Wednesday, August 13, 2008

10 Geeky Movies That Should Have Been Great, but Weren't

We've recommended a number of movies to the GeekDad readership, and we've cautioned you Ishot1against a few. This time around, we're giving you a list of geeky films that should have appealed to us, should have made us drool with geeky joy, but turned out to be duds. These are movies that, if you missed them, then lucky you! And make sure not to show them to your kids - they'll thank you when they're older.

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.

Original here

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The one star I plopped on this clunky bore-athon is due to the presence of the great Jet Li as the evil Dragon Emperor of the subtitle and the gorgeous Michelle Yeoh as Zi Yuan, a witch who's been on the Emperor¹s ass for over 2000 years.

Peter Travers
Rolling Stone _mummy_tomb_of_the_dragon_emperor

martial-arts superstar Jet Li triumphs as the mostly wordless evil Emperor Han of ancient China, a glowing magma spirit locked in a terra cotta shell.

Jane Horwitz
Washington Post 073100734.html

Still, Li makes a great villain, using his powers to create fire, ice and other elements.

Edward Douglas
Coming Soon

Toward the end of The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor, Jet Li and Michelle Yeoh launch into a vigorous sword fight — and what a grand pleasure it is to watch these two world-class stars in action again...Their duel atop the Great Wall of China is a reunion of titans, an Old Timers' Day for two actor-athletes still in their sinuous prime. Forgive the effusions of an alter-kocker fanboy, but the flinty glamour of Li and Yeoh — buttressed by the stolid, sneering presence of top Hong Kong villain Anthony Wong Chau-sang (who in 1993 appeared in 15 films!) — is the best reason to catch this third in the series of Indiana Jones knockoffs.

Richard Corliss

A memorably badass Jet Li.
Nathan Rabin
AV Club