By Megan Bianco
When I first heard that “Zoolander 2“ was green-lit and had a script ready for production, I was skeptical. When I saw the first trailer, I was reluctant. When I saw the overwhelmingly negative reactions to the film on opening weekend, I was not surprised. Since the rise of Kickstarter, online streaming and general social media hype, revivals have been happening all over the place. Back in the ‘80s, ‘90s and early 2000s, if a movie underperformed at the box-office or a show had poor ratings, sequels were cancelled and series were cut short and that was that. Fans were left feeling bittersweet, but accepted the fate.
Now we have sequels to cult classics coming from everywhere. Fifteen years ago Ben Stiller’s comedy “Zoolander,” based on one of his TV characters, flopped hard in theaters as it was unfortunately destined to be released the same week as 9/11. Critics also gave a lukewarm reception to the satire on the modeling world. But slowly over time a cult following grew and Stiller’s farce would actually shape the next decade of slapstick, Frat Pack comedies including “Old School“ (2003), “Starsky & Hutch“ (2004) and “Wedding Crashers“ (2005).
And now, over a decade later, fans are getting their favorite characters back for a new chapter, but is it really worth it? Audiences and reviewers are criticizing the sequel for having more gratuitous celebrity cameos than actual jokes. Was the first “Zoolander“ really a mediocre mess and we’ve all been blinded by nostalgia and repeated viewing over the years? Maybe, maybe not. What can be said is that everyone’s a little older, a little wiser and a little different than they were 15 years ago. What we find funny now is probably not entirely what we did in middle school, high school or college, or wherever else we were at the time. That, and with so much popularity built up over time for these films and shows, the original creators now have even more pressure to deliver the anticipated quality. But instead, they end up just recycling the same material, and this time for the worse.
This is why “Anchorman 2“ faltered, “Dumb & Dumberer“ failed and the lowest of lows, “Joe Dirt 2“ even exists. Or why not everyone was into the new tone “Arrested Development” took in its fourth season. In the next couple of years we have revivals of “Fuller House,” “Twin Peaks,” “Gilmore Girls,” “10 Cloverfield Lane,” “Independence Day: Resurgence” and “Pee-Wee’s Big Holiday.” Whether we’ll have to just settle on going in with lowered expectations or the creators will have hopefully learned from the past revivals’ mistakes, one thing’s for sure — we’ll always have the originals.
Megan Bianco is a Southern California-based movie reviewer and content writer with a degree from California State University Northridge.
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