A friend of mine thought that rapper DMX’s movie vehicle Cradle 2 The Grave was a sequel, and was worried he wouldn’t be able to follow it, as he hadn’t seen Cradle 1.
And the title of The Madness of George III was changed to The Madness of King George in case the sequel-hungry US market thought they’d missed the first two.
So it’s easy to see that movies with numbers in their titles may cause confusion in other cases too…
Classic Britpack movie genres collide in this gritty tale of nefarious nuptial ne’er do-wells, starring Hugh Grant as Eddy, foppish card sharp and wide boy about town, and Dexter Fletcher as Soap, his right hand man.
With a distinctly theatrical pedigree to the cast – and Vinnie Jones – the film follows the misadventures of a group of novice criminals as they attend various social functions.
We first meet Eddy at the wedding of two friends, where he bumps into Carrie, an American who he falls for over the course of the weekend.
When she returns to America, Eddy gets badly into debt with gay mob boss Gareth “The Chopper” Lonsdale (Simon Callow) in a fixed card game.
He plans to rob the country house where the second wedding takes place, but it goes horribly wrong when a gangster’s moll, Henrietta “Duckface” Jones (Anna Chancellor) overhears their plans.
While Eddy is once more being seduced by Carrie, there’s a massive shoot-out, and all the bridesmaids are killed.
Eddy and Soap narrowly escape, apparently eliminating the threat of identification from Duckface by running her over with the stolen wedding limo as they drive off.
The third wedding is held at Gareth’s Scottish castle, and while they are there, Eddy and Soap steal his prized pair of antique shotguns, causing him to have a heart attack on discovering them missing.
Carrie helps them escape despite now being engaged to Big Chris, (Vinnie Jones) the late Gareth’s debt collector, who is himself looking for the shotguns.
Whilst attending Gareth’s funeral, Eddy declares his love for Carrie, Matthew, Gareth’s partner, makes his famous “It’s been emotional” speech, moving everyone to tears, and Big Chris discovers the truth about the antique guns.
He makes a deal with Eddy, telling him he must rob the weed farm owned by Fiona (Kristen Scott Thomas) and the vicar (Rowan Atkinson) and give him the money, then he will let them live, and keep the guns.
But Eddy finds out that Fiona has always secretly loved Big Chris, and that she will happily have the vicar killed in order for Chris to take over the farm.
The last part of the film shows the weddings of Big Chris and Fiona, Eddy and Carrie, and in a surprise twist Matthew agrees to a civil partnership with the vicar, in exchange for his silence and his share in the weed farm.
The final scene is Eddy calling Soap – who is guarding the shotguns – to give him the good news.
Unfortunately, he is in the middle of hiding the guns, and his ringing mobile startles him, causing him to fall off a bridge.
The final twist comes as we see the bag with the guns in it – dropped by Soap as he fell – being picked up by a gloved hand.
The shot widens to reveal Duckface, limping away with the bag, smiling.
Music plays a big part in movies, and no more so than in this classic cartoon/live action masterpiece from an era when beautiful hand-drawn animation and casual, gratuitous violence went hand in hand.
The introduction shows the orchestra tuning their instruments, the alien dwarves sharpening their flying drill-orbs, and the Tall Man perfecting his creepy grin.
Then we enter the world of musical magic, conducted by Leopold Stokowski, with Deems Taylor as our amiable narrator.
Bach’s Toccata and Fugue accompany the moving backstory of Jody raising his younger brother, Mike, after the mysterious death of the rest of their family, along with some nice pictures of clouds.
Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker Suite soundtracks the introduction to the sinister Tall Man, (Angus Scrimm) – a local mortician who is suspected of being involved in a spate of strange disappearances and deaths – and his evil dwarf minions, made from the dismembered body parts of various slaughtered cartoon characters (Mickey Mouse, Huey, Dewey, and Louie, tutu-clad hippos, magic brooms, etc) and the first meeting of our two heroes and Reggie the Ice Cream Man (Goofy)
Together they battle the evil aliens and the flying orbs that drill holes in their victim’s skulls, and find the portal to another world where the cartoon zombie dwarves are used as slaves.
As Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring plays, the trio trap the Tall man in a mineshaft and return home.
In a final twist, Mickey Mouse sends the magic brooms through Mike’s bedroom mirror and snatches him away to the alien planet, and we hear Schubert’s Ave Maria playing as the mirror fades to black…
Watch the full length movie of the classic PHANTASM here.