Wednesday, May 30, 2007

The Curse of the Three-peat

Once upon a time I was looking to this summer's movie releases. As it turns out I haven't seen one movie so far this summer. Oddly enough this has nothing to do with any inability to get babysitting, but rather the dismal reviews I've been reading. For example: Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End Abandon hope all ye seeking a coherent, much less satisfying, narrative. And At World's End is so insanely plot-heavy that it requires scene after scene of exposition, and the whole thing sinks simply under the weight of the story. Or how about the reviews for Spiderman Three, those should have been better right? Maybe not... A disappointment. Spidey keeps his mask off and weeps. Everyone cries. I hated the silly monolith sad sack Sandman. Did Dunst's contract stipulate she sing two songs? And Raimi makes just about every wrong move in the sequel playbook, substituting scope and scale for the warmth and wit that made those two previous pictures so memorable. In this case, more is less. Even Shrek the Third couldn't escape the scathing words delivered by critics this year. Flat and pointless, Shrek the Third is a sequel made for the worst reason, merely to keep a mega franchise in the public eye and to position it for TV and Broadway spinoffs. And There's no disguising the fact that Shrek the Third has come down with a bad case of sequelitis. You know the symptoms: Lots of razzle-dazzle to distract from the hole at the center of the story. You know, the place where fresh ideas should be. Is it any wonder I haven't found the courage to go to the theatre yet? I'm sure it's no coincidence that all of these movies were a third installment, it's extremely rare that a movie franchise can continue this long with any quality. Surprisingly, I think the Harry Potter movies have managed to maintain some integrity and even enjoyed the fourth movie more than the rest. But I think it's because the Harry Potter movies are based on novels and not some cobbled together screenplay contrived for the sole purpose of keeping a series of movies limping along. Of course, Harry Potter has its fifth installment this year, so we'll see if they can keep it up. But there are more dreaded three-peats ahead. We still have Ocean's Thirteen, The Bourne Ultimatum and Rush Hour 3. God I hope the Bourne Ultimatum gets good reviews, I'd like to get out sometime this year. All reviews pulled from the Rotten Tomatoes website.

13 comments:

DesLily said...

ya know... even if they aren't "the best of the best".. if you liked the other movies, there's no reason you won't enjoy these. You already know scripts tend to be on a "down" by the 3rd movie.. but you go to relax and see "familiar faces" and hopefully a smile or two.. even if after I see one I say, "it wasn't as good".. I still got out.. I still saw the movie... and I rarely regret it.

Carl V. said...

I don't let reviews determine whether I see, or ultimately enjoy, a film. I figure my own opinion is best in those matters.

Reviewers rarely 'get' genre movies. And if they do they are often fanboys and are not completely objective. It is a catch-22 situation. If I believed reviewers, there are a ton of movies that I LOVE that I would never have seen.

I was disappointed with Spiderman 3, and really enjoyed the heck out of Pirates 3.

And I hope Bourne Ultimatum is as good as the first two. If so, it will be fantastic.

SQT said...

I usually try not to let the reviews get to me, they just seem overwhelmingly bad this year. And for Stewart to be disappointed in Spiderman, well, then it has to be bad.

avery said...

They said the last Pirates movie was too 'plot heavy,' as well. I didn't find it that way at all. Besides, I'd much rather see a film with multiple plot threads than a simple, point A to point B type flick that just throws C.G. effects onto the screen for two hours. It seems the production companies want the story line to pander to the lowest common denominator, anymore.

Hey there, Skippy said...

I really liked X3, but I very much get the drift with the rest of the post... Godfather, Part 3, anyone?

As for Pirates of the Carribbean, I believe that my antipathy towards it is already known, so I won't say anymore, other than to draw shameless attention to a review I wrote of the sequel last summer. You may be able to judge form it why I won't be seeing if 3's any good.

SQT said...

Avery and Carl, you give me hope that Pirates might at least be entertaining.

SQT said...

Skippy, it doesn't even have to be the third one, The Matrix was only good for the first go around. I bet if I were to think about it, I could come up with a ton of crappy sequels.

Fab said...

I try to avoid reading reviews. My opinion always differs from theirs. I don't know. Critics are often frustrated people. And, if you go out to watch a sequel, you always know there could be a chance it disappoints. It's a risk to take.

Morgen said...

Too-plot-heavy is lingo for "they didn't dumb-it-down for the masses"

To the movie reviewer: Believe it or not, some of us LIKE plot along with our characters!

Entertainment Weekly butchered Pirates 2, which I found to be delightful.
They give a higher rating to Pirates 3, but that doesn't have any bearing on whether I will see it or not: I'm going to the theatre as soon as I can find the time!

Jean-Luc Picard said...

The thirds this year seem to be well short of the quality of the others.

Jon the Intergalactic Gladiator said...

I did see Shrek the Third this weekend with the Mrs. and kid and I don't see why it got such bad reviews.

yes, it is the third movie and it doesn't quite reach the potential that the previous two did, but it had some really funny parts. Noteably, the Gingerbread Man and a scene with a group of princesses in action.

My daughter loves the Shrek movies and I thought that it was fine for her and had enough "adult" stuff in it for me.

The Curmudgeon said...

Youngest Son liked Pirates III but was mildly disappointed with Spiderman III. I think Middle Son didn't like either of them. But then, he paid good money to see Saw and Saw II.

Sometimes I enjoy movies that haven't received rave reviews because my expectations are sufficiently lowered....

Alex said...

The problem is, regarding your "plot heavy movie" comment, that the plot is neither ingenious nor creative in any way. It's just triteness upon triteness.

Luckily I knew I'd hate the film coming in, so I only found it mildly annoying last night, when I watched it.

BTW, I never thought I would say this, but Keira Knightley is rising in my Annoying Hollywood Bimboes toplist. She'll never dethrone Paris Hilton, but she could eventually reach the level of, say, an American Idol contestant, or something harmlessly distasteful, such as that.

*sigh*