The movie industry isn’t particularly renowned for originality – witness the plethora of sequels, prequels, remakes, adaptations and ‘re-imaginings’ clogging up studio production slates and giving ire to anyone interested in seeing something new every so often. And did the world really need a prequel to The Scorpion King, Tremors or 2003’s The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, itself a remake of the 1974 original, which had, in turn, inspired a belated sequel (I know, it’s confusing)?
Of course it didn’t. While The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (either version) was primo horror fare, this isn’t quite The Godfather we’re talking about. And one shudders to imagine what the prequel involved: a young Leatherface paying his first visit to the hardware store for piano wire and a nail-gun? Mom and Pop Leatherface presenting their son with My First Little Chainsaw at Christmas?
Pretty pointless, really. But I’m not totally averse to the notion of prequels, providing the right source material can be found…
An excitable Scottish billionaire constructs a fantastical theme park, recreating the long-gone Triassic era. All turns to disaster, however, when tourists realise that incremental changes in climate and the excruciatingly slow evolution of various strains of fern don’t make for a very exciting holiday, and visitor numbers drop vertiginously.
Terminator -1: Procreation Day
The sperm and egg which will one day become the future Sarah Conner team up to defend humankind against a relentless computer chip which can’t really do much and is rather immobile but will one day form part of the future Terminator’s CPU.
The Omen – Let’s Play the Waiting Game
Extremely slow-moving drama, with a running time of three billion years, as Lucifer hangs around the barren netherworld of his exile, smoking too much and waiting for the stars to align so some prophecy or other comes to pass and he can assume dominion over the world. Look out for the scene where the fallen angel plays chess with Death for 230 million years. Then they get bored and switch to Connect 4 for the next eight million.
Internally Debate Hard
John McClane ponders whether to visit his wife in Los Angelesor stay at home watching Moonlighting reruns instead. He then ponders whether or not to wear a vest that day. Starring Hayden Christensen as McClane and Bruce Willis as the vest.
The Matrix Reworked as Farce
Super-powerful, self-aware computers begin construction of an enormous fantasy world to enslave the human population, seemingly unaware that it would be far easier to use unthinking but equally warm-blooded animals. Like hippopotami. And that the energy-giving sun is blazing like billy-o a mere thousand feet above them, just beyond the low-lying toxic cloud.
Apollo 12 – Fairly Uneventful
Humdrum account of the not-at-all ill-fated Apollo 12 space mission, during which everything passes off pretty much as planned.
Young Sydney Prescott begins elementary school one year to the day since her older sister was bullied to tears by a really mean girl in gym class. Now a pop culture-fixated juvenile psychopath is playing a terrifying game of cat-and-mouse involving nursery rhymes which reference themselves in a self-consciously post-modern style that initially seems clever but quickly becomes tiresome. Cameo appearance by Wes Craven as a furry pencil-case.
Willie Wonka: Oomps, I Did It Again
A thrusting young entrepreneur builds up a confectionery empire by using slave labour from a fourth world country populated by orange-faced dwarfs, and getting kids hooked by filling his products with Scrum-diddly-E-numbers. A tragic accident involving the Chocolate Swirl-o-vator and a batch of Diet Wonka Koke shatters his mind, turning him into a reclusive weirdo in a top hat.
Surprisingly gritty account of the early lives of all those smug tools in nice suits, before they reinvented themselves as cheeky chappie ordinary decent criminals. Brad, George, Matt and whoever the hell else weld together the halves of crashed cars and beat the wrong man to death for informing on them to police, to the accompaniment of a funky David Holmes soundtrack.
Babe: Makin’ Bacon
Shortly after giving birth to a plucky little piglet called Babe, an unfortunate sow is butchered and processed into a wide variety of tasty pork products, including chops, hickory-smoked rashers and those disgusting feet things they eat in Cork.
ET the Barbarian
Aggressive, expansionist aliens with extremely long fingers send their top warrior on a mission to destabilise Earth before full-scale invasion. Entry into our atmosphere alters his brain chemistry and transforms him into a croaky-voiced peacenik.
Gladiator – Guy Who Sweeps Up the Coliseum
Stirring tale of a young slave with ambitions of becoming a mighty gladiator, ruling the amphitheatre and, like, getting all the chicks and glory and that. But it ends in tears as he gets drunk on an amphora of honey wine and slips into the tiger pit.
JFK – Magic/Johnson
A young magic bullet, minding its own business, is inveigled into a wide-ranging conspiracy to assassinate the American President. The bullet is promised, by Lyndon Johnson, Sam Giancana and Joe Pesci in a nasty wig, that nobody will ever know. But he begins to suspect he’s being set up as the patsy…
The Lord of the Rings: The Legend Begins
Ooh, let’s see…how about something like The Hobbit for a title? A doughty man-midget with hairy feet, travelling in search of adventure, comes across a magical ring which is sought by a Dark Lord who… Oh.