Saturday, October 4, 2008

Movies that Wasted Their Potential

Super Mario Bros. : The Movie (1993)
I'm not saying that this movie should have been amazing or groundbreaking, but there's something to be said for using source material. This movie wasted nearly every opportunity to be like the video games, which is what the audience was essentially expecting. Seeing this as a child, I convinced myself that it was entertaining, but really it was incredibly weird in a way that only had tenuous connections to the game franchise. What a waste.

Fantastic Four (2005)
A movie about a bunch of awesome superheroes with awesome superpowers. How could you go wrong? Well, it turns out there are many ways. The key thing that makes this movie so bad is that it should have been running over with incredible action sequences and superhero combat, but instead the first half of the movie is wasted showing how the four acquire their powers, and the second half is wasted watching them bitch and moan about having powers. Boo-hoo, I'm different. Blow up a building already! If I wanted to watch a movie about superheroes as whiny outcasts, I'll watch the X-Men trilogy.

Timeline (2003)
I'm sure many people watched this and were at least partially entertained, but this movie (adapted from one of my favorite novels) is horrendously below the mark it should have achieved. The novel itself has action, drama, and intrigue, so much so that it reads with the pacing of a movie. The actual movie, however, decided to change about a hundred things, chop out subplots, characters, scenes, and about two thirds of the events that make the story so compelling and exciting. They hired D grade actors to poorly portray characters that are mere shadows of the author's original vision. A true example of fixing something til it breaks.

The Matrix Revolutions (2003)
The third film of the Matrix series lacked everything that made the first (and to a lesser extent, the second) film so awesome. My biggest problem is that there was nothing new introduced at all. No new characters, new enemies, new conflicts. Plus the main story isn't resolved in a likable way, and most action sequences are rehashed versions of previous ones. Where's the payoff? We wait three movies to see the final show down of man vs. machine in the last city of Zion, and all we get is people shooting squid-bots with bullets. And then ... they shoot more squids. And finally, they shoot even more squids. The original Matrix film was exciting, groundbreaking, and highly stylized, but this finale to the trilogy completely screwed it up. Not only did this movie waste its potential to cap off a wicked trilogy, it was so bad, it makes me dislike aspects of the first two. Egads.

Lord of the Rings (Animated, 1978)
I'll admit that it's not surprising a film could fall short of capturing the grandness of Tolkien's literature, but this film is practically mocking it. It took Peter Jackson and the entirety of New Zealand hundreds of millions of dollars and many years to make "The Lord of the Rings" come to life, and every bit of that effort is clearly on the screen. The 1978 version looks like it was animated by a series of junior high students, who weren't communicating with one another, and many of whom had no arms. The animation is really horrible, half the characters are so homely or stupid looking you want to cry. It wasted tons of time on pointless scenes, and leaped over gigantic parts of the novels, dissolving to an end part way through the second book. The characters are wrong and the world is strange. The only value this movie has, is the material it provides for ridicule.


Sam said...

Hey now. The ghost of Tolkien came to Ralph Bakshi in a dream and told him that he really, really wanted to write Aragorn as a dopey Aztec in a yellow shirt with an Anton Chigurh bowl cut, but his editors pudding-axed the real character description out of the final draft...

Cole D'Arc said...

production note: add the release years. we need everything to gel, you know. consistency. we're professionals. what is this, a two-bit operation?!?