5 Quick Reviews of 5 movies on DVD will not be seen this month in order to bring you: 10 mistakes that filmmakers can make that turn a good movie idea into a bad movie.
November’s crop of new releases on DVD were pretty bad folks. I can find little good in any of them save for casting. They all have great casts with actors I respect and enjoy watching. But these movies are bad. So instead of just insulting them and ranting about how bad they are I will list 10 mistakes that filmmakers can make that turn a good movie idea into a bad movie.
*There are more than 10 mistakes but I’m basing this list on the 5 movies I was going to review from this month. (so that I’m still sort of reviewing them… Ok I’m cheating)
To the list.
1) A character doing something “out of character” to set up a chase or a joke or to advance the plot, doing something illogical that only makes sense because it allows the next scene to take place, is lazy and distracting. And honestly, a joke or a chase is more enjoyable when characters happen into or upon it by accident. Not forced.
2) A character that acts w/o motivation is a badly written character and the mark of lazy writing. If the audience often asks, “Why is she doing that?” or “what the hell is he doing?” then they will sit there waiting for the explanation for the rest of the film and it pulls them right out of the movie.
The Campaign (Warner Bros.)
3) The villain should think he’s righteous or even that he’s the good guy. He needs to have some rationale or again it’s just bad writing. Villains have motivation as well. Revenge is an easy one. Greed is a popular one. But when it’s a well-written bad guy, you can see where they’re coming from. You don’t necessarily agree with them but you understand.
4) A message or a theme when no balance is shown can become a sermon or more like a propaganda film than a piece of entertainment. I like my movies to have morals but even when I agree with its message, a movie that relentlessly demonizes its antagonists can make me feel sorry for them. Evil for evil’s sake is rare and works only if the villain is an actual demon.
Total Recall (Columbia Pictures 2012)
5) A remake needs to improve on the original or it shouldn’t be made. Just making the characters young and pretty is not enough. Just updating the effects and the fights and the chase scenes is not enough.
6) Show respect for the source material. When remaking an adaptation, one possibility for freshness is to stick closer to the source material for the remake. But if you can’t do that, then why are you remaking an already good film? Respect the source material or don’t take the gig.
Speaking of pretty people in a bad movie that shows no respect for the source material…
The Amazing Spider-Man (Columbia Pictures)
Marc Webb (hired because of his name I suppose)
7) If your effects are going to look like I’m watching a cartoon or an animated feature then I might as well be watching anime and not your supposedly live-action action film. Stunts, practical effects, miniatures. These things can look better than cheap CGI. But if you’re going to do CGI at least make it good CGI or use it in small doses.
8) Plot holes & continuity problems. Things that make no sense in the real world can not be explained away with a simple “But it’s just a comic book movie or just an action film” and “No one cares if it makes sense.” It’s lazy writing. It’s bad directing. It’s fucking annoying.
Speaking of doing it for the money and not caring about plot holes or continuity…
The Expendables 2 (Lionsgate)
9) Lets talk about sequel-itis. The ultimate money grab. When paying your high-priced stars leaves little money for good writers, directors or effects. Most of the cost of production goes to the egos and no one gives a shit about the script. Script? What script?
10) If the entire plot is just to set up the next cameo or the next explosion or the next one-liner then I see little point in wasting the world’s time with it. Not with making it, Not with watching. Not with reviewing it.
So to recap…
Brave is not good and only mildly entertaining
(Great cast, Bad writing)
The Campaign is not good and only mildly funny
(Funny cast, Bad writing)
Total Recall is not good and only mildly enjoyable
(Sexy cast, Bad writing)
The Amazing Spider-Man is not good… at all
(Pretty cast, Bad Bad Bad writing)
The Expendables 2 is HORRIBLE
(Geriatric cast of has-been action stars, NO writing)
Here’s hoping that December brings a better crop of DVDs
- 5 by 5: 5 Quick Reviews of 5 Movies on DVD (melrook.wordpress.com)