SURVEY SAYS: What's Your Favorite Movie Prequel?

June 9, 2011 ( - Last weekend the new X-Men movie )”X-Men” First Class”) debuted, and to what seem to be very positive reviews. 


It happens to be a prequel – that is, a movie with a storyline that occurs before the storyline of a movie (or two) that have already been released.  This week I asked readers to name their favorite movie prequel – and the one they liked least.

We’ll start with the latter category this week – though, in fairness, as several readers noted, when some of the prequels are as bad and/or unknown as some on our list, you haven’t always seen them, and thus can’t fully judge (as one reader noted, “Not voting here. Haven’t seen too many of these.”).

That said, those on our worst prequel list that drew the harshest criticism really stood out.  As one reader noted, “It’s too hard to narrow to the worst. There’s been some really bad stuff in the list above”. 

Another noted, “Most of these I’ve never seen (quite a few I’d never heard of).  Because of that I can’t name a worst one.  I think I need to get out of the house more often.  And not just to work!!”  Another said, “I realize my movie viewing is limited since I don’t recognize any of these.  I wish there was a prequel or a sequel to Mama Mia!”  Or how about the reader who simply stated, “Prequels suck.”

But this week’s Editor’s Choice goes to the reader who wondered somewhat whimsically…”There were so many sequels, I always hoped for a “Rocky” prequel, showing Rocky when he was a kid.  Well, actually, NOT!”

And on that fine note, let’s start by listing those that got only a handful of votes for worst:

Exorcist: The Beginning

Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom

Hannibal Rising

Paranormal Activity 2

Puss in Boots

Star Trek

Casino Royale

X-Men Wolverine

Vacancy 2: The First Cut 

There was a distinct second tiering as well – films that drew the attention (ire?) of a noticeable, shall we say “smattering” of this week’s respondents:   


2.5% - The Scorpion King

3.8% - The Scorpion King 2

5.1% - Underworld: Rise of the Lycans

5.1% - Butch and Sundance; The Early Days

But then there were the really bad ones – the ones that made this week’s top 5 worst prequels:


#5 (7.6%)  - Tremors IV: The Legend Begins

The original may have had Kevin Bacon, but this prequel starts in 1889 in the aptly named Rejection, Nevada and features Michael Gross (Family Ties’ Mr. Keaton ).  To his…”credit”, Mr. Gross appeared in all of the Tremors films (including the first) – and the TV series (all 13 episodes!) that ran in 2003 (between the third and fourth). 



#4 (7.6%) - The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning. 

This 2006 “classic” takes us back to the origins of Leatherface (August 1939) – and how he got his name (I thought that was obvious), before bringing the “family” ahead to 1969.  The 2003 version at least had Jessica Biel…         



#3 (8.9%)  - Amityville II: The Possession

You’d have to go all the way back to 1982 to catch this classic in the theatre.  Apparently the “first” family to live in the Amityville house wasn’t as fortunate as the one that moved in later…in every sense of the word…



#2 (19.0%)  - Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace


Never has a movie been awaited so long, and with such anticipation….  <sigh>



#1 (26.6%)  - Dumb and Dumberer: When Harry Met Lloyd  

Subtitled “the Evolution of Dumb”, this aptly titled movie topped our list of worst prequels!


Now, for a more positive view on prequels, let’s turn our attention to the other side of the list….


Now, for a more positive view on prequels, let’s turn our attention to the other side of the list….

Not mentioned much (and thus ostensibly not viewed favorably were:

Butch and Sundance: The Early Days

Psycho IV: the Beginning

The Scorpion King

The Scorpion King 2

Paranormal Activity 2

Vacancy 2: The First Cut

Dumb and Dumberer: When Harry Met Lloyd

Tremors IV: The Legend Begins

Amityville II: The Possession

Ginger Snaps Back: the Beginning

Exorcist: The Beginning

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning

Indeed, many of those were prominent on the “worst” prequel list.  I’ll also note that while X-Men: First Class didn’t draw many votes, I’m betting that’s because many haven’t gotten around to seeing it yet.



As for the second tier of the best prequels…


5.2% - Star Trek

5.2% - X-Men: Wolverine

4.2% - Hannibal Rising

3.1% - Underworld: Rise of the Lycans

3.1% - Puss in Boots

2.1% - Gods and Generals

And that, of course, brings us to the top 5 prequels:



#5 – The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly.

Chosen by 6.3% of this week’s respondents, this 1966 “spaghetti western” prequel (directed by Sergio Leone) to “A Fistful of Dollars” is perhaps most famously known for it’s theme song, the long-drawn out staring match at the end, and the laconic Clint Eastwood in a starring role (though I always had a soft spot for Lee Van Cleef).    .



#4 – Casino Royale

Nearly one-in-ten (9.4%) of this week’s respondents chose this Daniel Craig reshaping of the famous James Bond franchise.  Action-packed, and yet a good part of the movie was spent doing little more sweating around a card table. 



#3 – Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace

It is one of life’s little ironies that this reinvigoration of the George Lucas franchise showed up so strongly on this list (12.5%), while also registering so strongly on the worst prequel list (where it was cited by nearly one-in-five).  Maybe if we could just edit out Jar-Jar Binks….



#2 – Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom

Viewers could hardly be faulted to missing that this 1984 entry predated the more famous Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981), taking place in 1935, whereas “Raiders” was set in 1936.  But then, you’d probably have had to be paying attention to the opening credits to catch that little detail.  As a side note, this was the film that led to the creation of the PG-13 rating, after the MPAA felt it (and “Gremlins”) weren’t quite deserving of an “R” rating, but were more intense than “PG” seemed designed for.  Nearly 15% (14.6%) of this week’s readers chose it.



#1 – The Godfather: Part II

More than 28% of this week’s respondents opted for this cinematic classic – which offered a storyline that both preceded – and followed – that of the original Godfather.  Funny how something that seemed so confusing in the theatres (at least to me) now stands out as a truly distinctive storytelling.

Thanks to everyone who participated in our survey!