Some of these movies I actually enjoyed somewhat but ended up not living up to the expectations I had. Also, just so you know these are my subjective picks for disappointing films, not an offical “these were the DEFINITIVE disappointing movies of 2011.”
10. The Hangover 2 - 2/10
The only reason this movie isn’t higher on this list is because I had a feeling that it was going to be a train wreck and good God it did not disappoint in that respect. This is one of the most utterly worthless movie experiences I’ve ever had in my life. I liked the first Hangover film, but it wasn’t THE FUNNIEST MOVIE EVER for me like it apparently was for many others. When I heard they were making a sequel, everything about it just screamed cash grab to me and I was 100% right on the money with that assumption. It’s like they literally took 30 minutes to write out the basic story structure on cocktail napkins and just recycle everything from the first with no ingenuity. Complete trash and I wouldn’t be surprised if they went back to milk the cow for a third one SMH…
9. Transformers: Dark of the Moon - 6/10
To be honest, I enjoyed quite a bit of Transformers 3, but that doesn’t mean the movie as a whole was good. The only reason this wasn’t higher on my list is because after Transformers 2, my expectations were dwindled quite a bit. I remained cautiously optimistic after the trailers for this one hit because it looked good, but so did Transformers 2 from the trailers. The CGI, 3D effects, and action were all pretty good, but anything tying those things to any resemblance of a plot or characters was utter shit. If this movie was a 100 minute balls to the wall action excursion, I would’ve loved this movie, but instead we got a bloated 153 minute movie filled with inane story beats and unfunny gags.
8. Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows - 6/10
I generally liked the first Sherlock Holmes film. It was light on the detective work and a little more heavy on the slow motion and action, but it was a fun romp. All I wanted out of the sequel was more of the same, but what I got was an over the top version of the first one with even less heart and brain. I’m not going to lie, I enjoyed it as a popcorn action flick, but when I see that “Sherlock Holmes” name on the title I kind of expect more than just that.
7. Cowboys & Aliens - 6/10
Another film that I still found enjoyment in as a popcorn flick, but considering the pedigree of the people involved one would expect the next great summer blockbuster. Directed by Jon Favreau (Iron Man), executive produced by Steven Spielberg, produced by Brian Grazer and Ron Howard, and starring a plethora of the biggest names in Hollywood including Daniel Craig, Harrison Ford, Sam Rockwell, Olivia Wilde, etc. Those filmmakers with that cast should have created something incredible, instead we got a lukewarm film that is totally forgettable.
6. Cars 2 - 5/10
It’s Pixar… these guys have never made a bad movie. Cars was easily their worst film, but it was still enjoyable. When they said they were making a sequel to Cars though, I started hearing those sirens go off in head that screamed “CASH GRAB!” I knew that Disney made billions off the toy licensing of Cars and making a sequel would be a good excuse to make even MORE. I had faith in Pixar though because they wouldn’t just make a movie to make money, but maybe I was wrong. After the first 10 minutes of this movie and the opening action set piece I thought “Fuck the critics! This is going to be awesome!”, but then everything else hapened. Whoever thought it was a good idea to make Mater the main character really needs to have their fucking head cut off. This movie would have been bearable had he not been in it. Pixar’s next film Brave looks worlds better than Cars 2, so hopefully they’ll be back on the ball this year because Dreamworks Animation has been kicking their asses lately with the Kung Fu Panda series and How to Train Your Dragon. As David Chen from the /Filmcast put it: “2011 was the year we saw a Brett Ratner film reviewed better than the Pixar film,” and that is a fucking shame.
5. Pirates 4 - 4/10
Fuck everyone involved in this fucking movie. I thought that now that they didn’t have to worry about multiple plotlines and wrapping up everyone’s story that we could finally get a Pirates of the Caribbean movie on par with The Curse of the Black Pearl. Clearly I was wrong. This is one of the most lifeless movies I have ever seen in my life. The most I can say for this movie is that I didn’t fall asleep and the mermaid sequence was cool, but that’s about it. Whoever decided that Captain Jack should be THE main character should kill themselves (he was always a brilliant diversion from the Will/Elizabeth plotline). Whoever decided that having Penelope Cruz on board should be beaten down. Whoever cast the bad ass motherfucker that is Ian McShane and then decided to not have him do anything needs to be savagely eaten by panthers. As my friend once said, “Rob Marshall can eat a fat one,” FUCK THAT GUY. Also, Sam Claflin, I really hope you’re in like 10 minutes of Snow White and the Huntsman because you really fucking suck. FUCK THIS MOVIE!
4. Green Lantern - 4/10
It takes a lot for me to get bored during a movie, but I was bored as hell during Green Lantern. I checked my watch about a dozen times during this movie and couldn’t believe how brutally slow it was going. One cool action set piece does not redeem your entire movie of crap. Martin Campbell… what the fuck, man? The cast is talented but entirely miscast; in what world does Ryan Reynold, Blake Lively, and Peter Sarsgaard (who all look about a decade older than another) grow up together!? One of the most uninspired films I’ve seen in a long time.
3. In Time - 6/10
I enjoyed In Time somewhat, but I can’t help but be disappointed because Andrew Niccol wrote The Truman Show which is one of my favorite movies ever. I guess I shouldn’t be as disappointed as I was because I thought Lord of War was all right and that was also written/directed by Niccol, but the concept of this film was so cool! I was so disappointed at how little he got out of this premise, hopefully someone remakes it in a few decades.
2. Warrior - 6.5/10
Probably the best movie in this entire bunch, but the reason it’s so high on this list is because I expected an AMAZING movie. Critics unabashedly LOVED this movie and I had heard things like “Warrior does for MMA what Rocky did for boxing,” THAT is the level I expected this film to get to and I don’t think it ever got there. The performances from the main three actors were phenomenal, but everything else about this movie felt so trite and tired. They were just laying on the cliches and stereotypes so thick that I couldn’t buy it. Also, I have no idea what the people who are praising the fights in this film are talking about because I thought the fight choreography was horrendous. Shake the cam as much as you can and cut to so many different angles that you can’t even tell who just got thrown down or who’s winning! Do it over and over again! NOW! Not to mention the fact that the fights for each brother are EXACTLY the same! They might as well have shown us the EXACT SAME fight on replay leading up the championship. The only thing this movie had going for it was not knowing which brother would win but after seeing each fight end in EXACTLY the same way, the movie shows its hand and removes that element.
1. Battle: Los Angeles - 3/10
An amalgamation of the worst that Hollywood has to offer. I can imagine the conversations that took place before this film was greenlighted by the studio a few years back. “What do people want to see? Well District 9 just did really well, we could make it about aliens. Yeah! We’ll make a sci-fi action flick where aliens invade. Okay, what about the story? We’ll throw in one for everybody! The sergeant who comes back for ONE last job! The young upstart who thinks he’s prepared to be a leader but finds that in the heat of the moment he’s not! Bonus point, he has a pregnant wife as well! The guy who’s about to be married! The virgin guy! The guy who messed up on the last mission and has to redeem himself!” The trailer for this film was SO GOOD, but the movie ended being such a colossal waste of time.
Here’s to better films in 2012 (hopefully).
Cowboys & Aliens could have easily become one of those films I hated before I saw it. I saw the trailers for this movie at least (no fucking joke) about 20 times before I finally saw the movie. Seeing a trailer that amount of times usually means my interest is killed before the movie comes out, regardless of whether or not the movie is any good; examples of this include Hamlet 2 and The Soloist. However, I really dug the trailers for Cowboys & Aliens, so I didn’t mind seeing it so many times. The movie has garnered mixed/negative reviews from most critics.
I think that whether or not you have a good time with this movie depends on your expectations before coming into the movie. Are you expecting a masterpiece of blockbuster filmmaking? Or are you expecting a fun popcorn flick? If you are expecting the former and not the latter, you will be sorely disappointed.
It is hard to NOT think the former though because this is a film starring the likes of Daniel Craig, Harrison Ford, Olivia Wilde, Sam Rockwell, Adam Beach, and Paul Dano, and directed by Jon Favreau (Iron Man 1 & 2, Elf, Zathura). Not only that, but it’s written by Orci & Kurtzman, executive produced by Steven Spielberg, and produced by Ron Howard and Brian Grazer. Look at it from THAT standpoint, how could this NOT be the next great summer blockbuster?
Cowboys & Aliens does a lot things well and some not so well. I’ve read reviews that say that Jon Favreau is to blame for the film being bad, but I highly disagree. I’m not the biggest fan of the Iron Man films, but I always felt like Favreau’s direction was standout in those movies. He has a great knack for old school filmmaking blended with today’s modern technologies. I love his use of practical effects combined with CGI to create a more tangible feel to his films.
Where this movie falters is with the script which contains numerous plotholes, a plethora of unnecessary side characters with lame arcs, and relatively little answers to the mystery elements of the film. Orci & Kurtzman have had their fair share of hits, but their writing has always been hit or miss. Damon Lindeloff (Lost) also helped with the story and I’ve never watched Lost, but as Devindra Hardawar on the /Filmcast review of Cowboys & Aliens said, “Damon Lindeloff giving us a mystery he can’t answer? Gasp!”
A small nitpick from a movie nerd like me is that the sound mixing/editing was pretty atrocious in this film. When you watch a movie, oftentimes you don’t think about what you’re hearing even though that’s a big part of the movie. It’s usually because hearing something happen on screen is just second nature, but it plays a huge part in encapsulating us in the world of the movie. Cowboys & Aliens had some really poor sound effects, especially with the weapons where the six shooters sound like BB guns and everything just sounded so damn muffled. A great example of sound mixing would be Avatar where even though we’re in a completely 3D world, everything that moves, shoots, or makes a noise is implemented perfectly with the dialogue and action going on screen. You don’t think about how a gun shooting or a person running on gravel makes a sound, because you just automatically assume it’s going to be there. Movies add in those effects after the fact because they can’t record the sounds perfectly on the day they shoot. Once again, minor nitpick but it definitely affected my enjoyment somewhat.
What I dug the most about this movie, and the reason I was able to overlook most of it’s flaws, was just how fun it seemed. Sure, Daniel Craig gives off this brooding intensity throughout the film, but for the most part Cowboys & Aliens felt like some good old fashioned B movie fun. Daniel Craig and Harrison Ford are infinitely watchable movie stars, period. The film is far from great but there’s enough here on a popcorn level that I really enjoyed.
Cowboys & Aliens doesn’t completely live up to the premise or the talented personnel involved, but it is certainly enough fun as a B movie popcorn flick. There’s enough action and thrills to satisfy your average movie goer for sure. Just don’t go in expecting greatness and I’m sure you’ll have a blast at the movies with this one.