2012 in Review: Part II
Today I am going to review the worst of the science-fiction/fantasy movies of 2012. I always say that I am a pretty easy to please movie viewer. I think that is true. My empirical evidence for that is the three movies that made my top 10 list of my favorite of the year. Battleship, John Carter and Wrath of the Titans, made many reviewer’s list of some of the worst movies of 2012. Battleship and John Carter did not do well at the box office. Wrath of the Titans earned $83 million domestically and $218 million internationally for a worldwide total of $301 million. This was a pretty good return on a $150 million budget. However, Wrath of the Titans took in about 100 million less than its predecessor, 2010’s, Clash of the Titans, another movie the critics ripped to shreds. But I liked them both. I enjoyed Battleship and John Carter (both starring Taylor Kitsch) for what they were; fun action adventure movies. Sure, they were not perfect but I think they told good stories, had characters that were interesting, great eye candy in wonderfully produced special effects, and most of all, I found them entertaining. I find myself as I have gotten older that I am gravitating toward movies that are fun and do not take themselves all that seriously and these three fit that bill. Sure, I still like some serious “makes you think” type of science-fiction and fantasy films but they have become the exception rather than the rule.
Now, on to the worst movies of 2012…of those that I have seen.
Snow White and the Huntsman. I really wanted to like this movie. It had Chris Hemsworth (Thor and George Kirk) and also Kristen Stewart (Twilight) and Academy Award winner, Charlize Theron. The movie also had great special effects and was telling a time-honored German tale that had become famous through the pens of the Brothers Grimm. So why didn’t I like it? First of all it was too dark and gritty for my taste and it tried very hard to be like The Lord of the Rings with epic battle scenes. While I enjoyed the performances of Hemsworth and Theron (who was deliciously evil as Queen Revenna) it was the performance of Stewart that put me off of the film. Her one note wooden portrayal of Snow White literally put me to sleep. I did lightly doze off for a few moments. So it is difficult to root for a heroine who seems like she is sleep walking through the movie. Maybe this should have been called Sleeping Beauty and the Huntsman!?
Another film I saw and didn’t care for was The Watch. This movie starred Ben Stiller, Vince Vaughn & Jonah Hill. It was a science-fiction comedy about a neighborhood watch that discovers an alien invasion. I generally like these comedians and have seen them in movies I have enjoyed. I also liked the premise because alien invasion movies are among my favorites in the genre. But this one left me flat. Sure, it had some laughs, good special effects and a great alien creature design, but the majority of the jokes fell flat and seemed forced. I ended up not caring too much about the characters and the plot itself proved uninteresting.
The other bad movie I saw was Dark Shadows. I enjoyed the Gothic/Horror soap opera of the 60s and 70s so I wanted to give this a chance despite not being the biggest Johnny Depp or Tim Burton fan. I was disappointed. It started out well but the tone was so uneven. It couldn’t decide if it was a serious gothic horror tale or a dark comedy. As the third act of the movie devolved into wacky chaos, as third acts often do, I decided I didn’t like it.
The last two movies I want to discuss are two that I have not seen and have ended up on many reviewers “worst of” list for the year. They are both remakes of 1990s films. They are Total Recall and Dredd respectively. They both performed very poorly at the box office and are considered to have bombed. Dredd, starring Karl Urban (Star Trek), was a remake of the 1995 film, Judge Dredd, starring Sylvester Stallone playing the iconic comic book character. The 1995 film received a paltry 18% negative rating on Rotten tomatoes but did better at the box office with a domestic total of $34 million and a world-wide total of $113 million. The 2012 offering, simply called Dredd, did much better with the critics and received a 78% positive rating on Rotten tomatoes but did miserably at the box office, bringing in only $13 million domestically and world-wide total of 30 million. Quite the bomb! Dredd is rated R and is very gritty, dark and violent. The 1995 version was also rated R and although it is violent, the violence is not as graphic as the remake. The 1995 original also had some humor and is enjoyable. Due to its graphic violence and gritty tone I will watch this movie to see if it is one I would like to own.
The other remake was Total Recall starring Colin Farrell. The 1990 original starred Arnold Schwarzenegger. The original has an 84% positive rating on Rotten tomatoes and did $119 million domestically and a world-wide total of $261 million making the original a certified hit and classic film! The remake didn’t do as well. It received a 31% negative rating on Rotten tomatoes and its box office totals were $58 million domestically but a better over seas performance brought the world-wide total up to a respectable $198 million. The studio still considers this a bit of an underperformer. I am actually going to purchase this movie before seeing it. It does look good and some friends who have seen it tell me that I would like it. I am a bit disappointed that the movie doesn’t depict the journey to Mars like the 1990 original did, but I am told that is plays a lot like the movie Minority Report which is another movie I liked (and own). Both Total Recall and Minority Report were based on short stories written by science-fiction writer Philip K. Dick.
All in all it wasn’t a bad movie watching experience and I didn’t see too many duds.
Posted on January 9, 2013, in Captain's Log... and tagged 2012, Academy Award, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Battleship, Brothers Grimm, Charlize Theron, Chris Hemsworth, Colin Farrell, Dark Shadows, Dredd, John Carter, Johnny Depp, Judge Dredd, Karl Urban, Kristen Stewart, Philip K. Dick, Queen Revenna, Slyvester Stallone, Snow White And The Huntsman, Star Trek, Taylor Kitsch, The Lord of the Rings, Tim Burton, Total Recall, Wrath of the Titans. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.