5 Surprisingly Good & 5 Disappointing Movies Of 2011
We count down movies expected to suck that were surprisingly good. And vice versa.
Pirates of the Carribean: On Stranger Tides
After two very good ‘Pirates’ movies, the third film was sort of a disappointment which ran way too long and wasn’t particularly thrilling. When Disney took a break and announced the return of Jack Sparrow with new director Rob Marshall (Chicago) at the helm, I was extremely happy for a fresh new installment in the franchise. But when the film released, it was nothing more than a generic Jack Sparrow adventure that did provide the perfunctory thrills but didn’t have the heart or innovation that anyone would have expected. Arguably the best part of the film was the addition of the mermaids which still felt underused. Most of the time, we had bland new characters performing a bland new adventure. Anyone expecting a breath of fresh air like the first film was sorely disappointed.
Working off a very intriguing premise that puts a whole new literal spin on ‘time is money’, director Andrew Niccol promised a bold new sci-fi actioner from the trailers that actually look promising enough especially considering the track record of the director (he gave us the underrated ‘Gattaca’). Even the questionable casting of Justin Timberlake as an action hero didn’t faze us. But the film ended up being an exercise in mediocrity at its release. Starting off with a great first act that brilliantly fleshes out its premise and makes the world seem very dangerous and believable, it craps all over it with a lame story that rips off liberally from Robin Hood and has nothing new to say once it’s blown its load. All we get after that point amidst the pretty visuals is a half-baked justice plot, hammy acting by some newcomers, and one of the most unconvincing romantic subplots all year. ‘In Time’ was a prime example of why execution is even more important than the idea itself.
DC Comics has always had a rocky record when it comes to superhero adaptations not titled Batman, but fans rejoiced when the company finally took initiative to launch one of their other untapped superheroes into a brand new franchise of its own in the form of ‘Green Lantern’. Ryan Reynolds was a reliable and inspired choice as the lead, Martin Campbell was a sound choice for a director and even the writers had a good track record. But somehow, the movie managed to sink DC’s rep in that department even further. The big-budgeted tentpole wasn’t outright awful, but was crushingly disappointing to most. It liberally borrowed from every other superhero movie ever made and never managed to feel fresh, it had some really shady CGI and never managed to find the right tone between its frat-boy humor and cartoony action. Plus, the villain was corny and Blake Lively killed the momentum in all her scenes despite Ryan Reynold’s best efforts to salvage the film. Critics didn’t like it, audiences forgot all about it and it tanked at the box-office and sank every fanboy’s heart who was hoping for a new Batman-like franchise. More like Daredevil.
Cowboys & Aliens
Daniel Craig. Harrison Ford. Steven Spielberg. Ron Howard. Jon Favreau. Western. Sci-fi. With elements like those, you can’t go wrong. Yet ‘Cowboys & Aliens’, the big-budget summer movie that tried to blend the western and sci-fi genres into one film, went quite wrong. After a pretty exciting first act which set itself up as a promising western, it completely fizzled out the moment the aliens arrived in the Old West and never managed to recover. Even with top writers and talent both in front and behind the camera, the film descended into mediocrity as it went on and the plot became muddled without any salvation. By the end of it, we had a very talented cast fighting some really cheap looking CGI creatures in mountains and you begin to wonder where during the production of this thing did it all go wrong. A very promising film ended up disappointing not only us but more-so at the box-office.
Pixar has the most squeaky clean track record in terms of movie quality that you will ever find in Hollywood. Almost every one of their movies have become classics in the animation genre and even their weakest efforts (Cars) is still highly entertaining. Everyone was skeptical when ‘Cars 2’ was announced and disregarded the news as Disney’s attempt to sell more action figures. But Pixar has an even greater track record when it comes to sequels (Toy Story) so it made sense to assume that they would fix what was broken about the first movie and give us a great new installment that would justify the first film. Instead, we got a very generic mistaken identity spy movie that almost felt like an entirely different script which was tailored to be called ‘Cars 2’. Lightning McQueen was barely in the film and the film itself had close to nothing to do with racing but instead decided on a very substandard plot about Mater being mistaken as a spy. It was not only Pixar’s weakest film yet but it was the first time the audience felt disconnected to the characters in a Pixar movie. Maybe the naysayers were right after all since the merchandise sold bazillion units after the release. Here’s hoping ‘Monsters. Inc 2’ doesn’t share the same fate.
Any movie that you guys felt didn’t live up to your expectations? Or one that gave you a pleasant surprise? Let us know in the comments!