Top 10… Movie Franchises

I’ve recently gone on record about two movie franchises, Star Trek and The Fast & The Furious, one of which I greatly preferred to the other. This got me thinking, and was the inspiration for this week’s list, my Top 10 Movie Franchises. Now, as always I’ve set myself some limitations. Firstly, I must have seen every film within the franchise. This immediately rules out the likes of Die Hard (haven’t seen number 5), Alien/Predator (haven’t seen Predator 2, can’t remember Alien 3 or Resurrection), Bourne (Legacy), Hannibal (Rising) and A Nightmare on Elm Street (remake and New Nightmare). I also didn’t include the looser franchises that simply take place in the same universe, for example the Avengers film, Kevin Smith’s View Askewniverse, George Romero’s Blank of the Dead series or the Muppets films. I also took into account every film within each franchise, so just because a film happened to feature some true classics, if there were some stinkers in there too then that didn’t help its case for inclusion. The franchise also had to have a minimum of four films, as I’ve made a list of my top trilogies before. So, without further ado, here’s my top 10 movie franchises:

Honourable Mentions
Final-Destination-5There’s a lot of franchises out there! Seriously, there’s tons, more than I’d heard of, and I was shocked to discover some of the more longer-lasting movie sagas. Did you know there’s 30 Django films? I knew there were a lot of Carry Ons, but I didn’t think it was as many as 31, which is also the same number of Barbie films in existence (I’m guessing this doesn’t include Hotel Terminus). I’m most blown away, however, by the fact that there’s a Chinese series known as Wong Fei Hung, which includes a staggering 89 movies. 89! That, my friends, is insane. Anyway, I’ve barely seen any of these films (Django Unchained, Carry On Doctor) so obviously these can’t be in my Top 10.
No, this week’s two honourable mentions are the Final Destination franchise, and Police Academy. They beat out stiff competition from the likes of Shrek, Home Alone, Pirates of the Caribbean, Saw and the National Lampoon’s Vacation series, but if I had to pick my favourites then these two are them. Final Destination is one of the few horror series I pay much attention too – I’ve only seen the original Halloween, and have yet to see any Friday the 13th films – and I think this is due to the initially original concept of people cheating death, and being hunted down one by one to fix reality. It’s such a brilliant idea, and it means there’s no iconic killer who’ll end up as a parody of himself by the fifth film. Part four is easily the worst in the series – the premonitions don’t make sense and there’s some truly terrible CGI – but all the rest are at least decent, with number 2 being my personal favourite. I had a screenshot from the death of Rory as my background for a little while after seeing that film.
Police-Academy-police-academy-27137923-1920-1080Police Academy is an entirely different yet still occasionally just as ridiculous franchise, following the antics of a police training school that’s just dropped any requirements for entrants, meaning anyone of any gender, race, weight and ability can sign up and be trained. Yes, the sequels got a bit terrible after Steve Guttenberg dropped out, and the less said about Mission to Moscow the better, but there’s still a lot of fun to be had with the earlier films, the first one is a true 80s classic.
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Top 5… Movies that should be musicals

Today I’m going to see Dirty Dancing at the Mayflower in Southampton. Not my idea, long story. The previous musicals I’ve seen have all either been of films I either love (The Lion King) or at least enjoy (Chicago, film review will be along shortly), or heavily feature music by an artist I’m a big fan of (We Will Rock You), but Dirty Dancing ticks none of these boxes, in fact it’s based on a fairly terrible movie. So I got to thinking, what movies should be made into musicals? The other adaptations out there do not interest me at all (Sister Act, Billy Elliot, Shrek, Ghost, Legally Fucking Blonde). There’s a couple I probably should have seen by now (Spamalot) but for one reason or another haven’t gotten around to, but I think if any of these came to my local theatre, I’d be a little more tempted.
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Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest

The second pirates film is not as good as the first, but is still thoroughly entertaining, and features several enjoyable set pieces, not least of which is the three-way swordfight between Johnny Depp, Orlando Bloom and Jack Davenport (who really should be in more films). This is probably my highlight of the trilogy, especially once the giant wheel comes into play.
The special effects are stepped up from the first film, with Davy Jones and his crew looking exceptional, with the many hours of work involved being well worth the effort. Still, the cliffhanger endings do make this seem more of a set-up for the trilogy closer.Choose life 6/10

Pirates of the Caribbean: the Curse of the Black Pearl

The original Pirates of the Caribbean film, the greatest ever made best on a theme park ride, is tremendous family-friendly fun, especially in its first half. It loses its way towards the end of the second reel, as the plot becomes inundated with various bluffs and double crosses, although in a film about pirates this is only to be expected. The CGI is excellent and well used, as is the comic relief, mainly provided by Lee Arenberg and Mackenzie Crook, surely the closest any human being can get to being a scarecrow without an awful lot of hay. Geoffrey Rush could well have been cast as villain Barbossa on the strength of his piratical laugh alone, and for that deserves at least a mention.Choose film 7/10