Worst To Best: Movie Prequels

X-Men Origins - Wolverine (2009)

The Prequel: Still wondering how Wolverine ended up full of adamantium and so goddamn angry? This prequel has a go at answering some of those burning questions.

Why It's Grim: The pacing's all over the place, and this feels like a story we already covered in previous X films. Plus some of the special effects are truly, truly shocking.

Still, Jackman's still riveting. Can't wait to see what he does with The Wolverine .

Worst Link To The Original:
Patrick Stewart turns up, but he's had a terrifying CGI face peel.

Underworld: Rise Of The Lycans (2009)

The Prequel: A trip back in time to when Lucian (Michael Sheen) became the first werewolf to discover how to transform into a man. He's taken under the (bat) wing of vampire Viktor (Bill Nighy).

Why It's Grim: Sheen's decent, and Nighy's compellingly sly, but, really, it's wearing thin by now. How many films can they made in which a woman in black PVC shoots monsters?

Worst Link To The Original: Rhona Mitra's the one wearing the black condom, but just makes us long for Beckinsale.

From Dusk Till Dawn 3: The Hangman's Daughter (1999)

The Prequel: A trip back to the early 1990s, where we discover how vampire badass Santanico Pandemonium came to be.

Why It's Grim: Though the concept is decent enough, the delivery of this tired threequel is nothing short of bland and humourless. The originality's spunky, devil-may-care attitude is long gone, meaning all we have to entertain us is the lashings of gore.

Worst Link To The Original: Well, Salma Hayek's in it…

Oz: The Great And Powerful (2013)

The Prequel: James Franco plays an arrogant showman who gets swept into a mysterious fantasy wonderland, where he could be the key to bringing order back to the world. If only he could stop being such an asshole.

Why It's Grim: Like so many contemporary fantasy flicks, this one succumbs to CGI overload after a promisingly subdued opening. It's almost indistinguishable from Alice In Wonderland , and its attempts to match the original film fail on almost every level.

Worst Link To The Original: The flying monkeys are now CGI. Because of course they are.

Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge Of The Sith (2005)

The Prequel: Last of George Lucas' Star Wars prequels, and all bets are off…

Why It's Great: OK, 'great' might be pushing it ever so slightly, but this is still the best of the prequels.

Unafraid of (finally) going for absolute darkness, Lucas opens with a fantastic space battle and doesn't let up until Darth Vader's birth.

Best Link To The Original: Vader's suit is finally introduced. The moment's almost ruined by that campy "NOOOOO!", but before that it's captivating stuff.

Missing In Action 2: The Beginning (1985)

The Prequel: Filmed concurrently with its predecessor, this prequel-sequel finds ass-kicker Colonel James Braddock (Chuck Norris) held in a Vietnam POW camp.

Why It's Great: For a start, it stars flippin' Chuck Norris! The New York Times hailed it as "primitive but shrewd", with Norris going through brutal beatings for the first half of the film before breaking out the big guns to get his own back. Awesome.

Best Link To The Original: The action, of course.

Ginger Snaps Back (2004)

The Prequel: Third film in the Ginger Snaps trilogy. It takes a leaf out of the Back To The Future Trilogy Rule Book by going back in time to the 19th century.

Why It's Great: It's a period werewolf flick! Sure, the sardonic bite of the original film is long gone, but this is a historical drama stuffed with corsets, buttoned-down terror and - yes - big, furry fanged beasties. What's not to love?

Best Link To The Original:
The relationship between sister Ginger and Brigitte is just as strong (thanks to actresses Emily Perkins and Katharine Isabelle), and - again - Ginger's the one who gets bitten.

Paranormal Activity 3 (2011)

The Prequel: Catfish directors Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman go right back to where it all began as we discover that Katie and her sister experienced paranormal activity as kids.

Why It's Great: The scares aren't what they used to be, but that doesn't prevent Joost and Schulman from delivering a handful of genuinely hair-raising moments - and shoving kids in horror films is always good for chills.

Best Link To The Original: It's all about Katie's backstory here, which means there are numerous nods throughout.

Puss In Boots (2011)

The Prequel: The adorable little ball of fur that is Puss In Boots gets his own movie! (Watch out for fur balls.)

Why It's Great: It's a Puss In Boots adventure as shot like a spaghetti western, which is a stroke of genius.

Plus we get Salma Hayek as Kitty Softpaws , Guillermo del Toro on cameo duty, and a few adults-only jokes that got us tittering (“It’s for my glaucoma,” Puss explains of his suspicious-looking catnip).

Best Link To The Original: Those eyes. Those big, black eyes…

Tremors 4: The Legend Begins (2004)

The Prequel: The terrible, tunnelling monsters pitch up in Rejection Valley circa 1889. There could be trouble ahead…

Why It's Great: It was a DTV jobbie, but that doesn't stop Tremors 4 from delivering the goods.

Pivotal to its success is its reliance on prosthetic effects (as opposed to the previous two films' CGI monstrosities), and though it's not perfect, Tremors 4 benefits from an appearance by the brilliantly bonkers Billy Drago.

Best Link To The Original: The continuity's a bit wobbly, but the inclusion of the Changs is a nice touch.

Josh Winning has worn a lot of hats over the years. Contributing Editor at Total Film, writer for SFX, and senior film writer at the Radio Times. Josh has also penned a novel about mysteries and monsters, is the co-host of a movie podcast, and has a library of pretty phenomenal stories from visiting some of the biggest TV and film sets in the world. He would also like you to know that he "lives for cat videos..." Don't we all, Josh. Don't we all.