Don’t you feel bad? When you enter a multiplex or sit down in the comfort of your home to watch a movie which has been glorified and circulated in the world of “movie watching experience” as the next best thing, not because of its star cast, punching trailer or legendary director, NO!! You’re pumped cause of its inimitable “Concept”, something which is unseen or has your mind intrigued. But once you have gulped the sugary sip of that cold beverage, quenching your thirst and had a wisp of those crispy nachos and buttery popcorn; a sense of dread subconsciously sweeps in, telling our conscious self the four letter word which every invested Cinephile abhors, “This is not working”! We do applaud the risk; we console by muttering to ourselves “at least they tried” Like a holy wedlock we married the vision of the director, they vowed to take us to the “promised land” but then all the undertakings and kasmey, vaadey fell flat
We, the Cinemaholic, do feel bad…So, here making you feel a little bit worse, we at Cinemaholic, present the list of 10 movies that wasted a brilliant concept (OUCH):
10. Sunshine (2007)
Danny Boyle is known for his veracity on filming movies with acute atmosphere, engaging the viewers and wheeling them in with metaphors and parables. In Sunshine, he tries to do the same. Sun is dying and a group of scientist, our space bound to do the impossible, reignite the dying star! The protagonist and antagonist both become the soldiers of light and the darkness. The concept was definitely worth the salt but the execution panned out, missing the mark by light years.
9. Surrogate (2009)
“Laziness is the mother of all invention” must be in the minds of the makers of the stated movie. Premise; in near future the surrogates do all your work, from office going, to mundane duties, dating and other cheap thrills which define a human life. All you have to do is plug in (ode to ‘Matrix’). The concept was definitely unique as we see it so prevalent in today’s world (narcissistic filled social mediums). How did it they screwed this up? Simple, robotic performance and heavy prosthetics, keeping the premise void from any of human touch. Might be the wig on Bruce Willis surrogate head which really got us bugged but it can be the prime reason for not liking this movie. Watch ‘Looper’ instead, and see how 1 movie can have 1 brilliant concept, making it work for everyone!
8. The Invention of Lying (2009)
Imagine a world where you can only speak truth? Honesty is the currency and there is no lie or deceit? Looks like a Black Mirror episode. In the midst of a situation in the movie, the protagonist sitting in the bank giving his account details has the eureka moment like Newton had while the apple fell from the tree into the oblivion, an epiphany dawns, which not only changes his present circumstances but the world around too. Now all this sound interesting and with Ricky Gervais in the lead how can it go wrong? But sadly it does, like an old drained-out engine it runs out of steam before reaching the destination. The gags and conversation becomes rudimentary and the laughs fizzle out, way before the finish line.
7. Death Proof (2007)
Robert Rodriguez (Planet Terror) and Quentin Tarantino (‘Death Proof’) both released under the double feature “Grindhouse”. While the former was filled with crazy characters and crazier plotlines, Death Proof had a linear storyline with a male protagonist, who had fetish of killing women with his car (antonym inspiration from David Cronenberg’s Crash). With Mr. Tarantino at the forefront, along with a brilliant and scary looking Kurt Russell and a torpedo of a script, we somehow felt the whole thing was quite underplayed. The launch-off was good but muddled up in the middle and came to an underwhelming ending, abruptly.
6. Elysium (2013)
Science fiction with moral tale at its heart is indeed pure gold, case in point, ‘Children of Men’ and ‘Blade Runner’. In the above title, the divide between Rich and Poor is on the showcase, is the morality and how such borders, segregations can have dreary repercussions. Quite relevant with contemporary issues! Anticipation from Neill Blomkamp, after the spellbinding District 9 was quite high but it somehow couldn’t reach the crescendo, that level. With earnest Matt Damon and effortless Jodie Foster along with faithful Sharlto Copley weren’t enough to save the populated sub plots and the platitudes, already seen in so many sci-fi or otherwise
5. Chappie (2015)
Another of Mr. Neill Blomkamp, this one had rappers of South Africa teaching a new born human like Robot, how to rap! This indeed was interesting, plus the plots of how robot in future can help us in controlling crime, how dependency on AI can be both a boom and a deterrent? This juxtaposition was indeed tricky and needed a heart at this core, but as the old saying goes “Jack of all traders and master of none” proved the last nail in the coffin. The tone was muffled with pushy humour, melodramatic emotional outburst, caricature of characters who spoke words which resembled the English language but somehow would be only understood by “Aliens of Arrival”. Cardboard acting by Dev Patel made the matters worse. Saving grace, the robot giant MOOSE!
4. Cowboy vs. Aliens (2011)
Title itself, presence of James Bond and the evergreen Indiana Jones, eye-watering recipe is all we thought! Sadly, it became the opposite. Dumb down to playing field of a crawling toddler, this was indeed a fiasco which hugely disappointed the cinemagoers. The anticipation of Arnold vs. Predator or Alien vs. Predator kind of fights were expected but all we got is a clueless Daniel Craig and grunting Harrison ford playing sad sappy wild west with Aliens looking like full grown “Ephialtes from 300”. Ridden with clichés after clichés, there was nothing new to offer just like any television soap opera, this was also a colossal waste!
3. Hancock (2008)
Before the DC/ Marvel superheroes were famous and bringing home the “Mula a.k.a Billion Dollars”, the above mentioned title was quite the hyped film (similar lines of Luke Cage & Black Panther now). Released in 2008, this one had an alcoholic superhero as the protagonist who had existential problems and anger management issues, played effortlessly, by Will Smith opposite the enigmatic Charlize Theron. The coup de grace was the sappy love story which untangled with the natural force of nature these both actors are. We liked Will Smith daily routine in “I am Legend” and here too; beating up reckless guys and throwing their car on top of the freaking pole, shoving A- heads in the A+ holes (creativity I must say). Alas, all was short lived.
2. The Happening (2008)
M. Night Shyamalan “the man with twisty tastes” sometimes hits the target and sometimes he misses it by “7 seas across”. The title mentioned, he missed by the latter. Intriguing concept of people “committing suicide as an apocalyptic epidemic” was indeed anticipated but again like his other lacklustre projects, this also headed for doom. Trademark Pennsylvania setting, intriguing object reflecting emotions camera angles, all were present but not only it lacked in the “twist” but was convoluted with monotone and linearity. The plants creating the havoc seemed a little out-stretched, as if, he was trying to emulate “JK Rowling” in imagination. Anyways, we do recommend his latest “Split” in which he straight off, hits it, out of the park.
1. Transcendence (2014)
Johnny Depp has always been hailed as the cross bearer of “quirky character driven cinema” and when this project was announced we were quite lured. Unfortunately, Director Wally Pfister (cinematographer of ‘Inception’), couldn’t carry the whole thing on his shoulder (being his 1st film too, we will let it pass). The premise was indeed stratagem, with technology at his helm. The ideas of “sentient computer”, “technological singularity” made the engineer look smarter and a sales guy look dumber but execution is where the locks are unlocked and rainbow shines. Where, ‘Interstellar’ and ‘Gravity’ succeeded (showmanship in understanding the science, vision reflected on the screen, impeccable music scores) this film dropped heavily and rather than focussing on Man vs. Machine, it had love, as its driving force which looked too cheesy, dramatic and lacking gravitas in the end.