5 Surprisingly Good & 5 Disappointing Movies Of 2011
We count down movies expected to suck that were surprisingly good. And vice versa.
When news came out of 20th Century Fox doing a movie based on robot boxing, audiences ridiculed the premise as ‘Rocky with robots’ and all sorts of jokes. The first few trailers didn’t help much despite looking fun as there was no evidence whether the film will be anything other than just a ploy to sell some action figures. But when the film released, it managed to surprise everybody by how much fun it really was. The robot boxing sequences are visceral and stand as some of the best action sequences of the year. The cast did a good job and there was a rhythm to the movie that just kept building up to the action-packed and exhilarating finale. There was product placement all over and there is a great potential for action figures. It’s still ‘Rocky with robots’ by the time it ends, but surprisingly it wasn’t a negative for the film with managed to be the sleeper hit of the later part of the year.
The ‘Fast and the Furious’ franchise ran out of steam right after the first film and the subsequent movies were nothing more than a shell of the original. Sure, the fourth movie ‘Fast & Furious’ brought back the Vin Diesel but the result was nevertheless a surprisingly dull affair despite some cool action scenes. So when a fifth film with the title ‘Fast Five’ was announced, it’s fair not too get too excited despite the addition of Dwayne Johnson into the cast. But the result was probably one of the best pure action movies of the year and was a surprisingly solid film on its own. The old-school action was a blast to watch, the heist movie angle the film took was exactly what the franchise needed and the addition of Dwayne Johnson made the film ultimately even more bad-ass. It rejuvenates the franchise and gives it a lot of potential to play around in the sequels and not just one but two of them are coming very soon.
When a studio nowadays announces a modernized adaptation of one of their classic kids characters, one can’t expect further in quality than ‘The Smurfs’ or ‘Chipmunks’ because that’s the dreck that studios are churning out these days. So you would be surprised to know how well-made ‘The Muppets’ really is. It’s a heartfelt tribute to the characters as well as a treat to newcomers thanks to an excellent script and performance by Jason Segel who keeps the tongue-in-cheek tone going throughout and manages to make the Muppets relevant again. It’s how kids movies should be done. Don’t expect anything as good as this in its kid anytime soon though.
X-Men: First Class
After two excellent X-Men movies by Bryan Singer, the franchise took a nosedive with the third installment by Brett Ratner and the origin story of Wolverine both of which never elevated from mediocrity. So when Fox announced a reboot/prequel of the series with an all-new cast, it was stupid to expect anything more than a cash-grab to either keep the rights of the series or make more movies on the cheap with a younger more appealing cast. Soon, Bryan Singer stepped down from directing it but helped in the script and Matthew Vaughn (Kick-Ass) was hired which was optimistic but not nearly enough. And then the movie came out to be one of the best movies of 2011. It’s fast-paced, excellently written with a surprising amount of character development for even the most minor of characters, brilliantly acted especially by Michael Fassbender and James McAvoy as friends turned rivals, and was loaded with social commentary as well as strong action scenes. It was a critical and commercial hit that no one would have projected and single-handedly revived the franchise back again. Now audiences have a reason to be excited when they hear about a new X-Men movie.
Rise of the Planet of the Apes
And here comes the only movie I was dead wrong about until it was released. While the idea of a prequel to the stale ‘Planet of the Apes’ franchise sounded like a good idea at first, my hopes took a hit when I heard that the apes will be CGI this time around. The trailers didn’t help and the movie looked unintentionally funny and a disaster in the making for the most part. But then it released and it was one of the best films of the year. CGI was the best thing to happen to the series since it allowed for an excellent actor like Andy Serkis, famous for giving motion capture for Gollum, to come in and give such a human performance to Caesar that it eclipses every other human actor in the film. It’s a testament of technology today and coupled with swift direction and a fast-paced screenplay ended up being a critical and commercial hit with sequels on the way. Couldn’t have been more surprised to see this actually pan out well.