Truth In Advertising?

I inadvertently saw a commercial for Without a Paddle: Nature Calling, which was apparently released on DVD last week. It was news to me, but anything about this movie would be because I would never advertently try to gain any info on this movie. It must be a sequel to the Seth Green/Matthew Lillard/Dax Shepard barnburner Without a Paddle.

Ordinarily seeing a commercial for a sequel I would never see to a movie I never saw and have no plans to see would cause my brain to engage boob tube zombie mode where the images hit my eyeballs but fail to leave a lasting impression on my cerebral cortex. Unfortunately something caught my attention and now, for better or worse but most likely worse, I’ll forever have a part of my brain dedicated to Without a Paddle: Nature Calling.

So what was so incredible that it could break through my zombie-like state and make me stop drooling? Well someone at Paramount Pictures found it prudent to advertise that the movie was “funnier” and “better” than the original. I found it a very bold statement to claim a direct-to-video sequel was better than the theatrically released original. It’s not a statement that would get me to see either Without a Paddle movie primarily because if Nature Calling looked so ridiculously awful, there’s no way in hell I’m seeing a movie that’s acknowledged to be worse.

It did get me thinking, though. When would I be prompted to see a sequel only if it is advertised as being better than the original? Any one-off movie could get a sequel, so pondering the question is futile in that context, but what about movies that have already had sequels?

If this is now an accepted marketing technique in Hollywood, these are some of the movie franchises that are dead to me until the studio is willing to advertise that the new installment is better than the original:

Star Wars- If the next Star Wars movie ever comes around, unless it’s advertised as being better than the original Star Wars (do I really need to refer to it as Episode IV?), I’ll not see another. Honestly though, I can see this being done. Once George Lucas has completed creating all the symbols for all the alien languages in the Star Wars universe, I can see him exclaiming the next installment as the best ever because finally (FINALLY!) all the text that appears in the movie will be done in the proper language.

Indiana Jones- Kingdom of the Crystal Crap killed Indiana Jones as far as I’m concerned. In fact it might even take an apology to get me to see the next one.

Halloween- This franchise was run into the dirt long before Rob Zombie got a hold of it. The quality of the sequels diminished to the point that I no longer find William Shatner masks scary.

Jurassic Park- Hasn’t this idea run it’s course? The first one was a good idea, but the second and third installments were a little forced. At what point does it go from a cautionary tale of science run amok to just a movie about people getting chased by dinosaurs?

Pirates of the Caribbean- Part four is in the works. The first one was alright, if overlong. The second one was okay, but it was quite full of itself. For the third one, they seemed to take the oddest storyline anyone could think of and ramp it up to the nth degree. Really, where does it go from there? If it doesn’t go somewhere that makes Disney laud it as better than the original, I won’t bother tagging along.

The Ring- Despite it’s glorified chain letter story, The Ring was a pretty effective movie. Much like Pirates of the Caribbean, the sequel was too self-absorbed. Unless the third installment promises to outclass the first, and contains no random deer attacks, I’ll pass.

Spider-Man- I’ve got no real affinity for comic books, but Spider-Man was a decent enough movie. Since then the movies have just become more generic and I honestly couldn’t care less what happens to any of these characters. The only parts of Spider-Man 3 I enjoyed were the much reviled ‘emo’ Peter Parker scenes because that seemed like the only time Sam Raimi was really trying.

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