BIGGEST MOVIE DISAPPOINTMENTS
Don’t you just hate disappointment? It's not a great emotion in any situation, including movies. There's something frustrating about sequels that squander an original's potential (well, in your opinion, anyway -– there will always be people who defend the likes of Batman Forever).
But I've already discussed bad sequels in a previous post, so we'll ignore the widespread disappointment surrounding Alien 3, The Ring 2, Matrix Reloaded, and their brethren. We all know that sequels are half-expected to be disappointing (on some level). No, I'm more interested today in disappointing original movies; films that were hyped for months and ultimately arrived as damp squibs.
First on my list is...
Godzilla (1998). This is included mainly because it had a perfect publicity campaign. The trailers and general atmosphere surrounding the release was brilliant. "From the creators of Independence Day"... "Size Does Matter", etc. But when the movie arrived we just got some obscured graphics (occasionally awesome, often video-gamey), and a frankly woeful script populated by weak generic characters. I had no problems with Zilla's redesign, like many fans of the Japanese original did, but the movie just didn't lived up to the hype.
Sky Captain & The World Of Tomorrow (2004). This oddity also fits into the disappointing category very well. It should have been a sumptuous old-fashioned Flash Gordon-alike, but just became a tedious curiosity piece. The 100% green-screen effect distanced me, although Sin City later proved it could be used well. There is some imagination and cool designs to be found here, but it's all a bit of a laughable mess.
Van Helsing (2004). Again, I remember the excellent trailers had me pumped for this. What could go wrong? X-Men's Hugh Jackman. Frankenstein's Monster. The Wolf Man. Dracula. They even threw in Mr Hyde as a cameo! But it was a multi-million dollar monster movie from the director of The Mummy that proved the "less is more" mantra is always correct. It was all just too, too much. An overstuffed, noisy, brainless exercise in boredom.
Kingdom Of Heaven (2005); the director of Gladiator returns to the genre he resurrected, miscasts the lead, tip-toes around the controversy of the Crusades and make a beautiful but empty epic that outstays it welcome after an hour. Oh, and don't cast Orlando Bloom as an Alpha Male until atleast 2015.
Fantastic Four (2005). This should have been a refreshing, fun, superhero sci-fi comedy action spectacle. Instead it was a group of disparate actors thrown into an undernourished script without the budget to do the premise proud. The major disappointment was the mistreatment of lead villain Dr Doom (no longer a genius dictator, now a smarmy billionaire playboy). Michael Chiklis (Thing) and Chris Evans (Johnny) provided the only respite from total disappointment, but when you consider how epic and entertaining this movie should have been... it makes you cry. Spider-Man has Evil Dead's Sam Raimi. Hulk had Ang Lee. Batman gets Christopher Nolan. Superman gets Bryan Singer. Fantastic Four gets... Barber Shop's Tim Story. Bleurghhh. Oh, the injustice.
Scary Movie (2000); I've been a fan of spoofs forever (Airplane! is still my fave comedy), so the prospect of a new spoof tackling the horror genre had me excited. Coming after Leslie Nielsen's increasingly desperate attempts to find a hit post-Naked Gun, I was hopeful this new film would take the genre into the 00s on a high. I was wrong. Big time. Very unfunny. I think it all fell apart for me when a severed head continued talking after being decapitated (too surreal, too obvious). People forget that spoofs work best when they take their reality seriously. They don't just parody current movie hits incessantly – something the sequels haven’t learned.
Planet Of The Apes (2001); who would have thought Tim Burton would create such a weak remake. Kudos to the make-up department (their Oscar snub remains, for me, the greatest Academy injustice of recent times), and I actually found the "twist" ending quite fun. But, God, why cast Mark Wahlberg in the Charlton Heston role? I hold him responsible. He's totally miscast and monosyllabic. The story sadly meandered, although the new premise was sound enough. A fun failure, but still disappointing coming from Burton.
Underworld (2003). Vampires versus werewolves shouldn't have been so... underwhelming. This is a prime example of a movie armed only with a video-game's storyline and Kate Beckinsale in a PVC cat-suit. This sort of film can be great fun if you're in the mood, but Underworld disappointed by failing to let its premise take flight.
The Princess Bride (1987). Okay, I chuckle at the occasional gag in this ("ROUS", "inconceivable", "You killed my father... prepare to die!", etc) but I still think Princess Bride is a poor fantasy comedy on most levels. It feels cheap to me, and isn't nearly as hilarious as people claim. There's the seed of a great idea buried in here somewhere, but I always find the movie incredibly boring for long stretches (the opening bedtime story scene, moving into the "Buttercup" story always sends me to straight to sleep). Sorry.
Hulk (2003). Again, publicity and trailers built plenty of hype and interest for this, but the film took itself too seriously. It sounds strange, but Hulk just tried too hard to be taken seriously. I appreciated what Ang Lee tried to do, and some of the effects were wonderful, but it just wasn't the movie we'd been primed for all those months beforehand. And, therefore, it disappointed.
I'm sure there are hundreds of other disappointing movies, but these are the one that leaped to mind for me. Most are quite recent films, but I'm sure there are lots of supposed "classics" that didn't strike a chord when you saw them. Feel free to tell me yours below!