Monday, August 10, 2009

There was a Sequel? (part1)

Please note: There could be spoilers here about movies.

Remember that movie that you saw that one was well written, it had famous stars, and was just a good stand alone movie. It was the talk of the office for a couple weeks. Yeah that's the one. Thinking about it even now almost makes you want to go rent the DVD.

Did you see the sequel?

Yes, they made a sequel. That movie was too popular and made too much money for there not to be a sequel. For some reason, I have always enjoyed watching these horrible attempts at re-creating a pop culture phenomenon. I'm not talking about the high profile sequels like Star Wars, Rocky, Friday the 13th, etc... I'm not talking about movies that have the support of the original creators, writers, directors, and stars. I'm talking about low budget, no name actor, writer refuses to have anything to do with movies.

I'm talking about:

Phenomenon II

Remember the original? John Travolta plays George Malley who suddenly super-intelligence and telekinesis on his 37th birthday. Turns out it was a brain tumor and although he doesn't have long to live, he teaches all around him to be open, understanding, and loving of one another...even though most of these people treated him like white trash for most of his life. The film was so powerful because the main character, George Malley, died in the end.

So you start watching Phenomenon II - Thinking that they are basically going to tell a different story of some down and out loser who suddenly gains powers that change his life and the lives of those around him. But then...What? Another birthday party in a small town? Another dim witted character named George? What is going on - is this supposed to be the same George? Did they just say George Malley? Man, they couldn't even come up with an original name? Oh wait...but...yes, it is the same George (of course NOT played by John Travolta this time). The first half of Phenomenon II is basically a re-shoot of the first half of the original movie. Then he gets in trouble with the army (I think it is the NSA in number 2) for breaking a top secret cypher. Here is where the movies diverge.

  • Original - George is taken into custody, is tested, finds out he has a brain tumor, is released, and dies.

  • Sequel - NSA looks for George, George runs. George changes his name, lives simply in some new town fixing electronics and helping the town's people (like helping a young child to be proud of his ability to read even though his abusive father is against it). In the end, the NSA gets wind of George and he skips town.

I believe this was a made for TV movie that was going to be the pilot for a weekly series. That is why it was left open and he was undiagnosed with a brain tumor. You can't very well have the main character die on the TV show ever couple weeks...and getting treatment would be too time consuming. But this is the whole thing that sucked about this movie - George dying and being completely happy with his life and the affect that had on all those around him was the WHOLE POINT of the original movie. It taught that it doesn't matter how long your life, but what you do with it. Have a positive impact on others, be happy. None of that came through in the sequel. Plus the first half of the movie was like a really bad case of deja vu, but the current reality is a shabby version of your original vision.

How bad it is - I don't think you can even buy this on DVD here in the US...I caught it late night on Lifetime network or something like that. You probably will not ever get the chance to see it and you will be better for it. I give it a 2 out of 10...they lost major points for only making half of an original movie.


kelly said...

Apparently, and unbeknownst to me, there have been at least 5 Kenny Rogers Gambler movies. I ran across Gambler V: Playing for Keeps on Dish last night.

I'm pissed that there wasn't at least 5 Six Pack movies. Now there was a movie franchise empire waiting to happen.

Michael said...

The Gambler
The Gambler - The Adverture Continues
The Gambler 3 - The Legend Continues
The Gambler Returns (4) - Luck of the Draw
The Gambler 5 - Playing for Keeps

(Amazingly I only had to look up the name for number 3).

Obviously you aren't counting the Six Pack TV show with Don Johnson as Brewster? By the way Six Pack is supposed to be remade and released late next year or 2011.