As much as I loved the year 2013 in theatres, and with some stunning films that a few years ago that I never would have watch it was quite enjoyable, there were also some significant low points. The worst part of these low points is that most of these films are ones that I was really excited for over the course of the year, and in the end, none of them lived up to those expectations.
The absolute worst part of this entire situation is that, in total, three of these films appeared on my most anticipated films of 2013 list that I wrote back in January. Those films actually sting more than the others, as there was a reason why I was looking for ward to them, only to have them falter in the end.
I had initially set out to make a list of five films but at the end of the day, the list includes six films. The list appears in alphabetical order except for the last film, the one that I found to disappoint me the most in 2013.
Released – August 9th
Box Office – $93 million North America/$193 million Worldwide
I loved 2009’s surprise hit ‘District 9’ from director Neill Blomkamp. I loved it so much that it was one of my favourite films of that calendar year. As a result of that, ‘Elysium’ was probably the one Science Fiction based film not called ‘Star Trek’ that I was most looking forward to in 2013.
To be completely honest with you, there was still some fun aspects of this film that make it worth a watch at some point and time. ‘Elysium’ manages to prove that the ‘Bourne’ films were correct in showing that Matt Damon is in fact a legitimate action star, but this is not quite enough to forgive some other aspects of the film.
And that leads to what is my biggest issue with ‘Elysium’. It isn’t that it shows a white male saving a mostly Hispanic population from the shackles of poverty, but that, in a world that is indeed shackled by an insane level of poverty, the main character somehow manages to have a brand new pair of Adidas running shoes. How is that even remotely possible?
That fact alone nearly took me entirely out of the film, and completely ruined the social commentary for what the film was clearly trying to strive towards. It turned it into an interesting think piece into a generic action film, and in the middle of August, I was actioned out.
A Good Day to Die Hard
Released – February 14th
Box Office – $67 million North America/$237 million Worldwide
The fifth time out for the ‘Die Hard’ franchise should more than likely wind up being the last installment of the franchise if the North American box office results are the deciding indicator, and not because they wrote it to have a logical final conclusion.
The real issue here is that this ‘A Good Day to Die Hard’ was the worst Die Hard style film we had in 2013, as once again a studio decided that it would be a good idea to run out an aging action star in a futile attempt to pass the torch on a franchise onto a younger star.
This film was overshadowed by two later films that were far better Die Hard films than this in ‘Olympus Has Fallen’ and ‘White House Down’, and Bruce Willis actually showed that he is still an action star with his role in ‘G.I. Joe: Retaliation’.
In the end, this was one of the ten films I was most looking forward to in 2013, and it took just a month and half to feel my first real disappointment when it came to a film.
Jack the Giant Slayer
Released – March 1st
Box Office – $65 million North America/$132 million Worldwide
‘Jack the Giant Slayer’ is doubly disappointing as it was also one of my most anticipated films of 2012 before it was bumped back to March to upconvert it to 3D, and then was a very bland film in the end.
The only true upside about this is that thankfully Bryan Singer knows how to make ‘X-Men’ films, because this take on the Jack and the Beanstalk fairy tale was a bloated, convoluted mess and barely showed the benefits of its estimated $175 million budget.
This film also wasted the efforts of some very good actors such as Stanley Tucci, Ewan MacGregor and Nicholas Hoult in what ended up being a CGI-filled popcorn flick and nothing more. You can tell that ‘Jack the Giant Slayer’ was originally setup to be a summer blockbluster, but that just never materialized.
The Lone Ranger
Released – July 3rd
Box Office – $89 million North America/$171 million Worldwide
Very similar to the kind of money that was spent on ‘Jack the Giant Slayer’ is the kind of money that was spent on ‘The Lone Ranger’. The kind of money that was spent on both films was sequel-style money, when you already have a built in audience, instead of trying to find a market for your franchise.
Even with that being said, there is really only one reason why ‘The Lone Ranger’ ended up making this list. That reason is the completely unnecessary old-Tonto story line. That angle, featuring Johnny Depp in 90-year old leathery Native American make-up took me completely out of the film every time they cut to it. I understand why they did it. They did it to try and bring back some of the Disney PG nature to the film. In the end though, it allowed me to start using the following line: “When you make a film for everyone, you wind up making a film for no one”, and that is exactly what the theatrical cut of ‘The Lone Ranger’ is.
I will long be a proponent of a 110 minute cut of the film that entirely eliminates old-ass Depp and focuses on the Wild West nature of the entire Lone Ranger back story. If that was what we had seen back in July, it might very well have ended up on my end of the year top ten list, that is just how much I enjoyed the rest of the film.
The end result of the disaster at the box office that ‘The Lone Ranger’ ended up being was an interesting trade between Disney and Paramount. Disney acquired the rights to make future ‘Indiana Jones’ films and in return Paramount has picked up the producing might of Jerry Bruckheimer. Never forget that Bruckheimer is one of the men responsible for the very profitable ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ franchise.
Released – July 19th
Box Office – $33 million North America/$44 million Worldwide
‘R.I.P.D.’ is easily the worst film I watched in 2013, and is indeed one of the worst films that I have ever willingly paid money to see. That is just how bad this film was. It is interesting to note, however, how a film featuring Ryan Reynolds, Jeff Bridges and Kevin Bacon managed to be just this awful.
The absolute worst part of this film is the fact that it wasted what could have been one of the characters of the year in Jeff Bridges as a deceased Wild West lawman. Anyone responsible for ruining that for all of us should have been fired immediately and never let near another film again in their lives.
Correction, the absolute most awful part of ‘R.I.P.D.’ is that I willingly paid money to see this in the theatre. This movie is in the bottom five of worst movies of all time. Yes, it is in fact just that bad.
Man of Steel
Released – June 14th
Box Office – $291 million North America/$371 million Worldwide
I just want to start this one off by saying that I really enjoyed ‘Man of Steel’, and that just before finalizing this section, that I watched it again on Blu-ray and enjoyed it just as much. I was happy with the heart of the film and the build up in the first and second act as well. I absolutely loved the opening twenty minutes on Krypton with Russell Crowe. I said it then and I will say it again, I would love a two hour Krypton film with Crowe in the lead. It was smart, it was stylistic, it was fantastic.
However, the final act, really the attempted climactic oneupsmanship of 2012’s ‘The Avengers’ is what truly let ‘Man of Steel’ down. At this point is where it felt like the film lost all of its direction and focus and was unable to fully realize the type of film that it wanted to be. It spent almost 90 minutes building up a warm uplifting story, much like the Superman character has become known for, only to fall into the typical alien invasion/disaster flick that we see at the theatre multiple times a year it seems.
The films final act was full of carnage and destruction on par with the best apocalyptic films of all time, very much a disaster popcorn flick. But right at the end, ‘Man of Steel’ asks us to put behind us essentially everything we have just seen, including a very un-Superman-like ending to the battle with Zod to once again believe in the main character as if we haven’t had our hearts ripped out.
Based on the first two acts of the film, ‘Man of Steel’ should have been the film of summer and a renaissance for DC and Warner Brothers. Instead, it falls short of anything Marvel and Disney, their direct competitors, have given us and what could amount to a borderline failure. If you don’t believe that possibility, why are DC and Warner Brothers adding both Batman, arguably the most recognizable character in the world today, and Wonder Woman to ‘Man of Steel 2’ in 2015?