Originally, I was going to do a review of Fantastic Four. However, I didn’t want to be like countless carrion eaters picking off the remains of absolute badness. We know the film is terrible. There are still tons of folks out there who don’t want to admit it yet. I don’t blame them, I too wanted this to be a good movie. However, that wasn’t the only disappointing summer film. I know there’s many who were sad that Pixels didn’t live up to the immense hype, resulting in some undeserved vitriol and relentless hatred. And of course, there’s that Paul Blart sequel… but, I doubt anyone thought that would be good. All in all, while the summer has brought some smash hits like Inside Out, Mad Max: Fury Road, Ant Man, Avengers 2, Spy and some others; there’s always the flop. Let’s dive deeper at the sad side of blockbuster cinema.
So, one wonders who so many great ideas for movies turn into garbage. The reasons are indeed many; Sturgeon’s Law (90% of everything is crap), executive meddling, sometimes even the best of intentions without the proper knowledge or experience. Whatever the reason, some films just don’t work in the long run. Now, when the hype machine is rallying for release, tons of people help perpetuate the hype. As a result, we have a certain standard created. Now, for the more cynical, they begin to berate whatever is coming out and assume the worst. But for those invested, there’s only the hope that things will turn out well… or at least well enough. Most of the time though, the generated hype doesn’t live up and a lot of people are disappointed. That or skeptics declare something overhyped and proceed to hate it. I’ll admit, I’m certainly guilty of the latter.
But if there’s one thing that ruins a movie faster, it’s executive meddling. There’s a stereotype that “the suits” know jackshit about art.. and perhaps there’s something to that statement. They’re businessfolk by trade with maybe a remedial knowledge of what goes into a movie. If they see the potential bucks, they’ll jump to it. If anything recently suffered from this, it was Fantastic Four. We saw some really interesting ideas early on. The casting choices were a team of pretty solid actors (a lot more than the 2005 debacle, that’s for sure), the initial trailers were pretty good (even though almost NONE of the trailer footage was used in the movie), and there was hope that Fox Media was capable of making something almost on par with Marvel Studios. Well, the higher ups had their way with altering the movie by removing plot elements, footage (as seen in trailers), and other bits and pieces here and there. As a result, the movie is a jumbled mess with far less interesting characters and a botched story… to say the least. If Fox was really trying to stay relevant in an age when the megacorporation known as Disney is taking over entertainment, you think they’d have some more trust in the director as well as the rest of the creative team behind this film. While they gave plenty of people jobs for this picture, I doubt those people will get many with Fox in the near future. In fact, I can imagine several departments for Fox entertainment closing if they keep up stuff like this. But, that’s a tangent for another day, even if it relates to dimwit execs trying and failing really badly.
And speaking of hype and executives dicking around, nothing up sets up for suck quite like the unneeded sequel. Sure, lots of folks complained about the latest Avengers movie, but it overall wasn’t that bad. But, hype machine and tons of scrapped content lead to an overall disappointing show. Combine that with legions of pseudo-activists making Joss Whedon go insane and the movie retains a sour taste among many. (But hey, I enjoy the idea of Crazy Whedon.) The general public became more aware of this in recent years thanks to the sequels for The Hangover. The original was a pretty good comedy film. Everything after that was agonizing to watch for several reasons. Now, Paul Blart doesn’t even have the privilege of being that good to begin with, so making a sequel 4 – 5 years after the first one was quickly forgotten is baffling to say the least.
At least with Sturgeon’s Law, there’s a given. Most things are probably going to be a disappointment in one way or another. Going back to Avengers 2, there was some derailing subplots, not showing how cool Ultron could be, some absurd pacing and other things. Despite a lot of great, it just didn’t capture the magic of the first movie and functioned as an in between segway, so to speak. There’s only a handful of things that rise above everything else. To me, Ant Man was one of those movies. After the season kicked off with a decent attempt, Ant Man picked up the slack and debatably poked at the previous summer film (even though this likely wasn’t intentional at all.) That said, it wasn’t a bad movie. That said, another early summer hit was. While also up to debate, I’d consider Juraissic world to be in this list. It had a lot of hype going for it… and for what? Faulty characters, only a few scenes that captured the magic, total inversion of the scientific statement the original was trying to make, a lame dinosaur looks like a photoshopped velociraptor along side other things lead to a mess of a movie. Now, it was an enjoyable mess, but it reminds of that few things in this world are truly great and most is crap (to an extent.) Did I hate this film? No way, it was still tons of fun! But, I can accept that it wasn’t that good.
On the subject of hype, Pixels probably takes the list here. And to be honest, I was considering doing a review of this movie just like I wanted to review Fantastic Four. But, it would have been too easy. But I digress, we were being told this was to be the greatest nostalgia trip ever (although, Wreck it Ralph did a good job with that). Needless to say, I was excited, despite not liking Sandler movies. To be honest, one of the biggest faults of the film was deciding whether or not it was a Sandler movie. Now, hype had an ironic effect here of hype backlash. It generated an “anti-hype” solely devoted to despising this film and everything about it. And dare I say, that hype was totally bizarre too. A lot of the jokes were lame, but what do you expect? A lot of the scenes still captured the creativity and fun of both alien invasion of homages to classic video games. And dare I say, some of the humor was both endearing and entertaining. So, it’s far from Sandler’s worst. Sure, it’s still a bad movie, but a solid 45% in my opinion. Little is worse than Animated Sandler or Adam in Drag, in my opinion.
So, all in all, my views on the not so good flicks of the summer season. With every year, it has some ups, tons of downs, and a heaping helping of neutral forgettable dreck. And to be fair, there isn’t much to talk about with the okay stuff. It’s just there and it doesn’t leave an impact. It’s the truly bad stuff that leaves you with something, hence this blurb! So, as another summer blockbuster season fades and autumn is upon us, it’s always interesting to see what just didn’t quite make the cut and what really missed the mark. Perhaps for the sake of entertainment, and perhaps to see what we can learn from said mistakes.
IMAGE SOURCES: Mad Max Fury Road (Edit found via Reddit), Tom and Jerry Movie (Gifsoup), Rappy and Demo fan art (Deviantart), South Park