With the merciful ending of Fear the Walking Dead and the highly anticipated Wonka coming later this month, we've decided to talk about prequels. The Bitesize crew has put their brains together to compile Bitesize Breakdown's consensus Top Five Prequel Films/Series. If the prequel spawned a series, we will only be counting the first entry.
Each writer ranks his or her top 15 releases in the category. Those lists are then weighted on a reverse point system. After all the points are tallied up, the entries with the most total points make up the Bitesize Top Five.
5. X-MEN: FIRST CLASS
As a big fan of the X-Men franchise, the idea of a reboot worried me a little since the new cast would have massive shoes to fill. Well, James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender were more than up to the task as their interpretations of Charles Xavier (Professor X) and Erik Lehnsherr (Magneto) are terrific. There is a renewed focus on other mutants, as well as an incredibly risky decision not to have Wolverine re-cast as part of the core, and Matthew Vaughn's direction brings it all together to create a stylized and refreshed version of the X-Men. Unfortunately, Vaughn didn’t stick with the series and the follow-up films got progressively worse. It's a great “what if?” to wonder what may have happened had he never left. - Nick
4. RISE OF THE PLANET OF THE APES
Rise of the Planet of the Apes caught me off guard. I remember watching the trailer when I was younger and thinking, “Do we really need more Apes movies?” Yes... yes, we did. Together, Rise, Dawn, and War make up arguably the greatest prequel trilogy of all time. They expertly blend astonishing spectacle with an epic narrative, anchored by Andy Serkis' powerhouse mo-cap performance. Caesar (Serkis) is not only one of the greatest special effects ever brought to screen, he’s also an absolutely incredible protagonist. I never thought it was possible to care about a monkey this much. - Caleb
3. THE GODFATHER PART II
The Godfather Part II not only gets a well-deserved spot on the Bitesize Top Five prequels list, but it also is considered one of the few sequels that is better than the original, and it quite justly occupies a space on every best films of all-time list! Francis Ford Coppola’s (director) and Mario Puzo’s (writer and producer) genius parallel storytelling shows similar-aged looks at Michael Corleone’s (Al Pacino) ever tightening grip on the family “business” while simultaneously giving a glimpse into his father’s, Vito Corleone (Robert De Niro), creation of the family’s criminal enterprise. It is a multiple award-winning, iconic, and gritty gangster film with masterful cinematography, terrific acting, a score to die for…and, oh yeah, it happened to revolutionize filmmaking forever! - Preston
2. BETTER CALL SAUL
It's a hard task to follow up Breaking Bad, one of the most respected and acclaimed shows in history, with a prequel about Walter White's lawyer. But somehow, creators Vince Gilligan and Peter Gould pulled off a show that is not only on the level of its predecessor, but some have even argued it's actually better than Breaking Bad. Better Call Saul mostly ditches the gritty, thriller aspects of Breaking Bad, instead going for a slower, more introspective black comedy character study of Jimmy McGill/Saul Goodman, played extraordinarily by Bob Odenkirk. There's simply too much pathos and too many layers of Better Call Saul to discuss in this piece, but for any fans of Breaking Bad, this is a perfect companion series, and even if you're not, it’s a powerful and entertaining ride all on its own. - Adriano
1. CASINO ROYALE
Growing up, my introduction to James Bond was through Pierce Brosnan’s suave charm, over-the-top gadgetry (invisible cars!?), and fun campiness. So, when it was announced that the franchise reboot would be gritty like a Bourne movie and starring the much-less-suave Daniel Craig, I mostly shrugged. However, Casino Royale turned Bond into an actual person as opposed to the cartoon character he had become, making Daniel Craig a star and introducing American audiences to the terrific Mads Mikkelsen in the process. Lastly, as a five-film prequel series - the first run of Bond movies to be serialized - these movies provide character development, depth, emotion, and genuine closure on top of the usual gadgets, spy games, Bond villains, sexpots, and exhilarating set pieces. - Quentin
STAR TREK (2009)
ROGUE ONE: A STAR WARS STORY
Photo Credits: Photo 1, 2 - 20th Century Studios; Photo 3 - Paramount Pictures; Photo 4 - AMC; Photo 5 - Sony Pictures Releasing