I’m thrilled that several people have gotten into this NOOOOvember series, but, sadly, all good (bad?) things must come to an end. But it simply wouldn’t be right to go out with anything less than a bang. So rather than rewatch another disappointing film and subject you to all the gory details, I decided to address several of my memorable letdowns all at once. I’m going to keep these brief and get right to the core of the problem(s)–or at least the problem(s) that I had with them. So here we go! For your reading pleasure, eight more little rants (in no particular order) from your truly.
***WARNING: SPOILERS FOR SEVERAL FILMS FOLLOW***
#1: Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End (2007)
The Disappointment: The Curse of the Black Pearl is great, Dead Man’s Chest is okay, and this one…ugh. This is what disappointment’s all about, folks. Nothing like ending a trilogy (or what was originally a trilogy, anyway) with a real stinker. The plot is pretty out there and confusing, there are several silly villains milling about, Johnny Depp’s Captain Jack Sparrow is “dead” for half the film (which apparently brings everything interesting to a screeching halt, leaving us bored for the first hour), and Orlando Bloom’s Will Turner FRIGGIN’ DIES. Well, he’s cursed and can only come to land once a year, but still–LAME. You can feel the film trying to outdo it’s predecessors, but it tries far, far too hard. It all feels done before, and it relies too heavily on Captain Jack’s charming quirkiness, which often wears thin. Why, oh why did this franchise continue with On Stranger Tides? And why the hell is another POTC slated for 2016?!
#2: Cloud Atlas (2012)
The Disappointment: Based on a novel that I’d be very curious to read, Cloud Atlas has a hard time translating to the big screen. The film has its cool moments and an undeniably talented cast, but it just doesn’t come together right. There are all these different plots in all these different places/times with all these different characters (many of which are played by the same handful of actors), and it’s just baffling. You want to like it, but you don’t get it enough to like it. It’s a film you appreciate–that’s it. The trailer looked so cool, yet the film is so…huh?
#3: Ocean’s Twelve (2004)
The Disappointment: Lazy and self-indulgent, Ocean’s Twelve is a shameful, silly sequel that I’ve tried very hard to forget. The first film is so clever, so fun, and so fresh. And this? Let’s try “so been there.” The plot is not only repetitive but very thin, and the characters aren’t half as charming as they are in the first film. As a whole, Ocean’s Twelve is far too self-aware, which ties in with one of my biggest qualms: the inclusion of the WORST JOKE EVER IN THE HISTORY OF FILM. Okay, maybe that’s an exaggeration, but I’ll let you be the judge. At one point, Julia Roberts plays her character playing Julia Roberts. THAT’S RIGHT. The real-life Julia Roberts plays a character pretending to be the real-life Julia Roberts. It’s supposed to be funny. Spoiler alert: IT’S NOT. It’s the most ridiculous bit I’ve ever seen, and I hate every minute of it. In fact, I pretty much hate every minute of this whole film.
#4: Diary of the Dead (2007)
The Disappointment: Confession time: I haven’t even seen all of this film, which I’m sure affects my overall view of it. Nonetheless, the 30 excruciating minutes I sat through were enough. I wanted to like it because a coworker spoke very highly of it, but I just couldn’t. When done well, mockumentary horrors can be great. When done poorly, they are utterly painful. This is undoubtedly the latter. It simply doesn’t do enough to keep our interest. The plot is predictable and plodding, the characters are unlikeable idiots, and the script feels so darn forced that it makes me want to scream. Mockumentaries with unrealistic dialogue are among my biggest turnoffs. Therefore, I just had to turn this one off.
#5: The Princess and the Frog (2009)
The Disappointment: Okay, Disney diehards–hear me out. Unlike some of the other films on this list, I don’t hate The Princess and the Frog. In fact, I think it’s a fair bit of fun. But it simply doesn’t bring me the degree of joy that so many of its predecessors do. Amidst all Pixar’s brilliant success, The Princess and the Frog was supposed to be Disney’s triumphant return to the classic animated films that we all remember so fondly. A sweet girl in poverty, a dashing prince, a good ol’ villain, and a dash of magic–ought to be great, right? Well…not exactly. It’s good, but…I don’t know if I can put it into words. It just lacks the flavor. The songs aren’t as catchy, the plot is fairly derivative, and THE SASSY CAJUN FIREFLY DIES! C’mon, Disney! You can’t kill the sassy sidekicks! The magic simply isn’t as magical.
#6: Iron Man 2 (2010)
The Disappointment: The second film slump is not uncommon to the superhero genre, so I really shouldn’t have expected much from this one. But after Iron Man’s dazzling start and the massive success of The Dark Knight, I had high hopes. Big surprise! I was disappointed. After much character growth in the first film, Robert Downey Jr.’s Tony Stark reverts back to his party boy ways, which feels pretty cheap, and the plot as a whole feels fairly repetitive. Plus, Mickey Rourke’s Whiplash feels bland and wasted–not at all the fresh, sinister, quirky villain we all had hoped for. It’s sleek and action-packed, and Downey Jr. is still great, but even that is not enough to redeem this lackluster sequel.
#7: Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008)
The Disappointment: In 2008, everybody was in a tizzy over the return of Harrison Ford’s beloved Indiana Jones. I’ve always enjoyed the original films, so I was eager to check this one out as well. Hoo boy, was it a letdown. In trying to keep the original flavor of the films, Kingdom of the Crystal Skull often tries too hard and comes off as downright cheesy. It’s almost sad to watch Ford in this film–an aging action star clinging to an iconic character of his youth. Sorry, but I just don’t love seeing Grandpa Indy. And Shia La Beouf’s Mutt Williams, who takes on some of the action scenes, is no substitute for the young Indy we know and love. A few other random things: the involvement of aliens is really silly (hate it), Indiana Jones GET MARRIED (you can’t tie down Indy!), and there’s an idiotic scene involving Mutt swinging through the trees alongside monkeys…Like, WHAT? Palm, meet face.
#8: The Dark Knight Rises (2012)
The Disappointment: Once again, don’t hate me! The truth is, I actually like this film quite a lot. Christian Bale is still a solid Batman, Anne Hathaway is a wonderful Catwoman, and Tom Hardy kills it as scary ol’ Bane. Gary Oldman, Morgan Freeman, and Michael Cane continue to sparkle in their roles. The introduction of Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s Blake allows a hopeful end that suggests carrying on the legacy. DKR does a lot of things right, and I feel it’s a fitting end to the Dark Knight Trilogy. But…it’s not as good as The Dark Knight. You can’t help but wonder how things would’ve ended if Heath Ledger hadn’t passed away. Bane’s a great villain, but the Joker is THE Batman villain. It just doesn’t seem right to end things without him. Plus, the whole deal with Gotham completely shutting down is kind of unbelievable. All in all, DKR is dense and a bit too long. By no means do I dislike it, but after the perfection of The Dark Knight…well, it disappoints me a teensy bit.
That does it, folks! I hope you have enjoyed reading about these and the many other disappointments of NOOOOvember 2013! Again, a million thanks to those who contributed! This series wouldn’t have been nearly as fun without you. 🙂 So what’s on tap for December? How about some films to get you in the holiday spirit? 12 Films of Christmas–coming your way soon!