I’ve been in a funk throughout the holiday movie season, and I’ve finally figured out why.
I just haven’t been inspired much by this year’s fare. I mean, it wasn’t like there weren’t any decent movies out, but I haven’t been all that engaged by any of ’em. They’ve seemed somewhat formulaic: “Sherlock Holmes” for the adventure crowd while also trying to lure the Baby Boomers who can remember the hero; “Avatar” for the blockbuster hunters; “It’s Complicated” for the older audience; some chipmunks and frogs for the kids.
But what’s really been missing–at least for me–are the films that have become sacred and anticipated over the holidays: the sequels! Where are the sequels this year?!
Through a quirk in the scheduling and marketing of blockbuster franchises, this year brought us no James Bond movie. No Indiana Jones sequel. No Harry Potter. No Spidey 4. Or Frodo 4. Or X-Men (again). Or, if you’re as old as me, no Lethal Weapon 5 or Die Hard 4. No more Shreks. Or Superman. Or Terminator. Or Rocky IX!
Okay, so we did have a “Star Trek” come out on DVD, and if you’re a Twilight fan, you’re in good shape. But for the most part, the best of the sequels were on Cable TV this year. “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” was a hit, over and over in my house. My loving daughter bought me all four of the “Home Alone” movies (though I only really count the first two as original).
Given the plethora of cinemas, cable channels, YouTube clips, recording devices, Blue Ray, DVDs, etc., I think sequels are stronger now than they’ve ever been at building a relationship with their audience, at creating expectations and then fulfilling them. There was a time in the past when the miniseries was a huge TV fad. They had their time. Sequels have their place now, and I wish we’d have had a few this year.
So I’ll look forward to the next “Bond” and the next “Trek.” I know my kids are looking forward to the next in the “Twilight” series. In the meantime, I’ll probably find my next inspiration more from the remote control than a trip to the cinema. Don’t get me wrong: I’ll give ’em all a chance. But my expectations are low, thus far.