The success of a movie almost always guarantees sequels and prequels. Many directors have ventured into making famous movie prequels for box office hits. However, only a few of them have met the viewers’ expectations. Here, we take a look at the best movie prequels of all time that even the critics will endorse:
25. The Scorpion King (2002)
Featuring Dwayne Johnson, more popularly known as The Rock, The Scorpion King is a prequel to The Mummy series.
With a lot of sinewy physiques, fist action, and sword fighting that compensates for a mediocre storyline and acting, a half-human half scorpion with help from tribes and allies has to stop an evil ruler from taking over the world.
24. Wide Sargasso Sea (1993)
The Wide Sargasso Sea is inspired by the novel Jane Eyre, written by a British author. It is an attempt to answer the mystery of the pre-Jane Eyre era and features a mulatto woman, a landowner, who must marry to claim her property.
As her clandestine past resurfaces, young romance gives way to problems.
23. Alien Vs Predator (2004)
A bold venture to merge two different movie series, Alien and Predator, by director Paul Anderson that features hardcore action of two extraterrestrial species looking to take each other out, with humans stuck in the middle.
It begins with a billionaire, Lance Henrikson as Charles Bishop, funding an expedition to Antarctica to locate the source of heat signature detected by them. They face an unprecedented challenge as they get more than they bargained for.
22. OZ the Great and Powerful (2003)
In the enchanted world, Oz has been a popular figure. This is an insight into Oz’s life before he became a great and powerful wizard. A womanizing, substandard con man who can barely keep afloat, is somehow transported to the magical Land of Oz.
Here, he meets 3 witches and must figure out the evil ones from the good ones. It transforms him into not only an able illusionist but also a better human who goes on to fulfill the prophecy that foretells the arrival of a wizard who will save the people of Oz.
21. Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace (1999)
If there is one thing for men that comes close to football and women, it is the Star Wars saga. Favorite of children and men alike, the love for bright colored lightsabers knows no age limit.
The first installment in the prequel trilogy that delves into the past, The Phantom Menace sees two Jedi fighters stumbling on a kid, Skywalker, with promising potential (future Darth Vader). They must try to save the queen as there are signs of a dormant evil force, Sith, resurfacing.
20. Minions (2015)
10th highest-grossing of all time and 2nd in animated films, directors Pierre Coffin and Kyle Balda’s venture to give the little yellow underlings the main stage has been quite successful.
First featured in Despicable Me, these yellow gibberish speaking creatures were widely acclaimed and their minion language became trendy.
Minions is one of the most famous prequels in recent times that goes back in time and explains how minions have always existed and served evil masters. Three of them, Kevin, Bob, and Stuart set out to find a master to serve and stumble upon a notorious villain.
19. Ginger Snaps Back: The Beginning (2004)
Prequel to the popular werewolf film Ginger Snaps, where two sisters Brigette and Ginger, face a daunting challenge when one of them is bitten by a werewolf, Ginger Snaps Back – The Beginning takes us back in the 19th century where a psychic Indian, foretelling the future, helps the sisters take refuge in a fort which comes under siege by wendigoes. They find out they have to rely on their own wit to stay alive.
Ginger Snaps franchise has also been described as a possible analogy to womanhood.
18. Zulu Dawn (1979)
Zulu Dawn is a reconstruction of the battle of Isandlwana and a prequel to the 1964 war film, Zulu. It is set in 19th century South Africa when the British intended to take on Zulus and conquer them, but little did they know that they have bitten more than they can chew. Relying on the military advantage of rifles and artillery against Zulus’ spears, the British learn a harsh lesson in the battle on a hill called Isandlwana.
The movie has some noteworthy battle scenes and has been more productive than its predecessor Zulu, which caused outrage in Africans for showing a one-sided story.
17. Paranormal Activity 3 (2011)
Setting a record opening day earning for a horror movie in the US ($26.2 million), the third installment in the horror franchise is a prequel to the first two and goes back 18 years.
Paranormal Activity 3 shows Dennis moving in with his girlfriend and her daughters, Kristi and Katie, who happen to have an imaginary friend, Toby. Setting up cameras in the house, Dennis soon discovers the presence of a supernatural entity in the house.
16. Ring 0: Birthday (2000)
Ring, released in 1998, was a horror movie where investigations into strange deaths lead to a psychic and her daughter, Sadako.
Ring 0: Birthday came later as a prequel and elucidates how Sadako transforms from a young, introverted girl into an acrimonious spirit haunting people.
15. Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me (1992)
Exhibiting a lot of loud music, violence, and sex, this is a prequel to a highly popular investigative TV series Twin Peaks, top-rated #35 with 3 Golden Globes to its name.
A young FBI field agent’s disappearance might be connected to the future murder of Laura Palmer, a teenager with a bizarre social life.
14. The Hobbit (2012)
Dressed in white robes with a long white beard, a white staff in hand, and full of cheeky retorts. If you haven’t guessed by now, you have been living under a rock! Arguably the most known and loved character of all time is Gandalf the wizard, featuring in Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings book series. It is also acclaimed as the best movie adaptation of any novel series with all 3 movies making it into the top movies of all time on several online lists and winning 17 Oscars in total.
The Hobbit is a prequel to this series, based on the adventures of Bilbo Baggins, a hobbit, who encounters all fictional species Tolkien had to offer, Dwarves, Elves, Orcs, and wizards, in his attempt to regain the lost kingdom of Dwarves. With positive feedback from viewers and critics alike, Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit’s success is certified and has led to the release of two further sequels.
13. Prometheus (2012)
A conundrum for movie fans, is Prometheus a prequel to the Alien series or not? Both movies have been directed by Ridley Scott and he claims Prometheus is an original piece of sci-fi. However, the similarity in the storyline, sounds, logos, and tech showed, and also by popular opinion, we firmly believe that it is indeed a prequel to the Alien series.
Set in the future, the year 2093, in a place light-years away from earth, a team is investigating the signs of civilization believed to be the origin of the human race. They are unprepared for what they are about to face.
12. Red Dragon (2002)
The infamous Hannibal ‘the Cannibal’ Lector from the iconic film The Silence of the Lambs, is by far the most intriguing psychopath in crime movies. With 5 Oscars to its name, the movie makes it to #23 in IMDb’s top movies of all time.
Red Dragon is another crime thriller that features Hannibal Lector and his complementary Will Graham, an FBI agent and his arch-nemesis who has to track down a serial killer, “the tooth fairy”. Whether Hannibal aiding Will or the serial killer remains to be seen.
11. Puss in Boots (2011)
Bringing together different characters from fairy tales and children’s nursery rhymes and spinning them all into one lovable story, director Chris Miller has produced a marvel for kids. Puss in Boots narrates the times before Puss meets Shrek and his donkey in the second part of the Shrek series.
A witty and stylish swords-cat, Puss, is looking to clear his name from charges against him. With help from Kitty Softpaws, a female cat, and Humpty Dumpty, his old friend who betrayed him, Puss must get hold of the magic beans, reach the Giant’s castle and get the golden goose.
10. Monsters University (2013)
The best in animation production and credited for reviving Disney, Pixar have created a masterpiece in Monsters University. Prequel to Monsters Inc., where Mike and Sully are two adorable friend monsters, Monsters University shows them both aiming to become scary monsters.
At loggerheads with each other before ending up as friends, they both reluctantly fall in one team and must win the scare games to get reinstated in scare class.
9. Infernal Affairs 2 (2003)
Hong Kong’s theatrical enterprise, ‘Mou gaan dou’ or Infernal Affairs, was a splendid action-packed crime thriller that showed the police department and the triad family (mafia) looking for the mole in their midst.
Its second installment goes back eleven years in time when Yan, an auspicious young police cadet, gets the sack and accepts to be the mole in the triad family while Ming, a triad member, is assigned to join the police academy and act as triad informant. A lot of action including politics, murders, blackmail, and heist unfolds that leads to the rise of Ming and Yan in their respective departments.
8. Rise of the Planet of the Apes (2011)
Starring James Franco of Freaks and Geeks fame, and more recently making highlights for his role in The Interview, this movie is essentially a prequel to the original Planet of the Apes series.
Will Rodman (James Franco playing a scientist) is the pioneer behind the development of a drug that enhances his pet chimp’s intelligence to the point where it becomes self-aware and helps his fellow chimps with the same drug. With the power to think like humans, these apes attempt to overthrow human dominion on the planet.
7. X-Men: First Class (2011)
With some popcorn and coke in hand, mutants with cool powers fighting each other makes for excellent television time. X-Men movies are based on Marvel comics and the third installment in the series and a prequel X-Men: First Class, takes us back to the time where Erik Lensherr (Magneto) and Charles Xavier (Professor X) are not arch enemies but best friends.
With an evil mutant (who can absorb kinetic energy) trying to start a nuclear war, the younger versions of Professor X and Magneto must unite and form a team to foil his plans. In the process, differences between them grow which will result in both parting ways.
6. Batman Begins (2005)
When legendary Christopher Nolan is the director, the movie is bound to be a box office hit. In this venture, he brings in a star-studded cast that includes the versatile Christian Bale as Bruce Wayne, classy Liam Neeson as Ra’s Al Ghul, and the man with a voice of gold, Morgan Freeman as Lucius Fox.
Taken from DC comics, Batman is by far the coolest and most embraced superhero of all time. Behind the mask is Bruce Wayne, a billionaire, and CEO of Wayne Industries.
In this prequel to The Dark Knight, Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale) matures from a kid who has seen his parents’ death, to a trained vigilante under Ra’s Al Ghul’s training, the head of League of Assassins. When he comes back to Gotham, the city is in shambles. It is up to Batman to fight the crime mafia and save his hometown from a plot of its destruction.
5. Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984)
The creator of Star Wars, George Walton Lucas Jr., has produced another gem of a series in Indiana Jones. Rich in history with light comedy and a lot of action/adventure, these movies are certainly worth a watch. Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom movie is set in the year 1935, a year before its predecessor (Raiders of the Lost Ark).
Charming Harrison Ford takes the lead role (Indiana Jones) and this time his adventures are in a village in British India. A sacred stone is stolen and children are missing from the village. Indiana Jones, with help from his alibis, unveils and attempts to foil Thuggee’s plan of collecting 5 Ankara stones to rule the world.
4. Casino Royale (2006)
With a license to kill, wearing a black tuxedo, wielding the latest innovative weapons and gadgets, and scoring hot girls left and right – the British secret service agent 007 is everyone’s favorite bad boy. Taken from Ian Fleming’s spy novel series, James Bond is the perfect secret agent specimen.
Following on from Dr. No (First Bond movie) in 1962, Casino Royale is the 21st edition in Bond franchise with a new face as 007, Daniel Craig.
It is a prequel to Die Another Day that shows the spy in his first kill with a government license. With blonde hair, cold demeanor, great sex appeal, and a stunning French Vesper Lynd (Eva Green) as his aid, Bond is sent to play poker with a man responsible for funding terrorists – Le Chiffre. He must win to stop Le Chiffre from raising big money.
3. Star Trek (2009)
Star Trek originally began as a TV series in 1966 but was canceled due to poor ratings. The success of Star Wars in the ‘70s convinced Paramount Pictures to start a movie franchise of Star Trek with the first installment coming in 1979, Star Trek: The Motion Picture.
Star Trek (2009) is essentially a reboot of the original TV series. Following its wild success (1 Oscar win and earned $350+ million worldwide), Star Trek Into the Darkness was released as a sequel, and Star Trek Beyond is bound to be released in 2016.
The basic plot is that a defiant Kirk and stern Commander Spock, along with their crew, must save humankind from a time-traveling alien bent on destroying the Federation.
2. The Godfather Part II (1974)
Regarded as one of the best movies of all time, The Godfather movies are based on Mario Puzo’s (an Italian-American) novel with the same name. It is based on the life of an Italian-American crime mafia Don, Vito Corleone, who brands his own kind of justice.
The Godfather II is a prequel to the first part because it rewinds the clocks to the time where Vito is a young man who gradually gets corrupted and enters the vicious crime mafia. Then the story catches up with the present where Vito’s third son, Michael Corleone, struggles at many fronts as he gets acquainted with the family business.
Possibly the finest actor to have graced Hollywood, Al Pacino (Michael Corleone) plays the role to perfection. Robert Di Nero as Vito Corleone brings a sense of seriousness in the movie that syncs well with the movie theme.
1. The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966)
Director Sergio Leone’s The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly tops our list of best prequels and makes it to #8 on IMDb’s best of all time movies. It is a prequel to For a Few Dollars More where two bounty hunters team up to take down an outlaw.
In this movie, Blondie (The Good), Angel Eyes (The Bad), and Tuco (The Ugly) all stumble upon a dying man who tells them about buried gold. Each with a different clue, they rely on each other and yet must get to the treasure before others.
We can’t resist mentioning these classic prequels as well:
- Underworld: Rise of the Lycans (2009)
- Hannibal Rising (2007)
- The Exorcist: The Beginning
Feel free to share your views about our list of the best movie prequels of all time in the comments below!