Looking Back: Ethan Picks the Five Biggest Disappointments of 2011
by Ethan Anderton
December 27, 2011
Everything from independent films to big blockbusters gets our attention, but it's those huge summer movies that really get the crowds riled up and get the comments section flowing with words of praise and hate. However, sometimes the hype of certain films ends up being just that, and the summer ends up being littered with a few skeletons of films that just didn't hit their mark. Keep in mind that these films may very well have raked in audiences at the box office, but they didn't deliver what audiences hoped for in the long road of marketing leading up to the film. Below you'll find my five biggest disappointments of the year.
#5. The Hangover Part II - Rather than being the second part of a series of mishaps for The Wolfpack, this summer sequel was merely a carbon copy of the original film. If you somehow think the second film is drastically different from the first because of the setting and circumstances, just take a look at the trailer for both films places side-by-side right here with identical sequences and cues. Are there laughs to be had? Absolutely, but when a sequel goes to little-to-no effort to amp things up or even change up the formula, then this feels like nothing more than cashing a paycheck. Here's hoping the third one spices things up a bit.
#4. Green Lantern - Before the backlash begins, let me just say that I actually enjoyed this film more than most, but that doesn't mean I was completely satisfied, especially considering the lead-up to the film and the huge budget behind it. Being one of the most fantastical superhero films to hit the big screen, it had a lot of obstacles to overcome with its cosmic story, but the problem seemed to lie within the inclusion of too much of the comic book canon and a lack of a real threatening villain. Aside from the Batman franchise, it seems DC Comics has a real problem with giving their superheroes a real threat to battle. Nothing was menacing about a giant-foreheaded Peter Sarsgaard or a floating cloud of destruction. That meant that the powers of Green Lantern were not used to their full potential and left action sequence feeling stale and even boring at times. If a sequel actually happens, some serious work needs to be done.
#3. Sucker Punch - The footage from Zack Snyder's out-of-this-world really turned some heads at Comic-Con 2010, but when the film actually hit the big screen earlier this year, the only thing it did was turn people away from theaters grossing only $36 million domestically and $53 million internationally, just barely going over the film's $82 million budget and likely keeping the film from making any profit at all. But it's not the numbers that make this film a disappointment, it's the sloppy video game-esque story. Of course, I understand that the extended cut of the film released on Blu-Ray/DVD truly fixes a lot of the problems in the theatrical release, including a lack of Jon Hamm, so if you haven't checked this one out yet and don't want to feel cheated, check it out.
#2. Cowboys & Aliens - Taking science fiction and westerns to throw them into one action-packed film sounded like what summer blockbuster season was made for, and with a cast like Daniel Craig, Harrison Ford, Olivia Wilde and Sam Rockwell (who actually steals the show) and a production team that includes Steven Spielberg, Ron Howard and Brian Grazer, what could go wrong? Well, the answer is a lot apparently. Slow like the western genre infused into the sci-fi action and completely predictable and hollow, director Jon Favreau just couldn't deliver the same kind of comic book adaptation like Iron Man, the film that turned him into a blockbuster director. However, the fault seems to mostly be with the script which failed to spark anything but the inclination to watch something else.
#1. Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides - Since the conclusion of the first trilogy of Disney's swashbuckling adventures with Johnny Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow left me bored and unimpressed, I hoped that the start of a new trilogy without franchise stars Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightley (the king and queen of period dramas in their generation) and a new director (Rob Marshall) might bring some of the energy back that made the first film such a fun ride. However, a flat and boring story, along with some pointless use of 3D made this the blockbuster to avoid. Audiences might make you think otherwise, but there are few franchise fans out there who actually enjoyed this fourth outing onto the high seas, and I hope Johnny Depp decides to take on more original projects than to continue stumbling around as Jack Sparrow.
So there you have it. Keep in mind this is merely my opinion, and I know that many of you will adamantly and vehemently disagree with my choices, but I just couldn't fall in love with these flicks at all. Surprisingly though, only one of these films made it onto my list of the Worst Five Films of 2011 which will get tossed up later this week. Which films do you think were the biggest disappointments of the year?