The Engineer’s Room: Better than the Original

With the release of EIDR 2.5 on April 25, our thoughts turn to other sequels that are better than the original. While EIDR 2.5 is faster, easier to use, and more accessible than its predecessor, it’s not as often the case that a movie sequel is an improvement. The temptation to “cash in” on a prior success by looking for a “winning formula” can lead to works best described as “ill advised.” So even more credit goes to those thoughtful filmmakers who apply their creativity to expanding their established worlds while breathing new life into their characters and giving them fresh challenges to face.

Various people have turned their attention to the very important task of determining which sequels are better than their originals, given that the original had to be good enough to warrant a sequel in the first place. Such lists are available from Time, The Independent , and Twitter[1]. There are also poll-driven lists from IMDb (viewers) and Rotten Tomatoes (critics via a ranking of most improved Tomatometer scores). If you find yourself with time on your hands and access to a video streaming service or two, you might want to program your own sequel movie festival, first watching the original and then the sequel to see if you agree that the one is a significant improvement on the other.

There may be the occasional entry in this list where the cultural and critical redeeming values of the original were so low that the sequel did not have to stretch far to surpass its predecessor (I’m looking at you Fast Five), but I suggest you start your sequelic[2] quest by taking a page from film critic Gary Franklin’s book. He popularized “the Franklin scale of 1 to 10, 10 being best” with his movie reviews that appeared on KABC-TV in Los Angeles during the late 1980s. But more importantly, he’d didn’t just judge everything he reviewed based on what he liked. If he was reviewing a vacuous teen comedy, he rated the film based on how well it succeeded as a vacuous teen comedy, not whether or not it was high art.

So, perhaps I’m being too hard on Fast Five and I should give The Fast and the Furious a fresh look with an open mind. I mean, just because any self-respecting criminal enterprise that ends in a high speed car chase has actually failed in its primary purpose doesn’t mean that undercover LAPD officer Brian and street racing/criminal gang member Mia can’t find love and that whether or not you arrest the mastermind of a hijacking ring really is a decision best decided by a drag race. Then again, I stand by my original assessment.

As you have come to expect, all the films on this list are registered in EIDR. To find out more about them, follow the links below to the EIDR Web UI and then explore the myriad Alternate IDs associated with the EIDR records. While you’re at it, you might try registering some new records so you can fully appreciate the accomplishments of the new EIDR 2.5 de-duplication service, especially given the very high bar it had to cross that was established over the past 10 years by the original EIDR de-duplication service, in successful use since EIDR 1.0 was launched in late 2010. So, kudos to the EIDR original, now let’s all enjoy the EIDR sequel.

Sequels that are Better than the Original

Title Year EIDR ID
49 Up 2006 10.5240/052F-48F4-D751-2738-CB75-M
A Shot in the Dark 1964 10.5240/5DBD-0FDE-5048-4583-2597-M
Aliens 1986 10.5240/52D5-69C2-9DCD-AF72-E8CD-S
Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans 2009 10.5240/D891-AB20-998A-D5A2-0F02-L
Baisers Voles (Stolen Kisses) 1968 10.5240/367C-7EA7-C305-A3C7-C96F-2
Batman Returns 1992 10.5240/CDA3-6A33-E7D0-ED42-1509-Q
Before Midnight 2013 10.5240/8C7E-E8A7-943A-8273-83F0-F
Before Sunset 2004 10.5240/223F-D1E8-3E91-66E4-9BAB-F
Blade II 2002 10.5240/ACF4-27D2-AAC0-FB0C-68C3-2
Blade Runner 2049 2017 10.5240/621E-22BD-A148-54E5-C33F-B
Captain America: The Winter Soldier 2014 10.5240/0878-72B7-8A46-81A8-267E-1
Dawn of the Dead 1979 10.5240/2A83-1326-9730-0514-2432-F
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes 2014 10.5240/D807-F437-FE0B-26FE-8FAD-L
Desperado 1995 10.5240/B1B3-F175-EECC-8348-BE7C-T
Evil Dead 2: Dead by Dawn (Evil Dead II) 1987 10.5240/78A9-FAAC-1C10-BDE7-84D2-U
Fa yeung nin wa (In the Mood for Love) 2000 10.5240/82EE-F735-9E22-2093-12B0-U
Fast Five 2011 10.5240/DBB9-9195-EE5A-1F5C-26A3-9
Final Destination 2 2003 10.5240/690E-D2D5-2122-EF1B-813E-L
Flirting 1992 10.5240/4DC5-8CBC-C287-67BA-31B0-O
Friday the 13th Part 2 1981 10.5240/D985-A3CE-ED98-FCF4-1585-S
From Russia with Love 1964 10.5240/5792-F0FA-2351-5014-8A51-O
Ging chat goo si 3: Chiu kup ging chat (Supercop) 1992 10.5240/A403-FF36-C5E0-B83C-3918-D
Goldfinger 1964 10.5240/AD72-F356-90A8-299A-9E59-S
Gremlins 2: The New Batch (Gremlins 2) 1990 10.5240/CBC0-E4EC-81F2-B654-A92C-H
Hak se wui yi wo wai kwai (Triad Election) 2007 10.5240/F1AE-B367-02F7-EF41-616A-J
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2 2011 10.5240/ADDE-F7F3-7B23-7D0E-E205-H
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire 2005 10.5240/B7E2-E100-0099-C7FB-B973-J
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince 2009 10.5240/5129-BBC8-F2C4-0FB8-5695-2
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azhaban 2004 10.5240/3031-1E2A-41A9-FEA0-20A8-H
Hellboy II: The Golden Army 2008 10.5240/A9A7-F059-CEBC-6A5E-0362-8
How to Train Your Dragon 2 2014 10.5240/2305-78F2-2A5F-841D-AB9F-F
Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade 1989 10.5240/A8E8-0CD7-F5A6-8C8C-B351-S
Jui kuen II (The Legend of the Drunken Master) 1994 10.5240/8637-2BBC-52AE-0CC4-5BE6-0
Kill Bill: Volume 2 2004 10.5240/9E4E-3909-C6A2-D8D9-4C33-R
Lethal Weapon 2 1989 10.5240/19CB-6C75-D68A-E3D5-1F89-U
Letters from Iwo Jima 2006 10.5240/E727-9E32-70E3-6E4F-AF3B-H
Logan 2017 10.5240/AF09-56AB-4D75-99E4-E251-K
Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior 1982 10.5240/9D03-B6DD-E582-3872-954D-T
Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome 1985 10.5240/0EF4-3D20-2179-700E-1850-A
Mad Max: Fury Road 2015 10.5240/6781-B329-A035-E4E3-7535-M
Magnum Force 1973 10.5240/9D8E-2F5F-27A2-7F0E-BF3B-Q
Mission: Impossible – Fallout 2018 10.5240/4040-112E-8DBA-08E6-0BAC-K
Mission: Impossible Ghost Protocol 2011 10.5240/84B6-4707-58AE-D1FA-BCFC-J
National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation 1989 10.5240/D052-43C7-AAAE-ADE5-2B15-Q
Paddington 2 2017 10.5240/6154-3D2B-56C7-FF40-F148-K
Per Qualche Dollaro in Piu (For a Few Dollars More) 1965 10.5240/5C93-6471-901D-1B40-836D-B
Saraband 2003 10.5240/A09B-F085-DB1B-D0C2-8B5E-0
Shrek 2 2004 10.5240/2E41-EA08-2AD4-8DBD-0872-1
Silence of the Lambs 1991 10.5240/9A23-263F-7817-8874-7D54-V
Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan 1982 10.5240/B960-DFEA-20F7-C28F-3960-L
Star Trek: First Contact 1996 10.5240/AC94-2612-0E58-BD13-6A5A-0
Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith 2005 10.5240/0C6B-73A7-3D92-3950-76BD-Q
Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back 1980 10.5240/0728-15BC-4706-83CB-7D55-W
Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi 1983 10.5240/2BC3-32F8-A5E2-969E-0368-2
Super-Man 2 2004 10.5240/0B99-F01B-5172-2074-BE5F-M
Superman II 1981 10.5240/3C4F-2779-9FE7-9004-CE45-0
Terminator 2: Judgment Day 1991 10.5240/8E11-8334-FCA6-D475-7AD3-G
The Bourne Supremacy 2004 10.5240/3C87-1CD8-2230-DCFF-E9D7-J
The Bourne Ultimatum 2007 10.5240/ECF9-4D19-B672-0ED4-D8BC-I
The Bride of Frankenstein 1935 10.5240/AD91-77F6-7587-BDFC-274C-J
The Color of Money 1986 10.5240/2F51-8759-B5A0-C98A-B77E-8
The Curse of the Cat People 1945 10.5240/AAF6-7F2E-3188-8FBA-9D67-9
The Dark Knight 2008 10.5240/1C28-8452-F625-76FC-3797-M
The Dark Knight Rises 2012 10.5240/1A47-15ED-0073-50F7-78DF-Y
The Godfather, Part II 1974 10.5240/2331-775F-399A-937C-54C2-0
The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly 1966 10.5240/D6B6-AB10-EFEB-7528-9A7D-X
The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King 2003 10.5240/B07E-E305-8057-CD37-0887-E
The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers 2002 10.5240/598E-D2AE-1B7D-67EB-3F75-6
The World of Apu 1960 10.5240/DB71-22BD-862B-CCF2-F31B-M
Thor: Ragnarok 2017 10.5240/C8CF-28A3-347E-307F-DFDC-2
Thunderball 1965 10.5240/E046-36C7-CCEF-65CB-AC42-Y
Toy Story 2 1999 10.5240/794C-5D8A-229E-3870-2447-4
Toy Story 3 2010 10.5240/926E-5F55-39C5-5F74-D41E-O
Trois Couleurs: Blanc (Three Colors: White) 1994 10.5240/6DBF-1106-494A-B085-D34C-4
Trois Couleurs: Rouge (Three Colors: Red) 1964 10.5240/2E4F-381C-DCD8-D9E6-17D0-6
Tsubaki Sanjuro (Sanjuro) 1963 10.5240/84CB-9076-E331-2586-E103-S
X2: X-Men United 2003 10.5240/01C0-D23A-AA79-13C1-8561-N
Xiao ao jiang hu: dong fang bu bai (Swordsman II) 1992 10.5240/F159-6550-0F77-866B-954A-W


[1] Well, director James Gunn posting via Twitter, so with more authority than your average conspiracy theory tweet.

[2] Sequelous? Sequelary? Sequelish? Is there a generally accepted adjective form of “sequel?”