Thursday, 5 March 2015

The 5 Worst Blockbusters I Have Ever Seen

When it comes to worst movies lists, there always tend to be a lot of b-movies or something fairly obscure like that. People can read the list, chuckle at it, and remember that if they happen to bump into that movie by chance one day, they should avoid it at all costs. When it comes to small productions, there are any number of things that could go wrong, but they don't necessarily have the resources to correct the mistakes. Or the film makers are inept and that's why they are only making really low budget pictures. However, with blockbuster movies, there are certain expectations that should come with them. High profile producers invest millions and millions of dollars to get a movie that is marketable to a large audience and easy to enjoy. You would think that with an endless supply of money, nothing could go wrong. Oh, but I assure you that things certainly can. That is why I made this a separate list. You can't put a multimillion dollar picture against a tiny independent failure, it's just not fair. So, this is a chance to see movies that could have been, should have been, but very much weren't any good.

And let me clear this up. I'm not a movie snob. I like blockbuster films and think that they're a vital part of the movie industry. They're a great goal for indie filmmakers to reach for one day. When one walks away from a really entertaining big budget picture, you really get a great opportunity to discuss it with your friends and compare opinions. It can be a great thing. But other times you get...

#5 – National Treasure: Book of Secrets (2007)

While it's difficult to imagine that Nicholas Cage could ever be in a bad movie, he does occasionally take a slight career stumble. I'm only joking, I don't know what the hell is wrong with his decision making abilities. At least this one makes sense because it's the second film in what I can only assume they were trying to make into a franchise. I never saw the first National Treasure, but that's mostly because it looked lame. It apparently was a hit so they tried to think of how to milk the idea a little more. But it's pretty clear that they really didn't have any reason whatsoever to make this movie.

It follows Ben Gates (Nicholas Cage) as accusations are made to an ancestor of his, stating that his great grandfather helped kill Abraham Lincoln. So, for some reason that really gets Gates down so he goes to great lengths to clear his family's name, no matter how many laws they have to break or how many jumps in logic they have to make. They're off to find a legendary Native city of gold to prove that Gate's great-grandfather had nothing to do with Lincoln's assassination. Feel like you missed something there? Yeah, me too.

Not even the most skilled writers in the world could have made any sense of this lame brained, half-baked idea of a film. There is no logical sense between one event and another. And our “heroes” are not particularly noble people. Gates breaks into the white house and Buckingham Palace, kidnaps the president of the United States, and puts his companions lives at risk constantly because he wants to clear his family name? I'm sorry, but I don't care about his family name. No one watching the movie will care about his family name. Can't you guys come up with something that the audience can relate to? And why can't they even put together a story that makes sense? I, for the life of me, have no idea how finding a city of gold clears up his family name. Maybe an explanation is in the movie somewhere, but the whole thing is filled with Nick Cage muttering to himself about his endless knowledge of everything and putting together pieces of puzzles that Batman couldn't figure out. If you need long exposition for the audience to figure out what's going on, maybe your plot is too convoluted.

A stupid plot is not the only problem. It's also a surprisingly uneventful film. Someone must have known that because it seemed that at all times they were trying very hard to convince us otherwise. Exciting action music would be playing at the strangest times. I remember distinctly a scene where cars are driving from one place to another and orchestral-techno music was playing as if the T-1000 was chasing them. Alas, there was no T-1000 and... no anything. They were just cars driving. That's not exciting. That's every day life.

So, why did I watch this if I didn't even watch the first movie? Well, I think I wound up getting tricked into seeing this with a group of friends, but that's likely because they were going to great lengths to no longer be my friends. I really have no idea why I watched this movie, and I was thinking that the entire time it was playing.

#4 – Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian (2009)

The first Night at the Museum was actually not a bad movie. It was a family film that had a simple concept and had a lot of fun with itself. But then it went and made a lot of money... you'll start to notice a trend as the list continues.

When our favourite ex-night guard, Larry Daley (Ben Stiller) returns to the museum that the first movie was based around, he discovers that all of the characters and friends of his are being packed away to be put into storage elsewhere because they're updating the exhibit to holograms in place of the statues that come to life at night. Larry gets a phone call that the amulet that brought them to life was transported with them to where they were being stored, which is in non other than the Smithsonian. So, Larry goes there to help them out and... stuff.

One of the key problems with this movie was that it is entirely unnecessary. It feels like a movie with no purpose so at the end of it, I feel that I just watched nothing happen at all. That's strange because it's a movie that's so busy that you can't even really tell whats going on on screen. It's such a confusing mess because it was really clear that the production team wanted to make a movie that was bigger and better. It certainly was bigger, but that didn't mean it was better. It just made things more boring. Not even a charming performance from the amazing Amy Adams could do anything beyond distract us briefly.

They brought in a few talented actors actually and all of them were put to waste. Bill Hader was a one note joke. Hank Azaria was given the direction to do what he always does; You know, do voices and exaggerate. Robin Williams and Ricky Gervais were reduced to bit parts. Most of them would have been better without the script as much of the humour seemed forced and relied too much on thinking that if you talk a lot, that means you're saying funny things. Perhaps some improv would have been funnier.

But most of all, the problem was that the story was not very well thought out. One is left asking too many questions. For one: why does the Smithsonian have no security? Night at the Museum 2 is an unoriginal, unfunny, mess of a film and shows that sometimes Hollywood was lucky that they actually scored a hit the first time around.

#3 Mission: Impossible 2 (2000)

The first Mission: Impossible was a pretty stylish action/mystery that featured a then-popular Tom Cruise bringing back to life an old franchise from the 60's. It was slick and smart and left audiences pretty pleased and me mostly happy, apart from a few issues here and there. But then the second one came out and completely changed everything that was good about the first film. It was no longer a spy film and it was no longer about an elite team going on missions, contributing their part in an intricate plan to save the world. Instead it was a Cruise showcase where he performed completely ridiculous stunts that served no purpose beyond showing that director John Woo hates the laws of physics.

They reduced the intellectual entertainment of the show and the first movie into an explosion movie. Mission: Impossible 2 became a lame brained action movie in no time flat. It was devoid of interesting characters, original plot, and logical story telling. Many praised the film for its entertaining action, but I only found it entertaining in an ironic way. I was amused that so many people looked at this movie and approved of the ideas. See, the action doesn't mean anything if there is nothing that we feel is at stake. If I wanted explosions I'm sure there are some montages I could watch on Youtube.

The story is unimaginably cliché. Get this... Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) has to save the world from a bad guy with a super virus! Oh no! That's it. Seriously. And I'm a believer that if you make a sequel, you should at least stick to the universe created by the first movie. John Woo's universe is not the same as Brian De Palma's first movie. The physics are different and even Ethan Hunt doesn't feel like the same character. And now, looking back, this one doesn't fit with any of the Mission: Impossible movies. When J.J. Abrams released the third film six years later, he made no mention of the events of this movie and returned to the spy team format of the first film, mixing it with some personal stakes for Hunt's character. And with Ghost Protocol being such a success, it really means that Mission: Impossible 2 is the black sheep of the family because of just how preposterous and incompetent it is.

#2 – Aliens Vs. Predator: Requiem (2007)

Unlike most of the other films on this list, this was a blockbuster that was not a huge success at the box office, though I believe it made its money back. I quite enjoy the Aliens and the Predators and, unlike quite a few people, I don't even mind their first movie together. But fans were yelling about the first AVP, saying that it had no right to be a PG-13 movie if it's based on two franchises that come from R rated origins (I'm going by the American rating system here). So, sibling directors Colin and Greg Strause decided to take the approach that the R rating was what made the original movies so good. Thus they made a movie so filled with blood and violence that it completely loses the point of the violence in the first films.

After the events of the first AVP movie, an alien bursts from the chest of the dead hero Predator. It grows up and becomes a vicious killer in no time, finishing off the crew. The Predator ship crashes in a forest in Colorado and some facehuggers get loose and begin to spread the Aliens. A Predator on its home world gets the distress call from the crashing ship and it goes to Earth to track down the Aliens and kill them. You know, when I write it out, it really seems like it should have been a cool movie. I mean, why not? You have two of the most iconic movie monsters fighting it out, and in the mix is a super Alien/Predator hybrid that should have become iconic if this film turned out any good.

The normal problems of these kinds of movies are present. It's poorly written. Non of the characters are anything beyond cannon fodder for the various creatures to kill. It's not even particularly well made. The lighting is bad and the action is often difficult to follow. I mean, if an Alien Vs. Predator movie can't even have clear action, then what does it have? It's just cheap which is strange for the scale of production it was.

But what actually puts this so high on the list is just how utterly tasteless the movie is. An R rating is something that shouldn't be forced. 1986's Aliens was an R film at the time, but it was still restrained. It was just that the story required violence to be told, so that's how it was told. Same with the original Predator, though it had less restraint. This one is just shoved with so many graphic scenes that the Strause mother must have been ashamed of her boys. The first two victims of the movie are a boy and his father who are hunting in the woods. Or how about when the “PredAlien” finds its way into a hospital and not only takes a pit stop at the new born nursery, but also kills a pregnant woman and her unborn child. And unfortunately, yes, we see the opened womb and the small chest bursters within. It's tasteless and disgusting and everyone involved should be embarrassed. This movie is awful.

That's okay, the brothers Strause got their just desserts in the end. They went on to direct the Sci-fi flop Skyline, so we might never hear from them again.

#1 - Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (2009)

The first Transformers movie was flawed, but actually kinda charming at times and was massively successful. Part of what made this Michael Bay Sci-Fi action movie work so well was that you got the feeling that Steven Speilberg, who functioned as producer, was a guiding hand in the creation of the movie. But when Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen came around, I really got the feeling that Spielberg let the reigns go and Bay had his way, making a film that was so much bigger in scope, but so much smaller in sense.

Sam (Shia LaBeouf) has gone to college, but his brain has been imprinted with symbols that he can't get out of his mind. He starts to spazz out at school and then gets hunted by Decepticons because they want the information in his brain. Oh yeah, and they bring Megatron back to life. And Megatron wants to blow up the sun or something.

I can't understand why someone let this mess get released. Why didn't someone take a chainsaw to it in the editing room? There is a rumour that Michael Bay shot a lot of this film without a finished script in hand because of the writer's strike that year, which is why there are so many disjointed action sequences that seemingly have no connection to one another and are on completely different sides of the world. I don't believe this is true, just because I don't think that's how the movie industry works, but I can certainly see how people might have thought that. The story is a total mess.

The problems with the first movie are amplified. The characters are underdeveloped, except for Optimus Prime and Sam. Though Prime is dead through most of the film. The action is shaky, messy and difficult to follow, which is unforgivable for a movie that you watch for the action. But the worst thing of all about this movie is just how unrestrained it all is. It's over sexualized, tasteless, humourless, and completely devoid of tact. We get unnecessary shots of dogs having sex, a mini-robot humping Megan Fox's leg, a close up of a male thong, and even a robot fart. It's too juvenile for adults, but inappropriate for children. Oh yeah, and it's horribly racist too. The two Autobots called The Twins are the worst black stereotypes I've ever seen in a movie. They're like robotic blackface

I just shutter to think about the amount of money wasted on making that awful movie. And I also can't believe how much money was wasted on people watching that awful movie. What if the amount of cash that was put into making Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen was put toward feeding some dying kids in Africa, or curing cancer or AIDS? Don't you think the world would be a much better place? Now. Michael Bay is just millions richer and was allowed to desecrate my childhood further by making the third movie, Dark of the Moon, which was an improvement, but still pretty obnoxious.

So, that's my list. I can't even say that I wasted money on these movies because I'm pretty sure I watched the majority of them for free. But I still felt like my time was wasted and my brain was assaulted. I'm sure some of you disagree with my list and I'd like to hear why. Please comment and let me know. Also, are there any big movies that really disappointed you? I'd like to see your list of the worst blockbusters you've seen.

Thanks for reading! And in case you didn't read my list of the worst movies I've ever seen, check that out here.  

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