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An Anton Ali Pop-Ed: A Sequel to 'It's a Wonderful Life'? Why?

You may have read the previous Popculturology article about the return of It's A Wonderful Life in 2015, and I'm wondering if you're asking the same question I am: Why?

From the git-go, the sequel seems like an antithesis of the Jimmy Stewart classic. Playing like Mr. Potter, the grandson of George Bailey isn't very well liked, and an angel descends upon Earth to show how much better life would have been without him.

I realize it's been almost 70 years since we saw the original, but a movie like It's a Wonderful Life is hard to forget. Whether you watch it for fun or begrudgingly view it with your grandparents every year, this is one movie that leaves a lasting impression. I'm not a habitual viewer of this movie, which has to be one of the reasons I enjoy the movie so much. This is the movie that introduced me to Stewart. To that point, even if you didn't like the movie, I'd hope you'd at least agree that Stewart is one of the finest actors in film history. I'm probably being very naive here, but I had thought this was one of those movies we'd leave alone.

I'm never going to tell you not to go see a sequel. I didn't even know there was an original Alien movie after seeing Aliens. Robert De Niro is synonymous with the Godfather series, but he didn't appear until The Godfather Part II, which was hands down better than the first. There are more suitable Star Wars fans out there than I who could debate me on this I'm sure, but I will at least say that The Empire Strikes Back was my favorite. More recently, The Dark Knight was not just better than Batman Begins, it was better than any Batman movie I've ever seen. For the most part, these are movies that can stand alone from their predecessors because they're simply just that good.

I suppose a sequel that is really good can stand alone, but it doesn't necessarily go the other way. Again, no scathing attacks necessary from the Star Wars readers out there, but Star Wars: Episode I — The Phantom Menace made it almost impossible for me to continue watching anything made after it. The original Matrix movie was revolutionary and spawned a number of copycats in later years. It was almost five long years before I could go see Matrix Reloaded, and all I remember thinking after sitting in the theater wondering what the hell was happening was, "Uh-oh." The series became so full of itself, it seemed like the public made both sequels quickly go away. (I have yet to see an airing of either sequel on TV, but the original is fairly easy to find.)

Trying not to let my pessimism get in the way, here we are again. Could a It's a Wonderful Life sequel go either way? The original is a movie that leaves some big shoes to fill. If anyone has heard of Star Partners and Hummingbird Productions, please tell me what movie they've made that is worth watching, because I have never heard of them. At this point, one thing seems certain in my mind — like those Matrix sequels, It's a Wonderful Life: The Rest of the Story has me thinking, "Uh-oh."
An Anton Ali Pop-Ed: A Sequel to 'It's a Wonderful Life'? Why? Reviewed by Anton Ali on 11/20/2013 Rating: 5

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