As 2012 comes to a close, now is a perfect time to reflect on the films that have inspired, excited, or disappointed us. There’s no doubt in my mind that 2012 was a great year for cinema, but I can’t help but think about those films that have disappointed me greatly.
Please keep in mind that the following list of films are not the worst films of the year. These are films that I was looking forward to at one point but ended up being disappointed by the final result. WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD
The Amazing Spider-Man (directed by Marc Webb)
When it was announced that the Spider-Man franchise was going to be prematurely rebooted, I was a little confused but kept high hopes. Instead of hitting the message boards in a fan boy rage, I slowly became a supporter of the idea of a reboot due to Marc Webb’s promise of a darker and edgier version of Spider-Man. The film had all of the elements of a promising start to the refreshed franchise. It had a great cast that includes Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, and Rhys Ifans. The film also had a potentially menacing villain from the comics that has never shown up on the silver screen before. There are specific moments in the film that worked but unfortunately didn’t as a cohesive whole. I understand that with a reboot, the backstory has to be retold but I think this is when I felt bored. The addition of Peter Parker’s parents was a nice touch, but the familiarity of Uncle Ben’s murder and Peter Parker’s newfound power fizzled out the impact. Another problem with the film was the entire third act, which had potential to be thrilling but ended up being really bland. Once the end credits started to roll, I just shrugged my shoulders and most of the film was forgotten by the time I got home. I hope that Marc Webb learned from his mistakes so the inevitable sequel will be turn out to be memorable.
Savages (directed by Oliver Stone)
Judging from the trailer for Savages, it seemed like Oliver Stone has made a much-needed return to the style of his 1994 thriller Natural Born Killers. To those of you unfamiliar with this film, Aaron Johnson and Taylor Kitsch star as two pot growers who find themselves in trouble with the Mexican drug cartel. After the cartel kidnaps their shared girlfriend, played by Blake Lively, the two men prepare to take her back. Despite the terrible performance by Blake Lively, the film was actually decent up until the last few minutes. In the film’s climax, there’s a final showdown, which was chaotic, bloody, and overall fantastic. As the three young leads are together and slowly dying on the pavement, Oliver Stone made the bizarre decision to “rewind” to the very beginning of the showdown. This time around, the showdown had a much different turn of events which was less chaotic, bloody, and thrilling. I was taken from feeling “wow, this is quite the ending” to “wow, this is ridiculous. I want my money back.”
Holy Motors (directed by Leos Carax)
Leos Carax’s critically acclaimed film Holy Motors has been hailed as a visual experience that emphasizes on the concepts of cinema and immortality. As I mentioned in my review for the film, the only way I can describe watching Holy Motors is by that feeling standing in an art museum and trying to interpret a strange piece of art. No matter how it’s crafted, the strange piece of art will make you think of the many possibilities of its meaning. I appreciate films that have many interpretations but I think Holy Motors was lacking due the underdeveloped main character named Monsieur Oscar. Denis Lavant is incredible as Monsieur Oscar who actually inhabits many roles throughout the film when he goes to his “appointments”. It was amusing to see Monsieur Oscar inhabit these roles but we are given very limited information about him, thus not allowing me to connect. Perhaps a lot of information isn’t needed but I feel that the film would’ve worked a bit more if there ‘d been more development on the character. There’s no denying that Holy Motors is a visually appealing film. There’s a great sense of artistry that makes me believe that director Leos Corax knows what he is doing when it comes to the vision of this film. I’ve never been a fan of experimental cinema and it’s sufficed to say that this film is experimental. It’s not as amazing as people are proclaiming.
Hitchcock (directed by Sacha Gervasi)
Sacha Gervasi’s adaptation of Stephen Rebello’s book Alfred Hitchcock and The Making of Psycho had so much potential to be fantastic but it unfortunately wasn’t. As a huge fan of Hitchcock’s work, I really wanted to love this but I felt very underwhelmed as I walked out of the theater. To those of you who are unfamiliar with the original source material, Rebello’s book tells the true and fascinating story of the director’s battle to shock the world with Psycho. In 1959, Hitchcock was just coming off the success of the thriller North by Northwest. Instead of settling down, he immediately wants to make his next picture, which ends up being an adaptation of Robert Bloch’s novel titled Psycho. His desire to make Psycho is met with criticism and causes a struggle between the master of suspense and Paramount Pictures. There were particular moments in Hitchcock that worked. When the focus was on the production, the film provided fascinating recreations of infamous scenes. Unfortunately, the narrative spends too much time away from the production. Alfred Hitchcock was a strange individual and was often obsessive. This obsessiveness is only hinted at subtly in the film without going too much in depth with his strange behavior. Although the use of make up and prosthetics certainly made Anthony Hopkins look like the master of suspense, he gave a rather tamer performance.
Beasts of the Southern Wild (directed by Benh Zeitlin)
Since it’s premiere at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival, Beasts of the Southern Wild has received an insane amount of acclaim. The overwhelming praise made me beyond excited to finally see this in the theater. For the first half of 2012, the film was actually in the top spot on my most anticipated list. I was totally ready to be immersed into the world in which director Benh Zeitlin imaginatively created but found myself ultimately disappointed. Sure, the production value of the film is impressive and I feel that the Bathtub was effectively created as a realistic setting. Nothing screamed amateurish while watching this film because it is an imaginative effort. I felt the film was underwhelming in terms of its narrative. Beasts of the Southern Wild is certainly not a bad film because it did showcase an amazing performance by Quvenzhane Wallis who deserves an Oscar nomination. I just can’t believe that Dwight Henry is also getting awards contention. I thought he gave one of the worst performances i’ve seen all year. The film is unfortunately not as majestic as it’s proclaimed to be. As I stated in my review, the film is an imaginative effort but it’s not cinematic gold.
Let me know what you think! Feel free to post your opinions down in the comment section below.