It has been 13 years since “Finding Nemo.” That’s a lot of water under the sea, but incredibly, there are sequels that took even longer to get to the screen (but often with diminishing returns).
Sixteen years elapsed between “The Godfather II” and “The Godfather III.” The resolution of the Michael Corleone family saga is remembered mainly for one line: “Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in.” It is remembered less fondly for the casting of Sofia Coppola as Michael’s daughter and for not spending the money to bring back Robert Duvall (tanned though he may be, George Hamilton was a pale substitute). The Washington Post put a hit on the film, calling it not just a disappointment, but “a failure of heartbreaking proportions.”
An even bigger disappointment was “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull,” which came to the screen 16 years after “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.” That film had rescued the franchise following the grim “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom” and would have made a fine capper to the trilogy. But just when you think you’re out….
Some sequels make audiences wait decades to see what classic characters are up to. Twenty-three years after “Psycho,” “Psycho II” released Norman Bates from the mental institution and brought him back to the Bates Motel, where the past returns to haunt him. Martin Scorcese’s “The Color of Money” picked up the story of pool shark “Fast” Eddie Felson, one of Paul Newman’s most iconic characters, introduced in “The Hustler” a quarter century earlier. In this sequel, he takes young flake Tom Cruise under his wing.
The mentor relationship was not as successful for Michael Douglas, reprising his Oscar-winning role as Gordon “Greed is Good” Gekko, and Shia LaBeouf in Oliver Stone’s “Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps,” which came out 23 years after the zeitgeist-defining original.
Did the world need a sequel to Disney’s “Tron,” unappreciated on its initial release save for its pioneering computer animation? It got one, “Tron: Legacy,” 28 years later. But Disney more than doubled that time span with “Fantasia 2000,” which came out 59 years after the original. This was a far cry from Walt Disney’s original vision of releasing the animated anthology on an annual basis with new classical-scored segments.
This year did not bring delayed gratification for fans of “Zoolander” and “My Big Fat Greek Wedding.” The sequels to these films, released 14 years and 13 years, respectively, after the originals, were lambasted by critics. June 24 brings yet another sequel that was a long time coming, “Independence Day: Resurgence.” It promises even more mayhem and apocalyptic destruction of the Earth. But with all the disaster movies that followed in the original "Independence Day's" wake--and without Will Smith--this one sounds like just another "Day."