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Eric D. Snider

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Eric has been a film critic since 1999, and a beard wearer since 2008. He holds a degree in journalism and used to work in "the newspaper industry," back when that was a thing.

When Movie Franchises Change Directors

The Twilight franchise is only one film old and already there are personnel changes. Director Catherine Hardwicke was replaced by Chris Weitz for the first sequel, New Moon, and now it’s just been announced that part three, Eclipse, will have yet another director. His name is David Slade, and he’s actually a good fit: His last film was 30 Days of Night, which was about vampires, and his film before that was Hard Candy, which was about a teenage girl being stalked and preyed upon by a much older man. Combine the two of those and you’ve basically got Twilight.

It remains to be seen whether the behind-the-scenes shuffling will affect the quality of the Twilight films. In the meantime, let’s look at history to see what we can learn about changing horses midstream.

CHANGE IS GOOD!

src="http://i.realone.com/assets/rn/img/6/7/4/1/7381476.jpg" alt="George Lucas" width="78" height="78" align="left" hspace="6"/>George Lucas wrote and directed the original Star Wars himself, and of course it was great. But for The Empire Strikes Back, he turned the helm over to Irvin Kershner — and the result was the film that many people consider the best of the franchise. When Lucas returned to direct the prequels, well, he shouldn’t have.

The Harry Potter series began with Chris Columbus‘ two serviceable but so-so entries. It wasn’t until Alfonso Cuaron came onboard for Prisoner of Azkaban that the films became distinct works of cinematic art (as opposed to marketing tools, which is what Columbus’ efforts felt like). Mike Newell and David Yates have continued to make the stories their own, and they’ve done it without alienating the fans or drastically altering the basic material.

CHANGE IS BAD!

src="http://i.realone.com/assets/rn/img/1/8/9/2/21022981-21022982-minithumbnail.jpg" alt="Brett Ratner" width="78" height="78" align="left" hspace="6"/>Not that it needed sequels anyway, but if The Silence of the Lambs was going to have follow-ups, they should have been made by someone other than Ridley Scott and Brett Ratner. Admittedly, the source material on these sequels was weak to begin with. But if they couldn’t get Jonathan Demme to return for Hannibal (and Jodie Foster to reprise her role as Clarice), then they should have thought long and hard about whether to proceed. And the less said about the awful prequel, Hannibal Rising, the better.

Tim Burton’s Batman was a marvel. His follow-up disappointed some fans, but they didn’t know what true disappointment was until they saw Joel Schumacher‘s subsequent two entries. His last one, in particular, 1997′s Batman & Robin, remains one of the worst crimes ever perpetrated against humanity. It’s unlikely any director could have maintained Burton’s unique style — which means the smart choice, if Burton didn’t want to continue, would have been to reboot the franchise altogether. That’s exactly what Christopher Nolan did, and so far the results have been favorable, to put it mildly.

CHANGE WOULD HAVE BEEN GREAT!

src="http://i.realone.com/assets/rn/img/2/3/6/5/17025632-17025633-minithumbnail.jpg" alt="Sam Raimi" width="78" height="78" align="left" hspace="6"/>When Sam Raimi made Spider-Man and Spider-Man 2, he broke box-office records and set new standards of excellence for the superhero genre. When he made Spider-Man 3, he baffled millions. How could the guy responsible for those two outstanding action films have made this? Maybe he got complacent. Maybe he suffered a blow to the head. Who knows?

THANK GOODNESS THEY DIDN’T CHANGE ANYTHING!

src="http://i.realone.com/assets/rn/img/0/0/9/5/12625900-17835823-minithumbnail.jpg" alt="Peter Jackson" width="78" height="78" align="left" hspace="6"/>Peter Jackson. The Lord of the Rings trilogy. He shot them all at once, like one big 12-hour movie, and it shows. They feel like they were cut from the same cloth. This is the way to make a trilogy.



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Eric D. Snider (website) probably wouldn’t be in a stream in the first place, let alone change horses there.


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Tags: Harry potter, Lord of the rings, The twilight saga