A few months ago, while sitting in the movie theater waiting for a screening to begin, I was watching the trailers pretty intently. I love movie trailers. A good trailer can take a movie I was only mildly interested in, or not interested in at all, and make me really excited over it. On the other hand, a bad trailer (and here I am thinking of Sherlock Holmes) can take a film I was anticipating eagerly and make me dread seeing it, as clearly the person directing the film has never actually read one of the books the character appeared in. A European trailer, however, can theoretically cheer me up and convince me that the trailer I saw before was dumbed down and amped up on the assumption (correct) that most American moviegoers wouldn’t want to see an accurate portrayal of the greatest literary detective of all time.
But I digress. On this particular occasion, a film for a new car chase movie raced across the screen: Fast and Furious. The trailer was remarkably stupid, mindless, and the sort of thing that the average moviegoer eats like M&Ms. I was sure it’d be a hit. Still, something nagged me about the title… “Fast and Furious,” I said to myself. “Fast and Furious… why does that sound so…”
Then it hit me. This wasn’t really a new movie at all, was it?
Oh no. This was simply the fourth film in a series, following the brilliant and award-winning motion pictures The Fast and the Furious, the Shakespeare-inspired 2 Fast 2 Furious, and the globally-conscious The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift. But for this latest installment, the filmmakers were trying something different in the naming convention. Although they hadn’t gone for the obvious (The Fast and the Furious 2) in the previous installments, they did go with two of the other predominant sequel-naming conventions. For the second installment, they simply worked added number into the title, a technique pioneered by the landmark films D2: The Mighty Ducks or Beethoven’s 2nd. For the third movie, they eschewed numbers entirely in favor of a subtitle, as we have seen with such films as X-Men: The Last Stand or Land Before Time: The Kids Who Saw the First Movie Are Showing the Sequels to THEIR Kids Now.
But this… this new innovation in name-changing for the fourth film left me astonished. No number. No subtitle. Nothing added at all. No! Instead, the producers of The Fast and the Furious decided to eliminate the definite article “THE” from the title anywhere it appeared! Fast and Furious! So fast, so furious, no articles needed.
I walked away from this trailer with a hole in my gut, something bothering me terribly. If they cut out those two “THE”s… where did the “THE”s go?
Months later, sitting in another movie, watching another set of trailers, I would have my answer.
The Final Destination, a motion picture about a group of hot teenagers who narrowly escape death only to find that Death Itself is stalking them in an orgy of blood and death, is winding its way to a theater near me this August. “But wait,” I said to myself. “THE Final Destination? It sounds familiar, but…”
Of course, this too was the fourth film in a series. In 2000, we were graced to the original Final Destination, and in 2003, the inspired title Final Destination 2 took movie theaters by storm. In 2006, select theaters played host to Final Destination 3-D, a film so remarkable that they handed out special sunglasses before the screening so the audience could handle it. But now, in 2009, we watch as the fourth installment in the series abandons its numerical title convention and instead rescues one of the “THE”s abandoned by Fast and Furious. Truly, this was a great humanitarian gesture on their part.
But the wiser among you have already noticed the problem here. The Final Destination only rescues one of the orphaned “THE”s left by the renaming of the previous film. There’s still another “THE” out there — lost, cold, and alone, seeking a home in the title of another crappy sequel. Fortunately, my friends, we live in a society where crappy sequels are not just expected, they are inevitable. If that poor, lost “THE” is still seeking a home, may I propose one of the following film franchises rescue it before it falls in with a bad crowd and we find it trying to get in to one of those “art” films or something with Nicolas Cage. That, friends, is why I have founded the Crappy Sequel Article Relocation Program — because our articles are too precious to waste. Just imagine how that lost article would look with one of these handsome motion pictures:
If these, or any other crappy sequels to crappy movies are willing to reach out and give a home to this wayward, abandoned article, call the Crappy Sequel Article Relocation Prograp (CSARP) right now. The article you save could eventually be your own.