As the years go by, the studios continue to churn out an ever increasing amount of product. However, while the number of titles hitting cinemas has doubled in the past ten years, the actual amount of quality on screen has remained fairly consistent. The inevitable conclusion? An ever expanding list of cinematic abortions – films done just to cash in on a niche market or a tax break. Lets get these real dogs out of the way first, the truly atrocious films this year that simply didn’t deserve existence (but we were forced to endure).
WORST FILMS OF 2007:
The Abandoned, Alvin and the Chipmunks, Are We Done Yet?, The Astronaut Farmer, August Rush, Awake, Balls of Fury, Because I Said So, Blood and Chocolate, Bratz, Captivity, Codename The Cleaner, The Comebacks, The Condemned, Daddy Day Camp, Dead Silence, Delta Farce, D.O.A. Dead or Alive, Dragon Wars, El Cantante, Epic Movie, Evening, Feel the Noise, Firehouse Dog, Fred Claus, The Game Plan, Good Luck Chuck, Hannibal Rising, Happily N’Ever After, Hatchet, The Heartbreak Kid, The Hitcher, Hitman, Hot Rod, I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry, Kickin’ It Old Skool, The Invisible, The Last Mimzy, License to Wed, The Messengers, Mr. Bean’s Holiday, Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium, Mr. Woodcock, Norbit, P2, Pathfinder, The Perfect Holiday, Redline, Saw IV, The Seeker: The Dark is Rising, Skinwalkers, Stomp the Yard, Sydney White, This Christmas, Underdog, War, Who’s Your Caddy
Now onto the big list. These aren’t the worst films of the year per se, many of those above are far worse than these in terms of quality, but these are the ones that will be remembered for far longer. These are the titles that had more opportunity to succeed, in some cases they had everything going for them, and in being bad have consequences that will last for years and put a stain on the names of those involved or the franchise they’re a part of.
BIGGEST DISAPPOINTMENTS AND EMBARASSMENTS OF 2007:
When it comes to superhero movies, the word trilogy has now been firmly cemented as a fearful thing. “Superman III,” “Batman Forever” and “X-Men: The Last Stand” turned franchises with great first films and arguably even better second films into walking jokes. Many blamed the simple changing of the guard behind the scenes, with new directors coming in and taking over from more seasoned and solid talent like Donner, Burton and Singer for the mess.
With “Spider-Man 3” however, there is no such excuse as those involved have been there from the beginning. Like those ‘three-quels’ before it, on its own this film is a moderately enjoyable Summer escapist effort with some great set pieces and nice character moments. In comparison to what came before it however – it’s disastrously problematic.
Louder, brasher and ultimately flatter than the first two films, the material is simply too much stretched too far. Even a puppet master like Raimi can’t juggle three villains, the ongoing Harry-Mary Jane-Peter love-hate triangle, the whole black suit subplot, and several new characters at the same time. The result is a definitely feeling that many of the elements involved were rushed out rather than carefully crafted.
Not helping is Raimi’s obvious distaste for the Venom subplot which effectively wastes one of the great comic book villains in a way as bad as Two-Face, Bane or Mr. Freeze were reduced to cringe-inducing antagonists in the Schumacher Batman films. The black suit/rise of Venom subplot is one that deserves a whole film of its own, instead its a B story here and suffers for it – most memorably by the awkward dancing and ‘street strutting’ scenes with Maguire sporting a black emo haircut.
The A plot isn’t much better. There’s a few great moments like the hilarious supporting work of Bruce Campbell as a French maitre ‘d and J.K. Simmons as the Daily Bugle editor, whilst the Sandman ‘birthing’ scene is a truly beautiful and haunting sequence that stands out as one of the year’s best moments in film. Yet they’re compounded by some painful amateur mistakes, from the never before seen butler who has critical information at just the right time to the final construction site fight that’s painfully narrated by an on-the-ground reporter.
The first two “Spider-Man” films, whilst overrated, are superb pieces of blockbuster filmmaking and having a third of equal quality would’ve been a perfect cap to the trilogy. Sadly that didn’t happen and it’s a shame. A film like this had extremely high standards and expectations to live up to and sadly let many down on that front – enough that it sadly leaves a bitter taste about the whole franchise.