September 2013 Movie Prequel Guide: A Checklist
In the third installment of the Prequel Checklist, I will be previewing all the September movies with “prequel materials.” In other words, what could you watch, read, listen to, or whatever before a movie comes out.
Like before, I’ll be categorizing the prequel materials into three categories with varying degrees of necessity. Those three categories (in descending order) are: Essential, Useful, and Extra.
Alright, let’s get started:
The Chronicles of Riddick film franchise – Since Riddick will be David Twohy’s next installment in the sci-fi franchise, it seems pretty obvious you should catch the first two/three/four movies first. I say “two/three/four” because there are two theatrical movies (Pitch Black and The Chronicles of Riddick), one direct-to-DVD animated movie, titled The Chornicles of Riddick: Dark Fury, and one TV movie, titled Into Pitch Black. You probably could get away without catching Dark Fury. They all star Vin Diesel, so if you’re a fan of his, get ready for more action. Personally, I haven’t seen any of them (I’m slacking), but there’s no way I won’t catch up with them before Friday.
Book – There’s actually a book novelization of Pitch Black (titled “The Chronicles of Riddick: Pitch Black”) was created by Frank Lauria.
Video Games – When the franchise became a hit, The Chronicles of Riddick released two video games. The first video game, titled The Chronicles of Riddick: Escape from Butcher Bay, acts as prequel to the Pitch Black movie. The second game, titled The Chronicles of Riddick: Assault on Dark Athena is considered a remake of Butcher Bay, while continuing to bridge the gap to Pitch Black.
Books – Salinger, for those that don’t know, is Shane Salerno’s secret documentary about J.D. Salinger, a reclusive author most known for his novel “The Catcher in the Rye.” For years, the Salinger project was kept under wraps but eventually word got out. The Weinstein Company is releasing the movie this coming weekend, and it seems fitting you should know something about the famous author. The documentary doesn’t focus on one of his works in particular, so catching up on a couple of his short stories and maybe a novel/novella or two (I’d suggest “The Catcher in the Rye” and/or “Franny and Zooey”) isn’t a bad idea.
“Malavita” by Tonino Benacquista – The Family, a French-American crime film by Luc Besson (Fifth Element), is based on a novel by French novelist Tonino Benacquista. Benacquista is known for writing crime fiction and is a two-time Cesar Award-winner. If you are one of those “read before watch” people, try to find a version of “Malavita.”
Insidious – Insidious: Chapter 2 is a direct sequel to the 2011 film Insidious. Since Patrick Wilson (Watchmen) and Rose Byrne (Bridesmaids) are reprising their roles (among others), it’d seem obvious you should watch the original first. James Wan (The Conjuring) continues his busy year with another horror movie, so this one could be interesting.
“C.O.G.” by David Sedaris (short story) – Kyle Patrick Alvarez’s drama C.O.G. is another movie based on literature. The nice thing is David Sedaris’ (who is best known for “Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim”) version is just a short story, so you could conceivably power through it right before the movie. Either way, C.O.G. stars Jonathan Groff (The Conspirator) and is about a Yale graduate who takes a job at an apple farm to get out of his element. It marks the first time Sedaris has been adapted to film, so that could be interesting.
“Four Days in November: The Assassination of President John F. Kennedy” by Vincent Bugliosi – Parkland, the latest movie about the J.F.K. assassination, is based on the nonfiction book by Vincent Bugliosi. My hunch is Parkland won’t be able to cover the depth a book does, so if you want even more of the story, check it out.
“As I Lay Dying” by William Faulkner – If there was a book I said you absolutely had to read before seeing the movie, it’d be Faulkner’s version of “As I Lay Dying.” The novel uses stream of consciousness (sometimes frustratingly) and multiple narrators/characters and has become one of the most unique books around. James Franco’s As I Lay Dying adaptation has a lot to overcome when it finally releases.
“Baggage Claim” by David E. Talbert – Author, playwright, and director David E. Talbert will be adapting his own novel. This is a little better for people that vow to read before watching a film. With Talbert in the mix, I have a feeling a reading of the source material is less essential. However, the option is still there before Baggage Claim releases.
Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs (film) – Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 is a sequel to the original movie; therefore, you should probably catch the first animated movie beforehand. It features Bill Hader, Anna Faris, Neil Patrick Harris, and Andy Samberg just like the new movie.
“Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs” by Judi Barrett – Before the 2009 adaptation of her novel, I would’ve urged you to catch-up with the children’s book “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs.” The film adaptation ended up being wildly successful, but a re-read of the book wouldn’t hurt before the sequel.
Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs (video game) – The tie-in video game is only for the real hardcore fans out there. However, you can be the one in control of saving the day with the video game, so check it out!
“Thérèse Raquin” by Émile Zola – This year’s Therese is an adaptation of Émile Zola’s 1867 novel. Some would prefer to read the classic before seeing the movie. It’s worth noting it also became a play in 1873. The newest adaptation stars Elizabeth Olsen (Martha Marcy May Marlene) and Tom Felton (Harry Potter).
In conclusion, September is a little light on sequels, with The Chronicles of Riddick being the only franchise. The other two sequels follow Insidious and Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs. For avid readers, you might want to check out the source material for The Family, Parkland, C.O.G., As I Lay Dying (my #1 suggestion), Baggage Claim, and Therese.
Have a good September!
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