I abhor “worst of list.” It seems a bit arbitrary to make a list about the worst films of the year because of how easy it is to list. Lone Ranger, Movie 43, inAPPproriate Comedy, R.I.P.D., After Earth and The Big Wedding all easily qualify for the worst movies of the year. We all know they are the worst movies, so why even bother giving us the reasons.
A “most disappointing” list seems more appropriate. These 10 films had the potential to be a great and memorable film given the film’s star power, budget, marketing, anticipation, and other factors, but ultimately, they failed to deliver the goods. gooSo here are my top ten most disappointing films of 2013.
10. Pacific Rim
This is considerably one of the films that did not have as much talent as the proceeding ones on this list, but it did have one notable brain. Guillermo Del Toro‘s Pacific Rim was every fanboy’s wet dream come true, but ended up just blowing smoke in our face. There wasn’t anything to like about the characters due to their thinly developed backstory. They are contrived, stereotypically written, and very bland, with the exception of Charlie Day. Mako Mori’s (Rinko Kikuchi) character was even the inspiration behind the new bechdel test – something that no one should be really proud of. Let’s not forget the film’s horrid pacing. While I can understand giving the audience a break from seeing robots fighting monsters, it seems that every time characters started to speak, I would look at my watch, just waiting for the boring dialogue to end, and fighting to begin.
I’ll say this about Joseph Kosinski, he has knack for visualizing worlds, and harmonizing set pieces into them. Tron: Legacy is a prime example of that. But Kosinski falls short in creating a compelling story within that world. We finally get an original story (which is adapted from Kosinski’s comic book of the same name but we’ll say it’s original since it’s his), that big studios are willing to gamble on. Unfortunately, they aren’t paying off. Another thing that Oblivion does really well is that it makes great use of using concepts from older films like Total Recall, Planet Of The Apes, Independence Day and yes even Tron: Legacy. It reminds us of the great sci-fi films of the past, and gives us the urge to revisit them. But the film’s biggest flaw was that the film just fails to connect and make us care about what will happen to these characters if they do not succeed in achieving their goal.
8. Star Trek Into Darkness
The sequel to the highly successful reboot has got a script that is too complicated for it’s own good. We zip off and race from star system to star system, yet all of the action, and marketing the secrecy of Star Trek‘s most iconic villain, were overshadowed by the a lack of character development and engaging storytelling. A film like this would be the best time to put any or even all of the characters to their ultimate test. Yet, Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci‘s script was nothing more than just an interstellar footrace, which for the sake of this film is actually Captain Kirk’s excuse to go on a mission of revenge. Bogged down by a fairly boring story and terrible pacing, Star Trek Into Darkness reminds us of how bad cover songs can really be when you don’t make it your own.
7. Evil Dead
You may want to consider to set the bar low or lower the bar a few notches before you market a film to be “The Most Terrifying Film You Will Ever Experience.” Evil Dead used that exact slogan, but was definitely not the most terrifying film I have ever experienced. In fact, that title should have gone to The Conjuring (but that is for another post). The Evil Dead was more or less the same film that Sam Raimi gave to us years back, only with enhanced visual effects and gallons of fake blood. Which would have been great, had it not been for the lack of energy the characters had in the film. There was a certain degree of disconnect between the characters and the story, making each supposed cringe worthy scene less cringe worthy and less scary. Had the story been engaging, and the characters looked liked they cared, Evil Dead would have been “The Most Terrifying Film You Will Ever Experience.” Unfortunately, it fell short. Very short.
6. Gangster Squad
There are directors who can handle having a large ensemble cast, and then there are those who can’t. When you have a collection of star power that shines as brightly as Ryan Gosling, Josh Brolin, Emma Stone, Sean Penn, Anthony Mackie et al, you’d think you would have a pretty good film to watch. Alas, Gangster Squad was something to be missed. Let’s face it, there will never, ever, be a great January-release film. Ever. To hold onto that kind of hope would be equivalent to grasping at straws. Gangster Squad suffers the same problems as almost every other film on this list: it features nothing new or unique, and a lot of things we have already seen before. In the end, Gangster Squad has all the style and guns it needs for a flashy 1940s throwback party, but lacks the substance and heart to leave us wanting more.
5. The Butler
In a lot of ways, The Butler is a dull, boring, and very poor carbon copy of Forrest Gump. The problem is that The Butler was marketed as though Cecil Gaines (Forest Whitaker) partially influenced the U.S. Presidents to make changes during the Civil Rights Movement, and was made it look like he was an active participant during riots and protests. But Gaines wasn’t really doing anything to change history, he was just watching it as it was written. The issue with The Butler is that it lost focus on who the film was about when it tries to engage us with a subplot that would have been better off as its own film. Daniel’s seemed like he wanted to tell the story of the Black Panthers and what it was like to fight in the military as an African American during the Vietnam War. But then the film would be called Sons Of The Butler or The Butler’s Sons. Of course we should not forget the ham-fisted performances by Robin Williams, John Cusack, and Jane Fonda, all of whom contributed nothing to this film.
4. Kick-Ass 2
While it may seem like much of Kick-Ass 2‘s problems lie within how much time has passed between the release of this film and the original, it’s not. The first film, directed by Matthew Vaughn, had all the charm and humor you would want in a dark action comedy that had a fairly interesting take on the superhero genre. The film’s sequel, however, lost it’s hilariously ironic touch, and trades it in for and hour and 43 minutes worth of tasteless violence, cussing festivities, and green screens (hooray for green screens). Kick-Ass 2 just didn’t have the same heart or spirit as the original. It also proves that not all films deserve a sequel. Not only that, but Kick-Ass 2 practically degrades women throughout the movie. Between the misogynistic name calling, the selling out, and the rape, the female characters in this film really have no sense of dignity.
3. The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug
What Star Wars Prequel Trilogy has done for the Star Wars Original Trilogy, The Hobbit Trilogy is doing the same for The Lord Of The Rings Trilogy. The comparison is undeniably uncanny. The films have more or less the same material to work with. It has an established world, familiar characters, and a huge fan base. But just because you have that in ample supply doesn’t mean that you can recreate the same magic by simply doing the same thing over again. And that’s that The Hobbit trilogy is doing so far (remember we still have one more film to go, but can one film really redeem two of its predecessors?). While Desolation Of Smaug expanded the world of Middle Earth since An Unexpected Journey just tipped toed around it, the film suffers from uneven pacing, the force-fed subplot, and “middle of the chapter” syndrome.
2. The Counselor
This film had huge expectations. Ridley Scott directing a script written by Pulitzer Prize winning author Cormac McCarthy (No Country for Old Men). Then you have Michael Fassbender, Brad Pitt, Penelope Cruz, Cameron Diaz, and Javier Bardem. All that talent, with a legendary filmmaker, and a screenwriter with numerous accolades, what could possibly go wrong? McCarthy’s treated the script like a novel. The tone of the film felt disjointed and lacked any sense of cohesiveness. There was just no need for the gratuitous amounts of violence in the film, especially a Ridley Scott film. Whether that problem lies within the script or Ridley’s need to pay his final respects to his departed Tony by making it look like a Tony Scott film doesn’t really matter. All The Counselor really is, is just another lesson in what not to do when you are in a bad situation.
1. Man Of Steel
Yet another visually astounding film that had so much potential, but ultimately failed to deliver on its promise of being an original superhero film. Zack Snyder‘s Man Of Steel attempted to be that coming of age superhero film that we so rarely see nowadays, but gets drowned out by a lengthy exposition and the senseless destruction of Metropolis sequence. For a hero who is destined for greatness, David Goyer‘s script doesn’t seem to have an understanding of the consequences of Superman’s great power. It would rather hold on to being a melodramatic film without any humor and devoid of joy and hope. Christopher Nolan is partially to blame in that regard, with his Dark Knight Trilogy being just as mopey (but for an entirely different and good reason).