Most bad films will generally have some sort of plus side to make up for all the rubbish, be it overall cheesiness or just having so much special effects and gimmicks that it tricks the masses into thinking it is a worthy film. Sometimes you will see a scene or at least a shot that just makes you go Ok that was pretty cool. Therefore I have tried to find shots within sup-par films that are effective in one way or another.
Just to keep things a smidgen less subjective I have only used films that receive a user rating less than 6.5 on IMDB. Also due to the nature of finding cool shots many of these will be a bit CGI heavy, so apologies to detractors of its use.
The Day After Tomorrow
Ah New York. With the amount of times it has been destroyed on film you could almost be forgiven for being wary of giant lizards, asteroids and marshmallow men when you visit. It is a hotspot for being cataclysmically obliterated. Indeed The Day After Tomorrow director Roland Emmerich almost seems to have a fetish for bringing about its destruction.
One of the most common of New Yorks demises seems to be giant tidal waves. Indeed The Day After Tomorrow may not have been the first, and is definitely not the last to flood the big apple but it definitely does it with style.
It is the first scene where we have a real emotional connection to someone within the destructive path. It is as the waves crash around the statue of liberty that we get the first real sense of what is at stake. It may be a ridiculous film but it is a fairly passable disaster-movie and whilst not as good as Independence Day is at least better than 2012.
Star Wars: Phantom Menace
I'm not going to go into why this is a bad film because it has been absolutely done to death and is an exceptionally boring subject now. Especially with the recent 3D re-release sparking debates that ideally should have ended over a decade ago (as if anything was needed to actually prompt these arguments).
However I think it is safe to say that Darth Maul (Ray Park) was one of the strongest points of the film, and the best villain of the prequels. Maybe if they had kept him until at least the beginning of the third before having Anakin take his mantle as apprenti... Argh, never-mind.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s8Mwzq3Wqqo
This may be down to hints of nostalgia and ultimately dashed hopes; but upon first seeing him activate the second side of his lightsaber, I loved him. It was a great twist on an already classic weapon. It may be a bit gimmicky (Arguably less so than Dooku and Grevious' weapons though) but managed to fulfil at least part of what the prequels had promised. The shot of him activating the second beam was one of the most effective within the film and just made him that much more iconic.
Say what you will but Michael Bay can make a film look good. They may not be of the highest calibre in terms of dialogue... character development... plot, but they do look cool. They may not be the most highbrow of films but they are good when you are looking for a stupid film to pass the time.
Armageddon is a very typical Bay film and features destruction on a Roland Emmerich scale. Because of this we are treated to many scenes of asteroids destroying major cities. Whilst the most well known of these in Armageddon is likely the New-York scene; Emmerich got there first and the destruction of Paris features an amazing shot where we witness the city get annihilated.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GbaQD6eF_qc
The shot is all from the viewpoint of gargoyles upon the Notre-Dame, who witness the city and eiffel tower fall. It may not have much regard for physics... at all, but it is an impressive shot that doesn't look half bad and manges to at least to convey how destructive the asteroids are.
The Bonfire of the Vanities
A lot of the entries on this list have been very special effects heavy, but that is mainly down to the nature of trying to captivate with one single shot. However there is more than one method of impressing with one single shot. One of these is the long take.
I must admit that I am a bit of a sucker for the long take. I love the technical ingenuity and the amount of planning used to achieve them, they almost always manage to be impressive. It is a major factor to why I love Children of Men, whilst my family was wondering what on Earth I was gushing all over it for. It's also why I started off really liking The Bonfire of the Vanities.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=luui7KGzciY
As the camera follows Peter Fallow (Bruce Willis) through a reception hall, the camera passes through a lift and twist and turn around characters. It is technically marvellous. During the first half hour of the film I could almost get over the bad acting and horrible script, purely down to the impressiveness of the long take. However soon it became an almost unwatchable mess. But hey, at least it has a good opening. As a mini bonus the films actual opening shot is an impressive 24-hour time-lapse on the Chrysler Building, but after these shots it's all down hill.
This is the perfect example of an awesome shot hidden within a terrible movie. Whilst many opt to focus on the weakness of Swordfish, the peak of the film is a real goodun. As the camera pans around the set we see ball-bearings and explosions in slow motion. It is the most effective use of bullet time since The Matrix. It may be almost entirely CGI but it still stands up today.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tWu6Y5ZA0fo
Unfortunately it is located within a film with no intellectual value and few redeeming features. It is therefore gutting that it could not be utilised towards its full potential. Just imagine if it had been in even a slightly more passable film such as Die Hard 4.0. Die Hard 4.0 whilst a pretty good film, featured boring action sequences when compared to previous entries. If John McClane failed to stop a bomb on this scale it would have been a good kick-starter and have improved at least some aspects of that film, and the plot could have easily been re-tweaked to encompass it. Alas it is in a dud of a film and constantly gets forgotten in favour of a shot of Halle Berry bearing all.
Got your own good shots hidden within awful films? Please share.