…at least according to TIme magazine:
Of the movies in this list, I’ve seen a grand total of two of them, the romantic comedy/spy drama hybrid This Means War and the Disney mega-flop John Carter. Frankly, I disagree with their inclusion in this list. To me, both This Means War and John Carter were hardly “terrible” films and were hardly the worst movie experiences I had this year.
On the other hand, were either of the films “great”?
This Means War, to me, was a rather typical romantic comedy that benefited from a clever concept and the charisma of its four leads. And I won’t lie: There were times I grinned at the silliness presented on the screen and, yes, even managed a couple of laughs. Would I see the film again? No. But having seen it once and suffered through some truly execrable romantic comedies, I can faithfully report I’ve seen much, much worse.
As for John Carter, there is no doubt the movie was a box-office train wreck of massive proportions. No one wanted to see it despite boasting a huge budget and a director who had worked magic with Pixar animated films. As with This Means War, though, I didn’t find John Carter to be the colossal catastrophe others proclaimed it was.
Was it a great film? Absolutely not, though I suspect part of the problem modern audiences had with it lies in the sad fact that many of the ideas and concepts found in the writings of Edgar Rice Burroughs (ERB) have been copied and pirated by for so many years now that when John Carter finally was released, less aware viewers might have felt this film was a “rip off” of concepts found in other, more popular sci-fi films. But that’s only part of the problem. Another big issue was the terrible, terrible promotion of the film. Well before the film was released potential audiences already sensed the movie was a bomb and, thus, a self-fulfilling prophecy was made.
Getting past those two big issues, though, gets us into what I feel is the movie’s ultimate main problem: The lack of charisma between the two leads. Unfortunately, the stars of this film never gave off the sexual sparks they should have to make the audience root for their romance overcoming the many obstacles thrown in their way. The best of ERB’s writings, from Tarzan to the Martian novels, not only featured grand adventure but also a strong sense of sensuality/sexuality. In John Carter, it seemed like the puritanical shadow of a chaste Disney was looking over the proceedings and making sure the two leads never got too hot and heavy.
Having said that, I reiterate: Time’s inclusion of this film in the “worst of” movie list seems wrong. Certainly John Carter belongs in the “Biggest Financial Bombs” list of the year, but in spite of the lack of chemistry between the two leads, an overly familiar story, and horrific promotion, the movie itself was hardly a complete wreck, at least in my opinion.
Of the eight remaining films on the list, the only one I sorta/kinda want to see is Cloud Atlas. Some critics absolutely loved the film while others loathed it. I’m willing to give it a try when it reached home video.
As for the other seven films on the list, I doubt I’ll see any of them, at least based on plot summaries and trailers. One of those films in particular, The Odd Life of Timothy Green, looked to me like a complete train wreck. Another Disney film. Go figure.