Boy, where to begin with this one. I could list any of the numbers of terrible American remakes of great international cinema simply because Americans are too lazy to read during their movies (which we are), including but not limited to: Quarantine (remake of the fantastic REC), Let Me In (Let the Right One In), Death at a Black Funeral (same name, but with white British people instead), and many more. And there’s even more to come. More times than naught with these remakes, they just seem to be pandering to us, basically calling us stupid (which we may very well be, considering some of the box office numbers).
But I wanted to focus on those movies that were part of franchise and we so bad that they soiled the entire series for me. No matter how great the original was, it is forever tainted by the transgressions of its latter installments (be it sequels or the dread prequels). And we’re not talking about average films being pulled down into mediocrity. We’re talking about landmark, game-changing films that have been reduced to sad, pathetic photocopies of their former selves. It’s like the first time you ever get pizza from a new pizza place, it’s the best pizza that you’ve ever had in the history of your sad, lonely life. But from then on, every time you get that pizza, it tastes like dog poop…and punches you in the balls and calls you Nancy.
1. The Phantom Menace (1999)
Director: The Beard
Do you remember the first time you saw that trailer? I remember where I was and who I was with. I can remember I had goosebumps. I couldn’t believe hearing John Williams’ legendary score on a new Star Wars film. That money shot of Darth Maul sent me into a nerd frenzy. I needed to see that movie right that f–king second. But when I finally did see Phantom Menace opening weekend (at least I wasn’t dressed in costume, even I think that’s sad), I saw the beginning of the end of one of my most beloved franchises. It felt so disconnected to the universe established in the original trilogy that I had grown to love. Everything just felt wrong. Even the color pallet and overall design of the new film ran contrary to what made the originals so engaging. In Menace, everything was shiny and bright and felt fake. It may have been my tipping point when I turned against CGI, since you could clearly see the actors struggling to emote in front of a green screen, delivering lines to a tennis ball.
That kid was f–king terrible too. I don’t care if he was just a kid. I can’t hex George Lucas anymore than I currently do. It’s just not psychically possible. And apparently, Jake Lloyd is a huge maladjusted douche now too. Score one for karma.
If you care at all about the original series, you owe it to yourself to watch this guy completely tear the prequels a new butthole. (yes, I’ve pushed these videos before…but they are that good and I honestly couldn’t put it better.)
2. The Matrix Revolutions (2003)
Directors: The Wachowski Brothers (well, brother and sister now)
There was such an aura of coolness and mystery surrounding The Matrix when it was first released in 1999 (thanks to that pretty ingenious “what is the matrix” marketing plan). And I didn’t think it was possible for the movie to deliver on the expectations I had. But it did. The Matrix was and is one of the greatest, most original science fiction movies ever made. It took ground breaking, never-before-seen special effects (remember, before it had been parodies a billion times, we had never really seen bullet time or anything like it prior) and combined it with amazing fight sequences and existential philosophy. What resulted what something we had never seen before.
Flash 4 years later and the sequels were released. The action sequences were still there, but the effects were as breathtaking and felt a little redundant. But the philosophy angle went a little too far. This is probably the most accurate explanation of how ridiculous I thought the latter films got:
I thought that the third one made the second look like a good movie. And it wasn’t. The Matrix Revolutions was one of only 3 movies I ever walked out of in my entire life. It was right around the time in the movie when the sentinels formed into a human face even though Neo had no eyes. The thought of that scene still makes me physically agitated to this day. Grrrrr….
3. X-Men: The Last Stand (2006)
Director: Brett Ratner
F–k Brett Ratner. Seriously. I honestly don’t think that dude has made a good movie yet. Don’t you dare bring up Rush Hour to someone who really likes Jackie Chan (I just felt bad for him). And he managed to take a franchise that was ripe with possibilities (the X-men) with an solidly established universe with fleshed out characters and awesome set up (X-Men & X2) into one of the greatest story lines from the comics (The Dark Phoenix saga)…and drove that sumbitch straight into the ground. Then wait it for it to explode, then peed on it. Bryan Singer had a certain level of respect for the comics. Ratner just wanted to jam in as many characters as he could, kitschy and comic book cliches abound. That and he can’t establish believable connections between characters. Or direct at all. Seriously, how is he still working??
I don’t even want to put the trailer on here since I hate it so much. Thank god that Matthew Vaughn seems like he knows what he’s doing with First Class.
So here’s this instead:
Honorable Mention: Indiana Jones & The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (had to argue with myself to not include it above, but decided 3 outta 4 ain’t bad), Fantastic Four, Fantastic Four: Rise of the CGI Surfer, The Punisher, The Punisher: War Zone, Day of the Dead (2008), Survival of the Dead, Spiderman 3