We’ve told you before that a legal struggle over the rights to Thunderball produced competing Bond movies, in which Eon Productions lost enough of the franchise that they had to quickly kill off one of the most iconic movie villains ever with as much dignity as flushing a goldfish down a public urinal. But we neglected to tell you about the dumbest part of that whole story, namely the unofficial Bond movie, Never Say Never Again.

After jilted director Kevin McClory won his suit to make an independent Bond movie, he sat on his hands for twenty years before deciding to do anything with it. However, it’s pretty hard to make a Bond movie when all you’re allowed to work with is an aging Sean Connery and the half-written script that inspired Thunderball, so the movie sort of feels like a 13-year-old boy trying to explain the plot of Thunderball to someone who has just awoken from a 60-year coma and has no idea who James Bond is. Franchise regular characters like Blofeld, M, Q, and Moneypenny are all played by new actors, the iconic score and introduction are gone, and Connery acts like he’s just killing time until he can sneak into the alley for a smoke. It’s as if Connery’s hosting an episode of SNL with only one really long sketch, a feeling that only intensifies when Mr. Bean shows up as a comedic relief bureaucrat who talks like he’s constantly trying to swallow his own tongue.

Also, while typically Bond is a cold, quippy killer, this Bond takes down a thug with a sample of his own urine. Granted, when you have as many STDs as 007 it’s a wonder your pee doesn’t melt right through the container.

7 Beloved Movies You Never Knew Had Hilarious Insane Sequels

Nuking It From Orbit

10 sequels or remakes that improved upon or augmented the original:

(SPOILERS)

10- Terminator 2: Judgment Day

Despite popular belief, T2 is not better than The Terminator. The original was a masterpiece thriller equal to Jaws, if not even better. It was a supremely imaginative work (whose imagination was responsible is another question) that created one of the most iconic images not only of horror and action, but of the rivalry between human and machine. The sequel was a great deal of fun and has sparks of true genius and creativity such as the depiction of a nuclear blast and the concept of a shape shifting metal blob, and more. It is without question a sequel worthy of the original, and many with different priorities in cinema may indeed feel it’s a better movie.

9- The Dark Knight

Batman Begins was a very successful reboot that grounded the character in reality while telling a good story. The Dark Knight may or may not have improved on it, but what it unquestionably did is expand Nolan’s take on the material admirably. Though it was mired by conventional crime drama and a superfluous final act, its popularity was enormous and its portrayal of the Joker was very well regarded. It was a sequel that delivered on the promise of the original, a true rarity in times where movies are rarely movies but instead set-ups for a series. The Dark Knight is also a great homage to the crime cinema that inspired it.

8- Twelve Monkeys

La Jetée is a weird little movie. It’s quite brilliant. But it’s nothing compared to Gilliam’s second magnum opus. Twelve Monkeys is a remake that takes inspiration from an original and turns it into a whole world, and a full narrative of its own. Its complex storyline and playful shifts of reality and delusion take La Jetée’s concept to a new level, while supplying huge advances of its own in terms of design, cinematography and eccentricity. It is the first film on this list that is truly superior to the first.

7- Monsters University

Monsters University takes the awesome world of its predecessor and amplifies it to its true potential, while simultaneously giving us one of the best college movies of all time, perhaps second only to Animal House. Monsters University, like Monsters Inc., is pure joy in film form. Never a dull moment, always a laugh, always a fun time and a pleasure to watch. Some have called it a darker film but I can’t see that in any way. It’s smarter, it’s sillier, it’s bigger and this time, bigger is better. Yet it still has a heart, and an deeper meaning than its surface suggests. A great film that followed a very good film.

6- The Fly

And then there’s one of the most depressing movies ever made. Cronenberg is a master of disease and he made the ultimate film about dying of one. The central metaphor alone makes the film superior to the original, but the gore and horror of it took the 80s into a realm of disgust and despair that had previously been relegated to the grindhouse. The climax is one of the most hurtful in movie history, on par with The Mist. An uncathartic tragedy. It also gave Cronenberg the means to make the rest of his films, forging one of the truly great cinematic careers of all time.

5- The Thing

Frankly the original film does nothing for me so a film that would tie with The Fly outdoes it by contrast to its original. The Thing is one of the supremely creative films of all time. Its dementing of the human body and imaginative scares, the dog, the chest, all make for a very enjoyable horror film and for a film worthy of intense study for any surrealist or fan of the macabre.

4- Mad Max: Fury Road

The Gibson Mad Max trilogy has its place in film and its following, but its reboot with Theron and Hardy forged something new. A non-stop action film with brains and brawn, as well as feminist and environmentalist undertones. But more importantly, explosions. So many explosions, big ones, awesome ones. This is about as fun and exciting as a movie can be. It looks cool. It presents an intriguing world and people. It has amazing music. And it all comes together to become something far more than the sum of its predecessors. And the potential for further sequels is infinite.

3- Hellboy II: The Golden Army

Hellboy was a neat movie. It was fun and had some interesting creatures and goings on. Hellboy II was one of the best fantasy films ever made. Mignola and Barlowe knocked the creatures out of the park, giving us a world unlike any we’d ever seen before on a huge scale. The troll market is as close as film has come to recreating the exotic reveal of the cantina in Star Wars. But even beyond that, it has meaning. This is a film about freaks who keep saving the planet for people who hate them, and that’s a brilliant and unexplored story full of allegory and thematic depth. Creativity and brilliance on a massive scale, that’s what cinema exists for.

2- The Godfather Part II

When it comes to expanding a universe, or family, Godfather 2 is the best. It’s the highest quality of film from one of the best times for film from some of the best makers of films. Its fusion of past and present (which is also in the past) yielded rare potential for a movie to explore the making and unmaking of an empire. The Godfather was a straight forward crime drama, perhaps the best. But this delved into the complexities that resulted in the original, and that happened because of it. It’s everything a sequel should be.

1- Aliens

Aliens is everything a sequel should be an more, all in an explosive and destructive way. Alien was one of only a few horror films that directly assaulted the audience. It wasn’t about the horror of what happened, it was the horror of what it did to its viewers, what it showed them. It forced Giger upon unsuspecting moviegoers. And it is a strange movie, its design, sound and image are unconventional and bizarre. Nothing could follow it any more than 2010 could follow 2001. But something did.

Aliens took the best parts of Alien, and knowing that they could never function again after its climax, applied them to a new genre and concept. An action metaphor for Vietnam. Cameron turned a horror movie into a war action franchise. The genius of this move is unparalleled in film. If Godfather 2 shot up conventional crime cinema, Aliens nuked conventional science fiction. It is not superior to the original. It is irrelevant to the original. It is its own beast in every way. And because of that, nothing could follow it. At all. The franchise was doomed on the same day it was born. As with Star Wars, once the original is perfect, by definition anything that adds to it or changes it will be a step down. That’s why Empire isn’t here. And why Aliens is at the top. Aliens is not just the only film in history to sequel perfection perfectly, but in its own perfection, set the bar so high that not even David Fincher could touch it. It is alone at the God tier of sequels.

Sequels, remakes, reboots, prequels and spin-offs are not bad by nature. They are bad by convention. It is “proper” in cinema to follow a great work with an average or poor one. It’s very rare that anyone does differently, these may actually be the only ten in existence, aside from the random quality in franchises like James Bond, Marvel’s Cinematic Universe, or X-Men and Star Trek, where any movie might be good or bad among a dozen others.

These films are proof that when the time comes to corrupt an original by building an empire out of it, it can happen and happen well. Aliens is proof that when a true genius is given a franchise to use for their own purposes, amazing things can happen.