Monday is the day where I do The Phenomenal 5. But honestly, it’s kinda hard to fit the word “phenomenal” in with this list. Just as every movie year has its great films, every year also has its movies that fell short, disappointed, or simply missed its mark. 2012 was certainly no different. For this list I’ve picked five movies that just didn’t work for me. Now I’m not claiming that these are the worst films on 2012 (more on those later). Nor am I including movies like “The Master” which I feel is overrated but that has some undeniable strong points. These five films are movies loaded with potential and high expectations but ended up as real letdowns. (Click on the names of each movie for a link to my full review).
#5 – “BATTLESHIP”
I almost left “Battleship”off this list entirely. It wasn’t a movie that I had huge expectations for therefore it wasn’t a major disappointment. On the other hand, I bought into the flashy, action-packed trailers that showed off the cool technical side of the film. Unfortunately that’s about all this movie had to offer – lots of explosions, cool alien technology, and nothing more. Even more, I was really surprised at just how lame the script really was. It’s completely predictable, filled with clichés, and features an absolutely absurd rise in military rank for our protagonist. Look, I get that “Battleship” was a mindless, summer popcorn flick. But even those have to execute better than this movie does.
#4 – “TAKEN 2”
I really like the first “Taken” film. It was one of the first films featuring the new tough guy Liam Neeson. I ignored all of the bad reviews and made my way to the theater to see “Taken 2”. Sigh! There were moments that I liked in the movie. But there weren’t many of them. “Taken 2” completely dropped the ball in the end. It’s a lazy, check cashing effort that seems to have worked judging by the box office numbers. But I found myself frustrated at the film due to its poor camerawork and absolutely absurd moments. Some of Neeson’s tough guy techniques are ridiculous and I’ve rarely seen a stupider bunch of the bad guys. And then there’s the climactic fights at the end where the camerawork is so bad you have no idea what has taken place. One thing I do know, “Taken 2” definitely qualifies as a disappointment.
#3 – “CLOUD ATLAS”
I was completely unfamiliar with the source material for “Cloud Atlas”. But after hearing all of the excitement from many others, I became pretty enthusiastic about the movie adaptation. I came out really disappointed but I’ve also grown more disenchanted with it as time goes by. There’s a lot of ambition tied into this film. It also takes chances and I always like that. But this is a mishmash of incomprehensible nonsense, self-indulgent style, and heavy-handed sermonizing wrapped up as a groundbreaking, science-fiction epic. Now I can see where people may buy into it but I saw it as a lot smaller than it tries to be. A couple of the storylines are interesting but as a whole it just didn’t come together and I have no interest in seeing it again.
#2 – “TO ROME WITH LOVE”
I was never a big fan of Woody Allen, at least not until I saw “Midnight in Paris”. I remain mesmerized by that movie both due to its heart and it’s incredible witt. Allen’s European cinematic tour continued with “To Rome With Love” and how could it not be good, right? Sadly the movie flies off the rails at the halfway point and never captures any of the locational magic that made “Midnight” so great. Now I will say the movie starts off promising and I was starting to think Allen had struck gold again. But things take a ridiculous turn and the second half of the movie is about as sloppy as anything I saw all year. I was really hoping Woody Allen would do for Rome what he did for Paris. Instead he left it just short of a disaster area.
#1 – “TOTAL RECALL”
Many of us have questioned the barrage of remakes coming out of Hollywood these days. But “Total Recall” was one film that seemed primed for a modern day makeover. And while I did have questions, I back-burned any skepticism. Unfortunately there were a lot of reasons to be skeptical. I watched the original “Total Recall” tons of times after its release. This flashy remake not only fails to capture the fun, sci-fi action and adventure of the original, but it leaves out much of what made the first film so good. The glaring creative changes and omissions decimate the story so much so that the fantastic visuals and great special-effects can’t cover it. This is a really good looking movie. But it’s also a complete drag and it fails to capitalize on what should have been a surefire formula.
There are my five biggest disappointments of the 2012 movie year. Agree or disagree? Please let me know. Also take time to share some of your biggest disappointments of this past year.