Every year, there are countless movies that have a great premise, good actors, and decent directing but somehow fall short of movie greatness. The following are movies that need to be re-made so that they fulfill the promise of entertainment and the reasons that they did not meet expectations.
1. I Am Legend – I Am Legend was very engaging and entertaining. Will Smith showed the entire gamut of his emotions, including despair in losing his family, aloofness when finally interacting with humanity again, mourning the lost of his dog while having to kill it which was also a connection to his past, anger, frustration and confusion when dealing with the zombies, and courage under dourest while saving his surrogate family. There was an adequate storyline and plot in the movie, but several mistakes stopped the movie from reaching its full potential. The first major error in the film was the major use of computer generated images. CGI destroyed the authenticity of I Am Legend. Monsters that should in theory be terrifying, were reduced to caricatures of ideas of monsters. Any movie with imaginary beings is only as believable as the actual imaginary beings. Secondly, there were a few discrepancies in the story. The zombies were supposed to be devoid of any higher level thinking, but one zombie not only began mimicking Smith’s character, but also set a trap for him. He tied the same knot that Smith used to procure zombies and caught Smith in a similar trap that also stunned him (a clever addition to the trap that Smith set), and held him suspended until the zombie could reach him. This behavior that was fully in contradiction to what was stated earlier in the movie went completely ignored and unexplained. In addition to this, the same zombie seemed to have trained a few infected dogs and released them onto Smith and Marley, his dog, once the sun went down. That is one smart yet mindless zombie. The final error in the movie was a tactical error by Smith’s character at the end of the movie. In an act of valor, Smith stayed behind to kill the zombies, while his new family escaped. In theory, this bravery should be the last attempt of Smith to save humanity. He held on to a bomb while the “genius” zombie broke through the last defense system in the house. The mother and child that were staying with Smith escaped through a chimney as this was happening. However, Smith did not have to stay in the house and give his life. He could have escaped and dropped the bomb down the chimney. Yes, it is a simple solution, but it is also the right one.
2. Blindness – Blindness had great actors in Danny Glover and Mark Ruffalo, and was anchored by Julianne Moore, and Gael Garcia Bernal. It had a great plot and storyline. A “white blindness” epidemic affected the world. Among the first affected was an ophthalmologist. The government began capturing and quarantining those affected by the blindness in an abandoned mental hospital. He was one of the first to be taken, and his wife, though unaffected, pretended to be blind to be close to him. When quarantined all of the people placed in the hospital quarrel at first and then form a small family. The doctor leads them and his wife facilitates since she can see (though the others do not know that she is unaffected). Characters are added and the power shifts. Criminals are quarantined into the facility and they soon take over the quaint food and medical supplies by force. They sequester themselves and soon begin to starve the original people in quarantine. In exchange for food, they have the men send their wives to their bunks. The women go resistively, are assaulted, and then returned to their husbands. Once one of the women is killed while being assaulted, the original affected group attack the criminals and burn down the compound. The remaining prisoners realized that their captors had fled, because the world outside was in chaos. The “white blindness” reduced the world into a primal, survivalist state. The movie is supposed to be about man under duress. It is supposed to be about what happens when all normal convention breaks down, what people become when faced with extreme diversity and how relationships devolve in those life-threatening situations. Instead that gets lost in the director exposing the emotions of the characters and in the director’s style. There were a lot of scenes that take place in complete darkness. In some scenes, it builds suspense. In others, ironically, it takes away from the emotion of the scene. Blindness also suffers from an extreme lack of character development. Because the characters are not fully developed, the audience can not empathize fully with them.
3. Constantine – Constantine entertains fully, but is damaged from poor writing. It is a dark movie about a fallen angel seeking redemption. The plot is great, but the writing too often attempts to be clever and comedic, and inadvertently distracts the audience from the darkness of the content. The main character Constantine spews lines that trivialize the story, and though the movie is full of great actors and strong themes, it is handicapped by an underlying campy feel. Constantine is entertaining, but never serious enough to be great.
4. Signs – M. Night Shyamalan, the director, developed the characters well in Signs. He connected the audience with his characters and created a tense, suspenseful atmosphere throughout the movie. By giving small glimpses of the aliens in silhouettes and and shadows, Shyamalan created an image in his audiences’ heads that was far worst and scarier than anything that he could put onto the screen. So, when the monster was finally revealed and it resembled an oversized praying mantis rather than some horrifying creature, the movie lost its intensity. When the family finally decided to stand up to the aliens, they found that water was dangerous to them. They literally repelled one alien with a glass of water. When you add the image of the alien with the idea that the aliens were afraid of water, you have one of the most anti-climactic movies ever made.
5. Saw – Saw was great until the very end. There was a theme of self-motivation and self-preservation coupled with enough violence and gore to satiate a sadist for a few years. Saw was intriguing until they showed the murder. It had the worst plot twist in recent movie history. The idea of having the killer unsuspectingly in the room for the entirety of the movie was genius. The problem with Saw was the execution of putting him in the room. At the end of the movie, it was if the director said, “Surprise! The killer’s been here the whole time!” This is a great idea if we had any prior knowledge of the killer, but giving a brief explanation of what he did at the end of the movie is lazy directing and unforgivable.
6. The Happening – M. Night Shyamalan is a great director that has a small history of really intriguing plots and poor choices for endings. All over the northeast coast mass suicides began happening. The nation thought that some airborne neurotoxin had infiltrated the major cities and caused this behavior. People thought that a terrorist organization was behind the hysteria and killings. People leave large cities only to find that the suicides have followed them to the country. At first, only large groups of people were being attacked, then smaller groups were targeted. Once, individuals began killing themselves, the people realized that this was no terrorist attack. After almost two hours, it was revealed that the plants were causing people to kill themselves. The movie was just a big, two hour “Go Green” campaign.
7. Wolfman – Wolfman had two great actors in Anthony Hopkins and Benecio del Toro. It had a good storyline and a lot of mystery surrounding the actual werewolf. In the first encounter with the werewolf, people were torn asunder without ever fully revealing the appearance of the villain. This technique is probably the best to use in a scary movie. When the director does not show the monster, the audience’s imagination fills image of the monster as whatever they find most frightening. In Wolfman, when the monster was finally revealed, it looked like a Jim Henson muppet. Grover and Cookie Monster are not scary. If the werewolf looked remotely canine or scary, then the movie could have worked.
8. War of the Worlds – They died of the common cold? Really? Was another movie mentioned in this article as having the most anticlimactic ending in cinema history? This is by far one of the most ineffectual movie endings ever made. The storyline was weakened by the computer generated images of the aliens, but the action was so quick and intense that the technical shortcomings could be over-looked. Several subplots within the story drew the audience into the interpersonal interactions of the family around which the story revolved, so the movie worked right up until the end. The mistrust of Tom Cruise, who played an absent, divorced father, by his son was one of the most interesting smaller story lines. Ironically, the son’s similarities to the father drew them further apart. This all played in the background as the world was being attacked and gave the film some depth. War of the Worlds built all the story lines to a crescendo, and then had the aliens that were killing humans mercilessly, simply keel over and die. Just as soon as they had attacked, they were dead themselves. That was a mistake.
9. 30 Days of Night – 30 Days of Night used one of the best premises for a scary movie, particularly a vampire movie that anyone has ever conceptualized. The plot set the characters in Barrow, Alaska, during their winter. Barrow, Alaska is so far north that during a certain period in the winter, the sun does not shine for 30 days, hence the title, 30 Days of Night. Vampires, which burst into flames when in direct sunlight, traveled to Alaska for 30 days of indiscriminate killing and feeding. The idea for the movie was great and the story was suspenseful and well-thought out. More so, physically, the vampires appeared just as scary and intimidating as they were expected to be. That is, until they talked. The first rule of dialogue is that dialogue is only used for character development, meaning that what is said in a movie should reflect who that character is. When the vampires appeared to be mindless killing machines, the suspense of the movie reached its peak. They looked frightening and acted like unchained monsters. The vampires talked purposelessly and continuously throughout the movie and ultimately killed the suspense faster than they killed the townspeople.