With the year reaching its end, now's of course the time to look over the best and worst of the films I saw throughout 2017. Let's get the stinkers out of the way first...
#5 - Kong: Skull Island
Shared universes are all over the film industry since the MCU took off, and one of the most recent is the...MonsterVerse? Whatever. The series began with 2014's Godzilla, and continues with King Kong's rebooted motion picture debut; while it was welcomed by most, it just often had me bored beyond all measure. I feel Kong: Skull Island is burdened by sluggish pacing and a lack of focus on many of its key characters; instead more effort goes into showing off the admittedly impressive special effects and fairly entertaining if somewhat repetitive set pieces. Kong himself pops up now and again to have scuffles with the hideous creatures that lurk around the eponymous hellhole, and despite his presence always being fairly enjoyable, he's sadly put on the back burner for the most part in favour of our boring human protagonists.
It's not offensively bad, but just ends up being dull, repetitive, and riddled with clichés.
#4 - The Mummy
The Mummy is not just a remake of a beloved (albeit mediocre) fantasy flick, but the start of yet another shared universe intending to combine all sorts of horror characters into some strange, desperate ensemble. Things have certainly got off to a bumpy start to say the least, for while The Mummy starts off quite decent, it quickly sinks into something both boring and contrived. It's grossly obsessed with set pieces that aim to be chilling, yet ends up being unfocused nonsense as the characters confront a number of scary situations with very abrupt shifts in the overall tone. You're never sure what vibe the film is going for, be it genuinely scary or somewhat silly, and thus it ends up being a cheesy and poorly directed mess, only redeemed in areas by some decent performances and special effects.
#3 - Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales
I've always been a fan of this series, with even the lesser praised Dead Man's Chest and At World's End winning me over despite their many flaws. However, I couldn't quite force my biased love to get me into On Stranger Tides as much, so it was then the series coming to a closure seemed like the best option; though perhaps we must remember that with such larger franchises the interest is purely on profits and not so much on engaging storytelling.
Dead Men Tell No Tales adopts many of the series' common flaws and in some ways worsens them even further; viewers are just bombarded with a flurry of noisy action sequences that string together an underwritten, virtually non existent storyline. Perhaps the film's only compelling factor is the dedicated performance of Javier Bardem, which leads to Salazar being a fairly interesting foe despite his weak characterisation. But what about the iconic Johnny Depp? Once again his wit and charm is long gone, leaving Jack Sparrow naught but an irritating comic relief forced into a lead protagonist role.
With $794 million in global earnings, it was nowhere near as much of a success as On Stranger Tides, and it's apparent the series isn't the highlight it once was. Sadly, it seems more sequels are inevitable at this stage.
#2 - Transformers: The Last Knight
A decade ago Michael Bay's infamous Transformers series began with a decent albeit forgettable action flick, and from there became a shitty film making machine of sorts. As each sequel arrived, things got worse and worse, to the point where we could only wonder how such garbage was earning such promising profits for the studio. It seems this tradition, however, may now finally be coming to an end; with just $605 million in global earnings, The Last Knight is by far the lowest grossing of the franchise and was considered a big commercial disappointment. A sequel and a Bumblebee spinoff are still planned, so one can only hope that is where it will finally come to a close. At least until an inevitable reboot.
Oh yeah, this film. Well, of course it sucks, and of course it contains all of Bay's iconic trademarks: repetitive, bloated action scenes, narrow minded and rude humour, stereotyped characters, and a thinly written story. Yeah, the effects are very good, but that's not enough make it worth your time.
#1 - The Emoji Movie
Perhaps many saw this coming, and I reckon many of you will agree with my thoughts on this garbage. The Emoji Movie was met with naught but contempt and confusion from the minute it was announced, with backlash largely aimed, of course, at the incredibly daft premise. Said premise really doesn't have much potential outside of an amusing few jokes, so developing it into a good 90 minute animated feature is a task that perhaps not even the greatest of filmmakers could succeed with.
Sure enough, the result is a film that has little to no story behind it, and one that just ends up being a ridiculous array of unfunny pop culture jokes spat out by consistently irritating characters. Colourful visuals and rare laughs aside, The Emoji Movie simply becomes the prime example of what goes wrong when film studios go a little overboard with milking pop culture trends.
Thanks for reading!