Sometimes the trailer is the best thing about a movie. What this means for the audience is, unfortunately, in some cases the trailer might be writing cheques the film can’t cash. Here is a list of the biggest, most anti-climactic build-ups and subsequent let-downs of 2014’s cinema releases:
1.Transformers: Age of Extinction
The loud, flashy robots were back, creaking and thrusting through a futuristic dystopia where new enemies emerged to eradicate the Autobots. The film staggered at a relentless pace, looking for every opportunity to fire up the screen with car chases, intricately detailed CGI or the requisite string of explosions. The flashy fare extended for 166 minutes of high-speed plot development and action, leaving movie-goers exhausted and desensitized.
2.Sin City 2: A Dame to Kill For
Following the success of Robert Rodriguez’s cult adaptation of the Frank Miller graphic novel in 2005, the sequel did not quite live up to the hype with 2014 audiences. The film brought back some characters from the original film and intertwined them with the stories of a handful of new ones, all the while drifting through its trademark gloomy, film-noir atmosphere. The new characters were one of the few redeeming factors in the movie, notably Joseph Gordon-Levitt as a wily gambler who would undoubtedly play online casino slots at Euro Palace with enthusiastic ardour. While in the first film it was a welcome, dark treat to peer into the black heart and characters of the thoroughly depraved city, the next installment feels too caught up in its own style and played it safe in terms of story development.
The robot-human peacekeeper franchise rose from the 1980s in this messily put-together reboot. The incorruptible Alex Murphy is the well-known hybrid enforcer, an experiment made possible by a collaboration between the police and a devious technologies corporation with barely-concealed ulterior motives. In a saturated market of sci-fi-action blockbusters the audience found the film wanting: humourless, cold and uninspiring. In this case, ironically, being robotic doesn’t help RoboCop in any sense.
In Johnny Depp’s next highly anticipated sci-fi vehicle, he played a character who uploaded himself into a computer just before his physical body died, from where his forlorn wife can chat with him and – to some extent – improve the world with his newly-gained omniscience. The tried-and-tested themes (respect nature, absolute power corrupts absolutely) are barely stretched, explored or refreshed as the audience would expect. Instead the film collapses into a shapeless shadow of a good movie, something that goes beyond disappointment into the territory of sad, missed potential. Also, for a Johnny Depp movie, there’s not a lot of Johnny Depp.
5.Need for Speed
Fresh from the success of AMC’s Breaking Bad, Aaron Paul returned to a slightly bigger screen to show a wider audience his ability to carry an action blockbuster. And what could be better than a film based on the high-octane thrills of a video game bearing the same name? The answer is pretty much anything else. How unbearably disappointing to see a truly talented and beloved actor thrown into the utter mundanity of Hollywood along with other similarly talented cast members. Especially in a film so ill-conceived and incomprehensibly threaded together.
We can only hope that 2015, with so many anticipated films including Jurassic World, Avengers: Age of Ultron and Star Wars Episode VII, does not disappoint. Fingers and toes crossed.