1. Mummy 3: as mentioned not too long ago on this blog, M3 was potential wasted. We all love Brendan when he's got a script and sharp co-starts to work with, but this one seemed as if he was denied both on purpose. Add to that the actor playing his son was only 13 years his younger, while Brendan hardly looks a year older than he did back in the first film (which was set nearly 20 years earlier) and you'll see why any geek worth their salt would snort derisively.
2. A.I.: The viral marketing for this movie on the internet set the tone for what Lost would do years later. I'll admit it, I was hooked - and eventually got the special movie poster that had my email handle printed on it as the special gift for everyone who had participated in the online mystery. But while it was a pretty looking Spielberg pic, and gave us Jude Law in a career-making performance, ultimately it all felt flat, neither a compelling drama nor an overly impressive bit of science fiction.
3. Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow: Again with the Jude Law. This one had so much buzz - all green screen with amazing effects, and a grand retro-pulp adventure feel, we all hoped it would usher in an era of Doc Savage and Flash Gordon revivals. But if you can't deliver a decent plot, and the actors get lost amidst the effect, people will simply shrug and walk away.
4. The Time Machine: sometimes you've got to wonder why remake a movie that was done really, really well in the past, if you can't deliver the same quality? Rod Taylor was full of geeky adventure in the 1960 version, and the decision to make the lead character American? Why? It's an H.G. Wells story, for cripes sake! And Guy Pierce is English (ed. note: born English, grew up in Australia)! He could do the accent! Saddest part? It was directed by the great grandson of the author, and it was still bad.
5. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory: speaking of why do a remake... When we heard Tim Burton was doing a new version of the Roald Dahl story, there was a lot of interest - knowing Burton's distinct visual stylings, how would he interpret the classic tale? And with Johnny Depp on board as the enigmatic candy maker, this one seemed like a ready-made hit. Alas, it was a pale reflection of the 1971 version, containing all the snark and none of the heart. And while Depp's performance was an interesting variation, no one could ever match Gene Wilder in the role. Utterly pointless.
6. Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy: I may take some flack on this one, but I'll stand by my sadness that this film wasn't better. It was enjoyable, for fans of the books, but didn't we all want it to wash over the planet with a life-changing wave of laughter? It had a good cast. It had good special effects. It had a reasonably-adapted screenplay (though some of the adds were a bit odd). But in the end, it was... mostly harmless.
7. League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: This one was really unforgivable. The source material, a couple of graphic novels by Alan Moore, were some of the most literate pulp adventure ever devised. Instead of working with that to craft a film of high adventure, they tore the concept apart, added a couple Americans to appeal to the movie-going audience, and changed a recovering opium addict into Sean Connery. This movie gave steampunk a bad name.
8. Erik the Viking: This should have been Monty Python funny, but instead it was only Monty Hall funny. I know, the joke doesn't quite make sense, and neither did much of this movie. In a way, Baron von Münchhausen was the smart film alternative to this, but neither one set the world on fire, much to our chagrin.
9. Matrix 2/3: Sometimes, when a good movie is made, recognized as being good, and the filmmakers are given the money and creative freedom to expand their vision, you get greatness. Not this time. Where the first Matrix movie had been a lean, mind-twisting tale with groundbreaking special effects, the second and third were muddled, self-indulgent philosophical drivel with gaping plot holes. Alas for what could have been.
10. Waterworld: At the time, it was the most expensive movie ever made. A still-big Kevin Costner in a post-apocalyptic aquatic world should have been really really cool. In the end, the best thing that ever came of it was the stunt show at Universal Studios Theme Park.