This week’s Ten on Tuesday topic, “10 Movies That Disappointed You,” has been unexpectedly difficult for me. I have a few ideas why:
- I tend to base my decision on whether or not to see most movies on the consensus of reviews – and if they’re mostly unfavorable, I probably won’t go. Therefore, I avoid setting myself up to be disappointed in the first place.
- On the other hand, there are certain movies I will see no matter what anyone says. I’ll probably read a few reviews to see whether I should adjust my expectations, but I don’t expect to be disappointed.
- As I mentioned in this post about best and worse movie adaptations from books, I tend to block the bad ones from my memory, so it really was hard to think of very many disappointments.
I think that last category is the source of a lot of movie disappointment. Adaptations come with a potentially built-in audience, but that audience can be very demanding about faithfulness to the original source material – and very vocal about their displeasure if the movie version falls short. The disappointment risk also runs pretty high with sequels, although I think many of us have learned to be skeptical about them and set the bar a little lower. What both adaptations and sequels have in common is a knowledgeable viewer base – and often a high nerd factor – but with that base come expectations. Disappointment occurs when the expectations aren’t met, for one reason or another.
Three movies immediately came to mind in response to this week’s question:
Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace – We waited 16 years for this. And we got Jar Jar Binks.
Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones – There were some really good battle scenes, but they were almost canceled out by the awful Anakin-and-Amidala ones.
Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith – Less disappointing than the first two, but still less than what it might have been.
I stalled there, and asked my husband for some ideas. He agreed with mine (well, duh), and contributed three of his own selections:
Superman II – I never saw it, so I’ll take his word for it.
Star Trek: The Motion Picture – I completely agree with him. What “motion”? I know several people that fell asleep in the theater during this one, and all of them were fans, not just casual moviegoers.
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – “Too different from the book” is my husband’s verdict. I’m not sure they should have even tried to make it into a movie, although I think they did get the Vogons right.
Collectively, we’re not making it to ten, so I’m throwing in a couple of 2008 releases that have major disappointment potential, especially for Tall Paul:
Get Smart – We both loved the TV show when we were younger. I’m probably more optimistic about this one than he is – I think Steve Carell is a good choice for Maxwell Smart – so, conversely, I actually may be more disappointed if it falls flat on its face. Sorry about that, Chief.
The Dark Knight – He loved Batman Begins and has high hopes for the sequel. I hope they don’t let him down.
See what I mean about adaptations and sequels?
Head over to Ten on Tuesday to find out about other people’s cinematic disappointments, and share your own right here, if you like!