I work in story development. I post my thoughts on story here.
Occasionally I might post also post sketches. Or clues.
I’ve finished watching the last episode of Six Feet Under and I just can’t fucking stop crying because the last ten minutes had to have been one of the saddest things ever. These are actual tears. I didn’t just tear up; I pretty much was wailing for ten whole minutes. Please help me get better so I can study.
So, everyone saw Monsters Inc. right? We saw Mike and Sully as best friends who go through a LOT together. They end the myth that humans are dangerous, and completely revolutionize Monstropolis by changing out the power harnessed by children’s screams, replacing it with the wonderful (if sometimes grating) sounds of laughter. That’s the end of the story, right?
But then somebody said that they wanted more Monsters Inc. and that’s why we’re getting Monsters University this summer.
Monsters University presents a difficult premise to grasp. Can these two opposites overcome their differences and become friends?
Of course they can, and we don’t need to see Monsters University to figure that out. We all saw Monsters Inc. and since Mike and Sully are friends at the beginning of that…. well, it kind of leaves Monsters University pretty irrelevant, doesn’t it.
That’s the problem regarding most prequels. You can’t set the stakes higher than that of the original film, because this movie takes place before it. If they made an Aladdin prequel where Aladdin found two genies, what’s so exciting when he finds the genie in the original Aladdin? Imagine if you just watched Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows and then watched Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. Well, that would be a let down, wouldn’t it? By nature, a prequel has to be less exciting than the original movie. But there is another issue at play here, too. Story logic.
They say that Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom is a prequel to Raiders of the Lost Arc. Indy watches a man in a magical temple have his heart ripped out in Doom, but in Raiders he says that he doesn’t believe in Magic. How does that make sense? Oh right, because when they made Raiders, Indy hadn’t experienced magic yet, and nobody took that into account when they made the prequel.
And don’t get me started on the Star Wars prequel trilogy. I think Patton Oswalt summed that up better than I ever could.
It doesn’t matter to me what any character in any movie was doing before that movie started. Chances are, I’ll get enough back story while watching the movie, and anything that was “left out” didn’t need to be there to begin with. I would much rather watch a sequel any day, because at least that has to address that the previous movie happened, and continue the adventures and development of the characters that I’ve fallen in love with. I don’t want to watch a film, see a character grow for the better, and then have them be regressed to whatever they were before in the prequel. That’s just not logical storytelling to me.
Now, that’s not to say I’ve never enjoyed a prequel, I just don’t think they are necessary. I loved X-Men: First Class, and Puss in Boots was fun, but it’s impossible to consider them actual prequels to their source material. Too many things just don’t add up. I would much rather watch an original film about a team of superheros set in the 1960’s or a swashbuckling cat adventure sans the boot jokes, just to keep them separate and let them hold their own. This way, the stories could get as big as they need to be, and there would never be any fear or constraint of “How are we going to tie this back into another movie which was made 10+ years ago.”