INT. THE ASYLUM PRODUCTION OFFICE - NOON
I did say that we weren't quite done with 2012. Some of the most disappointing movie experiences of 2012 didn't show up on my worst of 2012 list. Why? Well, they were either too good-looking, their mistakes were conceptual or they just didn't piss me off as much as the 25 movies that did end up on the list.
Expectations also play a role. You didn't find 2-Headed Shark Attack on the worst of 2012 list, because I got exactly what I expected. The film kept its promises, and I had fun hating it with a few buddies. There were some movies that disappointed me deeply, though, and here are the five worst offenders:
5) The Adventures of Tintin
Steven Spielberg was the perfect fit for a live-action version of the classic cartoon hero Tintin. So why did he decide to make the film in that ugly, dead-eyed animated style known as mo-cap? I would have loved a big adventure-style live-action version of Tintin, but if you're not going to do it live, why bother?
The story never really got exciting, Tintin never became anything other than a digital freak, and the film wasn't funny, exciting or interesting. It was as dead as those dead mo-cap faces.
- Asking "how should this be made?" is just as important a question as "should this even get made?"
- Never ever ever do mo-cap.
4) The Hunger Games
The book was.... fine. I guess. A mishmash of other science fiction stories with some Twilight-ish garnish. I could see the story work as a film, and the casting of Jennifer Lawrence was spot on, but everything else wasn't. The film was woefully miscast, from the Ken-doll love interest to Woody Harrelson in a bad wig. On top of that the director's shooting style was infuriating, the designs were awful, and everything looked cheap.
- Be aware of novels told in 1st person perspective.
- If you want to start a multi-million dollar franchise, put some damn money on the table.
3) The Dark Knight Rises
I had certain problems with The Dark Knight, but it still had some spectacular sequences, unfortunately it spent two great bad guys, so there was nothing left for the inevitable third film. All we got was a drunk Scot with a mumble-mask.
After that everything fell apart. The film failed to cash in on the setup from the previous films, the bad guy's plan was complete nonsense, and the plot-holes were massive. Batman suddenly stopped being cool.
- Simple works.
- Chris Nolan is not God.
- Don't sent a drunk Scot to do a psychotic-man-who-lost-his-girlfriend-and-half-his-face's job.
2) The Avengers
I don't know why I thought this would be a good film. I haven't really liked most of the previous Marvel stories, but I guess I got caught up in the whole "Joss Whedon can save us" lunacy. Well, of course he couldn't save this dish, when all the ingredients were rotten to begin with. Well, perhaps that's unfair. The script is the only really big problem here, if that had been fixed, I do believe this could have been a good super hero movie.
First item of the fix-this list should have been: "Let's get rid of that f**king blue glowing square".
- Two wrongs don't make a right. Five wrongs don't either.
- $200 million and an insane posse of reality-challenged fans is no substitute for a decent story.
- Over-reliance on CGI effects sucks the soul out of a film.
I said my piece on this already here and on the commentary I did with my buddy Dennis Rosenfeld. With some distance to this, perhaps we can boil down the problems to a few basic lessons....
- Never hire Damon Lindeloff.
- Respect the franchise.
- Don't be an ignorant d*ck about science.
- If you treat your characters and the audience like idiots, you'll end up as the biggest moron of them all.
I've bought or will buy all these films on Blu-ray. The reason is the same as why they didn't end up on the "worst of 2012".
They are not just failures, they are BIG failures. They cost a lot of money, a lot of talented people worked on them, and I believe we can learn a lot about what NOT to do, by studying them. Sequels are already underway for most of them. Whether they too will end up on a similar list, only time will tell. Watch this space...