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Michael Anton’s essay, wherein he claimed the 2016 election was the Flight 93 scenario has slipped into the general consciousness as being either a prophetic doomsday scenario of Hillary’s potential presidency and a last chance to save the nation from disaster, or a now-risible bit of demagoguery aimed to scare voters into voting against their interests, depending on one’s point of view and political leanings. What is undeniable, of course, is that the phrase has stuck and become something of a metaphor or touchstone for how one views the Trump years.
What is also undeniable is that as successful as the phrase has become, it has real franchise potential too. I will go so far as to say that the 2020 election is shaping up to be the Flight 94 election, and like all too many Hollywood superhero/disaster/car-racing underworld second films, it looks to be far worse than the origin story of the first movie.
Let’s be honest here, the way the Dems are going bat-excrement crazy right now is, I think, bearing this out. They’ll be up to 30 candidates before long, and each trying to out-Left and out-crazy and out-Communist the other. That sort of rage is frankly unsustainable, and really their entire platform is boiling down to “Not Trump.”
They should ask Mitt Romney how well being “Not Obama” played in 2012. This follows the pattern of franchise sequels mostly employing crazier but less-well-written villains than the original film, whose eeevil lairs and eeevil plans for world domination take the outlandish but still only slightly implausible convoluted conspiracies and plots and tie them up in a bow for a neat ending, and toss them right out the window along with cannon consistency, decent dialog, and a budget. Nope, the 2nd films are almost by definition overproduced, over-acted, over-egged, over-egoed, and over-budget, as every hack producer tries to squeeze in as many new characters as possible, leaving the plot a confused mess.
But this presents an interesting thought: How many franchise films/elections should we expect to see? I’ve looked into my crystal ball and seen the future dimly. Then I applied copious Windex® and looked again and still saw the future dimly, but without the finger smudges and incense dust. Then I took it outside, but the glare was pretty bad, so I instead took it to a room with good lighting, but indirect lighting and finally saw clearly. And, lo, I saw stretching out into the future, many a car chase, CGI fight scene, and prequel…
The Presidential Race Film Franchise:
- Flight 95. After the box office disappointments of Flight 94, a new director was brought in, and the budget was trimmed, with a higher percentage devoted to employing some decent writers for Flight 95. However, with the leading character out of contract, both a new hero and a new villain had to be cast, and the director insisted on basically flushing the hacked up cannon of Flight 94 down the drain, and returning (so he insisted in interviews) to giving the fans what they really wanted. It almost achieved the same success as the first film, and RepDem pictures felt confident in green-lighting a fourth movie.
- Flight 96 – Baghdad Drift. This one was less a sequel, and more of a side-story of some the ancillary characters from the first and third films as they engaged in Baghdad’s underground racing scene, with the clock ticking on preventing the outbreak of war between Iraq and the Seychelles Islands. Mediocre box office performance due to a lot of confusion over who these people were and why they were getting their own film, but did not endanger the franchise.
- Flight 100 – Age of Putin-Tron. Billed as the real fourth film in the series, this film re-assembled most of the team from the original film to fend off a new world-threatening villain, and to set up two additional films for a promised epic battle. Several new heroes were introduced, though the fans were aghast at the Crubio cyborg cameo near the end.
- Flight 101 – Beijing Unleashed. With China revealed as the real menace hiding behind Putin-Tron in an after-credits teaser in the previous film, and Crubio’s real motivations still unknown, our heroes band together once more to save world peace, but yet another after-credits teaser hints that even Beijing was but a servant of a still darker power.
- Flight 102 – 2 Flight, 2 Furious. Irritated the heck out of fans as it clearly only served as a gap filler, with a pointless clash between Crubio and the other heroes, who patch up their differences in the last five minutes as at last the real villain is revealed as the Sorosoros, an immortal being who has been attempting to bring down the world banking system by cornering the market on Columbian coffee (though the Juan Valdez henchman provided a lot of memorable comic relief).
- Flight 1001 – Crash Landing. Most of the heroes are killed off in this final (so they claimed until the after-credits teaser) installment, but Crubio’s last-minute self-sacrifice by consuming 90 kilotons of coffee had fans weeping.
- Flight 60. With Disney having acquired the rights to the franchise, this attempt at a prequel film, set in a sort of steampunk 1950s, was a box-office disaster. Disney has not commented on whether the franchise will continue, or will only appear henceforth in Kingdom Hearts 4, which has been rumored to be in the works for the last 30 years.