Has there ever been a greater mystery than the economic platform of the straight-to-video sequel? Who are the people buying these films? What do they possibly get out of them? Do the people making them cry themselves to sleep at night? Or is it all just an elaborate joke on the part of Hollywood that got way out of hand?
I don't have the answers to these questions, but what I do have is a big ol' pile of childhood-destroying, franchise-ruining cinema that I have never and will never watch. Enjoy.
Land Before Time XIII: The Wisdom of Friends
Have you ever asked yourself "What happened to Cuba Gooding Jr? He used to be a big deal!" Well wonder no longer, dear reader, because in 2007 Cuba Gooding Jr starred in The Wisdom of Friends, the THIRTEENTH instalment in the Land Before Time series. Yes, a full thirteen films have been made chronicling the adventures of Littlefoot, Ducky and a bunch of other dimly remembered characters from your childhood, and the most recent and final one featured Cuba Gooding Jr attempting to pay off his gambling debts. At least they haven't let the production values dip across those last twenty years.
I think my favourite thing about this film – besides "everything" – is the fact that it came out before Clive Palmer announced his own plans for a Titanic II. One can only hope that Clive's ship offers as much excitement as this one.
Following the death of her brother, Donnie, at the hands of a hungry, hungry wormhole/destiny/probabilistic indeterminacy/a psychotic man-rabbit, Samantha Darko embarks on a road trip with a friend and then "Holy shit! No way!" gets trapped in her own glitch in the time-space continuum. Arriving 8 years after the first film's brief dominance over the pop cultural landscape, this too seems to have sprung from a glitch in the time-space continuum, albeit one where the dead are made to walk again, but it's not scary, it's just really sad and uncomfortable.
Ace Ventura: Pet Detective, Jr.
Take Jim Carrey's most annoying traits, double them and give them to an overweight pre-teen. How could it not work?!
Cinderella 2: Dreams Come True
A film which has been deliberately scripted to feature zero dramatic tension so that the animators at Disney could unironically depict what happens when someone lives happily ever after and thereby corrupt another generation of young girls. See also Cinderella 3: Twist in Time, an actual time travel adventure set in the Cinderella universe. S. Darko eat your heart out.
American Psycho 2: All American Girl
They advertised this film with the line "Angrier, deadlier and sexier than ever before", which suggests that the writers hadn't quite come to grips with the dominant themes of the first movie. Stars the tattered remnants of Mila Kunis' career as well as William Shatner, for some reason. Directed by Morgan J. Freeman, which makes me really hope Morgan Freeman actually did direct it as some sort of practical joke on the world.
Home Alone 4: Taking Back the House
While there are in fact 5 films in the Home Alone franchise, this is the only one of the later films to centre on the much loved McCallister family, or rather the much loved McCallister family's cut-rate, non-union equivalents.
The poster promised "Bigger house. Badder baddies. Bigger and better laughs", which should have been enough to see it hauled in front of a judge for misleading and deceptive conduct. Snark notwithstanding, you'll be pleased to know there are at least two nutshots in this 30 second trailer alone! Kevin's still got it!
Aladdin 3: Aladdin and the King of Thieves
Celebrate Robin William's incredible comedic legacy with this, the third chapter in the Aladdin series. Or, alternatively, don't!
Mighty Ducks The Movie: The First Face-Off
It only took four films for the Mighty Ducks franchise to jump the shark so comprehensively that it had morphed into an animated cartoon set on an icy planet called Puckworld where duck-like robo-aliens live and die by the law of ice hockey. They of course come to Anaheim and start an ice hockey team while simultaneously protecting the Earth from the evil Saurians. Most notable feature is a character named Duke L'Orange. Emilio Estevez does not star.
Charlotte's Web 2: Wilbur's Great Adventure
Well, you have to admire the dedication of any animation team who is unwilling to let the death of the title character kill off the franchise. Other than that, this just turns the well-meaning, if somewhat simpleminded pig of the original into the title character and has him act as mentor to whole bunch of similarly hapless, milksop farm inhabitants in a story with all the potency of a warm bath. Charlotte remains dead throughout and nobody evinces any real awareness that she's gone. And that, children, is what it means to grow old and die.
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