“RISE OF THE APES (tentative title),” boasts a press release from 20th Century Fox, “is an origin story in the truest sense of the term. Set in present day San Francisco, the film is a reality-based cautionary tale, a science fiction/science fact blend, where man’s own experiments with genetic engineering lead to the development of intelligence in apes and the onset of a war for supremacy.”
The fascination that major studios have in revisiting old properties is unending. It’s so easy to rally a crowd regarding the lack of original films these days, but it’s true and it’s wholly depressing – if something doesn’t already have an in-built audience, it seems, it’s just not happening. Unless your name is Christopher Nolan. With that in mind, here’s a few other recent or soon-to-be-released prequels that just aren’t necessary.
Untitled Alien Prequel
Ridley Scott may very well be making the biggest mistake of his career by returning to one of his most popular films, over thirty years on. Scott himself has made a few howlers over the years as well, but its the validity of releases such as Alien that have allowed him to maintain such a high standing in film, so returning to them is an odd decision to say the least. Added to the fact that we don’t need any backstory before the film – explaining everything rarely works well.
Underworld: Rise Of The Lycans
Essentially, it’s that bit in Underworld that explains Lucian’s backstory, pulled from the film and expanded to an hour and a half. It adds nothing to the franchise as a whole, really, and while it’s not entirely unenjoyable as a film, you can’t help but feel as if you’re being played for your spondoolies when you watch it. A prequel is meant to add important contextual material to the film its retroactively preceding, meant to allow you to see that film in a new light. This doesn’t do that.
Untitled The Thing Prequel
Originally written by Ronald D Moore, which might have given this project a shred of much-needed credibility, the story was worked over by Eric Heisserer (who also wrote the Nightmare On Elm Street remake, and we all saw how well that turned out) and chose to shoot in Toronto rather than anywhere remotely arctic in environment. More to the point though, it seems to suffer from the problem of many prequels, and focuses on a side aspect of the original story that we already know the conclusion to. In other words, totally pointless.
Possible District 9 Prequel
Ignoring the fact that we weren’t as rabidly enthused about District 9 as most of you seemed to be, the idea of a prequel rather than a sequel seems odd to say the least. Again, there’s very little ground to cover that wasn’t adequately explained in the film as it is, and the story is left so open at the end that there is actually room to expand and progress it. Mind you, nothing about what’s happening with District 9 is certain right now, and both Sharlto Copley and Neill Blomkamp have a large list of commitments between them.