Inspired in part by a certain Valentine’s Day release (more on which later), Impact takes a look at some of the most terrible films of the last two decades…
Batman and Robin (1997)
You don’t get a considered ‘the death of a franchise’ without being really, really bad. Not only in the running for worst comic book movie of all time, Batman and Robin is really one of the worst movies of all time.
With a convoluted script so laden with cheesy one liners, it feels only right that I do the same. So in the great words of Mr. Freeze:
“Let’s kick some ice!”
One of the main atrocities of this film is the infamous costume design. The constant zooming in on bat-buts, bat-crotches and the dreaded bat nipples left very little to the imagination. In a film seemingly aimed at children this inclusion was just awkward to watch.
“Chicks dig the car”
No Robin, women or men around the world did not dig the car or any other part of the absurd set design. Having everything designed as a toy first and then made into a film may have worked for lego…it did not work for this train wreck of a movie.
“Playtime’s over Batman”
Well at least until Christopher Nolan saves the franchise eight years later.
Be Kind Rewind (2008)
Be Kind Rewind is a film I’ve only seen twice, and after each viewing I wished it was possible for the 100 minutes I’d just lost to be returned to me. A film with an A-list cast (including Danny Glover and Mia Farrow in supporting roles) and an Oscar winning screenwriter at the helm should lead to huge success but instead fell flat.
The film’s premise involves two men (Jack Black and Mos Def) remaking movies that they accidentally erased in an old VHS store so that renters will still be able to see them. Their efforts are bad, but not so horrendously bad that they become good, just absolutely awful. This is frustrating as the premise of the film is brilliant with plenty of room for interpretation and the creation of what could be excellent reenactments. Instead, the film is poorly executed with dreadful results and laughs that are not even limited, more non-existent.
Nicolas Cage has been in his fair share of bad films, but Knowing is by far the most disappointing. The film, based on an interesting concept (the prediction of past and future disasters) had plenty of potential, yet its attempted fusion of science and religion falls flat, leaving viewers wondering why they wasted two hours on something so anti-climactic.
With a succession of progressively bizarre plot twists, director Alex Proyas over-ambitiously crams this film to the brink; the conclusion (with a homage to scientology) seeing the destruction of not only the earth, but also our hopes that the movie will redeem itself. The ending sees the children escaping to a mystical planet and avoiding extinction, taking the film beyond ludicrous to a place no film plot should ever go.
The tagline asks “What happens when the numbers run out?”. Thankfully for viewers the answer is that the film and painful viewing experience ends.
Shrek Forever After (2010)
Shrek Forever After was a fun concept that inevitably murdered the franchise with a huge green fist. Whilst it was a commercial success and gained the profits Dreamworks knew it would, it remains the Shrek film that received the most negative reviews. The plot is weak, as it offers an adventure that Shrek must undergo to reverse the changes Rumpelstiltskin tricked him into making to Far Far Away’s space-time continuum, which becomes redundant by the end of the adventure. The film feels pointless. It does offer us a look into the struggles and stresses of being a parent but throws that away by turning the nations beloved Shrek into an angry and violent ogre. Considering the audience knew this was going to be the last Shrek film it left the audience with disappointment not at the future lack of Shrek films, but the poor send-off it was given.
ATM arrived with some clout, starring the lovely Alice Eve, Buried screenwriter Chris Sparling and legitimate Nickelodeon phenomenon Josh Peck, and is aptly named, predominantly taking place in an ATM. Emily (Eve), David (Brian Geraghty) and Corey (Peck) are trapped in said ATM when quirky Corey forces David to let him withdraw some cash for pizza, and they quickly discover that they are being hunted by a very mean looking parka and jeans lurking outside the vestibule.
Now, why Corey couldn’t simply complete the transaction electronically is unexplained. Perhaps the screenwriter wanted the cruel irony of an accountant, David, being preyed upon by a homicidally hooded figure while in an ATM and crammed in the other characters and their intentions as a mere vehicle for his hilarious vision. This film’s solitary chuckles exist only via the unrelenting idiocy of its characters.
Avoid ATM… at all costs.
Fun Size (2012)
“One step away from total, social suicide”. This is April Ross’ (Jane Levy) main concern whilst she and best-friend Wren DeSantis (Victoria Justice) frantically search for her missing brother in this Halloween-movie gone wrong. By this point, American high-school dramas are so overused that it’s difficult to picture anything new coming out of them, and Fun Size is certainly no exception.
Its recycled character types – the dorky girl, fickle friend and nerdy love-interest – are so woefully unoriginal that you’ll forget all about them the second the credits role. Nickelodeon’s involvement has only made things worse. Their particular brand of cartoonish humour couldn’t be more patronising in this PG-13 film. Honestly, it’s a mess – and not a well-meaning mess either. There’s not an ounce of real drama in Max Werner’s yawn-inducing script. Social suicide is the worst consequence that these characters can expect, and is that really so bad? We’ve all seen adolescent problems many times before, but never before have they felt quite so petty.
After Earth (2013)
Given the cheesy promotional material and directorial reputation linked with After Earth, it is safe to assume the only reason people would watch it (including yours truly) is masochistic glee. Trying to make a generic plot interesting – Oh look, we are aliens… on Earth! – very rarely works, and the quickest way to kill any interest in it is by making the script exposition-heavy. When this endless monologue is delivered by an injured Will Smith, normally the most charismatic member of the cast, it is clear that the production misplaces its talents. Will’s on- and off-screen son is left with the emotional heavy-lifting, and it is difficult to tell whether it is Jaden’s lack of skill or the ludicrous screenplay (written by Smith the elder) that ruins it. For once, M. Night Shyamalan is not the worst offender on the crew, though his over-wrought directorial style certainly does Earth no favours.
Fifty Shades of Grey (2015)
Fifty Shades of Grey, the first of the popular book series by E. L. James, sees literature student Anastasia Steele’s (Dakota Johnson) life change forever when she meets the handsome, yet tormented, billionaire Christian Grey (Jamie Dornan). With the books filled with nudity, a dash of BDSM, and a lot of kinky sex, people filled the cinemas on Valentine’s Day weekend curious to see this R-rated film and how it matched up with the infamous books.
I was absolutely astounded how an R-rated film filled with so much nudity and sex could turn out to be so excruciatingly dull. Dakota Johnson’s acting was completely off, and it seemed if she was only capable of having one expression throughout the entirety of the film. She had absolutely no chemistry with fellow actor, Jamie Dornan, and therein lies my greatest critique of the film. With absolutely no believable passion between them, you find yourself feeling uncomfortable and uneasy watching the sex scenes in particular, and this isn’t because it’s too dirty or explicit to watch. It’s simply because watching them attempt to recreate the passion and intimacy as conveyed in the book is painful to watch and listen to.
In the film, Christian warns Anastasia, “You should steer clear of me”. You should follow his advice. Steer clear of this film. Steer far clear.