Ted’s Picks of Worst Films of the Year so far

Just yesterday I saw this info-graphic that Hollywood’s creativity is waning. I mean, zero original movie in 2011?? WOW! I wonder how 2012 fares, but there sure are a bazillion remakes, sequels, prequels, what have you, and that trend isn’t likely to end anytime soon. Well, Rodney at Fernby Films are currently doing Worst Film Week series, so it seems fitting that Ted takes the time to share the worst of what he’s seen this year.

I just realized that I’ve seen more films this year than I did at the same time a year ago and even though none of them I would consider great, some are quite entertaining. Of course I also saw some really bad ones along the way. I read that many film bloggers and critics dubbed this year as the year of disappointments and I think I have agree with that statement.

Below are my top 4.5 worst films I’ve seen so far this year.

4.5. John Carter 

I don’t know if I should even put 4.5 for this movie since I only watched about 45 minutes of it. I had to turn it off because there’s nothing in the film that interests me, Taylor Kitsch has zero screen charisma and I have no desire to see him in any other films from now on. The film was such a box office failure that Disney actually had to tell their share holders that they lost money on it, ouch!
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4. The Bourne Legacy

I was really looking forward to seeing this film, a new leading man and director behind the cameras so I was hoping to see a new take on the franchise, sadly that was not the case. I like Jeremy Renner as an actor but I don’t think he’s the leading man quality that Hollywood is pushing him hard to be. I thought he did a descent job as the new “Jason Bourne” in this film so he’s not the reason why this film failed. I blame all of the mishaps on the film’s writer and director, Tony Gilroy. True that Gilroy also wrote the first three Bourne films but the directors of those films brought in a few writers to tweak his script. But now he’s totally in charge of the fourth film, he only brought in his brother to help him write the it. I understood what the Gilroys were trying to do with this new chapter of the Bourne franchise but I think had they brought in another writer or two to tighten up the script, it could’ve been a good movie.

Directing wise, Gilroy loves to have scenes with long dialogue (for example Michael Clayton), that’s fine as long as what the characters were saying are interesting but unfortunately in this film, none of the dialogues were interesting nor do we care what they were talking about. Since this is an action film, we the audience expects to see action, well Gilroy failed on delivering that part too. Although I did enjoy the shootout scene at the big house but the big motorcycle chase near the end of the film just went on too long and most of time we couldn’t see what the hell was going on the screen. Also, where was the big hand-to-hand combat? The first three films had a huge fight scene and I expected to see the same in this one.

Apparently Universal will continue to make another Bourne film even though this one will be the least successful at the box office. I just hope they hire a new director and have a better script, I think Tony Gilroy might be a one hit wonder when it comes to directing. I love Michael Clayton and I thought for sure Gilroy will make more great films; sadly Duplicity and this film were dreadful. Check out my full review of this movie here.
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3. Red Tails

A friend of mine got some free passes to an early screening of this film and invited me to see it with him, I decided to check out back in January. Well I wish I hadn’t, if not for the many war veterans who were at the attendance and a free pass from my friend, I would’ve walked out half hour into the film. This was such a shame because The Tuskegee Airmen deserves a better film to tell their story. This film was filled with so many bad clichés that my eyes hurt from rolling them throughout the film. Shame on George Lucas for making this Star Wars mixed in with Top Gun turkey, instead of giving us a great story of one of the finest US fighter groups in WW2. If you really want to see a better film about this group of men, I urge you to see the 1995 movie The Tuskegee Airmen. It’s 10 times better than this awful film.
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2. Total Recall (2012)

This film may have been the most unoriginal remake since the remake of The Getaway back in 1994; I know it’s sounds weird since it’s a remake but at least most remakes tried to bring something new to table. Not this film, it’s a great example of lazy writing and lack of creativity by the filmmakers. Yes, the film looks great but if we don’t care about the story or any of the characters, then what’s the point? If you’ve never seen the original, please see that version and skip this one. If you like, you can read my full review here.

1. Safe House

Speaking of lazy and unoriginal filmmaking, this film is a great example of that. Not only did director Daniel Espinosa copied the look and feel of Greengrass’s two Bourne films, he even hired cinematographer Oliver Wood to shoot the film for him as Wood shot the first three Bourne films. Seriously, watch Greengrass’s Bourne films, particularly The Bourne Supremacy and then watch this film and you’ll see how similar they are to one another (except The Bourne Supremacy was great and this one’s awful).

I read an interview with screenwriter David Guggenheim who said he wrote an original script and wanted to tell a great espionage story just like films of the 70s. I had to laugh at that because there’s nothing original about his script. Now he may have written an “original” story and the producers may have hired more writers to tweak his original script but still, to come out and say that his script was so original after the film came out with a straight face was comical to me.

The unoriginal script was bad enough but the direction by Espinosa was even worst. Seriously, does this man even know how to shoot a film? Now I’ve never seen his other films so I don’t know much about his work but after seeing this movie, I have no interest in seeing his upcoming films or his earlier ones. I wrote a piece about how I wish action directors would stop shooting action scenes with that hand held/fast editing style and this film is a great example of how bad action scenes look when not staging them well and just shake the cameras. I can forgive directors for shooting bad action scenes if I was involved in the story (Batman Begins for example, bad action scenes but I love the story). Well unfortunately, I didn’t care about the plot here, in fact I figured out who the real bad guy was in just a half an hour into it. Espinosa also doesn’t seem to know how to create or build up tension leading up to action scenes.

I haven’t even talked about the two leading men yet and you know what, there’s not much to talk about. Washington looked bored, he’s basically playing another version of Alonso from Training Day, except here he’s the “good” guy. Ryan Reynolds, well he’s playing Ryan Reynolds. I don’t buy him as an action hero and he didn’t do much to convince me in this one. Don’t waste your time and money on this film.

– post by Ted S.


Well those are some bad films I saw so far this year, I’m pretty sure I’ll see more bad ones in the next three months so I may have to tweak the list comes January. Feel free to list your worst films so far this year in the comments section.

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97 thoughts on “Ted’s Picks of Worst Films of the Year so far

    • Yep, my list would include ‘Huntsman’ as well, Ryan. I haven’t seen Dark Shadows fortunately, though I’d think that might still be ok for a rental?

      • DARK SHADOWS is more than okay to rent. I quite enjoyed the film, and this is coming from a bloke who has an intense hatred towards Tim Burton. When you rent/watch it, hope you dig it!

        • Sounds good Andy! I still plan on renting that one. Hey, did you see the lineup for TCFF I posted yesterday? I still hope you can make it this year even for one day, man.

  1. WOW! This is a prime example of how movies effect people differently.

    (1) I thought John Carter was fun and criminally maligned. I didn’t think

    (2)The Bourne Legacy was up to the quality of the other Bourne films but I thought it was ok.

    (3)And then “Safe House”…I quite enjoyed “Safe House”. No, there was nothing all that original about it but I had no gripes with the direction, I thought the action scenes were nicely done, and I thought Washington was solid. Not a great film but far from the worst picture I’ve seen this year.

    But hey, different opinions are what makes writing about movies such fun. Good stuff Ted.

    • Ahah, that’s true Keith, to each their own, they say, right? I actually enjoyed John Carter too, it was worth seeing it on the big screen even. I could see that if Ted didn’t like the lead actor, it’ll be hard to enjoy the movie. I had doubts about Taylor too at first, but I actually though he was decent in the lead. I do like James Purefoy’s brief role in it though, I’d like it better if he had more screen time!

    • Hey Keith, funny thing is I actually wanted to see all of those movies, well except Total Recall remake, but I just couldn’t stand any of them. The Bourne Legacy was descent I guess but I felt really let down by what Gilroy did, I just expected more from him.

  2. Hi, Ted and company:

    Excellent, in depth critiques down the line!

    One would think that a director would at least hire someone who looked like he lived and fought outdoors before hanging the name ‘John Carter’ on him and an uniquely abysmal film?!!!

    Oh, great! The government has a soopah~doopah action hero with superhuman senses and abilities?… Wasn’t that the plot line for the UK’s ‘The Champions’ back in 1968 and Sy~Fy’s ‘Alphas’ today???

    ‘Red Tails’ is a superb example of a very stylized, lamely researched WWII film.
    Where the cast plays second fiddle to game quality CGI and events that were played fast and loose with. The Tuskegee Airmen deserve better!

    ‘Total Recall’?… Why screw with a classic?!!!

    I don’t care if Colin Farrel looks like he’ll blow his left arm off below the elbow in that photo. Even if he’s using the same Mateba pistol Joseph Gordon-Levitt uses in ‘Looper’ and Detective Togusa used in ‘Ghost in the Shell’!!!

    Whom did Denzel Washington PO to wind up in ‘Safe House’? I’ve seen far better editing, action, chase sequences, character development and exposition on Cinemax’s ‘Strike Back’!!!

    • Jack!!! You actually watch Strike Back?? Oh I LOVE that show. I actually watched most of the episodes on YouTube as I love Richard Armitage. Man that’s a darn good show, like you said the editing, chase sequences AND character development are well-done, and it’s a TV show! I guess it’s British production with largely British cast so that might’ve explained it. Another fine Brit on that show, Andrew Lincoln, now finds success in The Waking Dead, good for him.

      • Hi, Ruth!

        For the budget involved, ‘Strike Back’ is one of the better Anti-Terror/Special Ops shows around. Good cast. Better than average plots that are well executed with excellent, far too lucky bad guys.

        Still not sold on Rhona Mitra as Major Dalton. When Amanda Mealing owned the role of Col. Grant. I can see Philip Winchester (Sgt. Stonebridge) breaking into films. Either with or opposite Daniel Craig in any upcoming Bond film.

        Also think that the secrets and ghost of Richard Armitage’s John Porter are going to haunt Section 20 for a few more seasons.

  3. Absolutely 100% agreed on BOURNE LEGACY and SAFE HOUSE, Ted. Articulated my thoughts pretty spot on. With all three BOURNE movies, barely anything from the original Gilroy script was intact by the end of the finished product, and look at how well they turned out. Now with Gilroy completely in charge, we get the most boring and lacking Bourne film yet. SAFE HOUSE – yeah, ‘original script’ my ass.

    Disagree with you there in regards to JOHN CARTER and TOTAL RECALL. Both fall into the ‘pretty but lacking substance’ category of the year. CARTER had the right director and ideas, just the script, I think, needed some expansion and an actual actor with charisma as the titular hero. RECALL was all gorgeous and no substance, but did anyone ever think it would be the other way around?

    Skipped RED TAILS. No trailer, review, or image peaked my interest to see it. Glad I missed out. Nice post, sir.

    • Hey Andy, yeah I was so disappointed with Legacy and I hated Safe House.

      I really wanted to enjoy both John Carter and Total Recall, but I found them to be so boring and uninteresting, the only reason I sat through Total Recall was because I paid to see it in theater, while John Carter I rented on BD I didn’t feel like I lost too much money on it.

      Yeah stay away from Red Tails, shame on Lucas for making such a train wreck about group of men who deserves their story to be told in a more respectable way.

  4. I don’t like the list, JOHN CARTER was one of the best films in recent years and the fact that it had almost no negative criticism and that everybody loved it (it flopped only due to poor marketing) is the proof of that. But it was made for people who love creativity and love for what cinemas should really stand for not for the people who cut their veins for morbid films such as BATMAN movies and similar irresponsible trash. Sorry for the rant!

    But I’m actually here, Flixy, to tell you that I have the first pic of Lee Pace as Thranduil Elven king in HOBBIT over at my place today :)

    • Obviously you and I have different taste in films; I don’t know about where you live but here in the States, half of the critics didn’t care for John Carter and failed at the box office because the movie stinks not because of marketing. I’m glad you thought it has creativity because I thought it lacked in that department, it looked great but nothing more. Yes I know how you feel about Batman so I won’t even try to argue with you about those films.

      Speaking of creativity, do you feel the rest of the films on the list have them? I mean you said you don’t like my list, I assume you like all of the other films too? Or did you only see John Carter?

      • I gotta back Ted up here Dez. Glad you enjoyed it though.

        Taylor Kitsch was great playing hunky fullback Tim Riggins on Friday Night Lights but big action fare just may not be his thing I guess. Dez, the facts are that the critics really did take John Carter to task… 51% on Metacritic although the user score was more favorable.

        “But it was made for people who love creativity and love for what cinemas should really stand for”. This review pretty much sums the other reviews on it’s creativity. “John Carter evokes pretty much every sci-fi classic from the past 50 years without having any real personality of its own.” – NY Post.

        And yeah I agree with you Dez that the Batman movies were “irresponsible trash”. Both Batman & Robin and Batman Forever.
        Only I wanted to cut my veins after paying to see those movies! Aaaaaahh! ;)

        • Oh yeah, if Dez meant Batman Forever and Batman & Robin then yes I agree they were “irresponsible trash”, but I’m assuming Dez meant Nolan’s Batman films. Dez, hope you’ll come back and comment, we love to hear your response.

          I actually liked Kitsch as Gambit in the awful Wolverine film but his role was so small, he didn’t have much to do. Ha ha.

          • Unfortunately I think Kitsch is a one-trick-pony and Friday Night Lights is in his rearview mirror now. What I’ve seen he makes Taylor Lautner look like he has range. Who knows? Who would have thought hunky Josh Hartnett Channing Tatum would be attached to the hip of Soderbergh.

            • Come on Dave. Surely Kitsch is still a lot better than Lautner! At least I didn’t cringe watching him like I did the entire time I saw Twilight. Lautner has NO business in the acting industry!

              • I was kind of being sarcastic on that comment about Lautner. While I like Kitsch I think he unfortunately has cornered the market on brooding hunks. Which doesn’t transfer well to tentpole films.

  5. Oh my, guess I’m not watching Safe House after all, I was meaning to since it has vera Farmiga in it, but I probably won’t end up doing so now :) I agree about Duplicity – I love Michael Clayton but that one was just awful. I hope Bourne Legacy is at list a bit better, I plan to see it on DVD.

    • What?? Vera Farmiga is in Safe House?? I love her but I think I’d rather see her in other things, I still have to see Higher Ground!

      I LOVE Clive Owen but I really, really dislike Duplicity, too. It’s just awful and self-indulgent!!

    • Yeah I can’t recommend Safe House, it’s basically a bad version of The Bourne Supremacy, in fact Vera Farmiga pretty played the Pam Landy role in this film. It’s so unoriginal and the action scenes were so badly shot, I got dizzy from watching them.

      • I will avoid Safe House for sure Ted. I’m with you too that I don’t really buy Reynolds as an action hero. I feel that he’s better suited for maybe action comedies?? Kinda like This Means War, though I haven’t seen that but the trailer makes me think that Tom Hardy’s character could be played by Reynolds, ahah.

  6. Wasn’t a fan of Red Tails either. Don’t know if i would call it one of the worst, but it certainly didn’t live up to its potential. Also, i found John Carter okay(Along with Kitsch).

    As for me, the only movie coming to mind that i would assign the label of “worst” to is Battleship. The movie tried to be so serious, when there was nothing in the film to support it. Plus its use of a disabled veteran struck me as insulting. It felt like it was bringing up a serious issue/topic just for blockbuster thrills. And as a Skarsgard fan, i hope he avoids signing up for anything like that film from now on.

    • I wanted to like Red Tails but half hour into it I knew it was going to be bad. Such a shame because these men deserves their stories to be told in more respectable plot, not some fantasy Top Gun crap.

      Yeah I don’t plan to see Battleship anytime soon since it also stars Kitsch.

  7. Maybe I’m biased since the director of Safe House is a Swede and we’re sort of proud of his success in Hollywood, but I really didn’t think it was that bad. It was a bit forgettable – yes – but very entertaining and well told as long as it lasted. Unremarkable, but not bad.

    My five worst film this year so far are the following (the worst one in top):

    1. Rock of Ages
    2. Alps
    3. John Carter
    4. Dark Shadows
    5. Total Recall

    • Hi Jessica! I’ve only seen two from your worst list and I do agree with #5! I was initially anticipating Rock of the Ages but the dismal reviews dissuaded me. I might still rent it though as I grew up listening to those 80s rock bands!

    • I didn’t know the director of Safe House is from Sweden, never the less, he still made a bad film, according to me anyway, ha ha. Even if he’s from MN, USA, my current home state, I still would rip this film to pieces. I mean Stephen Sommers is from MN and I always rip on his films, the two Mummy films he made were awful, so were GI Joe and Van Helsing.

      Haven seen Alps, Dark Shadows or Rock of Ages and I probably won’t.

  8. Ted, I’m happy to say I’ve seen NONE of these films. Yea! I read up on films before I see them usually but not too in detail as to not catch any spoilers. I usually check out Apple Trialers and read Metacritic. I actually side with the critics most of the times. I hope that doesn’t make me a snob (LOL) but I don’t have 2 hours to waste nowadays as my Netflix queue is 300 strong and that’s not even the TV series. If you give me a choice of watching those films or seeing recent TV series like Breaking Bad, Homeland, Downton Abbey or The Killing… I’m staying home. I’ve seen a lot of films in my 43 years so I’m usually looking for the more obscure films, documentaries, British TV, foreign fare, older classics and films I just plain missed.

    Sadly I was dragged to see Dark Shadows at a drive-in double feature. Not even Depp could save it. Tim Burton where have you gone? You’d have to go back to Ed Wood in ’94 to find a film I loved of his. I might have to see Big Fish again though.

    Denzel hasn’t been in a film I liked since Training Day ‘in 2001. Personally I thought he peaked from ’87-’01. Just a few of the highlights: Cry Freedom, Glory, Malcolm X, Philadelphia, Crimson Tide, Devil in a Blue Dress, The Hurricane, Training Day. Quite an impressive resume. Not so much today.

    I had no desire to see the Total Recall remake even though I really liked Colin Farrell in the Fright Night remake from last year. Kate Beckinsale dosen’t do anything for me as action girl. Liked her much better in the 90′s in her smaller films (Cold Comfort Farm, The Last Days Of Disco).

    I like Renner but not for the Bourne franchise. Gilroy should stick to directing serious dramas from his own scripts (Michael Clayton, Syriana). I think he really excels at those.

    Red Tails? All the CGI put me off in the trailer.

    • I think it would be wise for you to stay away from all of the films on my list, such a waste of time.

      Yeah I don’t know what happened to Burton, I think the last film of his that I enjoyed was Big Fish, it’s been ten years now. I think he might be losing his mojo too.

      I also have to agree about Denzel, he hasn’t done anything good since Training Day. I think he’s just doing all these action films for the money now since he won two Oscars already.

        • Nah. It just didn’t do it for me although I did like the original Frankenweenie so there’s hope for the new one.

            • Well it is a full length instead of a short. He might of had budget constraints back then. I mean a chioce between a Dark Shadows sequel or revamping Frankenweenie I’ll take Frankenweenie. The trailer looks pretty good.

              • I see your point, but let me rebut that if I may – the lack of funding Burton had for Frankenweenie’s shorter version way back when would have forced him to economize, thus reducing the “extravagance” we now see in many of his features. The story is simple, and simply told, the setting and use of effects is minimal and elegant, and the acting is – by and large – pretty solid.

                With the budget he’d have scored for the feature length version, I’m guessing he’s added all manner of extra stuff in that will reduce the inherent focus of the story off the dead dog and onto something else for no good reason, and he’ll no doubt throw in some pretty visual effects for good measure.

                I’ve been burned by too many visually-cool-but-emotionally-vacant Burton films of late (Planet of The Apes, Dark Shadows, Charlie & The Chocolate Factory, Alice In Wonderland etc etc) to really give this “update” of Frankenweenie much of a chance. I hope it’s a success, I really do, but what hope do we have if all Burton’s good for is rehashing his previous work. Somebody needs to reign him in and get him back to his Edward Scissorhands and Ed Wood days. Story first, visual effects second.

  9. I actually liked John Carter, The Bourne Legacy, and Safe House, but I completely agree on Total Recall.

    My worst so far:

    1. Total Recall
    2. Hope Springs
    3. Ted
    4. The Watch
    5. The Amazing Spider-Man

    • You know I was excited to see both Safe House and Bourne Legacy, both films are my favorite kind of genre, action/spy. But wow I just did not enjoy either of them, especially Safe House. John Carter, I wasn’t too excited about but decided to give it a shot, boy did I regret it.

      From your list, I only saw TED, which I enjoyed but I won’t want to see it again, ever.

  10. Wow you really did hate Safe House! It was entertaining for me, although the backstory totally sucked and you have no idea of Denzel Washington’s motivations. I saw John Carter last month and it was really mediocre indeed.

    And yea, The Bourne Legacy could have been so much better if only the premise of the film was more interesting than “CHEMS. I need my chems!!”

    • Yeah I think I hated even more when I the screenwriter came out and said how ‘great and “original” his script was after the film came out. Seriously dude? You ripped off so many films that you can actually said that with a straight face bugged the hell out of me.

      Ha ha yeah, Bourne Legacy is kind of like a classier and bigger budget version of Van Damme’s Universal Soldiers.

  11. Time constraints and being cheap have meant that I have missed a lot of cinemagoing this year. Thus avoiding (I guess) having a substantial list of real turkeys. But you make a great early point, lack of creativity is doing H’Wood no favours.

    • Yeah, I’m with you too, Iba, good thing we didn’t waste our money on a bunch of stinkers! I think I can only list 3 of really bad movies I saw this past year, 2 of them already on this list: Bourne Legacy, Total Recall and Snow White & the Huntsman.

  12. a fun list here Ted. I would say that disappointment doesn’t necessarily indicate a movie being bad…just that it didn’t stand to the level of expectation had prior to seeing. In that sense of the word “disappointment” I will agree with you on all except John Carter. ha. I really enjoyed John Carter!

    but several other films from this year turned out to be the “Sucker Punch” of 2012, the ones you mentioned are great, to the which I will also add the previously mentioned Snow White and the Huntsman, Mirror Mirror, The Grey, This Means War, and The Words.

  13. I enjoyed John Carter and I don’t think you can judge a movie if you didn’t even see all of it. Safe House I thought was a very good spy movie, sure Washington acted the same as in Training Day, but in my book that isn’t a bad thing.

    Snow White and the Huntsman, The Watch and Lockout should be in this list.

    • You know Nostra I think you can judge a movie after 45 minutes. Especially someone with a knowledge of film like Ted. He certainly knows what he likes and has a certain standard he holds films up to having seen his share of films. Same goes with a book. Now if it was 10 minutes… I’d agree with you but 45 minutes is more than enough time to decide on a film. Do you really need to sit through every Uwe Boll film to see that it’s not getting any better? I certainly don’t. Unfortunately rarely, and I mean rarely, do films redeem themselves in the last part of the film. Take Shelter was the only recent film I can think of that did that for me.

      I’m going to try to watch John Carter tonight with an open mind, even though I really have no interest in it, and give it a shot. Who knows it might surprise me but I also wouldn’t be surprised if I turned it off early either. We’ll see.

      • Well, there is a difference to judging it (as in reviewing it) and not liking it. Of course you can decide to stop watching a movie, but there are movies which start very slowly and use that setup time to great effect in crafting something amazing.

        Interested to hear what you think of the movie.

        • Yeah but Ted didn’t review it. To me judging it and reviewing it aren’t the same thing. A review is an in depth look at the whole film. He just gave his opinion on what he saw (45 minutes) which happened to be bad.

          Like I said before Take Shelter was a movie that built up slow, took a while to hook me and paid off. Sling Blade comes to mind although I was hooked when I saw the original short Some Folks Call It A Sling Blade so I knew what to expect going in. Then there are movies like the 3 hour Meet Joe Black which started slowly and ended slowly and I’ll never ever get those 3 hours back. Never!!!!

          I’ll get back to you after I see it.

          • LOL, I think I’m one of the few people who enjoyed Meet Joe Black. My girl friend at the time forced me to take her to see it because she loved Brad Pitt, I didn’t really want to but I ended up liking the film more than she did.

              • Ha ha, yeah she basically was saying if I wouldn’t take her, she probably would get mad at me and wouldn’t talk to me for a bit. I was like 21 at the time and she’s 19. Ah to be young again.

          • Ok Nostra I watched John Carter in it’s entirety. Yes really! Now I should tell you I am ruthless when it comes to evaluating movies so don’t be put off.

            As far as the unoriginal knock I’d say it was earned. I definitely saw parts of Avatar (which stole liberally from Pocahontas), the Star Wars series and strangely enough Dune. LOL. The princess who must marry the evil baddie only to be thwarted by the good guy has been done to death. Princess Bride, Aladdin etc. Also the coliseum scene has been done ad nauseam.

            Sadly the leads didn’t seem to have any chemistry like say for example the way Han Solo and Princess Leia did. Kitsch was alright although I wished it was a younger, more charismatic Russel Crowe or Mel Gibson in there. The princess reminded me of a younger, tanner Jacqueline Bisset. (Guys does anyone remember her memorable scene from The Deep?) ;) I thought Bryan Cranston, Dominic West and Ciaran Hinds were wasted. Mark Strong fared better. The voice acting combined with the CGI was pretty weak. Dafoe, Haden Church and Samantha Morton were a wash. It was pretty devoid of humor, which would certainly would have helped endear me to the characters. I just never felt anything for the characters. My favorite character was the speedy, dog like character Woola. Jar-Jar this was not.

            The music by J.J. Abrams regular Michael Giacchino didn’t do anything for me and I really liked his Williams-like score for Super 8.

            The SFX we pretty good. It didn’t overdo it like The Transformers movies or the latter Star Wars trilogy. The flying ships with feather like appendages were cool to look at. The “landspeeder” retreads not so much.

            I read that Pittsburgh native (my hometown) and writer Michael Chabon (Wonder Boys) was brought on to revise the script. Couldn’t they have brought in some sci-fi guys like Kurtzman & Orci, Lindelof or Whedon?

            Well Nostra I didn’t hate it but I did get antsy around the 75 minute mark. It just didn’t have that sense of wonder like the older Speilberg films. I like my sci-fi with a bit of wonder like Blade Runner, Alien, Close Encounters and
            2001
            .

            I think the big budget and huge, Avatar like, expectations hurt the film a bit in addition to the marketing fiasco and added to the piling on from critics. That’s how a film like District 9 with no expectations can come in under the radar at $30 million and blow people away. Plus in District 9 they were able to create chemistry between the lead actor and a CGI character which is no small feat.

            I can unequivocally say John Carter wasn’t one of the worst movies of the year for me. It was at best below average, a bit derivative and lacking strong leads and villians.

            A fair assessment?

            • Hi Dave, timing is everything in movies isn’t it? I always laugh when people say John Carter the movie is not original, and though it has merit when people talk about the MOVIE adaptation, but the story itself actually precedes all the stuff you mentioned, like Avatar, and also Star Wars.

              Check out these articles:

              http://www.ign.com/articles/2012/02/17/without-john-carter-there-would-be-no-star-wars

              http://www.buzzfeed.com/johncarter/9-surprising-things-you-didnt-know-about-edgar-ri

              As for Kitsch, I think he was ok but I had said in my review a while back that the movie would’ve been a lot better if it had a more charismatic lead, so yeah a younger Crowe or Gibson, or even today’s Christian Bale. But overall, I didn’t think it was THAT bad.

              • I knew about the stories being around a long time but it probably took the success of Avatar to help get it made even though Avatar is pretty much a direct rip-off of Pocahontas. Pocahontas + John Carter Of Mars = Avatar.

                http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/01/04/avatar-pocahontas-in-spac_n_410538.html

                You’re right Ruth… timing is everything. Sad to say John Carter is a victim of timing on the originality front. A debt is certainly owed to Burroughs ideas but unfortunately he’s been mined by so many others for their movies. Show Psycho or The Exorcist to a teenager today and they’re bored because they’ve already seen it all. The uniqueness of those movies is lost on them. That said I thought it just wasn’t done very well IMHO. See the next paragraph to clarify what I mean by ‘not done very well’.

                ‘Bad’ is relative. I have to ask myself about the movie… “Did it move me to tears? Did it make me laugh? Did it make me think? Did it make me tense? Did it surprise me? Did it inspire me? Did it show me something new? Did it do something old really well? Did it give me goosebumps? Did it make me feel something? Did it make me want to see more… take another journey with those characters? Did I almost forget I was watching a movie? Did I want to discuss it after it’s over? Did I want to tell all of my friends “You must see this movie?”. Did I want to see it again to get that rush I felt the first time I saw it? Did it stay with me long after it was over? The honest answer is “no” on all counts for me. So was it one of the worst movies? No. It was far from incompetent piece of doodoo. But I didn’t think it was good either because I couldn’t answer ‘yes’ for a single question. The movies I tend to like give me a “yes” answer for most or all of those questions. That’s basically my criteria for a good film.

                I’ll check out the links. Thanks.

                • I agree 100%, yes John Carter was the source for all of those other films that came out before it but because most people have seen what’s been done already, they’re not going to care about this film. And you’re right, it’s just wasn’t well made.

                  So true of what you said about Psycho and The Exorcist, most young people these days have seen much more horror films that when they see these films, they would get bore with them. True those films kick started the genre but most people just don’t care. Same with The Godfather, a lot of young people I know who’ve finally seen it said it’s overrated because they’ve seen so many other gangster films that came after it.

                  • TheGodfather overrated? Did you tell them that they were wrong? LOL.

                    Yeah The Godfather dosen’t have flash to compete with the likes of say Goodfellas. Goodness I hope the kids aren’t over that flim already. That’s ok people say Citizen Kane is overrated. I don’t get into that best film ever stuff but the film itself but the stories that surround the film are the stuff of legend. I think it really is worthy of the hype.

                    Hey Ted can you send me your email address? I have something to ask you. Hit me at ack_thpt@yahoo.com . Dave

    • That’s why I put 4.5 instead of 5 on the list, maybe I should’ve put 4.25? But in any case, I couldn’t sit through John Carter more than that, I had to turn it off. Such of waste of money.

      I haven’t seen any of those films you mentioned and probably never will.

    • Glad we’re in agreement Dan, I think Denzel is turning into Nic Cage. He’ll accept any script, mostly action films, his agent gives him. Let’s hope his new film would actually be good.

    • He..he.. I too enjoyed John Carter matey, that’s one I disagree with Ted but ah well, that’s the thing with movies, we can’t always agree on everything!

    • Yeah I rented the film hoping I would enjoy it but when Kitsch appear on the screen and he’s just have zero screen charisma, I had to turn it off. When I don’t care about the hero of the movie, that’s not a good thing.

  14. Having only seen 2 out of this list (good thing?) I can’t really comment much on it! Though, I did enjoy Safe House. I thought Denzel and Ryan did a good job and it kept me entertained for its duration. Yes, it’s not original at all and ultimately, a very forgettable film (I can’t really remember the plot at all!) but I enjoyed it.

    The Bourne Legacy was a disappointment. Think you’re right about Renner. I do think he’s a talented actor, but don’t think he’s found that one role that’ll make everyone scream about him. Yet. The film was a bit of a bore. Not at all what I would have expected.

    Don’t think my worst film list is too big. I’d add REC 3: Genesis, The Hunger Games and probably Haywire.

    • Funny thing is I was looking forward to seeing Safe House since it’s a genre I love but the film was so unoriginal and badly directed, I ending up hating it.

      LOL, I really enjoyed The Hunger Games and Haywire. This is why films are so subjective, we all can’t like the same ones.

        • Seems like we disagree again on Haywire, Julian. I thought it was successful because it’s not a typical action genre, and Gina was very believable to me as a bad-ass fighter. I recommended it to a cinephile friend of mine and glad to hear he loved it!

          • I don’t mind it differing from the typical action genre,but the execution i found was really uneven. To contrast, Drive was another film that differed from the typical action genre but overall. I don’t think originally by itself always guarantees a good movie.

            • To me Haywire was another experiment film of Soderbergh and I thought it worked great. He’s basically tried to hide Carano’s limited acting abilities with styles and cast a bunch of veteran actors around her. Same with his other experiment films, The Girlfriend Experience didn’t work for me but Bubble was pretty good.

              • I just realized i left a thought incomplete in my comment. it was supposed to say ‘Drive was another film that differed from the typical action genre but overall i liked it a lot more”

                But anyways Haywire just didn’t really work for me. There were some good scenes, but overall it didn’t keep me engaged all the way throughout. But that is just my opinion

  15. Hey Ruth, thanks for putting a link to my site in there! I haven’t seen John Carter yet, but I’m actually looking forward to it – I thought the other Kitsch film, Battleship, was an enjoyable turd to watch, so I’m kinda cheesy-keen to see Carter now.

    nice work on this one, Ted!

    • You should Novroz, I would recommend you stay away from them. But it seems a lot of people enjoyed John Carter and Safe House, so you could check those out and see if you like them.

  16. I agree with the inclusion of John Carter and your assessment about Taylor Kitsch’s lack of charisma. The worst movies I’ve seen this year are: John Carter, Snow White and the Huntsman and Rock of Ages.

  17. Wow I’ve managed to avoid all of these so far! However there’s a good chance I may end up seeing 2/3 out of the 5 here! You can say I told you so then!

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