Worst To Best: Movie Prequels

Indiana Jones And The Temple Of Doom (1984)

The Prequel: Set a year before Raiders Of The Lost Ark , this second Indy adventure sees the titular whip-cracker (Harrison Ford) facing voodoo nasties - and acquiring a pint-sized sidekick.

Why It's Great: Marion's absence is heavily felt (not least because she's replaced by shrill and always-screaming Willie Scott), but loads of your favourite Indy moments appear here - including that brilliant bridge scene.

Best Link To The Original: Indy and co are served baby snakes for dinner. Oh dear…

Monsters University (2013)

The Prequel: Before Mike (Billy Crystal) and Sully (John Goodman) were kid-scaring aces, they went to university…

Why It's Great: Pixar has received criticism for prioritising sequels over originals, and MU is a big eff you to naysayers, going the prequel route instead and delivering exactly the kind of fuzzy fun and frolics you'd expect from Pixar. Magnificent.

Best Link To The Original: Monsters! Monsters everywhere! Including Randall…

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (2012)

The Prequel: Based on JRR Tolkien's slight tome about a hole in the ground that once belonged to a hobbit, before he upped sticks for an adventure with dwarves.

Why It's Great: Jackson's film fits right in with his Lord Of The Rings trilogy - in mood and visuals, it's a perfect match. Plus Freeman was born to play Bilbo.

Best Link To The Original: The White Council scene, which ushers in LOTR players Galadriel (Cate Blanchett), Elrond (Hugo Weaving) and Saruman (Christopher Lee).

X-Men: First Class (2011)

The Prequel : A sixties-set jape that discovers Professor X (James McAvoy) was once a massive flirt and Magneto (Michael Fassbender) was a super-hot Bond-type.

Why It's Great: It's X-Men, retro style! Cue yellow-and-blue X-suits and hairstyles that would have Vidal Sassoon swooning. Also, the bromance between McAvoy and Fassbender is stirring stuff.

Best Link To The Origin al: Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) pops up for a one-line cameo in a bar. You know the scene we're talking about.

Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes (2011)

The Prequel: James Franco and John Lithgow monkey around as the former searches desperately for a cure for Alzheimer's - and manages to create a super-smart ape.

Why It's Great: Director Rupert Wyatt has reverence for the source material but isn't afraid to have his own fun. His film starts slow and gradually ratchets up to that breathtaking Golden Gate siege.

Best Link To The Original: Caesar finally talks at the film's close, hinting sequel Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes c ould feature more vocal monkeys.

Zulu Dawn (1979)

The Prequel: Set before the events of the first film (obviously), Douglas Hickox's film plays out the Battle of Rourke's Drift in bloody detail.

Why It's Great: Hickox doesn't flinch away from portraying the Brits as arrogant, unfeeling colonists who make utter fools of themselves as they go up against the considerably less-armed natives. Even better - it's still totally relevant today.

Best Link To The Original: Those iconic red outfits.

Batman Begins (2005)

The Prequel: Is it a prequel or a reboot? Chris Nolan's Bat-flick is sort of both, taking us right back to the origins of Batman as Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale) becomes a self-made hero.

Why It's Great: It did what few had attempted before - it attempted to figure out how a superhero could actually exist in the real world. Which meant neon and quips were out, gut-punching action and tear-y emotion were in.

Best Link To The Original: The Joker card at the end. Ooo, something really big's about to happen…

Casino Royale (2006)

The Prequel: Director Martin Campbell goes back to (near) the beginning in order to unravel the super-spy known as James Bond (Daniel Craig).

Why It's Great: Casino Royale was a breath of fresh air after the increasingly outlandish adventures of Pierce Brosnan - the gritty, grubby approach swerved Bourne-style shakiness in favour of a classy thriller with busted and bruised knuckles.

Best Link To The Original: The nifty way the film's opening scene merges into the iconic target view-point that opens every Bond film.

The Good, The Bad And The Ugly (1966)

The Prequel: Bounty hunter Blondie (Clint Eastwood) competes with two other mercenaries for treasure - but should they really work as a team?

Why It's Great: Though it was criticised at the time for its violence, Sergio Leone's film is, according to Quentin Tarantino, "the best-directed film of all time." It's also a riveting Western packed full of colourful characters and memorable images.

Best Link To The Original:
Blondie's already wearing that infamous poncho…

The Godfather Part II (1974)

The Prequel: Both a sequel and a prequel to Francis Ford Coppola's masterful original, Part II follows Michael (Al Pacino) in present day, and his father Vito Corleone (Robert De Niro) in 1958.

Why It's Great: Well, it's considered one of the greatest films of all time for a reason - Part II is a maelstrom of magnificent performances and corkscrew storytelling.

The speech at the film's mid-point is unforgettable.

Best Link To The Original: Any moment in which a rat is hunted down and killed.

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.