Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The Most Disappointing Films of the 2000's, pt. 1

You prepare yourself, sometimes months, for a film that promises to be great. Maybe it gets stellar reviews. Maybe, it has Avatar level hype, or maybe it's just something you hold close to your heart. You get to the theater early, racing around long lines and gaggles of tweens to get the best seats, smiling at your friends with glee as the film starts. But half way through you find yourself grimacing. Are you serious? What the hell happened? How could something like this go wrong? How could anyone mess up something with such a solid formula? Unfortunately, the last decade was full of stories that could have been great, could have been legendary, but just….weren’t.

15. Pathfinder (2007)
Video game movies are rarely classy, well done affairs, but Pathfinder had such an interesting premise, I thought it might be something different, putting a lost Viking child that was raised by Native Americans up against his Viking ancestors. Boy was I wrong. Lacking all character development and a plot, it relies entirely on its action scenes which also lack creativity and anything remotely intriguing, leaving a boring, shell of a movie behind that earned a mere 11% over at rottentomatoes.



14. The Village (2004)
Although I don't really mind it now, I remember holding great animosity towards M. Night Shyamalan's The Village. Before it's plot twist, it's genuinely beautiful and haunting, the ambiguity of its monsters and plots frightening. But once Shyamalan springs his usual trap, everything feels disappointing and gimmicky. I'm not sure that turning it directly into a horror movie would have made it that much more effecting or interesting, but it doesn't quite sit right when lined up with Shyamalan's continued SURPRISE! I GOT YOU! habits.



13. The DaVinci Code (2006)
Dan Brown's original novel soared in terms of plot, but lacked in actual writing quality, a perfect combo for any filmmaker looking to score big with a film translation. Enter Ron Howard, who managed to turn The DaVinci Code into one of the most boring action films on record. At nearly two and half hours, the film drags on and on, additionally belabored by melodramatic dialog reminiscent of a Scooby Doo episode. Luckily, Howard learned from his mistakes and made the sequel Angels and Demons into something remotely action packed and at least fun to watch.



12. Twilight (2008)
Speaking of cheesy translations... Twilight should have been the easiest film to get right. Regardless of what you created, every fan would inevitably fall over backwards to see it multiple times, and the source material wasn't exactly difficult to figure out. There was no excuse. And yet director Catherine Hardwicke, who had a decent track record did just that, producing arguably one of the worst, and cheesiest films ever made. From the wooden acting, to the painful sparkling vampires (something better left to the imagination), Summit was lucky to have such unconditional fan love and thankfully bagged Hardwicke for the infinitely better sequel directed by Chris Weitz. Read M's review of New Moon here.



11. Superman Returns (2006)
Bryan Singer sacrificed his X-Men franchise for the Superman one with disappointing results. His  revamp was very pretty, and fairly well cast with great effects, but contained one fatal flaw that brought down the entire movie; Singer chose to focus on Superman. Superman isn't the interesting part of the last son of Krypton, Clark Kent is. Kent is where you get the romance, the giggles, and the heart. Leaving him behind to concentrate on the only invincible guy in the universe just makes things boring. Add in a poorly developed story line involving a bastard child and zero chemistry between the romantic and leads and you get a slight snooze fest. Decent enough, but not what it should have been.



10. Alexander (2004)
I suppose the casting of Colin Farrell as Alexander the Great should have tipped me off, but regardless, I was excited by the chance to see one of the most epic stories in history on the big screen by the biopic master himself, Oliver Stone. And while Stone's film is beautiful, it's also preachy to an absurd level, and horribly miscast. Farrell tries his best and it almost works but is held down by his truly awful dye job. In addition, his attempt to look passionately in love with Jared Leto's Hephaistion plays out like an awkward middle school drama lab retelling. Angelina Jolie is equally annoying and miscast, leaving you wondering why it was so hard for Stone to translate this classic story without making it cheesy.



9. Up in the Air (2009)
Although I was skeptical about Jason Reitman's newest release, I saw how well it was received, how much the critics liked it (even Wilde.Dash) and became pretty pumped to see what he had lined up after the hilarity of Thank You For Smoking and the decent Juno. But without the humor of Smoking, without the sweet sincerity of Juno, and without any innovation but a lot of trite nonsense for the unemployed, Up in the Air left me sorely disappointed. Read M's review here, and Wilde. Dash's here.












Part 2 continues here...

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