Us neither. Would make a great pub quiz tiebreaker question, mind…
The Friday The 13th franchise
Friday The 13th (1980)
Friday The 13th Part 2 (1981)
Friday The 13th Part III (1982)
Friday The 13th: The Final Chapter (1984)
Friday The 13th: A New Beginning (1985)
Friday The 13th Part VI: Jason Lives (1986)
Friday The 13th Part VII: The New Blood (1988)
Friday The 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan (1989)
Jason Goes To Hell: The Final Friday (1993)
Jason X (2002)
Freddy Vs. Jason (2003)
Friday The 13th (2009)
Jesus. H. Christ.
Now it’s all very easy to point and snicker at these craply-named sequel titles, but in order to do that, we’d have to give you guys a viable set of alternatives, right? Well what do you know, here they are…
Part 1, Part 2, Part 3
Back to the Future (1985)
Back to the Future Part II (1989)
Back to the Future Part III (1990)
Part II, Part III. Easy. A lot we can learn from the Godfather trilogy, isn't there?
Lethal Weapon (1987)
Lethal Weapon 2 (1989)
Lethal Weapon 3 (1992)
Lethal Weapon 4 (1998)
A lot of franchises stick to this 1,2,3,4 format, and more power to them (See also: Beverley Hills Cop, Raimi’s Spider-Man trilogy, Iron Man, the Rocky franchise (sort of), the Evil Dead trilogy (very sort of), and the first three Mission Impossibles)
After the book / “The Leader Character’s Name And The Macguffin Of Extreme Relevance”
Harry Potter And The Philosopher's Stone (2001)
Harry Potter And The Chamber of Secrets (2002)
Harry Potter And The Prisoner of Azkaban (2004)
Harry Potter And The Goblet of Fire (2005)
Harry Potter And The Order of the Phoenix (2007)
Harry Potter And The Half-Blood Prince (2009)
Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows – Part 1 (2010)
Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows – Part 2 (2011)
The Harry Potter franchise follows two good rules of thumb, sequel-naming-wise: 1. They’re just the names of the original books they were adapted from (so you’re off the hook, Twilight), much like most of the James Bond films, Jack Ryan, Bourne and Narnia – and 2. They’re “The Leader Character’s Name And The Macguffin Of Extreme Relevance” jobs, and you can’t help but love those buggers. See also: Indy (apart from Raiders, of course, but even that got tweaked posthumously).
Then there’s Star Trek, which kind of gets away with it all (apart from those Next Generation weasel words “Generations”, “Insurrection” and “Nemesis”) and Star Wars, whose ret-conning kind of, sort of, not-quite-really fixes things. Plus, Empire Strikes Back is such a good sequel name – and such a good movie – that all is forgiven. Namings-wise, anyway.
But the fact is, there’s nothing wrong with sticking a number on the end. Start off that way and taking a left turn doesn't cut it, mind. Just take a look at the Final Destinaton series: 1, 2, 3, then “The Final Destination”, which seems so self-assured that releasing “Final Destination 5” after it seems extra-preposterous, even considering the barmy nature of the franchise.
Then there’s Sherlock Holmes 2, which is now definitely calling itself Sherlock Holmes: A Game Of Shadows – a name, like Mission Impossible Ghost Protocol (no colons, no mercy) that seems to indicate a lack of confidence. And as you might be able to guess from our front cover this issue, we’re quite excited about the second coming of Downey Jr.'s great detective – and from what we’ve seen, we have good reason to be – but if it’s the sequel to Sherlock Holmes, why not Sherlock Holmes 2? Perhaps “A Game Of Shadows” is much more intriguing that I thought.
Anyway, much like many of the franchises mentioned here, this blog really has has gone on far too long, so I'm going to hand it over to you guys. What movie sequel titles drive you up the wall? Do you have any personal favourites? You know, aside from Breakin' 2: Electric Boogaloo? Let us know in the comment box below.
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Posted on Tuesday August 30, 2011, 16:23
The one that really screwed everyone over (including the franchise) was Wolverine.
Or as it was originally known:
X-Men: Origins: Wolverine
Two sets of colons?!? Madness! MADNESS!
Posted on Tuesday August 30, 2011, 16:38
I thought it was just 'X-Men Origins:'? Agreed, it's annoying anyway. Name-check for 'Captain America: The First Avenger'; does this imply that they should technically retcon and rename Iron Man 'Iron Man: The 2nd Avenger', et cetera, just to clarify the ranking system?
I'm given to believe that Colon-itis stems largely from some bizarre desire to hide from us the fact that a sequel is a sequel at all - simply another necessary chapter in a epic saga. There's another word that will now forever spring alarm bells...
Posted on Tuesday August 30, 2011, 16:45
The Resident Evil films have the worst title. They're all just Resident Evil: Cool/Dangerous Sounding Word.
Resident Evil: Apocalypse
Resident Evil: Extinction
Resident Evi: Afterlife
Resident Evil: Retribution
Oh, and I loved the film but Scre4m as a title is absolutely awful, especially since Scream 3 wasn't called Scr3am.
Posted on Tuesday August 30, 2011, 17:21
I don't see why studio don't simply dump the bit before the colon and go with a totally new title. For example Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, could simply be 'A Game of Shadows', possibly with a tiny wee 'A Sherlock Holmes Adventure' in small type below the main title for the irretrievably dim.
With all the blanket marketing they do on these movies audiences are going to be aware that its a direct sequel to Sherlock Holmes starring Robert Downer Jr and Jude Law. Their mugs will be on the posters and in the trailers just to avoid any confusion. Everyone will refer to it as Sherlock Holmes 2 as shorthand anyway. People will say 'Mate, shall we go and see the new Sherlock Holmes movie?' and similar. In those circumstances why not simply dump the pre-colon bit and go for a nice, fresh, elegant title instead.
It works for James Bond. And for Star Wars.
Posted on Tuesday August 30, 2011, 17:34
No mention for the Leprechaun Franchise? Part 6 is the part 2 of part 5...
Leprechaun 2, 1994
Leprechaun 3, 1995
Leprechaun 4: In Space, 1997
Leprechaun: In the Hood, 2000
Leprechaun: Back 2 tha Hood, 2003
Posted on Tuesday August 30, 2011, 17:41
Batman Begins, The Dark Knight, The Dark Knight Rises.
Not great title progression there.
Would have preferred another completely different title to be honest.
Maybe something along the lines of The Caped Crusader?
Posted on Tuesday August 30, 2011, 17:47
One of the biggest messes for me:
- First Blood
- Rambo: First Blood Part II
- Rambo III
What the hell is that? First they got a neat title going on with "First Blood". So far so good. The sequel comes along and they addd "Part II". Good Job! But wait, why does it suddenly say "Rambo" in front? And is that a colon?
Then it is followed by "Rambo III". What now, is it not part of the "First Blood" movies anymore? Where did that title go?
The the next one is just called "Rambo"... where the hell should I place this movie? It's just "Rambo", no number, so I'm guessing a reboot? No? Ok, then I'd say it's a prequel. No, wrong again? Well, what is it? A Sequel?!? It's actually part 4, are you kidding me?!?
Posted on Tuesday August 30, 2011, 18:46
The Planet of the Apes question asking the names of all the sequels actually came up in my local pub quiz. It was one of the happiest days of my life.
One another note, surely 'City Slickers II: The Legend of Curly's Gold' has to be one of the worst sequel titles?
Posted on Tuesday August 30, 2011, 19:13
28 Weeks Later. I don't even have to explain myself why I think it's a god-awful title, do I? Think Fox might be dumb enough to consider 28 Months/Years/Decades/Centuries/Millenniums? ...Yes.
Posted on Tuesday August 30, 2011, 20:14
@7 lol, I think a lot of the problem with Rambo was the first one was always referred to as Rambo, have you seen Rambo? I never knew it was called First Blood until many years later when I was actually allowed to watch it. In retrospect I think they realised they named the film incorrectly in the first place hence the awkward 2nd title. If he does make another which there seems to be some rumblings of what the hell are they going to call that Rambo 5, I'm going for hell let's just call it John.
@9 I think 28 Months is already a serious possibility
Posted on Tuesday August 30, 2011, 20:17
My favourite worst sequel titles are Batman Returns and Batman Forever.
What do they even mean in the context of the film... absolutely nothing. Batman Returns... from where? HE HASN'T BEEN ANYWHERE!! Batman Forever... those cheerleaders must have been edited out.
Batman Begins is not a great title but at least has some relevance to the actual film.
Posted on Tuesday August 30, 2011, 22:55
The Thing's prequel: The Thing. Come on; did NOBODY think for even a nanosecond that might be extremely confusing?
Mad Dog Tannen
Posted on Tuesday August 30, 2011, 23:26
Oh God, don't get me started on sequel titles.
The worst thing about a colon followed by a subtitle is that no one ever says the subtitle out loud. Ever. When the new Mission Impossible film comes out, moviegoers will approach the box office and ask for Mission Impossible and nothing else.
Whatever happened to the Roman numeral? Simple, classy, cool. Sherlock Holmes II looks and sounds great!
As for the current Batman titles, those movies started and ended badly with a good one in the middle. They should have followed the lead of the second title and named the third film something nice and classy like Gotham City. Epic!
I like the Planet Of The Apes titles, and Spielberg should have taken inspiration from them for the Jurassic Park films. I'd have given them good old-fashioned adventure film titles like ...
Return To Jurassic Park
Escape From Jurassic Park
If the Lethal Weapon films had been today, they would probably be called:
Lethal Weapon: Over The Edge
Lethal 3: Takedown
LWIV: Maximum Lethal Weapon
I could talk about this all night.
Posted on Wednesday August 31, 2011, 00:40
It's not a sequel at all but 'The Good, the Bad, the Weird' is a title rip-off to which I - at one point - physically winced when I heard it.
Posted on Wednesday August 31, 2011, 08:03
It's not a sequel but the voice-over lady doing the Blockbuster Video promo DVD that we had in store sure thought it was.
The film in question is the classic Jet Li/DMX "Cradle 2 The Grave" which doesn't have any punctuation in it to suggest you should speak it any other way than completely.
However the genius voice over lady obviously thought that the tricky number 2 in there was actually a "two" and not the lazy way of the studio saying "to", so for a month of having that trailer on the televisions in the store we had her saying:
"Cradle 2: The Grave"
Making it sound like a dodgy horror. We even had some people ask if we had the first one. Oh mercy me.
Posted on Wednesday August 31, 2011, 08:06
I Know What You Did Last Summer
I Still Know What You Did Last Summer
I'll Always Know What You Did Last Summer
But didn't years pass between them? Always last summer...that's when the fun happens!
Posted on Wednesday August 31, 2011, 08:36
If you actually watched The Good, The Bad and the Weird you would realise that the title and the film itself are a Korean homage to Spaghetti Westerns and not just a rip off title.
Posted on Wednesday August 31, 2011, 10:26
Whilst not technically a sequel... The Bad Lieutenant: Port Of Call - New Orleans.
How cumbersome is that? Brilliant film, but jeez...
Posted on Wednesday August 31, 2011, 11:35
Wassup? Bitter because you couldn't Electric Boogaloo. Shame on you.
Posted on Wednesday August 31, 2011, 12:19
I'll take issue with The Matrix criticism.
The Matrix Reloaded did refer to the very pivotal plot point of Neo being the 'anomaly' used to reload The Matrix at the end of its cycle.
The 'Revolutions' part kind of refences the cyclical nature of The Matrix previously, as well as referencing the actual revolution in humanity and machine-kind ending the war and ushering in a new era.
I'm not saying they're GREAT but, you know, they aren't thoughtless.
I bet they had The Matrix Rebooted on their shortlist, mind. That would have been dreadful.
Posted on Wednesday August 31, 2011, 12:30
Step Up 2 The Streets!?
Mad Dog Tannen
Posted on Wednesday August 31, 2011, 13:08
When Fast Five was reviewed in The Guardian, the writer joked that the title of the next film in the series would no doubt consist of the letter 'F' repeated six times in a row.
Actually, that'll probably turn out to be an entirely accurate prediction.
Posted on Wednesday August 31, 2011, 14:29
Absolutely the best use of the phrase "Jesus H Christ" I have ever witnessed - couldn't help but laugh pretty hard at that.
Posted on Wednesday August 31, 2011, 15:22
The worst examples of this is when they stop numbering films,
horror movies are the main culprit for this sort of thing but sly stallone has committed this twice Are Rocky VI and Rambo 4 such bad titles?
Police Academy also went down this road, thankfully Mission to Moscow was the death of the franchise though or else we would have had a series of numberless PA films. Or when they reboot franchises with basically the same name as the original Examples; The Final Destination, Halloween ect. Why can't Hollywood just accept their un-originality and stick a Number at the end of sequel titles?
Posted on Wednesday August 31, 2011, 16:24
Well, I always thought putting a number at the end of the original title for a sequel is just plain lazy (The Godfather and Back To The Future trilogies being exceptions because the former was simply epic while the latter was closely intertwined).
But sequels with no obvious titular references are the ones that annoy me:
The Hustler / The Color of Money
Saturday Night Fever / Staying Alive
Dirty Harry / Magnum Force / The Enforcer / Sudden Impact / The Dead Pool
A Fistful of Dollars & For a Few Dollars More / The Good, The Bad & The Ugly
(Okay, the first two of the 'Dollars' trilogy has a titular relation, but the third?)
If I didn't know any better, I would not have known these were sequels... (or maybe that's not such a bad thing).
Posted on Wednesday August 31, 2011, 17:17
I like the idea of giving a sequel a completly different name altogether. It makes it feel more fresh and individual. Nolan's batman series is an obvious example. However I didnt like how they added 'rises' on to the end of the last film's title. For a film that will be compared endlessly in the second film's shadow, it seems a little unwise.
Posted on Wednesday August 31, 2011, 17:51
You insulted Die Hard. You must die.
Posted on Wednesday August 31, 2011, 22:15
What about the original Blake Edwards Pink Panther series?
Posted on Thursday September 1, 2011, 02:07
The Ocean's movies always annoyed me for two reasons. Firstly, in Ocean's Twelve, who specifically is the twelfth member? Julia Roberts? Catherine Zeta-Jones? It's messy. And Thirteen? Andy Garcia?
The other reason they annoy me is that alphabetically, they go Ocean's Eleven, Ocean's Thirteen, Ocean's Twelve. Which means you can't fit them in their order on the DVD shelf...
Posted on Thursday September 1, 2011, 11:29
That annoyed me too much because it also happens with the original Batman films and Indy so you have you just go chronologically in those instances for the sake of your sanity if nothing else.
As mentioned, the Rambo series simply defies belief. Gone from "Original Title" to "Original Title Part II with the Characters Name" to "Characters Name 3" to simply "Character" just for the full cirlce. It's like Sly was just trying to see which one's sounded better.Just stick with I,II,III and IV: No colons
Posted on Thursday September 1, 2011, 20:00
What about TRON Legacy. "Legacy" is never good.
I found it annoying when seeing Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 2, was that in Vue it was being referred to as Harry Potter 7. I mean, HP7 Part 2 was just about excusable because it was based on the same book but come on, there are 8 Harry Potter films and that was Harry Potter 8.
Posted on Friday September 2, 2011, 13:48
Wall Street 2: Money Never Sleeps. The Wall Street Sequel is one of the most fun to try rename. Can you make it even more stupid?
Wall Street 2: Money Never Eats
Wall Street 2: Money Never Says Never
Wall Street 2: The Quest for Money
Wall Street 2: Return of the Gekko
Wall Street 2: Greed is Good
Wall Street 2: The Bailout
Wall Street 2: Time is Money
Wall Street 2: Liquidity
Wall Street 2: The Acquisition
Wall Street 2: Winning!
Posted on Friday September 2, 2011, 14:37
Highlander 2 the Quickening (whats a Quickening!!!!!)
Highlander the Final dimension
Highlander The source
Highlander The reckoning
Its all just too much
oh and Speed 2 Cruise control terrible
Posted on Friday September 2, 2011, 15:04
Lara Croft: Tomb Raider
Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle Of Life
Firstly why did they feel the need to make the character name part of the title? Not enough franchise recognition already for Tomb Raider? Then they bottle it on the sequel, change the anem fo the franchise to include the game name and move the colon and stick a really really crappy sub-indy sub-title on it.
This is actually one franchise I would love to see rebooted and done properly.
Posted on Friday September 2, 2011, 17:11
Four words: Dark of the Moon.
Posted on Saturday September 3, 2011, 02:17
What? No pirate love?
Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl
Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest
Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End
Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides
Colons are such a dead give-away going in - hellooooo, we-already-have-a-sequel-filming alert! POTC 3 (alright, alright, At World's End) is an unholy mess of a script that, God help me, has become my favorite Cap'n Jack Sparrow outing, bearing up under multiple watchings - sigh.
Posted on Saturday September 3, 2011, 08:03
and yet no one mentions star wars, part4, a new beginning ?!?!
Posted on Saturday September 3, 2011, 20:47
@ Mad Dog Tannen
Good effort but, your suggestions for the Jurassic Park sequels don't work because the stories don't go back to the island where the park is so, no one is returning to or escaping from it.
And the basic plot ofThe Lost World: Jurassic Park came from the sequel book of the same name. Maybe they added Jurassic Park after that so there wouldn't be any confusion with the Conan Doyle book.
Posted on Sunday September 4, 2011, 14:33
"If you’re naming the director within the title, the director may well be much better than the movie itself"
Presumably you're including every John Carpenter movie in that hen yes?
Cabal aka Boone
Posted on Sunday September 4, 2011, 23:16
Worst part of this blog, and its initial example, is the renaming the Breakdance movies to Breakin' in the first place!
WTF were they thinking?
As someone who loves the films, I was truly insulted!
Posted on Sunday September 4, 2011, 23:25
Jaws: The Revenge...
Because "4" clearly isn't good enough and people need to be reminded of the grudges sharks can hold
Posted on Monday September 5, 2011, 00:44
You have to consider the sequel to The Magnificent Seven, Return Of The Seven as a terrible title as most of them died in the first one. Did they return as ghosts or something?
Posted on Wednesday September 7, 2011, 19:19
I can't believe no-one has mentioned the best sequel title ever:
Airplane 2: The Sequel
Posted on Wednesday September 7, 2011, 20:51
Bring it on Again? now that was a 5-minutes-to-5 on a friday afternoon decision.
Posted on Wednesday September 14, 2011, 19:12
I also hate when they try to incorporate the number INTO the title, Examples:
Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa (whats next Madagascar: Look out for that 3 ?)
Scre4m (Do I need to go into detail?)
2 Fast 2 Furious (Already mentioned but still......)
Step Up 2 The Streets