On the whole, I think the year of 2010 was fairly positive for film. We saw plenty of great movies that made us visit the entire spectrum of emotions, and tell a powerful story (Black Swan, Inception, Scott Pilgrim, etc.) but unfortunately there were quite a few stinkers this year. The saddest part about some of those movies, however, is that they were supposed to be great! Some of the most hyped movies, failed. While not all of them were terrible they failed to deliver on the expected level of excellence.
So instead of a standard best/worst of 2010 list, I've decided to compile a list of the movies this year that should have been awesome...but weren't.
Iron Man 2
This is one of the movies that falls into the the 'wasn't terrible' category. Honestly, I really quite liked this movie (even though plenty of fans didn't), and I put it on about the same level of fun as the first movie. But that's the problem. They had a great setup and a fantastic start, but they didn't take it anywhere. Instead of expounding on what made the first film great and improving, the filmmakers merely stayed the course.
It had so much potential and the trailers made it seem like it would be incredibly epic. The problem was the story was fairly generic, and wound up being a massive advertisement for The Avengers as opposed to standing on its own. What should have been one of the highlights of the Summer blockbusters only left a sour taste in too many mouths.
Clash of the Titans
This one still has my head shaking. The original Titans movie being one of my favorites, I was incredibly excited for this film. I mean, it's sword and sorcery, with massive monsters, fighting action, and even Liam Neeson as a god...how in the Hell could they go wrong?
The hype for this film was high, and touted as a the next visual adventure that would transport us into another world. The story just wasn't there though. There was no character development, no real reason to be engaged in the action that was happening on screen, and the bottom line is that you just never seemed to care whether Perseus made it or not. It should have been a grand adventure, but it never even came close.
Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time
Again this is a movie that really isn't that bad. In fact I still recommend you pick it up and watch it at some point (it's mindless but that's part of the fun). The problem here though is that it had so much potential to be a better film. Not only that, but many were hoping it would at last break the stigma surrounding videogame movies.
I got the chance to edit a web-featurette for this movie and saw some pretty amazing footage. I couldn't wait to see this movie and witness the shift in videogame movies going from a joke to awesome. Instead I saw a movie filled with plot holes, vague references to the game, and a total lack of tension. The problem with time travel movies is that nothing (even death) is permanent...so any tension is erased pretty quickly.
Again, this film is fun to watch, but it's too much mindless action and not enough character. Truly it's a missed opportunity.
Survival of the Dead
This just made me want to cry. I love zombie movies, and George Romero started the zombie revolution in movies. His films have always been so fun to watch, filled with character, personality, oddly engaging politics, and plenty of undead carnage. The sad facts though, is that as George Romero has grown older, the genre he helped to define has really begun to surpass him. He's lost a lot of his touch.
Diary of the Dead was an interesting experiment, and on the whole it wasn't a total failure...yet it wasn't that great either. Survival of the Dead had me excited because he'd be returning to a more normal avenue of zombie adventures. The movie was just a mess, and rather than seeing a return of a great horror storyteller, fans were treated to a sub-par film by a filmmaker who's starting to show his age.
Absolutely, this was my biggest disappointment. What should have ended the year with a bang, only made me wish 2011 was here for new movies to wash this bad taste out of my mouth. I was a champion for TRON: Legacy and defended it when other early reviewers were tearing it down. I should have listened.
Great visuals don't make good movies. It's a lesson TRON didn't seem to understand. Filled with flashy effects and fights that made little sense, over-long talking scenes and ridiculously large plot holes made it almost unwatchable. The hype was huge on this movie, and Disney setting it up as their next huge franchise only made the disappoint sting much more. There were so many great ways this movie could have gone, but instead they played it safe and ruined what could have been the biggest event of the year.
There you have it. The year was filled with plenty of epic movies to keep film-goers happy, but just imagine what this year could have been like, if all of these films had lived up their potential. We would have seen videogame movies become profitable, a possible new age of excellent 3D, and even a director make a triumphant return. But 2011 is coming and is filled with promises of even more amazing movies. Let's just hope that this year we'll see all of the deliver on their promises (come on Green Lantern!).