2015 has one of the biggest films of the year declare that, “The Park is Open”. While newcomers to the Jurassic Park series may have this tagline go over their heads, those who were around when the original came out back in 1993 would certainly understand its relevance. But did we ever think this day would come after the events of Jurassic Park and its subsequent two sequels? Jurassic World’s tagline was something that had been three films in the making and, despite on its own not being the most memorable, this was absolutely spot on taking into account its history.
But what about other well-known franchises? Did they have taglines as equally poetic as Jurassic World, or were they more meaningless and empty than the ending of Jurassic Park III? Here we take a look at the most memorable – regardless of the viewing quality – franchise taglines:
The one that really did feel like “An adventure 65 million years in the making” – the original Steven Spielberg movie must rank as one of the classic taglines of all time. The Lost World was almost as notable with its foreboding “something has survived”, and if you top it off with Jurassic World’s, you have taglines complimenting a monster series.
The mother of all franchise taglines. With the original Alien already having it’s tagline “In space no-one can hear you Scream” at the top of most people’s Top Ten list, it’s sequel Aliens, arguably one of the best sequels of all time, follows it up by emphasising the change in tone from chilling to all out action: “This Time it’s War”. Alien 3’s de facto “The Bitch is Back” makes up for a disappointing third film.
Alien vs. Predator
There could never be any more of a contrast between the quality of a film to the greatness of a tagline than the AvP series, undoubtedly the worst thing to have been spawned out of Alien (that includes Resurrection too). AVP: Alien vs. Predator’s “Whoever wins…we lose” is subtly done to showcase the face-off between these two iconic monsters that sadly never got the dust-up it deserved. Requiem’s “This Christmas there will be no peace on Earth” may have been festively tacky, but it was certainly more rousing than what was on screen.
On the animation front, Shrek really was “The greatest fairy-tale never told”, and upon release it was fresh, funny and rivalled anything Pixar produced. It’s a shame it led to a tired fourth film, punning “It aint ogre until it’s ogre”. Although it wasn’t a bad kid’s tagline for the ogre to bow out with.
Matt Damon’s Bourne was responsible for ushering Bond into the 21st century, and the taglines accompanying them went hand-in-hand with that shift. From The Bourne Identity’s “He was the perfect weapon until he became the target”, to its no-nonsense sequel “They should have left him alone”. Even The Bourne Legacy had one which made immediate sense, acknowledging there would be a new protagonist with “There was never just one”. It’s just a shame that this other one was a pretty poor Jeremy Renner.
Bourne may have influenced the modern Bond, but it was the old-school spy which inspired Rowan Atkinson to do a full on parody. “He knows know fear. He knows know danger. He knows nothing” represented the humour that was to be expected from Johnny English, and Reborn emphasised the dim-wittedness of the series with “A little intelligence goes a long way”.
It’s not often you see a poster with the tagline far bigger than the title, but Pitch Perfect 2 appears to think that this would sell the film more than anything else by proclaiming “We’re Back Pitches”. Not exactly subtle and it doesn’t really match the original’s “Prepare to be Pitch Slapped”, either. But despite both really going down the same route of intention, who would argue that these taglines aren’t a great fit? Should a third film get made, there’s still “The Pitch is Back”…
The Fast & The Furious
Another franchise that got an instalment in 2015, F&F 7 was looking to bow out by using its tagline to poignantly acknowledge the late Paul Walker’s final contribution with “one last ride” (although due to it’s massive success there will be much more riding for the foreseeable future). The other lasting tagline was from Fast & Furious (the fourth film), “New Model. Original Parts.”, ingeniously referring to the reunion of the main cast from the first film.
Arguably the only franchise to have increasingly better taglines as the sequels got worse, starting with Scary Movie’s “No Mercy. No Shame. No Sequel” to Scary Movie 3’s “Great trilogies come in threes”. The fourth’s “The funniest thing you ever sawed” was probably better than any other line in the film. Thankfully the send up of horror films (and Charlie Sheen) eventually dried up to save us from further humourless torture.
One comedy series that did have a relatively decent amount of gross-out comedy to go with its taglines was American Pie (not including the shameless and never-ending direct-to-DVD sequels). The first, American Pie‘s “There’s something about your first piece” and the most recent, American Reunion’s “Save the best piece for last” reflecting the two best entries in the franchise. Nothing better than double-entendre taglines, especially when it’s consistent throughout the series.
Die Hard and Twilight
Vying for having the worst taglines in franchise history have to be Die Hard and Twilight.
“Die Harder” (Die Hard 2) could not make any less sense – that is until the actual name of Die Hard 5 came along, A Good Day to Die Hard, attached with the extremely tired play on McClane’s catchphrase “Yippee Ka Yay Mother Russia”. And yes, that did mean it was set in Russia.
Then you have Twilight. 3 out of the 5 films contained the word “forever”. Individually, they reek of cheese. Bunch them together and it’s just plain nauseating: “When you can live forever what do you live for?”, “Forever is only the beginning”, “The epic finale that will live forever.” The franchise will be remembered for all the wrong reasons, one being the taglines and the other for unleashing Kristen Stewart to the forefront of the acting world.
Special mentions go to taglines from just one film that makes it synonymous with the franchise:
- “Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water…” – Jaws 2
- “Part Man. Part machine. All cop.” – Robocop
- “Who ya gonna call?” – Ghostbusters
- “You’ll believe a man can fly” – Superman
- “A family comedy without the family” – Home Alone
But then there are those which are truly awful due the inevitability of the line…
- “Every Beginning must have an End” – The Matrix Revolutions
….Or for stating the previous classic films will be negated…
- “Reset the Future” / “New Mission, New Fate” – Terminator Genisys
Of course a film franchise can be hugely successful without a single memorable tagline – Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, Star Wars – all had no such quotable taglines to go with their iconic status. So while taglines may not make or break a film series, grouped together it can show its intention and evolution, whether it be one, two or even three sequels in the making.