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Bourne Again

Tuesday 24 July 2012, 12:27

Mark Kermode Mark Kermode

There's a new Bourne movie out on August 13 but Jason Bourne's not in it. Is it OK to have a franchise where the hero or heroine is notable by their absence?

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    Comment number 1.

    Surely the most contemporary example must be of the character "Rachel Dawes" from the Batman trilogy. They got Maggie Gyllenhall to replace "whats her face" :)
    Spiderman - Andrew Garfield in - Toby Maguire out
    The incredible hulk - Mark Ruffalo in - Edward Norton out

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    Comment number 2.

    The rebooting of Star Trek is still a controversial topic among trekkies, especially the older ones who grew up with the original 60s show. I would imagine this kind of thing feeling like being a Beatles fan, and some record execs putting a band together nowadays called 'the Beatles'. It's just not going to work for people who are invested in a certain franchise.

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    Comment number 3.

    The best example I can think of is the Hammer Dracula series with Christopher Lee. Apparently Lee hated working on the sequels to the 1959 Dracula, and he only did so out of pity for the studio, which were losing money at the time if I'm not mistaken. However even when Lee did leave once and for all, Hammer still released some sequels, such as Brides of Dracula and Legend of the 7 Golden Vampires, which, let's just say, weren't the best films in the series, and that's saying a lot.

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    Comment number 4.

    X Men 3 ... where the hell were Bryan Singer's X Men hiding?

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    Comment number 5.

    Friday the 13th Part 5 – A New Beginning: Instead of Jason Voorhees, the film has a copycat killer pretending to be him. To say it’s a bad film is kind of redundant, as they’re all terrible. Yes, even the first one.

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    Comment number 6.

    An outlandish example of a franchise without the original hero or heroine in it, and I warn you its not the best example, is the Pink Panther franchise. Even after Sellers passed away but Cloussau remained, and was reintroduced, after extensice plastic surgery, in the form of Roger Moore in the Trail of the Pink Panther.

    The whole plastic surgery angle was also going to be used after Sean Connery retired from the 007 role. Thankfully it never was used. However the series' very loose chronological order nearly went into haywire when there was a rumour that Sean Connery was going to make a cameo appearence in Die Another Day.

    In regards to The Bourne Legacy, I pretty much am disowning it. The orignal Bourne trilogy with Matt Damon is one of the best trilogies in cinema history and this film smells of a cash cow. I mean when Weisz's character mentions in the trailer of advanced chromosones used for the assassins'? Please, give me a break.

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    Comment number 7.

    Can I be the one that points out the irony of our good Dr discussing absentee stars and the ethics of this, when Al Murray is standing in for Simon Mayo for this very piece!

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    Comment number 8.

    Not exactly a franchise, but almost certainly an attempt to create one, was 'S. Darko: A Donnie Darko Tale'. A cinematic abomination to be avoided at all costs. Donnie Darko was a truly unique, original, one-off movie, and those involved in S.Darko should hang their heads in shame.

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    Comment number 9.

    The first that came to my mind was American Psycho 2, in which Patrick Bateman was totally absent, but instead had Mila Kunis as a girl who develops a taste for murder after meeting Patrick Bateman.
    Also the terrible sequel to Donnie Darko, called S. Darko, in which the only recurring character, as far as I remember, was Donnie Darko's sister, Samantha.
    There is also the sequel to 28 Days Later, called 28 weeks later, which didn't have a single recurring character! In spite of that I rather like them both.
    Now, I haven't seen the Saw movies, exept for the first one, but I remember hearing that the character of Jigsaw, in many ways the main character, dies in Saw 3, in spite of the fact that they made seven movies! How they pulled that off, I would like to know. But I don't want to see the movies.

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    Comment number 10.

    In the 2003 movie "Honey", Jessica Alba plays dancer Honey Daniels. In the sequel from 2011 "Honey 2", Jessica Alba has gone on to become a big Hollywood star with A-list salary and therefore the titular character is nowhere to be seen.

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    Comment number 11.

    Smokey and the Bandit 3. I was disgusted.

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    Comment number 12.

    I'm glad that you mentioned the James Bond films as an example, Mark, because as you're no doubt aware, 007 wasn't the only character constantly being recast, they had numerous recasts and some they tried to explain.

    Lois Maxwell played the part of Miss Moneypenny for every Bond film until The Living Daylights, when she was replaced by Caroline Bliss before she herself was replaced by Samantha Bond for the Pierce Brosnan films.

    The character of Felix Leiter was played by different actor each time except in Live & Let Die and License to Kill, he was played by David Hedison. And in the Daniel Craig films he was played by Jeffrey Wright.

    M was played by Bernard Lee until he died after Moonraker; M then did not appear in For Your Eyes Only with Moneypenny saying he was "On leave." Then in the next film he was replaced by Robert Brown, who had been in The Spy Who Loved Me as a Naval Admiral and so therefore it was logical to assume this same character became M. Then, of course, from Goldeneye onwards, we have Judi Dench and that same film, Robbie Coltrane's character says to Bond "I here the new M is a lady."

    As for Q, he is played by Peter Burton and is credited as Major Boothroyd. Then in From Russia with Love, we get the iconic version of Q by Desmond Llewelyn until The World is Not Enough where we are told that he is retiring and is being replaced by John Cleese, who played Q in the following film. Whether they'll provide explanation in Skyfall as to the recast of Ben Whishaw, I guess we'll have to wait and see.

    However, perhaps the most audacious recast was that of Ernst Stavero Blofeld, in From Russia with Love and Thunderball he is played simply by a man who we don't see and is stroking a cat. And in You Only Live Twice, he is played by Donald Pleasance, in On Her Majesty's Secret Service he is played by Telly Savalas and in Diamonds are Forever he is played by Charles Gray and the reason given for Blofeld's new appearances is that he's had plastic surgery since each of his previous encounters with 007. In fact, the latter two films, this is made a plot point.

    Sorry for the long length of this post, Dr K, if you actually bothered to read it all, thank you very much.

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    Comment number 13.

    The Wild Geese2-none of the original geriatric crew were in it (granted half were dead from the first film's mission or dead in real life) and without Moore's comedy quips and Burton's wheezing alcoholic presence it just wasn't the same. Infact, come to think of it, it had nothing to do with the original film.

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    Comment number 14.

    There are quite a few that spring to mind The Mask got an absolute turd of a sequel without it's 'hero'. Keanununununu Reeves was sensible enough to stay away from the sinking ship (pun intended) of Speed 2.
    But the absolute King of franchise dodgers is the muscles from Brussels, Mr Van Damme. BloodSport, KickBoxer, Cyborg, Universal Soldier, TimeCop, No retreat no Surrender all of which had Straight to video sequels minus (for the most part) their star name.

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    Comment number 15.

    @spaceodds And after "Trail of the Pink Panther" there was "Son of the Pink Panther" with Roberto Benigni.

    In fact there are a lot of "Son of..." movies, and I immediately think of Universal's monster franchises where Lugosi's "Dracula" was followed by "Son of Dracula" and "Daughter of Dracula". The same goes for the Frankenstein films, where the creature remains, but the recognisable name of Dr. Frankenstein is preserved by first "Son of Frankenstein" where we meet Frankenstein's son, and then "Ghost of Frankenstein" which begins with Igor announcing that they need to find Frankenstein's other son.

    It's very obvious but I'd also like to mention "Doctor Who," where a series of regenerations have had the Doctor played by eleven different actors (not including Richard Hurndall or Peter Cushing). It seems so much a part of the show now that it's hard to imagine how strange it must have seemed back in 1966 to have the main character die and then change into different-looking person with different personality yet is somehow still the same man.

    @Aambush After Saw 3, Tobin Bell appears as Jigsaw via flashbacks and a seemingly limitless number of videos he apparently recorded just before he died. Jigsaw's role as trap builder and kidnapper is taken up by several other people working from plans that Jigsaw also made as he was dying.

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    Comment number 16.

    Maybe not a sequel but Katsuhiro Otomo's anime classic AKIRA did not show the young boy Akira.He was only evident through spirit and as a backdrop for the whole scenerio of the film to progress,much in the same vein as Jason Bourne is in this new Bourne film.

    But in the Manga Akira is an extremely prominant character in the whole structure of Otomo's awe-inspiring story.

    Also,another trailer for a blog intro again Kermode?
    tut tut tut.

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    Comment number 17.

    Not a film but the TV series 'Taggart' carried on long after the title character, and the actor who played him, had died.

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    Comment number 18.

    In answer to your question Doc, I give you The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift. (Fast and Furious 3). The main character of the franchise, Dominic Toretto played by Vin Diesel, only has a cameo at the very end.

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    Comment number 19.

    I was a fan of the 3 original American Pie films, but then came the awful straight to video spin offs which were based on the ever expanding Stiffler extended family. None of the main cast from the films appeared other than the odd cameo from Eugene Levy & Chris Owen, and the films were embarrassingly shoddy lacking the charm & humour that the likes of Jason Biggs & Sean William Scott brought to the series.

    Don't even get me started on the post-Guttenberg Police Academy films...

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    Comment number 20.

    Halloween III: Season Of The Witch. It's actually not that bad a movie, but... erm... Michael Myers, anybody? Anybody seen him? Nope. Ah, never mind.

 

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