Disappointing (below 2 star)

Usually sequels fall into this category, but there are a few that I was expecting a whole lot more.

The Men Who Stare at Goats

Men Who Stare at Goats DVD Sometimes I wish that I didn’t read the book before watching the movie. I know that everyone says that the book is usually better than the movie, but it doesn’t bother me when a movie can’t fit an entire book into a 2 hour movie as long as it honors the spirit of the book and attempts to do it proudly. In this case, I wonder whether it would have mattered.

When a movie cherry-picks the way this one did and removes most of the characters in favor of some odd romp through the desert, I begin to take offense at the fact that the producers have no respect for either the original work or the audience. What is even more hard to take is that when I enjoy previous works from the producers of the movie, Clooney in particular, I let my guard down. Sure, he was Batman in the worst of all Batman movies, but it wasn’t him calling the shots. Here he has no excuse. To me, he fell in love with a single character and that is what the story ultimately was written about.

If they honored the book, the audience would have been both amused and repulsed at the same time at the notion of how a simple and innocent idea can be so horribly perverted. Instead, we got on goofy quirk after another. I’d write more but suffice it to say that it is really a shame to let such good original journalism go to waste.

Batman and Robin

Alternatively “An Open letter to Joel Schumacher.” This is an especially disappointing is the performance by Jim Carrey. He was not amusing or anything like The Riddler in any form, but annoying. Its performances like this which makes me understand why some people can’t stand him. Jim is brilliant, but he needs to have a good director at the helm in order to bring out the best and discard the worst. Joel Schumacher is not that director. In order to save space on this page, you can put Batman Forever, 8MM, St. Elmo’s Fire, Flatliners, DC Cab, and every other movie from Joel Schumacher into this category (except The Lost Boys, Falling Down and Phone Booth which kind of allowed me to keep wondering whether there was directorial learning going on here).

I honestly believe that he destroyed the Batman franchise that Tim Burton brought to life out of a limp slapsticky jokey TV show image. Joel has pretty much killed the entire idea of Gotham City (hmm… does the word Gotham mean anything to him? Apparently not). He changed it to a neon, prancing goon, dumb good guy, irksome bad guy, gratuitous piece of pop-culture drivel with less value than a two day old unrefrigerated hot dog that has fallen on a dirty floor. Gratuitous? Lets talk codpieces and butt shots, shall we? What the hell Joel? Did you ever read a Batman comic in your life? Is this about helping George Clooney get a sexiest man of the year award or making Batman the brooding, bad mo-fo that we all know him to be. Clooney didn’t look like he had any inner demons, instead he smiled through his lines (something that I thought was his acting ability until I saw him in Out of Sight and The Perfect Storm. Again, the Director’s fault. I can go on, but he just ain’t worth it. One more thing, I just made a reference to the great one liners of Arnold in another movie (Predator), but you live by the cheese, you die by the cheese and his lines in this movie were just dumb. Reason to see it: I can’t think of one.

Highlander II: The Quickening

As much as I like some of the atmosphere and mood of parts of this film, it only took me about 3 hours before I came to my senses and realized that the only reason that I liked the movie was the eternal love that I had for the original one. Michael Ironside was really the only rather memorable character and there were times where he was really menacing, but after thinking about it, they completely tried to pander to the audience by explaining the origin of the immortals. They become aliens from Planet Zeist? Please. It was almost like it was trying to be Superman or something. There should have been only one. Reason to see? This movie doesn’t exist. You can’t see it, so there, nyah.

Spawn

Proof positive that you can’t wish for a movie to be good and make it so. As I mentioned in stark contrast with a well done movie like The Crow. The Spawn comic was even moodier than The Crow comic, but was toned down to market to children. Sorry folks, any way you slice it, Spawn was from hell, don’t try and make the kids dig him, parents who are worth their salt would keep that away from them anyway. Wait until they will when they grow up. My friend Dave pointed out one of the most ridiculous things about that movie, not only did this little annoying kid hang a round with Spawn, but Spawn also had a dog! And his name was Spaz! Dave said, “Spawn has a dog?” in the movie while we were watching it, and it finally registered with me that the concept was atrocious, not only because it was a blatant attempt to make the character look more appealing, but he was dead for 5 years, and Spaz would have most likely died or lived with Al’s former wife. But instead, the dog was homeless, looked pretty healthy, recognized Spawn as his former owner, and wasn’t mad after 5 years of abandonment. ‘Nuff said. Reason to see this movie? The special effects are quite amazing.

Jurassic Park

I know that nobody agrees with me on this one, but if a movie studio is going to cash in on a best-selling book and use the “from the award winning book” material in its advertisements, it should try and grab the most important plot points from the book. For instance, the dinosaurs’ instinct to migrate off the island (which is the biggest threat in the book). Overall, its not like I absolutely hated the movie, but I sometimes wonder how Spielberg retains his “heavyweight” title when he uses devices like “dismembered hanging arms” to try for a cheap scare. It shuts off the ability to identify with a character that was originally painted as an intelligent human and reduces them to a level of any horror movie with a number after it. And in the scene where Laura Dern’s character forces these guys to stay out there because she has to help a triceratops (and they use the shock value of watching her sift through a dump truck sized-pile of dung) but they don’t show you that the effort had any resolution or reason to be in the movie, aside from getting them out into the park, well, its just damn disappointing. Anyway, I think the only reason to see this movie is: Cool dinosaurs

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