Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The Most Disappointing Films of the 2000's, pt. 2

 Missed the first part of M's list? Read it here.

8. 10,000 BC (2008)
Laugh if you must, but the previews for Roland Emmerich's epic prehistory action flick were totally cool, showcasing a mix of woolly mammoths and beautiful prehistoric scenery mixed with stylized action. Although it's not a bad B movie, it's not the great one it could have been, had Emmerich made an attempt at fleshing out the story and cut out the overabundance of villages and people you meet along the way. Instead, he choose to throw in everyone but the kitchen sink, many of which logically couldn't have existed at the time, and muddied up the narrative.

7. Where the Wild Things Are (2009)
Maybe it was the re-shoots that dumbed everything down to make it less scary for children. Maybe it was the chore of turning a 250 word picture book into a two hour movie. Maybe it was the pressure. But despite its cinematic beauty (and it is one of the most beautiful, lyrical looking films out there), Wild Things was one of the biggest disappointments of the decade, the plot forced and drawn out, the characters awkwardly developed into half modernized shadows. Read M's review here, and Wilde.Dash's here.

6. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008)
Although director David Fincher's heart was in the right place, he couldn't pull Benjamin Button out of the murky waters of sentimentality. Although the film definitely has its moments of stunning beauty and heart (enough to get it a spot on Wilde.Dash's list of underrated movies of the decade), it falls victim to its own preciousness and overly lofty performances by Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett. Read M's review here.

5. 500 of Days of Summer (2009)
This was going to be the rom com/dramedy I'd been waiting all 25 years of my existence for. With a stellar, darling cast and a creative storytelling method, how could it fail? But instead of being the cool, interesting person worth launching a 1,000 ships for, Summer was a empty doppelganger of any poser hipster girl shopping at Urban Outfitters. She was mean, she was vapid, and maybe that was the point, but somehow it didn't translate into anything over 15 minutes. Read M's review here, Wilde.Dash's review here.  

4. Public Enemies (2009)
Wilde.Dash and I had been talking about this movie for months. Johnny Depp, Christian Bale, Marion Cotillard in a John Dillinger biopic directed by Michael Mann in a realistic style? Yes, it was going to be amazing. But Mann's gritty style combined with Depp and Bale's detached performances kept the audience at arms length, making it nearly impossible to care about a character that Mann kept telling (not showing) the audience to love. Depp seemed to try to do something with Dillinger, but reportedly had to tone himself down due to creative differences while Bale seemed to have given up entirely on a character he could have done so many different things with. The emotions were superficial, the film lackluster and unable to find its narrative heart. Read Wilde.Dash's review here.

3. X-Men: The Last Stand (2006)
I am a huge X-Men fan, forever attached to the first two films directed by Bryan Singer. Singer abandoned the X3 project for the equally disappointing Superman Returns, leaving Brett Ratner with his sloppy seconds; and that's how the film feels. It's hard to make me hate anything involving the X-Men, but Ratner easily succeeds, killing off major characters, adding too many villains, and removing any character development or sincerity. The actors hardly put in any effort, just as disappointed as the audience. Again, it's hard to believe that anybody could screw up a such a simple formula so badly.

2. Spider-man 3 (2007)
Sam Raimi's first two Spider-man movies are total classics, particularly Spider-man 2 which relaunched the superhero craze in Hollywood and proved that there were quality stories and characters to be told from the comic book world. I was ecstatic to see the third film, convinced that Raimi could do no wrong. Spider-man 3, however, threw all notions of quality out the window, adding in nearly every villain in the Spiderman canon into a horribly convoluted plot, and turning the character of Peter Parker into a strange angsty drama kid. The biggest faux pas? Rewriting the history of events that occurred in the other two films. What were you thinking Sam Raimi?

1. Apocalypto (2006)
The first half of Mel Gibson's film is utterly striking and unique, a window into an alien, historical culture that is fascinating and horrifying, so tense it's impossible to look away. While this first half is one of the most interesting and best films ever created, the last half is one of the biggest disappointments ever recorded. Here, Gibson abandons the interesting mythology he created, abandons the fascinating world he gave us a glimpse into, and sets his hero on a lengthy journey to save his wife that seems focused more on unique torture methods than story development. Mirroring the worst of the Saw movies, the film loses all steam and becomes utterly predictable and boring, a complete 180 from the impressive film it started out as.

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