The top 10 prequels

The top 10 prequels. By Simon Miraudo.

We know what you’re thinking: “There are 10 good prequels?!” To answer that question, we say, “Barely.” It was a bit of a slog putting together this week’s selection of features, but that was the task we set ourselves in honour of the cinema release of Ridley Scott‘s kinda-sorta-maybe Alien prequel Prometheus. We had to exclude some fine films that didn’t technically fit the bill (Batman Begins, Casino Royale), and, as you’ll, see, cheated in some other instances to round out the ten. Here’s the conclusion we reached on the state of prequels: thank goodness Prometheus is good because it is slim-pickings in this sub-genre.

10. X-Men: First Class

I’m not the biggest fan of X-Men: First Class out there – maybe you already knew that – but the genius casting of Michael Fassbender and James McAvoy as Magneto and Professor X alone earns this a spot on the list. It’s placement may have also been assisted by Jennifer Lawrence‘s presence as Mystique…

9. The Thing

Derisively referred to as a pre-make, 2011’s The Thing reveals the events that occurred prior to John Carpenter‘s 1982 original (itself a remake of 1951’s The Thing From Another World). It turns out those events were nearly identical. What a coincidence! Despite some dodgy CGI, Mary Elizabeth Winstead and Joel Edgerton proved themselves as appealing leads in this intermittently spooky pic.

8. Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom

The second Indiana Jones takes place before Raiders of the Lost Ark; thus, spunky Marion is replaced by screeching Wilhelmina. For many years, this was considered the worst of the series. Then Kingdom of the Crystal Skull came out, and suddenly it didn’t seem so bad. It does have some fun action sequences, and, of course, the scene where a dude has his heart ripped out.

7. Paranormal Activity 3

The wonderful Paranormal Activity franchise has produced diminishing returns with each sequel, but number three was still immensely effective. Set in 1988, we see the eternally haunted sisters Katie and Kristi as young girls embroiled in a nefarious, supernatural conspiracy. It can’t compete with the first, but as far as expanding the mythology goes – and still producing scares – PA3 delivers.

6. Captain America: The First Avenger

Alright, now this is a major cheat, as it’s only a prequel to the Iron Man movies and Thor because it was released last, and is set earlier in time. Also, it was just another cog in Marvel’s production machine leading up to The Avengers. But who cares? Captain America ranks among their best flicks, thanks to Chris Evans‘ adorable lead performance, Hugo Weaving‘s Werner Herzog-esque turn as the villainous Red Skull, and some fantastic set-pieces. We’re counting it.

5. Rise of the Planet of the Apes

We were all fairly dubious of the latest Planet of the Apes flick, which promised to take us back to the inception of the chimp-revolution as hatched by intelligent primate Caesar (Andy Serkis). But Rupert Wyatt‘s Rise of the Planet of the Apes revealed itself to be an intelligent, affecting, and action-packed entry that tweaking the pre-existing chronology of events only slightly. OK, maybe it tweaked it significantly, but whatever, it was tough to find 10 films, guys.

4. Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade

The Last Crusade isn’t technically a prequel, but the opening sequence sure is. We get a glimpse of young Indiana Jones – as played by the late River Phoenix – in one of the series’ most memorable set-pieces.

3. Star Trek

J.J. AbramsStar Trek reboot revealed itself as a prequel thanks to a unique twist: Spock Prime (Leonard Nimoy) travelled back in time, splintering the universe and creating an alternate reality for this new series to exist in, alongside everything that had already come before. Brilliant! Thankfully, the movie was great too.

2. The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Though released after the first two pictures in Sergio Leone‘s Dollars Trilogy – A Fistful of Dollars and For a Few Dollars More The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly is first in the series’ chronological order. This knowledge doesn’t exactly enhance your viewing of any of the films (they’re all still amazing, in case you were wondering); merely, TGTBATU takes place during the Civil War, whereas the others are set in the slightly-more-ravaged post-war landscape. At least in this instalment you get to witness Clint Eastwood‘s Man With No Name pick up his signature outfit piece by piece.

1. The Godfather Part II

Not just the best sequel ever made, but also the best prequel. Francis Ford Coppola‘s The Godfather Part II advances the story of increasingly soul-sapped Godfather Michael Corleone (Al Pacino), whilst also flashing back to the youth and eventual coronation-through-blood of his father Vito (Robert De Niro). Though the scenes featuring Young Vito only amount to a portion of the picture’s epic three-and-a-half hour runtime, it’s still the best version of a prequel ever produced. We daresay it will hold onto the crown for some time.

Discuss: OK, what did we miss?

One Response to “The top 10 prequels”

  1. how about the exorcist ??……….. sorry actual prequal name eludes at this minute in time, but movie remembered well. It should be at top of list (no. 1) it’s brilliant……. haunting…….. answers all questions from beginning of story (and much much more). That has my vote. Keep searching QF you will find more

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