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Lisbon 2 – The Sequel

I try not to get too political over here, seen as how this is a pop culture blog. I did happen to notice, however, that the Irish government has decided to expand the Lisbon Treaty debacle into a franchise. We’ve had economists, armchair pundits and politicians weighing in on the matter, but why don’t we ask the people who really count: the film critics? I humbly submit my thoughts on the proposed Lisbon 2.

Maybe you can go too European with the posters...

Maybe you can go too European with the posters...

So, looking at the great sequels of our ages, I’ve compiled a list of five movie-making tips the government would be well-advised to follow, particularly if they want a sequel to their administration

Step #1: Casting Additions

Seriously, let’s face it. Cowen doesn’t have the charisma of a leading man for an epic – and we are trying to make an epic here, even if we don’t have the budget. So let’s work with what we’re given. I suggest a sassy sidekick who will create an interesting adversarial dynamic that will slowly grow to mutual respect. Because it isn’t just about discovering 1,000 pages of poorly-worded legalise, it’s about discovering each other. With Michael O’Leary recently throwing his hat into the race, the two could work together in a buddy cop dynamic to try to get the treaty passed as the clock ticks down.

Possible Tagline: You’ll believe hope can fly…

Step #1a: Casting Additions – The Opponents

In fairness, Declan Ganley seemed an inspired choice for the adversary in the initial referendum. He was mysterious, well-worded and had a few complex geo-political connections, a man oozing with sophistication and pro-European lingo despite his oppostion. However, he was also in the wrong kind of film. He ran rings around our erstwhile protagonists, which didn’t really make for a very dramatic conflict. Maybe he suited the genre of the first referendum campaign – the farce with the loveable losers taking on the sophisticated gent – but we think he should be taken out of the sequel early-on like Cillian Murphy was taken out of The Dark Knight. Maybe that makes Ivan Yates Batman… depending on how you sit on the matter. Anyway, in his place, let’s not overcomplicate things: we want a nice straightforward film. Can we find a shadowy group of radical traditional narrow-minded nationalists anywhere? Ah yes. Cool.

Step #2: Choose Your Genre

Outright farce okay with everyone? But that might be a little too similar to what happened last time. I’d say prestige drama, but that would require some classy performances. And I don’t think anyone’s ever turned in a convincing performance. Horror movie? Nah, we’ll save that for the aftermath. Thriller? Maybe, but I don’t think there’s anything that we could do with this document that would get anyone excited. This is gonna be tough…

Alright. Shameless rip-off it is. Here are some ideas:

Angels & Demonstrations: The Irish government discovers that the No campaign has captured four reasonable arguments and will murder them in public unless a crack wrinkle straightner can solve a series of esoteric and illogical clues leading him around Dublin in a quest to figure out who is behind it all – until he finally releases that it was Brian Cowen.

The Purely National: An Interpol agent discovers shady goings-on in a large Irish bank. No one has the guts to tell him he’s ten years behind the curb.

2012: Cowen manages to hold the government together until the end of his term before throwing open the polls. Disaster movie.

The Vote That Rocked: Some hip Irish youngsters decide to raise awareness in a socially responsible and altogether considered manner off the coast of Ireland. Starring Bono and Bob Geldof.

Step #3: Hire a Decent Scriptwriter

Or at least stop Charlie McCreevy from saying stupid things.

Seriously, narrow the scope of the canvas, or at least mantain a consistent narrative thread. Either it’s a gripping drama about national identity in an era without borders or it’s a story about taking our place in the world or it’s a suspense thriller about securing our economy. Nobody really knows what it’s about and – with the premiere looming – it would be nice if the public had some idea of what this thing was about.

Step #4: Create Some Drama

Have somebody actually do something. Make something happen. Make it interesting and compelling. Throw an explosion in there if you have to. Maybe a chase sequence. You can do it by simply trying to catch the ‘no’ campaigners while they run away with your dignity.

Step #5: Don’t Make it a Trilogy

Please…

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