Top 10 movie prequels of all time

You don’t have to go see Oz the Great and Powerful to know that prequels have a bad reputation (thanks, George Lucas). All too often they’re just pointless back-filler, explaining away things no-one cares about and bringing dead characters back to life for the sake of a cheap cash-in. But if getting there really is half the fun, surely movies about the getting there should be at least half as fun as the original? Sure, prequels like Prometheus and Star Wars Episode One: The Phantom Menace and Alien vs Predator and Butch and Sundance: The Early Days and Hellraiser: Bloodline and Dumb and Dumberer: When Harry Met Lloyd and The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas and The First 9½ Weeks and Carlito's Way: Rise to Power and Care Bears Movie II: A New Generation are crap. But are there ten prequels out there that are actually good?

10. Missing In Action 2


The Beginning. While the first Missing in Action was all about Chuck Norris going into 1980s Vietnam to recover US prisoners of war still being held by the evil communists, this prequel explained how he knew there were still POWs there to rescue; because he was one of them! Unlike the wussbags in the first film though, Chuck busted out all on his own then went back to kill everyone in a movie that not only preceded Rambo: First Blood part 2, but out-awesomed it in just about every way. For example, to kill Norris the evil Viet Cong hang him upside down from the roof, then put a sack with a starving rat in it over his head. Cue thrashing around before Chuck goes still as the sack starts dripping blood. The laughing bad guys pull off the sack, and who’s hanging there calmly chewing on a dead rat? Senor Norris.

9. Batman Begins

Okay, here’s a question: what’s the difference between a prequel and a reboot? After all, Batman had been played on the big screen by other actors before and no-one considered Joel Schumacher taking over from Tim Burton a reboot. Realistically, story-wise Christopher Nolan’s first Batman film wasn’t even all that much darker than Tim Burton’s first Batman film – that “stop the high speed train” chase at the end could almost have come out of one of the Schumacher films. So it’s probably fair to say that if Nolan’s take on Batman hadn’t clicked this would have been seen as a prequel; as it did, it’s seen as a reboot. Everywhere, that is, but this list. Hey, it takes place before the earlier Batman films: there’s still time for a (terrible, terrible) film to explain that after the Christian Bale version of Bruce Wayne quit the George Clooney version took his place.

8. The Scorpion King

While the Mummy films were a cross between gibberish and garbage (gibberbage?), this sword-and-sandals prequel explaining how Mummy 2 bad guy The Scorpion King (Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson) got to be such a badass (“I’ve come for the woman. And your head”) is a lot of fun. Sure, it makes no sense whatsoever as far as explaining how an average good guy-style badass somehow became a super villain with magic powers, but here’s the important thing: it’s not a Mummy movie.

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5 comments so far..

  • SoapboxJoe's avatar
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    SoapboxJoe
    Date and time
    Tuesday 05 Mar 2013 - 1:13 PM
    James Bond supervillain shenanigans, clumsy but still through-provoking Civil Rights parallels and January Jones in a superhero costume that’s just lingerie and you have an X-Men movie a whole lot better than that one where it just went from day to night in the middle of the final battle with no explanation whatsoever.

    Now that would be thought provoking.
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  • Tombra's avatar
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    Tombra
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    Tuesday 05 Mar 2013 - 5:09 PM
    Temple of Doom?
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  • AnthonyMorris's avatar
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    AnthonyMorris
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    Tuesday 05 Mar 2013 - 5:52 PM
    Much as Temple of Doom is a step up from The Crystal Skull, it's a pretty big step down from Raiders. I tried to stick to prequels that at least kept the quality of the previous installments going. Which doesn't explain why I didn't mention Final Destination 5 or Paranormal Activity 3.
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  • Jon23's avatar
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    Jon23
    Date and time
    Wednesday 06 Mar 2013 - 10:11 AM
    The Dollars Trilogy was actually never intended to be a trilogy by writer/director Sergio Leone (and I would tend to go with what he says since he did write and direct them all), although fans have chosen to interpret it as one. How else do you explain, for example, that Lee Van Cleef plays entirely different characters in the films? It's just something marketers picked up on and ran with. Of course there's nothing wrong in seeing them that way. And a bit of trivia: Eastwood is actually given a different moniker in each film (Joe, Manco and Blondie), but of course the latter two are clearly nicknames given him by others.
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  • AnthonyMorris's avatar
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    AnthonyMorris
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    Wednesday 06 Mar 2013 - 1:11 PM
    I just wish they'd made the Eastwood-free (well, it was about his character, he just never appeared on screen) sequel where Lee Van Cleef would play the identical twin brother of his Ugly character.
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