I've been wanting to do this post for a while now, and I've discussed this theory with my friends and anyone who would listen for years now. My theory is that the number "3" is bad for movies - that the number three is cursed.
"What do you mean?" you may ask, and thank you for asking. Well, I personally believe that if a movie has the number "3" in the title, and it's the third installment of a film franchise, then it's going to be a bad movie. Sequels are usually bad enough (I'm looking at you, Teen Wolf, Too), but it seems by the time the writers and actors get to the third film, they've run out of creative ideas, hence they put a "3" or "III" in the title because they can't think of anything better. This does NOT apply to such films as Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, The Bourne Supremacy or Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, because they do not have the number three in the title. It also does not apply to films like Three Amigos or 3:10 to Yuma, which DO have the number three in the title, but it's not the third movie. I'm talking about films like these ones:
Back to the Future: Part III
Back to the Future? Classic! Back to the Future: Part II? Hoverboards! Back to the Future III? A sappy romance between Doc Brown and Clara Clayton. By the time we got to this sequel the reoccurring jokes are getting old (how many times can Marty run into a relative of Biff Tannen??) and you can tell the filmmakers just wanted to get it over with, that's why they put "The End" in the closing credits instead of "To Be Continued..." Now, I know that the second installment of this franchise can't stand on it's own, since it leaves us with a cliffhanger, but you can't deny that Back to the Future III is inferior to its predecessors.
The first Rocky film is an academy-award winning drama. Rocky II was a well-thought out follow-up to that story with a satisfying ending. In Rocky III, we get a hyped-up, pseudo-dramatic story with no real substance. Yes, we get the timeless work-out song "Eye of the Tiger" from this film, yes we do (SPOILER ALERT) get the drama of Mickey dying (END OF SPOILER), but that doesn't make up for the shameless cameos by Hulk Hogan and Mr. T, nor does it make up for the tube socks, nor does it make up for Apollo and Rocky as they sweatily run in slow-motion along the beach for an hour. This, in my opinion, is the weakest film of the Rocky franchise (not including Rocky V, because no one really counts Rocky V as an actual "Rocky" movie). Thank heavens the next Rocky movie was so cool.
Do I really need to spell this one out for you? The first Jaws movie is one of the best horror films ever made. I also believe that every single sequel should have changed its name because they don't deserve to have the name of Jaws. However, at least the second one still had Roy Scheider in it, and at least it still dealt with Amity island and somewhat related to the first movie. By the time we got to number III, we've moved to an amusement park in Florida. I think the writers knew that this one was going to be a stinker, so they made it 3-D to seem cooler than it actually was. They'd obviously run out of other ideas.
High School Musical 3
I haven't actually seen this one, but my nieces tell me that this isn't as good as the first two and I trust them.
Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines
The first Terminator movie was a spectacular horror film. Terminator 2 was an awesome action film. The only thing that Terminator 3 had going for it was a hot female lead (no, I'm not talking about Claire Danes, I'm never talking about Claire Danes). This movie was so bad that the new Terminator movie completely ignored that the third one had ever been made. They even named it Terminator Salvation because it was trying to save the franchise from the damage done by T3.
I still don't know how it's possible to make a movie with Venom as the villain and have it be horrible. In fact, the whole Peter Parker vs. Eddie Brock storyline in this film was actually watchable. But when I saw "Dark Peter" emerge and quickly turn this superhero movie into a musical, I knew the filmmakers were out of ideas. Bad move, Spider-Man franchise, bad move. Superheroes should NOT sing and dance. . .ever.
The Superman films, though cheesy, were a delight to watch. The first one introduced us to Christopher Reeve as the Man of Steel. Superman II gave us General Zod and the Phantom Zone (plus, it made me scared to death of Niagara Falls, as a kid). In Superman III I guess they felt that they needed some comic relief to balance out Kal-El's seriousness (what? Jimmy Olsen wasn't enough?) so they brought in Richard Pryor, who. . .didn't do much in this film. Yes, this film gave us synthetic kryptonite and the cool fight between Clark Kent and Superman. Yes, this film also gave us a terrifying robot lady (she still scares me to this day). However, when the bad guy in your film is using a weather satellite to CONTROL the weather, you know it's time to hang up the tights.
Shrek the Third
Yes, this "3" title counts. I wasn't too impressed with the first Shrek movie, but at least it was original. Shrek 2, I feel, was funnier and more clever and I would even consider owning that member of the franchise. But I fell asleep mid-way through this third one, so it can't be that good.
The first Scream film was a clever satire on the horror film industry. The second one, though not as good, was mocking horror sequels in general. By the time they got to the third movie, however, the franchise had become the very kind of film they'd been making fun of. You can also tell that the actors who reappeared in this film didn't really want to be there, even the dead ones.
The Godfather: Part III
Everyone knows that The Godfather is one of the most critically acclaimed films of all time. The Godfather II is sometimes said to be better than the original. In fact, this is one of the FEW times when you CAN actually argue that a sequel is better than first movie. But you may also notice that no one seems to include The Godfather III in this argument. This red-headed stepchild of the Corleone family failed at the box office and failed to win over critics. Many people have their theories as to why this film didn't work, but me? I blame Sofia Coppolla.
Home Alone 3
The first two movies are practically the same movie, and we, as an audience, were okay with that. We accepted the fact that Macaulay Culkin could outsmart Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern both in Chicago AND in New York. But another kid that is wise in the ways of booby traps? Psssh! Surely you jest. Here's another angle to ponder: in the first movie the villains were simple house burglars, in the second movie, the same burglars were out for revenge, in the third movie it's a matter of national security when a group of thieves steal a "valuable missile cloaking computer chip for a North Korean terrorist group." Baby steps, filmmakers. Baby steps.
I guess this one should be called "Alien Cubed," technically, since the three is small in the title. Alien = horrifying. I mean, who can forget that iconic popping-out-of-the-chest scene. Aliens is equally as scary, especially since they throw a little kid into the mix. And while Alien Cubed made a pretty cool Sega Genesis Game, it did not work as a movie. I will always be scared of those face-huggers, but I am even more terrified of the crappy writing of this horrible movie.
Rush Hour 3
The "gimmick" of this movie got old in the second Rush Hour installment. This one was just overkill.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III
Ok, none of these TMNT films are award-winning, but, as a kid, they were pretty fun to watch. It was cool to see our heroes in live-action. The second movie even gave us Vanilla Ice doing the Ninja Rap and you know you can't resist dancing along with that catchy tune. But while we were able to suspend our disbelief that these turtles (and the rat) mutated into crime-fighters, the concept of them traveling through time in the third movie was a bit much, even for me.
Jurassic Park III
I actually had a friend remind me of this one since I had, apparently, blocked it from memory. The first film of this franchise changed CGI as we know it. Those dinosaurs still look good, even today. The second film wasn't that good, but at least it brought the dinosaurs to a new setting. In Jurassic Park III, however (even though it includes parts from the first Jurassic Park book), features a terrible story. I mean, we're supposed to believe that a spunky little kid survived on his own on an island full of killer dinosaurs? And, I'm sorry, but I will NEVER forgive them for showing us a talking raptor, even if it was only a dream.
Other bad "threequels" could include Nightmare on Elm Street III, Rambo III, Friday the 13th: Part III, and Spy Kids 3-D. All inferior to their counterparts, most not worth talking about.
"But, The Former 786," you may say, "There are good '3' movies out there like Mission: Impossible III!" Well, I do acknowledge that there are some (but very few) exceptions to this theory. This also explains why sometimes a sequel doesn't have to say "3" and it will still stink (Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End, anyone?? BLAH!). That is why this is only a theory - a word of caution, if you will.
So now, faithful readers, you may know that when the movie makers put a "3" in the title of the movie sequel you're going to see, you can, at least, have lowered expectations and may not be as disappointed.
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