With great ideas comes great responsibility (to not make a bad film)

George Bell takes a look at films that wasted their great potential

George Bell
3rd April 2020
Hollywood is the industry of ideas. It takes a lot of money to turn an idea into a film, so you best make sure it’s a damn good idea. But even if you have a great idea it doesn’t necessarily mean it will be a great movie and unfortunately, it can end up as wasted potential is forgotten and hated by many. Here are a few movies with ideas as bright as my hopes for 2020 but with results similar to actual 2020.

What if for an entire night, there were no laws? It’s a simple yet horrifying idea and the premise behind The Purge (2013) and all its sequels. Such a brilliant idea should have led to a great horror movie but instead what we got was tamer and lackluster than hoped. Rather than depicting how scary a lawless city could be, the first movie for some reason instead depicted a simple home invasion. While it was an enjoyable watch it was, in the end, a disappointment as it wasted all its potential. At least the sequels improved on this with more interesting locations and a more accurate depiction of what a world without rules could look like.

Writer/director Simon Kinberg accepted Last Stand was not up to his standards, something he made efforts to fix with Dark Pheonix (2019). Image:IMDB

Following on from the very successful X-Men 2 (2003), the next installment in the series was the highly anticipated X-Men: The Last Stand (2006). Set to include iconic comic storylines like a mutant cure and dark phoenix as well as several fan favourite characters like Beast and Angel, the movie should have been an epic conclusion to the trilogy. Instead, it was anything but. The movie ended up being a complete mess and widely regarded as one of the worst comic books moves ever thanks to just way too much going on. With all the characters and plots overlapping it was impossible to keep track of what’s going on and still give it all justice. It just goes to show that too many good ideas and lead to all of it going to waste.

Another film that tried to be too big with its aspirations has got to be less than well-received Transcendence (2014) starring Johnny Depp and Morgan Freeman. The plot followed an AI scientist who after being shot has to be uploaded into a quantum computer. With an amazing cast, and the academy award-winning Wally Pfister, whose previous work included cinematographer for Inception, as the director the movie should have worked. But as with the theme for this article, it didn’t. Rather than going for a simple yet effective story, Transcendence felt the need to get more and more ridiculous as it went on. By the end, it was hard to take the film seriously at all and made you question what on earth you had just watched.

Starring father-son duo Will and Jayden Smith, After Earth (2013) had the interesting concept of trying to survive on an alien planet only for that planet to be revealed as Earth, similar to Planet of the Apes. It had the potential to be a big blockbuster up there with the likes of Avatar, so what went wrong? The usual charismatic and loved Will Smith was reduced to an emotionless character while Jaden tries and fails leads the movie. That’s what. Despite its massive 130 million USD budget, the CGI was at times appalling and it's safe to say this movie was a low point in Will Smith and director M Night Shyamalan’s careers.  

After Earth (2013) didn't live up to the success of the father & son team, Will & Jayden Smith, had on The Pursuit of Happyness (2006). Image:IMDB
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AUTHOR: George Bell
One half film addict, one part computer nerd. All parts Croc lover

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