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Sequels Worth Waiting For

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Sometimes (but not always), the best is late to come...

Does waiting a decade or more for a sequel make it all the more satisfying?    

Usually the formula goes like this: A movie hits big, and then a couple of years down the road, we get a sequel. Repeat as necessary until box office returns diminish (e.g. the Fast and Furious franchise). But with Dumb and Dumber To, 20 years after the original 1994 Jim Carrey/Jeff Daniels doofus classic opened in theatres, we’ve been thinking about sequels that make us wait … and wait.

The baby boomers have had their share of delayed sequels, from The Godfather Part III (16 years after Part II) to The Color of Money (25 years after The Hustler). But thanks to Generation X’s Peter Pan syndrome (otherwise known as their steadfast refusal to grow up), many of the long-gestating sequels in recent years have revisited ’80s and ’90s touchstones, spawned by nostalgia and powered by better special effects.

And, please, no John Hughes sequels … ever.

Then there is the long list of decade-or-more sequels based on Gen-X favourites that are in various stages of development, like Beverly Hills Cop 4, Beetlejuice 2, The Goonies 2, Ghostbusters 3, Independence Day 2, and Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure 3. Some of these sequels could be worth the wait, but others might be better left to the imagination. (And, please, no John Hughes sequels … ever.)

Here are some of the sequels we had to wait the longest for, plus some new ones we never thought would happen:

The Barbarian Invasions (2003)
Sequel to: The Decline of the American Empire (1986)
Years Between Sequels: 17
Reasons to See It: Middle-aged friends grapple with questions of aging, mortality, and forgiveness in this satisfying sequel to the superb French-Canadian art-house film The Decline of the American Empire. The first film was about sex, this one’s about death.
Reasons to Skip It: If you’re not a fan of wry, talky, French-language dramas.
Verdict? Worth the wait.

Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps (2010)
Sequel to: Wall Street (1987)
Years Between Sequels: 23
Reasons to See It: The character of Gordon Gekko is a classic corporate villain, and watching Michael Douglas gleefully chew scenery and spit out Shia LaBeouf is certainly entertaining.
Reasons to Skip It: The original Wall Street was truly a movie of its time, and though the themes of capitalist chicanery still hold, the sequel lacks the sting of the first flick.
Verdict? Past its due date.

Dumb and Dumber To (2014)
Sequel to: Dumb and Dumber (1994)
Years Between Sequels: 20
Reasons to See It: If you prefer your laughs to be lowbrow and slapstick, you’re in luck! Bathroom humour and outrageous hijinks abound as the Farrelly brothers send Lloyd and Harry on a search for a new kidney. If you liked the original, you’re going to love this one, too.
Reasons to Skip It: Not for the squeamish (plenty of bodily fluids).
Verdict: Worth the wait.

The Color of Money (1986)
Sequel to: The Hustler (1961)
Years Between Sequels: 25
Reasons to See It: It’s a terrific movie about a washed-up pool-playing hustler and his ambitious protégé. It’s perhaps not as spellbinding as the original, but it won Paul Newman an Oscar and solidified Tom Cruise as a bona fide star.
Reasons to Skip It: It’s not considered one of Martin Scorsese’s best efforts, and Roger Ebert called it “a disappointment.”
Verdict: Worth the wait.

Tron: Legacy (2010)
Sequel to: Tron (1982)
Years Between Sequels: 28
Reasons to Watch It: This sequel benefits a great deal from advances in movie magic, and the luminescence-on-black imagery is beautifully rendered. It’s also fun seeing Jeff Bridges play the same character almost three decades on.
Reasons to Skip It: The movie is overly long and the plot’s a bit of a yawn. It never lived up to the fondly remembered oddity it grew from.
Verdict? Past its due date.

Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens (2015)
Sequel to: Return of the Jedi (1983)
Years Between Sequels: 32 (or 10, if you’re counting from 2005’s Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith)
Reasons to See It: Have you SEEN the trailer? (“Chewie, we’re home.”) Fans have been waiting for this one forever, and with J.J. Abrams at the helm, it’s shaping up to be the movie event of the year. The special effects alone promise to take the breath away.
Reasons to Skip It: Maybe you dislike throngs of excited fanboys?
Verdict: Worth the wait.

Untitled Blade Runner Sequel (Release TBA)
Sequel to: Blade Runner (1982)
Years Between Sequels: At least 34
Reasons to See It: For a segment of the population, Blade Runner is a revered film, so the idea of spending more time in its fascinating dystopian world of rain and replicants is very appealing. Plus, because original director Ridley Scott is producing, fans are cautiously optimistic.
Reasons to Skip It: Some are calling this film the “least necessary sequel of all time.” Scott isn’t directing the film, so it may be impossible for anyone else to replicate the magic of the first movie.
Verdict: Worth the wait (we hope).

Shelley White is a Toronto-based freelance writer.