Ideally, we would all be able to approach movies with complete and utter objectivity. Expectations often cloud our better judgment, and prevent us from evaluating movies on their own terms. But we all allow our preconceptions to color how we view movies (and anyone who claims otherwise is a dirty, filthy liar). Sometimes, if we go in with low hopes, we can be pleasantly surprised by how good a movie can turn out. But more often, we set our expectations too high, to the point where nothing can hope to live up to what we’ve put in our head.
But sometimes, it’s perfectly reasonable to get excited for a film. If it’s cast and/or crew has a great pedigree, or it’s the latest installment in a beloved series, or what have you, then why not hope, or even expect, that it will be good? Sometimes, these pre-judgements are rewarded. Other times, they are dashed horribly. Here are the ten most bitter disappointments of the year.
NOTE 1: Keep in mind that “disappointing” does not necessarily mean “bad.” In fact, few of the movies on this list are bad by any measure. But they were all not nearly as good as they should have been, given who they came from.
NOTE 2: The movies are listed in order of release date, not on some ranking of “disappointingness.”
10. John Carter
The Hype: After the wild success of Finding Nemo and WALL-E, Andrew Stanton had accrued enough clout to do anything he wanted, and he wrote A Princess of Mars on Disney’s blank check. Edgar Rice Burroughs’s novels set a template from which much of the science fiction of the past century has drawn. And with Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol, Brad Bird showed that a Pixar alum could make the transition from animation to live action with aplomb. There were worrisome signs, like the uninspired marketing campaign, but that was no reason not to be optimistic, right?
The Reality: There is some great stuff in John Carter, some moments of wonder and moments of fun. It has a great performance by Lynn Collins as Dejah Thoris, who transcends the role of mere love interest. It has Woola the superfast Martian dog-alien-thing, the most delightful cinematic animal sidekick in years. But movie is also awkwardly paced, sometimes even plodding, and overstuffed with unneeded elements. It also had weak villains and a mixed lead performance from Taylor Kitsch. It all evens out to a very nice, okay movie.
This article was first posted on December 24, 2012