A couple of weeks ago I did my Best of 2016 and highlighted some of the best movie experiences I had this year. Now, I’m going to take a look at some of the worst and most disappointing experiences I’ve had this year, and this year was a doozy. There were a large number of big-budget movies that fell somewhat flat, and some that were just atrocious. So, let’s get this shitshow on the road.
Gods of Egypt
Oh, boy. Where do I begin with this one? I knew from the first moment that I saw the trailer for Gods of Egypt that this was not going to be a good movie. It was loaded with CGI and a lot of that CGI was NOT good. It was blatantly obvious at times. The performances across the board were pretty awful, particularly Gerard Butler as Set. The only one that managed to pull his own weight was Nikolaj Coster-Waldau as Horus. I’ll be honest, I enjoyed the film on a certain level, but when it comes to the director Alex Proyas, he’s done a hell of a lot better. I mean, this is the guy that gave us The Crow and the twisted sci-fi noir film, Dark City. He’s capable of making good movies, so what the hell happened here? Egyptian mythology has incredibly great stories to tell, but Gods of Egypt just wasn’t good.
About 7 years ago, a little movie called Taken took the world by storm with a very cool story about Liam Neeson trying to save his daughter from the illegal sex trade and ended up being a thrilling film. That would be a concept that work in a Western, wouldn’t it? If handled properly, then yes. However, Traded just doesn’t cut it. It feels like a cheap Western knock-off of Liam Neeson’s movie, with Michael Pare in Neeson’s shoes. His performance was pretty good, but everybody else just phoned it in. In a kidnapping, there needs to be a sense of urgency, it’s why the good kidnapping thrillers work so well. There’s a time-crunch involved. Here, everybody seems to taking their time. Bringing Kris Kristofferson into the mix was a good idea that was poorly executed. He’s the kind of guy that belongs in Westerns, but he’s completely wasted here. If it wasn’t for Michael Pare’s performance, this whole movie would be a complete waste of time.
Batman V. Superman: Dawn of Justice: Theatrical Edition
I know what you’re thinking: How can Batman V. Superman be on both my best and worst lists? Let me explain: I actually really liked the film, but the extended version of the film was the better version. The theatrical release was a mess, with plot threads that just….didn’t go anywhere. My other big issue was that this movie shouldn’t have happened for another year or two at least. Superman needed a second movie of his own to prove that he was a re-established character. Instead, Snyder and company went full-bore into the Death and Life storyline that needed more time to set up. I’m glad they’re doing it, it’s just too early. As far as comic book movies go, this was not one of the better ones this year.
This one seems pretty obvious. I guess if you haven’t seen the Charlton Heston version of the film, then it might be ok. However, I did see Heston’s movie, and it is a far superior film in EVERY way. The problems with the new movie are several. For one, they took a large story that took Heston’s film 3.5 hours to tell, and whittled it down to 2 hours. That means they cut out a LOT of important information and crucial character development. Also, Jack Huston is no Charlton Heston. I appreciate what they were trying to do with the film, but it feels like a pale imitation. The chariot race, which was the big centerpiece of the previous film, is loaded with bad CGI. I understand that doing a chariot race like that is cost-prohibitive, but it would have felt more real. Also, I do like the fact that Messala gets more development as a character, but this was supposed to be Ben-Hur’s quest for redemption, not Messala’s. It’s called Ben-Hur, not Messala. It has its moments, I’ll give it that, but when stacked against the previous version, there really is no comparison.
Of all the movies that I’ve seen this year, this one hurts me the most. I should have expected it, given the disastrous marketing and PR campaigns, but I held out hope that was going to be at least decent. My initial review of the film gave it a 6/10, but the more I think about it, it doesn’t even deserve that. I’m not revoking my score, but the new Ghostbusters was unmitigated cluster-fuck. It has nothing to do with the cast, though, who did a fairly decent job with what they were given. What they were given, however, was a poorly-written shit-show. Top that off with a laughable villain and a horrendous new theme song and you have a film that really has no place in the Ghostbusters franchise. Director Paul Feig has and is still trying to defend the film, even though, it was a box-office disaster. It was not a good movie. This was the movie that put me into a bit of a funk over the past few months for movies. I didn’t see a movie in theaters until Doctor Strange came out. That’s how much Ghostbusters disappointed me. I may give it a second chance down the road, but I’m still irritated that this wasn’t the movie that we deserved.
Those are my personal picks for the worst movies for 2016, which is thankfully coming to a close. I’m honestly hoping that next year is going to be better for more mainstream movies. With a new Alien movie coming out and a new Blade Runner, we may have a decent year ahead of us, as far as movies go. So, with that in mind, I hope everybody has a happy New Year, and I will see you in 2017.