Tag Archives: scifi

Beloved franchises…that actually mostly suck

We have a lot of long-running entertainment franchises these days that have developed rabid fan followings. With increasing frequency, these franchises crap out sequel after dreadful sequel that are instantly thrown on the pile of loathsome offerings that make us wonder why we ever liked this shit. This usually occurs with film franchises, television tends to get cancelled quickly when it goes to seed, but sometimes this phenomenon occurs within other media. Here now, I take a look at some of these franchises that were terrible far longer than they were good.

HELLRAISER

Look, an Ouya!

Look, an Ouya!

I loves me some Hellraiser, it was one of the most innovative and imaginatively brutal horror series around…briefly. There are nine Hellraiser movies. The first one is great. The second one is quite good. The third one…happened. The fourth one was better than it should have been. The rest were a dumpster fire. Cenobites that throw CDs, kung-fu cowboy demons, and scripts that had Hellraiser stuff hastily tacked on in order to retain the license have made this franchise a fucked-out shell of the genius it once was. One of the sequels even involves Hellraiser being just a big video game…that’s clever, sadly Frankie Munez must’ve been been too busy to be in that one. Too bad Lance Henriksen wasn’t. It’s ok Lance, we still love you.

This series is set for a reboot soon, under the guidance of creator Clive Barker. This is one of the few times I’ve been looking forward to a reboot. Seriously, CDs? Who throws CDs? Maybe the reboot will have a guy throw MP3s…not sure how that would kill people.

Play Freebird...you piece of shit.

Play Freebird…you piece of shit.

HIGHLANDER

I can't find it in myself to make fun of this, it's just too cool.

I can’t find it in myself to make fun of this, it’s just too cool.

Highlander was awesome. It had a rockin’ Queen soundtrack, cool swordfights, and an interesting concept that stirred the imagination. Then Highlander 2 happened. Then everything else Highlander happened. That was a shame. The Highlander sequels involved aliens, wizards, time travel, the Syfy Channel, all kinds of horseshit that’s known to ruin franchises. There have been 4 theatrical releases, a made for tv movie, two television series, an animated series, and an anime movie. Also, the first movie was good.

Some people really liked the TV series, well, the first one, not “The Raven”, but there are also people who enjoy having entire fists shoved up their assholes. Seriously, look it up. Whole human fists.

Just like a fist up the ass, Highlander well overstayed its welcome and ruined all the goodwill it had earned, making us wonder why we ever liked it in the first place. Oh yeah, the Queen soundtrack.

THIS, on the other hand...

THIS, on the other hand…

SONIC THE HEDGEHOG

Radical!

Radical!

Man, Sonic the Hedgehog was cool. The running fast, the loop-de-loops, the snarky attitude, the…blast processing, it was great. Then the 90’s ended. Sonic hasn’t had a really good game since Sonic and Knuckles, once the days of 2D platformers ended, Sonic found himself a man without a country. Unable to hang in an era of 3D games and polygons, Sonic hasn’t fared well, yet we just can’t seem to stop making bad attempts to make him seem relevant again, despite more failures than successes. ¬†As painful as it is, it may be time for Sonic to hang up his red sneakers. There’s a farm upstate he could go live on. There’s room to run around there, and other hedgehogs to play with…he’ll be much happier.

Yeah...shit got weird.

Yeah…shit got weird.

PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN

Yaaay!

Yaaay!

Pirates of the Caribbean was a great movie. It was a fun, lighthearted adventure full of interesting characters and cool action. Then they made more of them, and Johnny Depp owes me six hours of my life back. The first sequel, Dead Man’s Chest, wasn’t too bad, but then At World’s End happened, and we were subjected to what felt like days of Jack Sparrow looking for a fucking peanut, and the filmmakers desperately trying to make Elizabeth Swan seem like a likable and important main character, as opposed to an insufferable bag of shit. I had actually forgotten about the latest entry in the series, and I paid money to see it in a theatre, which means I left my house at some point. 25% success rate is not a good number to base your series on.

When I said "grow a personality",  you didn't have to be a dick about it!

When I said “grow a personality”, you didn’t have to be a dick about it!

These are just some of examples that jumped to mind in my sweaty, gravy-induced stupor. I’m sure there are plenty of others out there that eluded me. I contemplated Heroes, but since I haven’t finished it yet, it’d be based on hearsay, and that’s just unamerican, so sound off and tell me some franchises you think were more shit than shinola!

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In Defense of: The Matrix Trilogy

Before we start, my buddy Brendan Lasalle did an interview with the BS! Podcast (formerly Bear Swarm). He talks a lot about the new edition of XCrawl, some “good ole’ days” gaming stories, and discusses some wrestling stuff (which I plan to touch on some day). Go check it out!

http://bs-radio.com/podcasts/922_bs-podcast-episode-12-brendan-lasalle/

Now, on to the topic at hand…

I still remember going to see The Matrix back in 1999. I remember how vague the marketing was. I remember walking into that theatre having no idea what I was about to see, and I remember being completely blown away by it. It was revolutionary, no pun intended. It was good, and it was almost universally recognized as good, something that you almost never see in today’s age of internet cynicsm.

It was no secret that there was more on the way. I think it was even before the movie had hit home video (I had it on VHS, it was that long ago) that if it did well, it was planned to be a trilogy. We all waited with baited breath for three long years for the follow-up, The Matrix Reloaded, and then we all started bitching up a storm.

Like a bunch of baby robots

Like a bunch of babyhead robots

Why though? What was so bad about the Matrix sequels that we immediately turned our backs on this thing that had been put on so high a pedastal? There have been sequels that have blatantly disrespected their franchises, sure. Highlander 2 deserves everything it gets, it was an afront to the story, but did the Matrix sequels do that? I don’t think so.

Highlander sucks because aliens...

Highlander sucks because aliens…

Personally, I have gone back and forth several times on these movies. I really don’t know how to feel. I think the problems are as deep and complicated as the story itself. We all know the complaints. People say that they became too overindulgent with their effects, reusing the same tricks….and they did. That the allegory of Neo as a Christ-figure was so blantant it boggled the mind…and it did. They say that the films became too pretentious…and they did, one need only watch the scene with Neo and The Architect to see undeniable proof of this.

Let's see just how much bullshit they'll put up with...vis a vis

Let’s see just how much bullshit they’ll put up with…vis a vis

So far there’s not a lot of “defense of” happenning, but I’m getting to that. The point is, I think that if they were attatched to any other franchise, Reloaded and Revolutions would have been perfectly servicable sequels, perhaps even hits. I think the problem with The Matrix as a franchise is The Matrix itself. The first movie was just too good. That’s a terrible defense, isn’t it? I know, but try watching the sequels without the first one…they aren’t that bad.

Whoa, indeed...

Whoa, indeed…

It can be hard to admit, but it’s true. Let’s think about this. The mansion fight and the freeway chase from Reloaded? Pretty damn cool. The mech battle from Revolutions? Kinda badass. The babyhead robot? Visually striking. The Neo vs. Smith fight at the end of Revolutions? Amazing to watch and a scene that influenced superhero fights in movies for years to come. Most fanboys saw that and thought Wow, maybe they CAN pull off a live-action Dragonball Z movie…then Dragonball Evolution happened and…well, they fucked it up. I won’t be defending that movie.

 

Fuck you, fuck you so hard! Seriously, dude!

Fuck you, fuck you so hard! Seriously, dude!

 

So, basically the Matrix sequels sucked because the first movie was so damn good. How do you rectify a problem like that? As much as it pains me to say, know when to quit. Reloaded and Revolutions were stories that didn’t need to be told. The end of the first film, much like the rest of it, was just right, from an artistic standpoint. Neo threatening the machine collective (who we didn’t yet realize was a baby) and flying away like Superman set the imagination ablaze, and that’s where the story’s end should have remained. Nothing that came next could have satisfied us. More of the same would just be more of the same, while taking it in new directions and expanding it, which they did, could only serve to disappoint.

Yeah...

Yeah…

You know…I’m not sure if I really defended anything there, but I guess it’s something to think about.

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