EIGHINGER: The best movie sequels are like old friends

Posted: Mar. 13, 2013 9:16 am Updated: Apr. 10, 2013 10:15 am

For the most part, we like movie sequels or remakes of an old favorite, and it's easy to understand why. They're like an old friend, or that favorite recliner or your good-luck sweatshirt. We feel comfortable with them.

An entire generation has grown up with the James Bond films and the Star Trek franchise. The main players have changed, but the original theme and concept remained and that's what has drawn us back again and again. The same can be said for Batman, Dirty Harry and numerous others.

Which brings us to the current No. 1 movie in the land, "Oz: The Great and Powerful," which is technically a prequel and not a sequel to "The Wizard of Oz," the 1939 fantasy adventure starring Judy Garland.

The early success of this film rather surprised me, since it's been so long since the release of the original "Wizard of Oz," a movie to this day I loathe. I hated those flying monkeys and all the sad stories associated with the Tin Man, Cowardly Lion, Scarecrow and other characters. Only about 5 percent of the film was uplifting in any sense, but that's another subject for another day.

What the new Oz film did more than anything for me was make me wonder what new sequel or remake to other older films might be on the horizon. These kind of Hollywood trends tend to run in multiples, so it didn't take long to unlock the needed information.

Here are a few more from the sequel/remake family we can look forward to in the next year or two:

• "Dirty Dancing": I may lose man card over the next comment, but I loved this 1987 movie, especially the Eric Carmen song "Hungry Eyes. There's no word yet on who will fill the role created by the late Patrick Swayze, which will be the key. How about just moving the cast of "Glee" to this movie?

Due out: Latter part of 2014.

• "Escape From New York": This is one from the sequel/remake genre that really gets me excited. The original "Escape" movie became one of the all-time cult hits following its 1981 release. New York City was walled off from the rest of the world and treated as a giant prison. To the rescue was Snake Plisken, portrayed by Kurt Russell — complete with eye patch. With today's special effect capabilities, this new film could be huge, especially if Timothy Olyphant lands the role of The Snake as is rumored. Olyphant is one of the hot names these days following the buzz he has created as U.S. Marshal Raylin Givens on TV's "Justified."

Due out: Probably 2015.

• "Lethal Weapon": The good news is that Joel Silver, who produced the original "Lethal Weapon" films, is overseeing this venture, too. The bad news, it would seem to be, is it will be tough to duplicate the 1980s on-screen camaraderie of Mel Gibson, Danny Glover and Joe Pesci. All are now too old for this kind of stuff. Just ask Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sly Stallone, whose recent efforts completely flopped.

Due out: Probably 2015.

• "Scarface": Oh yeah, start practicing that classic quote. "Say hello to my little friend," said Tony Montana as he blew away about a dozen of a rival gangster's henchmen with his favorite machine gun in the 1983 gangster spectacular. Once again, replacing an icon such as Al Pacino will be difficult, but it's always been my theory that it is easier to replace a villain — which, in essence, Pacino was — than the guy wearing the white hat. Audiences develop more of an attachment to the good guys. That's why villains are so interchangeable in series like James Bond and Dirty Harry.

Due out: Probably 2015.

I think my preference of the last choices will earn my man card back (but I'm still going to watch the new "Dirty Dancing'). I just hope there are no flying monkeys in any of them.