The Hangover Part II opens today, part of this summer’s endless parade of sequels — though, as we mentioned yesterday, this one is less a sequel than a scene-by-scene remake, following the structural format of the original Hangover as closely as possible without literally re-enacting it in Bangkok. Presumably, director Todd Phillips was just playing it safe. Not all filmmakers make that choice — and many don’t really have that choice, due to actors and other creative personnel who aren’t contractually obligated (as the Hangover boys were) to return. After the jump, we’ll take a look at ten movie sequels that were a little bit less conventional.
1988’s A Fish Called Wanda was a giant international hit, reigniting the career of writer/star John Cleese, winning an Oscar for co-star Kevin Kline, and firmly establishing Jamie Lee Curtis as one of the sexiest women in cinema. Those three, and their co-star Michael Palin, had such a good time making the original that they wanted badly to re-team, but Cleese was afraid of the enormously high expectations that a Wanda sequel would come with. As a kind of compromise, he wrote Fierce Creatures, a kind of sequel that’s not a sequel: it had leading roles for the quartet, similar to their Wanda characters, but with different names and relationships in a different setting. There were occasional references to the earlier film, down to Cleese’s Rollo accidentally calling Curtis’s Willa “Wanda” in the final scene. Though Cleese’s ingenuity and disinterest in repetition is admirable, and Fierce Creatures is a charming though uneven effort, it was neither a critical nor box office hit when it was released in 1997.