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Old 01-10-2018, 07:04 AM
CalMeacham CalMeacham is offline
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Has a Movie ever Fallen Disastrously Short of your Expectations?

In response to threads like https://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb...d.php?t=846068 , has there ever been a case of a movie that has severely disappointed you? I'm sure there has been, for one reason or another. Maybe you really liked the book, and hoped the movie would be good. Or you liked the concept. Or you were familiar with the star/director/writer's style and abilities and had high hopes for the movie.

...and they you saw the film.


1.) Man of la Mancha -- The producers of the Broadway show wanted to film this with much of the original cast. They were certainly available (they had appeared in one revival shortly before the film was released. A partial cast revival appeared after the film's release). But the original producers lost control of the film and decided to go with a more "bankable" cast, which gave us Peter O'Toole and Sophia Loren, two actors not noted for their singing abilities, in the lead roles. James Coco, as Sancho Panza, arguably sang too well. Most of the rest of the cast (aside from an oddly cast Brian Blessed, another non-singer) were pretty much unknown. Whose idea was this, anyway?

2.) Ralph Bakshi's Lord of the Rings. Ralph Bakshi was the off-kilter non-Disney who could do technically good animation and didn't mind sex and violence -- heck, he'd done the X-rated Fritz the Cat, hadn't he? But we should've paid less attention to the sex and violence and more to Robert Crumb's complaining about how much the cartoon veered from his character. Bakshi had already shown that he could do edgy fantasy with Wizards, which had some disturbingly good scenes (mostly rotoscoped from Alexander Nevsky and other films). We shoulda paid attention to al that rotoscoping, because Bakshi did it a LOT in LOTR, to the point where some scenes look like hand-colored postcards. When Bakshi is doing straight-out animation, his stuff shines. Treebeard, Gollum, and the flying Nazgul all look great. But too much of the film looks like a hand-tinted movie. What disappointed me the most was the Balrog. I had hoped for a great animated Blarog which obviously wasn't even close to anything you could film. What did I get? A rotoscoped Guy I a Balrog Suit. And it wasn't even creative rotoscoping -- it looks like hand-tinted black and white footage of a guy wearing a Balrog Costume with clearly fake wings.

3.) Damned near any adaptation of Heinlein is going to show up here, but two stand out, because they show glimpses of what COULD have been done. Disney's adaptation of The Puppet Masters had really good special effects work and visualization, especially of the "slugs". They also had potentially great casting, especially with Donald Sutherland as The Old Man and Richard Belzer (who not only played characters who believed in UFOs and Conspiraciers, but believed in them himself -- an inspired piece of casting). But they cut out a lot of the science fiction background, re-setting it in the present day (which thus required a lot of rewriting), and their script obviously wasn't well-thought-out. It's riddled with stupidities and inconsistencies. I once read a blog by one of the writers, and apparently they had to put up with a lot of studio executive meddling. But still...

Of course, the other is Starship Troopers. I'd like Verhoeven's over-the-top work on Total Recall and Robocop, but I wasn't prepared for the complete mismatch between source material and movie that ST was. Not only was the philosophy and tone completely wrong, but they dumbed down the science completely and made the characters' actions insanely stupid. (the epitome of which has to be the soldiers killing "bug" by standing around them in a circle and firing nonstop bursts into the creatures. No possibility of deaths from friendly fire there!) at times they didn't seem to pay attention to the indications of the book at ALL. (Not content with making the -- obviously if you pay attention to the book -- Filipino hero Johnny Rico an unbelievably WASP character, they then have the family living in Buenos Aires. The only suggestion for that in the book was that his mom was there when The Rock dropped. But the film was well-made and the effects were absolutely gorgeous, so you saw What Could Have Been.

3.) Phantom of the Opera -- I'm not talking about the adaptation of Andrew Lloyd Webber's musical (see below for a word about that), but a re-release of the 1925 silent film. Back when I first got my VCR, I was appalled at the completely inappropriate music they used for every version of the silent film I'd seen, and considered re-recording it with my own music. One of the chief elements planned to use was the piece Judas Iscariot by Rick Wakeman, from his [u]Criminal Record[/I] album. It SOUNDS like the work of a psychotic organist (no comments about Wakeman's own mental state, thank you), starting out fairly conventionally before going off into weird flights of disturbed-sounding musical phrases.

So imagine my surprise and delight to learn that Wakeman had written an entire score for the silent film, and that it was coming to the art cinema in Somerville, MA. I had to go. The film opened with an intro in the actual basement of the Paris Opera House, hosted by Christopher Lee. so far, excellent.

Then the music started. And, my god, it was awful. And not in the good sense of that word. It was later released as a videotape, but I never considered getting it. The music was re-released this past year. It's gotten good reviews by people who have clearly been driven mad by the music.
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Old 01-10-2018, 08:30 AM
Mahaloth Mahaloth is offline
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Book adaptions only?

I can not say enough about how bad the Lightning Thief movie is compared to its book. Hugely, hugely disappointing. And a huge missed opportunity.

In terms of non-books, Phantom Menace still takes the cake. I re-watched it in August and I can not overstate how much of a snoozefest it is.
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Old 01-10-2018, 08:54 AM
beowulff beowulff is offline
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Star Trek I.

After waiting for what seemed to be an eternity for the film to be made, (and then waiting on line for half a day), the movie was a pretty huge let-down.
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Old 01-10-2018, 09:07 AM
muldoonthief muldoonthief is offline
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Originally Posted by CalMeacham View Post
Filipino hero Johnny Rico an unbelievably WASP character, they then have the family living in Buenos Aires. The only suggestion for that in the book was that his mom was there when The Rock dropped. But the film was well-made and the effects were absolutely gorgeous, so you saw What Could Have Been.
Just a nitpick - the book explicitly stated she was on a trip to Buenos Aires, so that's the one place on Earth we're sure his family didn't live.
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Old 01-10-2018, 09:12 AM
Don Draper Don Draper is offline
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Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas was a big disappointment. Directed by Terry Gilliam and starring Johnny Depp (when Depp was still bringing his A-game and not phoning it in), it should have been awesome. While I wouldn't consider it an out-and-out disaster, it just felt...flat.
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Old 01-10-2018, 09:18 AM
CalMeacham CalMeacham is offline
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Originally Posted by muldoonthief View Post
Just a nitpick - the book explicitly stated she was on a trip to Buenos Aires, so that's the one place on Earth we're sure his family didn't live.
What are you nitpicking? I said that the movie got it wrong -- they didn't live there. That, in fact, is exactly what I'm complaining about.





Another film that disappointed -- I loved Day of the Jackal, although I didn't read the book until after I saw the film (otherwise it would have been one of my candidates for a Film I Was Satisfied With the Adaptation). The first Frederick Forsyth book adaptation I saw after I read the book was The Odessa File. I had "filmed" that book in my head over and over, and was anxious to see how the film went.

They got a lot of it right (doing the flashbacks in black-and-white "documentary" style was absolutely perfect, and just as I'd imagined it). But they cut out a lot of what I thought essential stuff at the end, and had Voigt's character acting in some ways unlike the way the book character did.

Interesting casting -- Derek Jacobi, who'd been Lebel's assistant in Day of the Jackal is here, too, as the forger. Maximilian Schell (who had been an attorney in Judgment at Nuremburg as the Nazi war criminal Roschmann (a real Nazi war Criminal, buy the way -- Forsyth used the names of real Nazis in his book). A year later, Schell would play a Nazi war Criminal on trial in the film adaptation of Robert Shaw's The Mann in the Glass Booth.
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Old 01-10-2018, 09:29 AM
Arizona Mike Arizona Mike is offline
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Well, The Hobbit trilogy of course. And I had loved the LOTR films.

I have an odd affection for The Puppet Masters. It had been ripped off endlessly (the producers of one film settled out of court after Heinlein sued them), Star Trek, Outer Limits, etc., and as what was probably the most filmable of his adult novels, I was looking forward to it. I didn't really mind the updating to the present time, as it was pretty close to the future Heinlein imagined. The cast was good, Donald Sutherland in particular (Although I had always pictured Burl Ives playing his character, for some reason). It would have been interesting to cast Keifer Sutherland as the protagonist. Significant plot elements like the nudity of the characters in the latter half of the novel would never have flown in a Disney film, of course, and would have made the film seem like more of a sex farce, were understandably dropped. There seemed to be a low-budget feel to much of the movie. I think it would have been far better if filmed in B&W as a noir-type film (I think Fritz Lang was mentioned as interested in filming it at one point, which would have been ideal, but I could have been wrong.) But I still liked it, overall, and didn't feel like it was a complete failure.

I think "The Invisibles" episode of The Outer Limits, although a rip-off of the material, was a better version of how it should have been done - dark, paranoiac, B&W. Burt Reynolds was good in it.

Completely agree on Starship Troopers. It's like Verhoeven wanted to satirize a source novel (and its political stance) that most of Hollywood and probably a majority of the film-going public had never heard of.

Last edited by Arizona Mike; 01-10-2018 at 09:30 AM.
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Old 01-10-2018, 09:35 AM
Arizona Mike Arizona Mike is offline
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I enjoyed Peter Straub's novel Ghost Story but thought the film was awful.
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Old 01-10-2018, 09:38 AM
John Mace John Mace is offline
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The move adaptation of Into Thin Air was terrible. The movie Everest was much better, although I don't know if it was based on that book or not. The Hobbit was a disaster. I thought The Force Awakens was about a D-.
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Old 01-10-2018, 09:47 AM
xizor xizor is offline
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John Carter. I love the book series. I was excited that a big budget movie was planned with the special effects expertise to do the film some justice even if the story strayed.
What I saw was a mess on every front. Bumbling story, unknown actors, forgettable effects. The movie is not even worth a second viewing.
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Old 01-10-2018, 09:52 AM
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I am a big fan of the cartoon Avatar: The Last Airbender. I was very excited to see that a big-budget movie version was being made ...

I am a big fan of King's The Dark Tower. I was very excited to see that a big-budget movie version was being made ...

... not sure which was the bigger disaster.

To be fair, both had severe warning signs before the movies came out.
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Old 01-10-2018, 09:53 AM
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The Rankin-Bass version of The Hobbit, also in 1978. As someone who loved the books in the 60s, this was a huge disappointment.

Don't get me started on Stephen King movie adaptations.
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Old 01-10-2018, 09:54 AM
Just Asking Questions Just Asking Questions is offline
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Sky Captain and The World of Tomorrow.

When I saw the trailer, I thought "this could be the greatest film EVER!" The trailer looked like the perfect example of retro-futurism. The sets, the tone, the P40s fighting giant robots, the whole pulp/comic feel.

And it was so damn stupid! They screwed up everything except for the look. The plot, the characters, crap. And of course that means no one will ever made a good movie using the same elements.

And I liked the film RAH's The Puppet Masters. Maybe I need to see it again, but I thought it was very clever. Note: I have never read the book.
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Old 01-10-2018, 09:59 AM
Arizona Mike Arizona Mike is offline
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Well, The Hobbit trilogy of course. And I had loved the LOTR films.

I have an odd affection for The Puppet Masters. It had been ripped off endlessly (the producers of one film settled out of court after Heinlein sued them), Star Trek, Outer Limits, etc., and as what was probably the most filmable of his adult novels, I was looking forward to it. I didn't really mind the updating to the present time, as it was pretty close to the future Heinlein imagined. The cast was good, Donald Sutherland in particular (Although I had always pictured Burl Ives playing his character, for some reason). It would have been interesting to cast Keifer Sutherland as the protagonist. Significant plot elements like the nudity of the characters in the latter half of the novel would never have flown in a Disney film, of course, and would have made the film seem like more of a sex farce, were understandably dropped. There seemed to be a low-budget feel to much of the movie. I think it would have been far better if filmed in B&W as a noir-type film (I think Fritz Lang was mentioned as interested in filming it at one point, which would have been ideal, but I could have been wrong.) But I still liked it, overall, and didn't feel like it was a complete failure.

I think "The Invisibles" episode of The Outer Limits, although a rip-off of the material, was a better version of how it should have been done - dark, paranoiac, B&W. Burt Reynolds was good in it.

Completely agree on Starship Troopers. It's like Verhoeven wanted to satirize a source novel (and its political stance) that most of Hollywood and probably a majority of the film-going public had never heard of.
Brain fart - that was Don Gordon, not Burt Reynolds in "The Invisibles". Sorry.
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Old 01-10-2018, 10:08 AM
control-z control-z is offline
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Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas was a big disappointment. Directed by Terry Gilliam and starring Johnny Depp (when Depp was still bringing his A-game and not phoning it in), it should have been awesome. While I wouldn't consider it an out-and-out disaster, it just felt...flat.
I wasn't familiar with the book but thought it was a good movie, very surreal and amusing.

My pick:
Star Wars: The Last Jedi - There's a big discussion elsewhere, but I thought it had a stupid main plot with a pointless OJ chase through space, plot holes, forced and too-frequent humor, and it shit on most everything episodes IV through VII had built on. It feels like the later seasons of Lost where they are just making it up as they go along.
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Old 01-10-2018, 10:19 AM
Colibri Colibri is offline
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The move adaptation of Into Thin Air was terrible. The movie Everest was much better, although I don't know if it was based on that book or not.
Everest was adapted from Beck Weathers' memoir Left for Dead: My Journey Home from Everest, which I haven't read. I liked the movies. I've read Into Thin Air but haven't seen the movie.
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Old 01-10-2018, 10:20 AM
cormac262 cormac262 is offline
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So many movies which I had great expectations for are disappointments. But those that I would consider to be "disastrously" short of my expectations:
- "Star Trek - The Motion Picture." After waiting so long, and all the excitement about a resurrection into a full length feature, such a let down. It seemed all the character dynamics that made TOS so beloved were just ignored/discarded. And then to add new, annoying characters only raised more questions than "freshness" to the story. I can remember being in conscious denial of how bad the movie was as I sat through it - I wanted SO much to like it.

- "Conan The Barbarian". I was a huge Robert E. Howard fan after becoming acquainted with the character from the comic books. So I knew there was this huge wealth of material to draw from to make a whole number of fantastic movies. We also heard that Milius (who wrote the screenplay) was also a big fan of the Howard books. So it seemed this movie had potential. Then...they cast Arnold.

- "Game of Death". Bruce Lee was in the process of filming this movie when the offer for "Enter the Dragon" came along. And shortly after finishing "Dragon", Lee died. Many years later, the decision was made to incorporate the "Game" footage into a movie so that the world would finally get to see the scenes Lee had shot. But the powers that be decided 1) instead of just a "documentary" type film to present the footage, to make a full length feature, 2) to come up with a whacky story with the finale being the original "Game" footage, 3) hire 3 lame Bruce Lee look-a-likes for the other 80% of the movie, and 4) to actually "edit" clips of the real Bruce Lee into scenes to further the illusion (one such "edit" was a hardcopy photo of the real Lee taped onto a mirror aligned with the look-a-like's neck !). So to see the original footage, you had to sit through this horrible, cobbled together hack of a movie.
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Old 01-10-2018, 10:21 AM
RikWriter RikWriter is online now
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I've been disappointed almost as often as I've been pleasantly surprised. Alien 3, Highlander 2, Starship Troopers, Die Hard 2, The Phantom Menace, Predator 2, Wyatt Earp, Dungeons and Dragons...I could go on.
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Old 01-10-2018, 10:30 AM
billfish678 billfish678 is offline
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Battle Field Earth.

Though what the hell I was thinking in the first place I don't know.
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Old 01-10-2018, 10:33 AM
Just Asking Questions Just Asking Questions is offline
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Star Trek I.

After waiting for what seemed to be an eternity for the film to be made, (and then waiting on line for half a day), the movie was a pretty huge let-down.
I'd been following along the convoluted path to completed film in Starlog for years. One person working on the film noted that "this film is going to be a giant mindfuck!"

So I'm all set to see the very first show on the very first day, but my best friend and fellow Star Trek fan couldn't be bothered to get out of bed on time, so we made it to the second show ever. As we were standing in line, watching those lucky ones that saw the first show file out, I asked "do they look like they've been mindfucked"? Sadly the answer was no, and it was confirmed two-plus hours later after we finished our showing. The film's oath of celibacy was intact.

Fortunately, Wrath of Khan exceeded expectations by light years.

Last edited by Just Asking Questions; 01-10-2018 at 10:36 AM.
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Old 01-10-2018, 10:36 AM
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The Monk (1796) by Matthew Lewis is a quintessential Gothic novel and easily the best book I ever had to read in college. It has been filmed 3 times. I’ve seen the 1972 version starring Euro-woodblock Franco Nero, with a script by Buńuel and his longtime writing partner Jean-Claude Carričre. Buńuel was supposed to direct, but sadly, didn’t. Although the film substitutes an audacious non-ending for the book’s epic ownage ending, the rest of the flick is remarkably dull. I have also seen the 2011 version with Vincent Cassell, which telegraphed a major plot twist, restored all but the coolest parts of the book’s ending and was similarly dull (IMO, the best performance was given by a CG centipede). I have not seen the 1990 version, but don’t hold out much hope it is significantly better.

Death and the Compass is my favorite Borges short story. It was adapted for the BBC in 1992 by Alex Cox (of Repo Man fame), who later expanded it to feature-length. Regrettably, he botched it, miscasting Peter Boyle as the detective and filling it in with too many static exposition scenes featuring a Pablo Escobar lookalike. Watching it hurt, but Mr. Cox later redeemed himself with his excellent 2002 adaptation of Thomas Middleton’s 1607 play Revengers Tragedy...but that is for another thread.

Last edited by Dropo; 01-10-2018 at 10:37 AM.
  #22  
Old 01-10-2018, 10:39 AM
CalMeacham CalMeacham is offline
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Originally Posted by cormac262 View Post
So many movies which I had great expectations for are disappointments. But those that I would consider to be "disastrously" short of my expectations:
- "Star Trek - The Motion Picture." After waiting so long, and all the excitement about a resurrection into a full length feature, such a let down. It seemed all the character dynamics that made TOS so beloved were just ignored/discarded. And then to add new, annoying characters only raised more questions than "freshness" to the story. I can remember being in conscious denial of how bad the movie was as I sat through it - I wanted SO much to like it.

- "Conan The Barbarian". I was a huge Robert E. Howard fan after becoming acquainted with the character from the comic books. So I knew there was this huge wealth of material to draw from to make a whole number of fantastic movies. We also heard that Milius (who wrote the screenplay) was also a big fan of the Howard books. So it seemed this movie had potential. Then...they cast Arnold.

.

Considering that they got the original cast back, got Robert Wise (The Day the Earth Stood Still! The Andromeda Strain!) to direct, Isaac Asimov as science advisor, and alan Dean Foster to do the story, you'd think that they'd do better. Heck, they even had Orson Welles -- Orson Freakin' War of the Worlds Welles -- to do the voice-over on the original trailer. But the story was basically a retread of "The Changeling" from the original series (with a bit of "Immunity Syndrome", with that Cloud hiding everything), which was a disappointment. The effects were gorgeous, but the whole thing felt monumentally overblown.

I'm glad that they wrested control of the franchise away from Roddenbery and got Harve Bennett and Nicholas Meyer to do they next three films. I think it saved the franchise.

as for Conan the Barbarian, my complain isn't with Arnold -- he looks perfect for the part. John Buscema could've drawn him. My complaint is that there wasn't enough Howard in in it -- that character onscreen didn't seem to have anything in common with the hero of Tower of the Elephant or Rogues I the House or Red Nails. The cheapie flick Sword and the Sorceror, which came out a couple of months earlier, felt much more like a Conan film, because they liberally stole the best parts from Conan stories -- the resuscitation of Xuthltan from "Hour of the Dragon/Conan the Conqueror", Conan's rucifiction, and other parts. Despite being a much worse film and having a lower budget, it grossed almost exactly as much as Conan the Barbarian did.
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Old 01-10-2018, 10:53 AM
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James Ellroys The Black Dahlia. The casting was all wrong and ended up eviscerating the film.
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Old 01-10-2018, 11:19 AM
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James Ellroys The Black Dahlia. The casting was all wrong and ended up eviscerating the film.
Boo!

Event Horizon. I was looking forward to a cool sic-fi flick. Nope. Portal to hell is what I got. Damnit.
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Old 01-10-2018, 11:28 AM
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Cowboys and Aliens. Sounded great on paper. I was all psyched to see it, I even went to a theater!
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Old 01-10-2018, 11:30 AM
AHunter3 AHunter3 is offline
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Star Trek I.

After waiting for what seemed to be an eternity for the film to be made, (and then waiting on line for half a day), the movie was a pretty huge let-down.
Yeah, same here. (I assume you're referring to "Star Trek: The Motion Picture")

I was a trekkie kid and a science fiction kid. Watched the reruns of the original series when I could. This should have been great and it ever so... wasn't.
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Old 01-10-2018, 11:32 AM
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John Carter. I love the book series. I was excited that a big budget movie was planned with the special effects expertise to do the film some justice even if the story strayed.
What I saw was a mess on every front. Bumbling story, unknown actors, forgettable effects. The movie is not even worth a second viewing.
Agree with this also. I'd heard (from someone here on SDMB in fact) that it was better than the critics said and worth seeing. It wasn't. I couldn't even stick it out to the halfway point.
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Old 01-10-2018, 11:35 AM
Made in Macau Made in Macau is offline
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Plus one for Last Jedi. Oh boy. At times it felt like a parody. When Luke drank the creature's milk it seemed to me like a gag Family Guy would make - without the involvement of a bottle obviously. From the opening 'I'm on hold for General Gleeson' or whatever I thought 'I've got a bad feeling about this.'
Ugh. Such a let down. Almost in Phantom Menace territory.

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Old 01-10-2018, 11:39 AM
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The film adaptation of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy was just painful to watch. Despite being based upon a partially completed screenplay and notes by Douglas Adams and drawing heavily on the source material it seemed to miss the point of every single joke, failing to execute the punchlines. Despite a cast of uniformly good (if utterly miscast) actors, and with special effects and set design were wasted on one pointless scene after another until it finally struggled to a conclusion that made no sense, it wasn’t funny in the slightest. It was as if someone remade Monty Python and the Holy Grail with the cast of Friends doing an initial line reading and not understanding the humor.

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Old 01-10-2018, 11:41 AM
teela brown teela brown is offline
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I'm a big Coen Brothers fan, and a big Ealing Studios fan. My favorite Ealing Studios movie is 1955's The Ladykillers.

When I heard that the Coen Brothers were doing a remake of this movie, I had high hopes. However, it turned out a big bust. Tom Hanks was miscast, his partners in crime were mostly just annoying, and the old lady somehow fell flat.
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Old 01-10-2018, 11:49 AM
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Almost in Phantom Menace territory.
We're putting Phantom Menace in parenthetical, "oh by the way" territory?

Have we all blocked out the terror that was Jar Jar Binks? Are we ignoring that the battle between Good and Evil was based on a trade dispute?

I have just two words for all of you

Midi Chlorians
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Old 01-10-2018, 12:17 PM
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My wife and I saw this trailer for Alien3 and were so excited we were bouncing off the seat. Aliens! Earth! This is gonna be AWESOME!

(Narrator: It wasn't awesome.)
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Old 01-10-2018, 12:51 PM
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Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil.

The book was raunchy raucous fun with outrageous characters.

The movie blanded them all down to limpness and completely left some of them out and confused most of the context. And Clint Eastwood's daughter as Mandy was a travesty.
  #34  
Old 01-10-2018, 01:12 PM
Asimovian Asimovian is offline
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Originally Posted by madsircool View Post
James Ellroys The Black Dahlia. The casting was all wrong and ended up eviscerating the film.
Fire and ice.
  #35  
Old 01-10-2018, 01:43 PM
mbh mbh is offline
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I once rented "the unrated version" of Electra, starring Shannon Tweed.

Why was it unrated, you ask? Because, if you put "PG" on a Shannon Tweed movie, nobody would ever rent the d--- thing.

The movie was made in 1996. Ms Tweed was getting older, and attempting to branch out from the Erotic Thriller genre. It was not a successful attempt.

With a little work, it could have been a decent low-budget sci-fi film.
With a little work, it could have been a decent low-budget detective film.
With a little work, it could have been a decent low-budget action film.
With a little work, it could have been a decent erotic thriller.

It just never quite succeeded at any of them.
  #36  
Old 01-10-2018, 01:46 PM
SingleMalt SingleMalt is offline
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Dune. Huge fan of the book growing up, couldn't wait to see the movie. "Weirding Modules"? WTF?
  #37  
Old 01-10-2018, 01:58 PM
Steve MB Steve MB is offline
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Batman and Robin managed to greatly underperform even my low (after seeing Batman Forever) expectations.
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  #38  
Old 01-10-2018, 02:00 PM
simster simster is offline
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The Neverending Story is one of many - but it comes to mind immediately.
  #39  
Old 01-10-2018, 02:00 PM
Robot Arm Robot Arm is offline
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Originally Posted by Just Asking Questions View Post
Sky Captain and The World of Tomorrow.

When I saw the trailer, I thought "this could be the greatest film EVER!" The trailer looked like the perfect example of retro-futurism. The sets, the tone, the P40s fighting giant robots, the whole pulp/comic feel.

And it was so damn stupid! They screwed up everything except for the look. The plot, the characters, crap. And of course that means no one will ever made a good movie using the same elements.
I was in Germany when this film came out, and saw it in a German theater. It was dubbed, and I don't speak German. But you're right, it was absolutely gorgeous to look at.

Saw it again a couple months later, on my flight home, on a tiny screen on the seatback ahead of me. But it was in English. I liked it better the first time.

But it was an interesting failure, and I have tried to figure out exactly why it didn't work. Despite the alternate-1930s aesthetic, I think the special effects are too video-gamey; hundreds of enemies buzzing around and it's rather like swatting at gnats. And the character of Polly is all wrong. She should have been a smart, decisive, spunky reporter type (like they might have had in a 1930s movie), but instead she was hesitant and dithering. I don't know if the fault goes to Gwyneth Paltrow (also gorgeous to look at) or the director.
  #40  
Old 01-10-2018, 02:15 PM
Patx2 Patx2 is offline
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Originally Posted by Grumbacher Red View Post
Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil.

The book was raunchy raucous fun with outrageous characters.

The movie blanded them all down to limpness and completely left some of them out and confused most of the context. And Clint Eastwood's daughter as Mandy was a travesty.
+1 the book was great, movie just didn’t get there.
  #41  
Old 01-10-2018, 02:15 PM
kenobi 65 kenobi 65 is offline
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Originally Posted by CalMeacham View Post
Of course, the other is Starship Troopers. I'd like Verhoeven's over-the-top work on Total Recall and Robocop, but I wasn't prepared for the complete mismatch between source material and movie that ST was.
And, there's a very good reason for this: the movie's original script wasn't based on the novel at all -- it was an original story called "Bug Hunt at Outpost Nine."

When it was pointed out that there were some similarities between the original script and Heinlein's novel, the decision was made to license the novel and its name for use in the film, and to retrofit some elements of the film script (such as character names) to fit the novel.

Verhoeven, himself, only read a bit of the novel, and decided he didn't like it.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Starsh...%29#Production
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Starsh...nship_to_novel

Last edited by kenobi 65; 01-10-2018 at 02:18 PM.
  #42  
Old 01-10-2018, 02:21 PM
kenobi 65 kenobi 65 is offline
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Ones that have already been mentioned, but which were definitely far short of my expectations:

- Star Trek: The Motion Picture (which we called "Star Trek: The Ship," due to the long, adoring SFX shots of the new Enterprise)
- Star Wars: The Phantom Menace
- Ralph Bakshi's "Lord of the Rings"
- Peter Jackson's "The Hobbit" films

I'll also add the second and third Matrix films. The original was truly awesome; the second and third were incomprehensible.
  #43  
Old 01-10-2018, 02:44 PM
Just Asking Questions Just Asking Questions is offline
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- Star Trek: The Motion Picture (which we called "Star Trek: The Ship," due to the long, adoring SFX shots of the new Enterprise)
We always called it ST: The Motion Sickness.

Of the worst offender, the space dock video tour: in one period review (probably in Starlog, again), the person mentioned that he went out to the lobby for popcorn and by the time he got back to his seat, they were STILL flying around the Enterprise! I think it was five whole minutes. I think it was even longer in the director's cut.
  #44  
Old 01-10-2018, 03:10 PM
Johnny Ecks Johnny Ecks is offline
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I can think of two big disappointments, both from the 90s- Highlander 2, which I think everyone knows was bad- There should have been only one! and Strange Days, which I thought was supposed to be a trippy cyberpunk noir mystery set on New Years eve, 1999. Awesome! But no, it actually sucked.
  #45  
Old 01-10-2018, 03:22 PM
kenobi 65 kenobi 65 is offline
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Originally Posted by Johnny Ecks View Post
Highlander 2, which I think everyone knows was bad- There should have been only one!
OMG, I'd blocked that from my memory.

We saw it in the theater, on opening night. We were agape at the ridiculous retconning of the canon ("Immortals are actually aliens!"). I've never watched it again, and don't ever want to.

Last edited by kenobi 65; 01-10-2018 at 03:22 PM.
  #46  
Old 01-10-2018, 03:29 PM
mbh mbh is offline
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Ang Lee's The Hulk was not disastrous, but it was disappointing.

Everyone involved with the movie--the producers, the director, the writers, the actors--
They all wanted to make a good movie.
They all tried to make a good movie.
You could see the effort they put into it.
But it never quite jelled.



I have mixed feelings about Dungeons and Dragons.
As a Work of Cinematic Art, it is complete garbage.
As a representation of a D&D game . . .
Well, I've played in worse.
Hell, I've refereed worse.
  #47  
Old 01-10-2018, 03:37 PM
Morbo Morbo is offline
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Four Rooms. Four segments directed by Robert Rodriguez, Quentin Tarantino, Allison Anders, and someone else I forgot, outstanding cast...and it was stupifyingly bad.

More recently, The Dark Tower, although thanks to the internet I was prepared for that one.
  #48  
Old 01-10-2018, 04:35 PM
HubZilla HubZilla is offline
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The Transformers movies.

I grew up loving the cartoon, getting the toys, and watching and re-watching the 80s movie. I was very excited to see a big-budget CGI version. And they even got Peter Cullen to voice Optimus Prime!

But, wait, the next movie will have the Constructicons and Devastator! Awesome, this is suck-proof!

But, wait, this one will have Grimlock and the Dinobots! My favorite Transformers, this will turn the tide!

"There's an old saying in Tennessee - I know it's in Texas, probably in Tennessee - that says, 'Fool me once, shame on...shame on you. Fool me - you can't get fooled again.'"
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  #49  
Old 01-10-2018, 04:41 PM
buddha_david buddha_david is offline
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Apt Pupil. Came from the same novella collection as Stand by Me ("The Body") and The Shawshank Redemption, so it was a golden opportunity for a perfect trifecta. Sadly, 'twas not to be.
  #50  
Old 01-10-2018, 04:43 PM
Prof. Pepperwinkle Prof. Pepperwinkle is offline
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The Shadow with Alec Baldwin. I've been a lifelong fan, and the fact that they started it off by telling his origin ruined the whole film for me. He's supposed to be a mystery to the audience as well as to the criminals.

A Little Night Music. Love the play. Looks like a good cast. But... no. Elizabeth Taylor stars, and was smart enough to not even try to sing, just recite the lyrics, but, still, no.
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