Friday, November 23, 2007

Movies, good and bad

Laura and I had the day off today, so we picked up a few movies at the library. She had never seen Casino Royale, so that was first on the list. It's probably my favorite Bond movie, and Laura enjoyed it a lot as well. And we also saw a truly awful movie, this past summer's Fantastic Four sequel. The first wasn't very good, but Silver Surfer was a special kind of bad. The writing was every kind of horrible, the action mostly uninteresting, the acting bad, the casting worse. Its only redeeming feature was the Silver Surfer himself. With a better script, he could've been a truly interesting character. As it was, he was awfully cardboard but at least well presented, with good special effects and voicing expertly done by Lawrence Fishburne. If I had seen this on the big screen, the surfer would've been the only reason I wouldn't ask the theater manager for a refund. As is, it's 92 minutes I'll never get back.

I've often wondered if horrible movies come as a surprise to the cast and crew. In some cases, I know the answer; rumor was that Michael Madsen was never sober on the set of Bloodrayne, to dull the agony of working on such a crappy movie (three strikes against it from the start: it's a (1) vampire movie (2) based on a video game, (3) directed by Uwe Boll, and it's even worse than that). And sometimes, you have to know that you're working on a definite B movie with badness potential (movies like Jeepers Creepers, Supernova, and Aliens vs Predator). But I look back at some of the big-budget potential blockbusters with great movie trailers, and I'm curious if the production team really didn't realize that the movie sucked. I'm thinking of a few films in particular: Aeon Flux, Ultraviolet (how do you make a Milla Jovovich ass-kicking fight scene so dull?), Wild, Wild West, and Speed 2 were all movies that had huge budgets, great promotional support, and decent casts, yet still managed to be downright awful. Did Will Smith ever think to himself at some point during production, "a giant robotic tarantula? Give me a break!", or did it seem to make sense at the time? Did Sandra Bullock ever stop and say, "well, this is just stupid!"?

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