Following on from my Top Ten films of 2014, here’s my picks for the Top 5 Worst Films of 2014. (I didn’t have enough for a list of 10. I have some very mediocre films this year, but they’re not quite bad enough to make this list!)
I don’t think Transcendence deserves anywhere near the level of critical shame that appears to be attached to it – I don’t think it’s a bad movie, per se – but it is a disappointment. Everyone expected big things from Wally Pfister’s (Chris Nolan’s director of photography for the Dark Knight trilogy, among others) directorial debut – especially when coupled with a star cast, and what looked to be a good script. Instead we are given a film that can’t decide if its action, drama, or science fiction, a shining example of spectacle over story. It’s beautifully shot, but entirely underwhelming, and that is why it makes this list.
- Dracula Untold
The start of Universal’s shared monster universe, I think many had high hopes for Dracula Untold. Audiences were promised a new take on Dracula, examining the life of Vlad III, the man who would become Dracula. What had initial promise is merely another unforgettable mess of special effects and very little story
- The Amazing Spider-man 2
A perfect example of how studio-interference can ruin a film. Following the success of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Sony was just one of several companies who decided they’re superhero properties should co-exist, and tie in to each other. The only issue? Unlike Fox, who own the rights to X-Men and the Fantastic Four, or Marvel, with their huge back catalogue of characters, Sony only own the rights to Spider-man – any shared movie universe that they create can only feature characters from his back story. Before The Amazing Spider-man 2’s release, Sony announced their plans for a spin-off featuring the Sinister Six, a team made of Spider-man’s enemies.
It seems that director Marc Webb was dealt a rough hand: Sony was relying on ASM2 to set up their comic book movie universe, and in doing so, force him to shoehorn in unnecessary plot lines and characters. What could have been a great film instead becomes a spiralling mess, even its strongest part, the chemistry between Andrew Garfield’s Peter Parker and Emma Stone’s Gwen Stacey is diminished.
This is far from the movies only flaw – it is overly long, filled with plot holes and questionable logic, a weak script and poor characterization, and some very questionable acting – but it is the most glaring, Sony’s decision to place their Spider-man plans on hold, and hold talks with Marvel about returning the character rights to Marvel, and using Spider-man in the MCU shows how badly they misfired.
Had Webb been able to focus on cementing the story instead of setting up a sequel it could have been a great film – instead it is tied with Spider-man 3 as my least favourite film of the Spider-man series, and one of the biggest disappointments of 2014. At least they got the suit right.
- A Million Ways to Die in the West
I may be in the minority, but I still enjoy Family Guy and I really enjoyed Ted. I don’t even mind Seth McFarlane as an actor. I had hoped that A Million Ways to Die in the West would follow the highs of Ted and be another laugh filled comedy. Instead AMWtDitW is sadly lacking – in jokes, acting, and story. Perhaps if I hadn’t had the jokes spoiled in all the trailers I would have found this a better film – but as always, the studios ruined them. I understand trailers are there to get people to see the film, but showing all the best jokes before you have seen the film leaves it empty, by the third of fourth time the trailer has been played, the jokes have gone from being laugh out loud funny, to barely eliciting a smirk. This can be said of all comedy films – but the key difference between a good comedy, and a bad one – is having a good enough mixture of jokes and story that the studio doesn’t have to cherry pick the best ones for the trailer.
1.Transformers: Age of Extinction
After Transfomers: Revenge of the Fallen, I didn’t think there could be a worse film. Then Dark of the Moon was released. Michael Bay announced he was taking a break from the franchise, as was his main star, Shia LeBouf. Finally, I thought, we might get a decent Transformers film, with a director who is able to film a fight without a million and ten different angles, who doesn’t put explosions, special effects, and product placement above everything else. Then, after Pain and Gain (which I accidentally enjoyed – rare for a Michael Bay film) Bay announced he was returning to Transformers. I don’t think many rejoiced, but I did hope that after a few years break, and with a new cast, Transformers may improve. It wouldn’t take much. I couldn’t have been more wrong, Age of Extinction is an overly long mess of a film, with more plot holes, bad acting and unbelievable stunts, then explosions. This started out as so bad its good – but it surpasses that, and goes full circle to being so bad, it is truly awful. I can honestly say I would rather eat my own shit than waste another three hours watching this truly awful film.
The worst part is knowing that as the top grossing film of 2014, it is all but inevitable for another sequel, that more and more people will flock too – and the cycle will repeat, and Michael Bay will make even more money raining shit on what could be a good franchise – in the right hands.
Some honourable mentions: TMNT (I haven’t seen this, and having heard my friends opinions, have no plans to) Lucy (that was a bit of a mess, but not bad enough to warrant the list) and The Inbetweeners 2 (you can have too much of a good thing)