You know that movie that you get all pumped to see? Yes, you know the one. The plot looks mind bending. The characters seem to touch your heart. The advertised effects are ingenious. Then you see the actual movie and it kills you a little on the inside. What’s worse than a bad movie? A bad movie in which you had put a lot of faith and hope (and a pricey ticket, to boot!) These are a few of my biggest recent crash-and-burn movies and what killed them.
Normally, I love Quentin Tarantino. He has made some of the most mind-bending crazy action movies that I have ever seen. This, sadly, is not one of them.
What It Is: A Tarantino film about fictional events that occurred during WWII. The main storyline follows two characters: One is a young woman bent on avenging her family, who were slaughtered by Nazis. The other is a Jewish-American soldier who collects Nazi scalps.
To Its Credit: The setting and filming were beautiful. The movie was realistic (looking, at least) and the beginning of the movie was heartbreaking but kept my attention. I also very much enjoyed the language of the film. I really hate when movies that require foreign language simply use actors speaking badly accented English. That’s lame. Thank you for spending a little more to find someone who could speak German.
What Killed It: Lame. It wasn’t realistic and Brad Pitt just felt like a big flop. It was a good ol’ boy fantasy, at best. We don’t like something, we blow it up. We win. For those of you who haven’t seen this movie, the dialogue throughout the entire story is basically this: “Werr gunna kill us some Nah-ziis.” It’s done in that horrible, forced redneck accent, as well. I know it has won a ton of awards, but I really found it very painful to watch at some points. It felt like it was just another gung ho get-at-’em war fiction.
Tim Burton’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
What It Is: A Tim Burton remake of a classic children’s movie. This version stars Johnny Depp as the slightly kooky candy factory owner, Mr. Wonka. Charlie is a poor boy who gets a rare and special chance to tour the factory (a child’s dream come true!) along with several other children.
To Its Credit: The effects in the movie were, at times, enchanting. I also like how the writers carried the story a little bit deeper by giving the nutty Wonka a little more background and making him seem a bit mentally distressed. I think this made the movie a little bit darker and less childish, whether that is good or bad. I also like that it maintained the original message: bad children are punished, good children are rewarded. A creepy mantra, but at least it has a message. On a separate note, Johnny Depp can play ANYTHING. I am really impressed at his ability to assimilate into the roles he is given.
What Killed It: Tim Burton has made some wonderful films. I have been a fan of The Nightmare Before Christmas since I was in fourth grade. I still have the VHS. That being said, Burton’s recent round of remakes seem to be rotten eggs. Burton has a certain following, mainly young adults who enjoy dark humor. Lately he has been remaking movies most of us enjoyed as children, dragging them into the street, and punching them in the face. This movie was pretty horrible, to be blunt. It was more than a little creepy, the songs weren’t great, and all the Oompa Loompas were all computer generated and weirdly proportioned by comparison.
What It Is: A futuristic James Cameron science fiction piece. In the movie, humans are sent to Pandora to collect a rare mineral. Soldiers and scientists use false bodies (avatars) to appear as and interact with the native creatures, known as the Na’vi. The creatures are very tribal, yet organized. They respect nature and are not particularly advanced. In the film, a paraplegic is sent in his dead brother’s place, to help the scientists. While in his avatar form, the soldier falls in love with one of the Na’vi. The plot progresses as he tries with increasing attempts to save the Na’vi from destruction caused by Man.
To Its Credit: This movie was pretty cool. The animation was generally beautiful and the work done on certain visual effects is just amazing. Looking into all the research, expression study, and computer generation put into this movie really amazed me. I do like the plot, although some things were a bit confusing.
What Killed It: I’m not going to say this was a bad movie, but I believe that it was so intensely hyped that I was almost certainly going to be disappointed. From what I had gathered from online reviews and my friends’ commentary, I thought this was going to be the next great movie. The one that changed the world. It was not. Was the issue of conservation well stated? Yes. Do I think it’s going to make us all respect the Earth more? Nope. I don’t believe that this movie changed as many lives as everyone who screamed its praises believed it would. I don’t think loggers will quit their jobs or that people will no longer be viciously driven from their homes and villages just because this movie was made. If the intention of this movie was indeed to change the hearts of the people at the core of these issues, I’m not sure that it was a success. I also question the idea that a team of militants and scientists would choose to send a disabled ex-Marine with no experience into space simply because of his genetic coding. Should we invest a ton of money into recoding a new avatar or send in someone with no experience and no scientific qualifications? Hm.
Clash of the Titans
What It Is: Once again, this is a remake of a slightly older movie. This recently came out in 3D. I watched it for extra credit in a history class. The 3D was not stellar, but it rarely is now. Anyway, the movie is the story of Perseus, son of Zeus. He is on a quest to save his world from the wrath of the gods and the attack of the Kraken.
To Its Credit: Most of the monsters looked pretty cool. The effects in this movie were decent. Eh.
What Killed It: Where to start. First of, where is the OWL?! In one scene. This killed it for many fans of the old movie. He was a cute little fella. Now he is stuck in a box. C’est la vie. Continuing on, *spoiler alert* most of the stuff is just really lame. (Kraken, giant monster. Whip out Medusa’s head. Turned to stone. The end.) That whole journey for a “fight” that lasted less than a minute. Not very epic. Also, the 3D was pretty lame. What’s the point of making a movie 3D and charging me an extra $4 at the theater if the only thing that is formatted to pop out is someone walking and some monsters? If it’s not going to jump at me at least once, save the 3D for Disneyland rides.
I’m not saying that any of these were terrible movies. This is all strictly opinion. These are simply movies that I got very excited to see and left from disappointed. Just because I didn’t find these movies particularly captivating doesn’t mean you won’t. The great thing about art is that we are all welcome to break it down, process it, and form our own opinions on it.