9 Useless Things Movie Prequels Taught Us

From prequels to flashbacks to remakes, sometimes there is such a thing as TMI.
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From prequels to flashbacks to remakes, sometimes there is such a thing as TMI.
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The movie prequel, the reimagining, the requel, the premake, or whatever other bastardization of the concept you can think of needs to take a collective breather. It used to be that only the obsessive compulsive would attempt to unearth trivial minutiae such as how the toilets on the Enterprise worked or if Chewbacca could speak English but was just being a dick about it. Now, those ideas are the basis for entire movies. There is such a thing as too much information, and here are things we learned that we never wanted or needed to ever know.

9. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning

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Photo: New Line Cinema / Everett Collection | Licensed to Alpha Media Group 2012

First off, this movie covers Leatherface’s “origin” during the opening credits. Hey, did you think he was just a hulking simpleton who worked in a slaughterhouse all these years? Turns out…you were right. That’s pretty much it. Now let’s spend the rest of the movie explaining how that legless dude from the first movie lost his legs! Won’t that be fun? Spoiler: It involves a chainsaw. Thanks, movie.  Nice to see a two-hour script banged out based entirely on everything we assumed while watching the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre.

Lesson Learned: Leatherface isn’t smart.

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8. X-Men Origins: Wolverine

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Photo: James Fisher / Twentieth Century Fox | Licensed to Alpha Media Group 2012

With a backstory as convoluted as Wolverine’s, you’d think this movie would be chock full of cool and interesting information that would deepen your appreciation for this enigmatic character. Sorry, the movie is too interested in explaining how he got his motorcycle jacket. Really? Is that what they think people have been obsessing over since the first X-Men?  “So that one mutant is practically ageless and intensely violent and a sad loner? I simply must know more about his cool jacket! He got it from a kindly farmer you say? Fascinating!”

Lesson Learned: Jackets are neat.

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7. The Thing (2011)

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Photo: Universal Pictures | Licensed to Alpha Media Group 2012

Remember at the start of John Carpenter’s “The Thing,” where you learned that before taking on MacReady and his crew, the alien attacked a Norwegian base camp and killed everyone? Turns out…that did happen! Just like, you know, the original movie told you. But instead of taking 3 minutes to tell you that, this remakequel took 2 hours! Progress!

Lesson Learned:  The first movie wasn’t lying.

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6. Halloween (2007)

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Photo: Dimension Films | Licensed to Alpha Media Group 2012

Not a prequel per se, but Rob Zombie’s remake did decide to go back and attempt an origin story for Michael Myers that not only misses the point so severely you wonder if Zombie has ever seen the original Halloween, it actually has a scene were you see Michael acquire HIS BLUE COVERALLS! Wow, just…wow. Finally, we can rest easy at night, because for years we imagined Michael stopping by an Army surplus story and shopping for coveralls. A naked guy in a white mask asking if these come in “husky”?  Awkward! Thanks, Rob, for clearing that up.

Lesson Learned: Mike gets dressed.

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5. Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade

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Photo: Paramount Pictures | Licensed to Alpha Media Group 2012

Again, this qualifies as “flashback” and not full-on prequel, and it’s not even all that bad. River Phoenix is a great young Indy, and it’s actually a fun start to the movie. But was anyone really lying awake at night wondering how Indiana Jones got his hat? Why does every article of clothing have to have its own origin story? ‘Indiana Jones and the Search for the Right Boots that Offer Style and Comfort!” It’s a hat. We can assume he found it or bought it or won it in a bet with a hobo. Who fucking cares?

Lesson Learned:  More secrets of the mysterious clothes revealed.

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4. Hannibal Rising

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Photo: The Weinstein Company | Licensed to Alpha Media Group 2012

Again, the biggest sin of the prequel is taking mundane things and trying to paste on some kind of deeper spiritual significance to it as an excuse to beat a dead cinematic horse. Take, for example, the “no biting” mask they slap on Hannibal Lecter in The Silence of the Lambs. It’s safe to assume that, since they weren’t in the habit of taking Hannibal out for long walks, that the scene where he meets the kidnapped girl’s mom was the first time Hannibal ever wore the thing. Fine. What’s that you say, Hannibal Rising? When he was a kid some Asian woman gave him a Kabuki mask that LOOKED JUST LIKE IT? Whoa. Deep, man. It was like he KNEW he was someday going to be imprisoned and then asked to help out in a kidnapping investigation that would require him to be moved from his prison cell so he could talk to the mother of the kidnapped girl without biting her. Heavy, man. Oh, and Lector was a cannibal because of Nazis. Is there anything they can’t do?

Lesson Learned: The mask is a more developed character than Hannibal.

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3. Carlito’s Way: Rise to Power

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Photo: Rogue Pictures | Licensed to Alpha Media Group 2012

Long before Benny Blanco from the Bronx and the Taglialucci family, there was Hollywood Nicky and the Bottolotta family, proving that Carlito’s entire life was….oh, hell, who are we kidding? The only thing this movie proved was that as long as they keep making Carlito movies than Luis Guzman will never, ever be out of work.

Lesson Learned: Our DVD player will play anything.

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2. Rise of the Planet of the Apes

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Photo: Twentieth Century Fox / Everett Collection | Licensed to Alpha Media Group 2012

You can call this a “reimagining” if you want to, but prequels and whatnot are supposed to enhance whatever it was you enjoyed about the originals. So what does “Rise” do? It takes one of the most iconic scenes in movie history and ruins it. Remember? Charlton Heston on the beach? Dropping to his knees under the weight of the realization that he had been on nuclear-war-ravaged earth the whole time? Well, according to this version, mankind isn’t wiped out by nukes, they are wiped out and the apes left to rule because of a virus. More specifically, because one asshole neighbor got the bug and traveled the world spreading it around. “You maniacs! You didn’t wash your hands after blowing your nose! Damn you! Damn you all to hell!”

Lesson Learned:  The Statue of Liberty gets the flu.

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1. Everything in the “Star Wars” Prequels

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Photo: Twentieth Century Fox | Licensed to Alpha Media Group 2012

Three entire movies built around information you neither wanted nor needed. It’s almost impressive, actually. So let’s run it down – deep breath – The Force is a blood virus? Darth Vader built C-3PO? Chewbacca knew Yoda? Emperor Palpatine wasn’t old, he was just Force-lightening into looking like an old witch?  Anakin’s mom was raped by Sandpeople? Boba Fett is a clone with daddy issues? All the Stormtroopers are all one Australian dude? You can die from sadness? And the….and what about the…but why…?

Lesson Learned:  George Lucas let a group of caffeinated 7-year-olds write his movies.

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