The Return of the Revenge of the Son of the Sequel... Part 2
I went and saw Iron Man 2 last night, and it got me thinking about sequels and how they're named.
The easiest and most absolutely basic way to label a sequel or movie series is the straight numeral system, which is simple enough in the case of Iron Man and...
... but if you're trying to have a conversation about that one trap in that particular Saw movie, it gets a little harder to differentiate.
Saw VII (Saw 3D)
Do YOU remember which is which? I certainly don't.
The best way to differentiate movies and give them separate identities within the series is to add the colon and subtitle that gives a little description of what the movie was about.
The Crow: City of Angels
The Crow: Salvation
The Crow: Wicked Prayer
Now, this series works well without numbers, because there is no need to watch them in order. Each movie is self contained and the only carryover is the mythology. I LOVE this series. I have the dvds, soundtracks and movie posters for all 4 movies, a patch on my messenger bag, avidly watched the tragically under appreciated TV series (The Crow: Stairway to Heaven) and love watching Iron Chef: America with my mom because the host is the guy who played Eric Draven in the TV show. I also highly recommend the original graphic novel by James O'Barr. It's gritty and dark and just about perfect.
Unfortunately, it gets difficult to tell the chronological watching order for a series when you don't have any numbers.
My favorite 90s, and I call it that loosely since it started in the 80s and the most recent ones came out in 2005, horror franchise was Hellraiser, of course I had to resort to writing numbers on my DVDs in Sharpie because I couldn't for the life of me remember what order they were supposed to be in. Sadly, Hellraiser is one of the least popular horror franchises out there and only 4 of the movies even made it to theatres.
Hellbound: Hellraiser II
Hellraiser III: Hell on Earth
Another way is to have titles that all maintain some thread of commonality, making them easy to identify, even though the titles are slightly different.
I Know What You Did Last Summer
I Still Know What You Did Last Summer
I'll Always Know What You Did Last Summer
I feel that although this naming scheme is more attractive than a numbering or subtitle system it has it's own restrictions. At some point it should be realized that 'last summer' has actually become several summers ago, but 'I'll Probably Always Remember What You Did That One Time A Few Years Ago' just doesn't have that catchy horror movie ring. If they keep making more of them, they'll probably get there eventually though.
Die Hard 2: Die Harder
Die Hard with a Vengeance
Live Free or Die Hard (Die Hard 4.0)
In this case, it was a nice try to differentiate, but I know that they're still similar enough to confuse the hell out of me. With this series I've given up and I just call them all 'Live Free or Die Harder With a Vengeance' and then add on an explanation such as 'The one with Allan Rickman' or 'The one with the dump trucks'. This usually clears up any confusion except for the time I accidentally tried to describe the movie I was referring to as 'The Christmas one' I just got an irritated look because both Die Hard and Die Harder are set near X-mas.
... and what exactly would you call the third movie in that series?
Meet the Parents
Meet the Fockers
Some series thinly tie into themselves and leave you to guess if they're related. Occasionally they don't even hint at a relation and you just have to be paying really close attention or you might miss a sequel totally.
The Silence of the Lambs
My personal peeve is when they give movies that are totally unrelated a spot in the line-up and bury deserving sequels, leaving good movies to languish with uninspired titles and fans that don't make it through the crappy in-between movies and miss out on the true sequel.
The Fast and the Furious
2 Fast 2 Furious
The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift
Fast & Furious
Personally, I refuse to acknowledge Tokyo and 2 Fast as anything but crappy car movies they tagged onto an awesome series to try and soak up some of the greatness. It failed.
It's quite common to see series give up on numbers halfway through, since it just seems to scream "We were bored and uninspired, so we made another one!"
Jaws: The Revenge
Child's Play 2
Child's Play 3
Bride of Chucky
Seed of Chucky
Sometimes they screw with you and the number has nothing to do with the order, or the numbers are out of order...
History of the World Part 1
The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad!
Naked Gun 2 1/2: The Smell of Fear
Naked Gun 33 1/3: The Final Insult
The Lion King
The Lion King II: Simba's Pride
The Lion King 1 1/2
Sometimes the movies themselves were made out of order, which makes it really damn frustrating to refer to the 'first three' and have to explain that you mean chronologically in Earth time not in Lucas time.
Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope
Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back
Star Wars Episoce VI: Return of the Jedi
Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace
Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones
Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith
When you get into non-English films, there's the to-translate or not to-translate the 'title in a foreign language problem', which usually ends up with your choice of translated, half translated or original language titles.
District B-13/ District 13/ Banlieue 13/ B-13/ D-13
and it's sequel
District 13: Ultimatum/ Banlieue 13 Ultimatum/ Banlieue 14/ District Thirteen 2/ District B13: Ultimatum/ B13-u
I have yet to see the sequel, but B-13 is an awesome French movie that I highly recommend everyone watch. It has incredible parkour scenes and one of the main characters Leito is played by David Belle who is largely credited as the founder of parkour. You can also see him in a brief scene in Transporter 2. Check him out before you watch Prince of Persia this summer, because he's the genius coordinator behind all those pretty stunts.
For those not in the know, parkour is pretty much the most amazing thing a person can do with their body. Also called free running and PK it involves using your surroundings and an urban setting to efficiently and elegantly overcome obstacles. A basic free running move would be to run full speed at a wall, jumping as high as you could, pushing off with one foot, grabbing the top of the wall and flipping yourself over it. When done right it looks like a superhuman move right out of a comic book. If you Youtube B-13, David Belle or Parkour you can see some amazing videos. I'm watching a few even as I write this.
Then there's the Evil Dead series, which started in English and didn't need translating but still can't even decide on a single title for each movie.
The Evil Dead/ Evil Dead: The Book of the Dead/ Sam Raimi's The Evil Dead/ The Evil Dead, the Ultimate Experience in Grueling Horror
Evil Dead II/ Evil Dead 2: Dead by Dawn
Army of Darkness/ Evil Dead III/ Evil Dead III: Army of Darkness/ Bruce Campbell vs. Army of Darkness/ The Medieval Dead
The most obnoxious trend lately is the remake or restart of a series, where they throw out everything, screw with canon and then make the same damn movie over again with better effects and name it the SAME GODDAMN THING!
The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (Yeah, it used to have a space)
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2
Leatherface: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre III
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning
A Nightmare on Elm Street
A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy's Revenge
A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors
A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master
A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child
Freddy's Dead: The Final Nightmare
Wes Craven's New Nightmare
Freddy vs. Jason
A Nightmare on Elm Street
Friday the 13th
Friday the 13th Part 2
Friday the 13th Part III
Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter
Friday the 13th: A New Beginning
Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives
Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood
Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan
Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday
Freddy vs. Jason
Friday the 13th
Halloween III: Season of the Witch
Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers
Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers
Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers
Halloween H20: 20 Years Later
There is so much screwed up with the continuum of these series, I don't even know where to start. They add numbers, change to roman numerals, drop the numbering, pick it up again later, make up numbers, number incorrectly, claim to be the last of the series, start up again, add subtitles, drop subtitles, drop the title in favor of using the main character's name, crossover, make the director part of the title, mess with the punctuation and have repeating titles.
There, I hope I've cleared up the sequel naming confusion for you. In conclusion, Hollywood is run by idiots and -shudders- mass media sales people, who have absolutely no idea what they're doing or what we want to see. I say we revolt, I'll bring my Sharpie, you bring some post it notes and a label maker. We couldn't possibly make a worse mess.