TMI, or too much information, is an acronym ignored by Hollywood studios who want to believe that audiences need to know every single detail about a character’s background. If a film has an interesting story with a complex character, there’s a good chance that a studio wants to make a prequel. Here’s the thing: very few movie prequel are actually any good. This list ranks the worst prequels that nobody asked for… or needed.
The worst film prequels seem to have something in common: most people have never heard of them. Did you know that there was a prequel to Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid? Have you ever heard of the prequel to The Flintstones? How many decent films can studios really get out of Hannibal Lecter and Norman Bates?
Talk about unnecessary prequels – who thought the world really needed to see the story of how Harry met Lloyd in special education high school classes? Are the characters from Dumb and Dumber really that complex to warrant such exposition?
Prequels are universally known to be bad. Of course, there are exceptions, but chances are, if the backstory was that important, it would have been told in the original film. These worst franchise prequels are clearly geared to be a money-grab, a chance for studios to make more money off popular movies and film franchises, instead of coming up with fresh ideas. Everyone’s looking at you, George Lucas!
Dumb & Dumber: When Harry Met Lloyd
Nine years after the original Dumb and Dumber (2003), we got the opportunity to see the origin of Lloyd and Harry’s friendship. In case you’re wondering, it was in high school, when the pair was deemed “special” by the school and placed in class together. While the original film certainly had its charm – and the comedic talents of both Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels – the prequel is simply not funny, and totally unnecessary. Rotten Tomatoes Score: 10%
The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas
Fans of the Hanna-Barbera television cartoon got an okay adaptation of their beloved Stone Age characters from Bedrock in 1994. At the very least, the film brought baby boomers back to an age of nostalgia and John Goodman’s performance as Fred Flintstone made the comedy watchable. Just six years later, the unwanted prequel came along to bore audiences to death with silly puns and stale humor. Rotten Tomatoes Score: 25%
Exorcist: The Beginning
The original The Exorcist (1973) is considered one of the most iconic horror films ever made. The film has two sequels and then, interestingly enough, two versions of the prequel. Exorcist: The Beginning is the version that went wide in 2004. After a 30 year wait, audiences finally got to see the very first time the pesky demon Pazuzu and Father Merrin first duked it out in what looks like a cartoonish battle of good and evil. Rotten Tomatoes Score: 11%
Oz: The Great and Powerful
Sam Raimi’s 2013 prequel to The Wizard of Oz (1939) is certainly aesthetically pleasing. The effects are dazzling and extravagant. However, there is so much CGI going on that it overshadows everything else. The prequel tells the story of Oscar/Oz (James Franco) as he goes from ham-and-egger magician to legendary wizard. The issue is that Oscar is not really a likable character, so the audience has a hard time rooting for him. In the end, the film fails to find the magic of the yellow brick road and ultimately makes us yearn for the original. Rotten Tomatoes Score: 59%
Before Peter Pan became the magical boy who never grows up, he was just a little orphan. Why would someone want to see that? Good question. Pan has its moments and Hugh Jackman gives a deliciously nefarious performance as Black Beard. However, the magic that is Peter Pan seems to get lost in the blockbuster special effects and over the top theatrics. Rotten Tomatoes Score: 24%