Tonight, I went to see Ice Age 2 with W & T. While it remains an exceptionally well made and funny movie, the novelty value of the concept already begins to fade with our ever fickle desire to be entertained and monumental expectations incited by the first movie. Don't get me wrong: IA2 sure is worth seeing all the same, if only for the scrat's short trip to nut paradise - note the reference to Michelangelo's Creation of Adam there. There's just a slight lingering sense of disappointment ...
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The Melt Down is probably as good as the first, it's just the hype that surrounded the first one during and after the release that have blurred our perspective of it. I think it was equally good/bad. Happens a lot when it comes to the media and hyping up a product/movie/band. Coldplay for example was my favourite band until X&Y came out and the wh***d around the band in India like they were the new Hindu Gods or something. No kidding Chris, some of those posters were downright scary. I think one even said: "The New Lords Of Music Have Arrived in India" - I shall see if I can find the issue of Record Magazine I saw it in. Hype makes a band like BEP go from background Hip-Hopppers (as they were with they're 1st two albums) to international superstars. This can be a good and bad thing. When a band or movie (The Matrix!) is pushed down the world's throat it gets millions, possibly billions of new fans and an air of excitement, but also loses its original fans and supporters who like the band for what they were before this record company sponsored blast.
Ah no, don't fault the media hype, that's a bit too easy. You would be right if expectations were only triggered by the media, but clearly, they are not. The first movie was so novel (dare I say fresh?) in style that any sequel invariably has a hard time in comparison. There are attempts to develop new paths, but given the somewhat flat storyline, they don't help much. I think the capital mistake (if a blockbuster movie can be called a capital mistake) was that they stuck to the known group in the known environment, which limited their options. They should have developed the story form the very ending of the first movie ...
Your comparison to the Matrix trilogy is interesting, btw. There, the sequels are not deteriorating IMHO despite of the known visual language and FX exactly because of the increasing complexity of the storyline.
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