By Joshua Waddles
Oh, you zillions of movies using beloved, established characters. Why do you have to be so bad? From Sherlock Holmes to Darth Vader, studios never hesitate to butcher fine art on the big screen with an attitude of “Who cares? It’ll make money either way.”
Yet there are some movies that just seem to rub it in. With just one or two good scenes in an otherwise craptastic movie, the creators cruelly show us how glorious the final product could have been if the directors had put in a little more effort or (more likely) if the money people in the studio had backed the (expletive) off and allowed true visionaries to do their jobs unhindered.
So here’s a list of five horrible movies with weirdly awesome scenes
1: X-Men: The Last Stand
Out of all the movies I’ve seen, this was definitely one of them. Cyclops might not be everyone’s favorite character (especially after the comic book version cheated on Jean Grey. Bastard!), but he deserved better than an off-screen death at the very start of the movie. In fact, it was kind of left up in the air whether or not he died at all, but he didn’t make an appearance in Days of Future Past. Unlike good ol’ Professor X, who did die on screen. But the post-credit scene (if anyone cared enough at this point to stick around for that) did show that Professor X transferred his consciousness into another person. So why include this completely pointless death scene? And why was Professor Xavier still in a wheelchair in Days of Future Past if he had a new body? (Presumably using his telepathy to make the new young body look more like himself.) Dunno. No idea.
The original idea would have given us a much darker and immersive story involving a barren world. X-Men movie writer Michael Doughtery revealed plans to have The X-Men and The Brotherhood team up to defeat The Dark Phoenix, who (more in line with the comic books) had journeyed deep into outer space and become a god, returning to take revenge on a world which enslaved mutant kind.
But Fox didn’t want something that dark on their screens, so we got yet another X-Men vs Brotherhood slugfest with a little bit of Dark Phoenix at the end.
So what was the good part?
One moment. Just one moment. Not even the entire scene, unfortunately, but the movie included one very, very good line from Mystique. While in questioning under government custody, the interrogating agent kept calling her “Raven,” as in “Raven Darkholme,” Mystique’s legal name in the comics. Mystique responded with…
“I don’t answer to my slave name.”
Her voice dripped with arrogance and contempt. It was a moment of villainous badassary made even better by the fact that she (and Magneto) were pretty much one hundred percent correct about what the human governments were planning to do to Mutant-kind.
Sadly, the movie ruined this awesome moment almost immediately by going too heavy handed with it. Oh, and how did Magneto’s deadliest general spend the rest of the movie?
Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows
Wait, this is a bad movie? Certain movie critics give it a pretty solid four out of five.
Well, they’re wrong. Stories featuring Sherlock Holmes and Dr. John Watson have always been intellectual thrillers where the heroes delve deep, solve mysteries and defeat the villains using their minds. Then Warner Bros. got ahold of it and turned it into the year’s umpteenth action movie. And even the action wasn’t very enjoyable, because they crammed it with those Matrix-style slowdown shots. They worked in The Matrix, but in every other movie I’ve seen it only distracts from what’s supposed to be an intense and immersive moment.
So what’s the good part?
The chess scene! During his final moments against the criminal mastermind, Moriarty, Sherlock sits down for a game of chess with his nemisis. Jared Harris reeeeeeeeally sells it as a gentlemanly Victorian villain. They milk the hell out of the chess metaphor while Watson and Simza search for the assassin, each character moving their pieces as they feel each other out.
But it gets even better when they stand up, eschewing the board as they get into each other’s faces. They continue the game doing their argument, but they don’t touch the pieces. They just call out their moves, continuing the game by memory from where they left off, and keeping the positions of all the pieces straight in their minds.
This is what a Sherlock Holmes movie is supposed to be!
It’s one of those sequels that just completely destroyed the franchise. From the opening moments, I wished they had not made this movie.
How did Michael Myers survive getting his chopped off? Oh, that’s easy. It crushed a paramedic’s voice box and dressed him up in his clothes. And the paramedic was also a mutant, because he stood up after getting thrown through the front windshield of the ambulance, and getting pinned to a tree by that same ambulance before Jaime Lee Curtis chopped his head off.
What was the good part?
The beginning of the movie, Gus Lynch portrayed a mental patient by the name of Harold Tremble. Tremble was the ultimate geeky fanboy, randomly giving out facts about his beloved creators. It’s just that his creators were serial killers.
When Trumble saw Myers walking past his room, his face took on the glee and excitement that weirdly made you smile for the guy. As Myers handed him his knife (framing him for the murder of Laurie Strode), he recited all of his encyclopedic knowledge of the killer, his voice trembling like a kid meeting his favorite wrestler for the first time. It was so twisted, and so psychotic, and in a weird way, weren’t you happy for this dude? I mean, didn’t you want to take him on a tour of death row and see the childish thrill in his face while he met all of his favorite serial killers?
It’s not just me, right?…
I was 30 before I realized this was a bad movie. That’s probably because I was 8 years old the first time I saw it. But looking at it with a more critical eye, yeah. It’s exactly the same as the first Ghostbusters, except not as good. The premise also makes no sense at all. The entire city saw the Marshmallow Man, but they still don’t believe in ghosts and sued the Ghostbusters for saving them?
What’s good about it?
Well, this movie had a couple of good things going for it. Vigo the Carpathian is a memorable enough, Norbert Grupe gave a glorious performance, and the soundtrack- holy ectoplasm, the soundtrack.
But the moment that makes this list comes from (big surprise) Peter Venkman, portrayed by the great Bill Murray. It stands out as a moment of epic heroism. When Vigo the Carpathian had all of the Ghostbusters paralyzed on the museum floor, there was nothing to stop him from completing his possession of Oscar, the baby. The only thing Venkman could think to do was delay Vigo in the best way he knew how, by pissing him off.
The situation seemed completely hopeless, buying seconds at most and likely making Vigo want to kill the Ghostbusters in more creative ways than those he originally intended. Winston Zeddemore’s reaction shot during Peter’s taunts say it all, but Peter was willing to take that just for the smallest, tiny chance of saving that baby.
Please do not throw a kunai at me! I liked this movie too. But let’s be honest, maybe part of the reason so many people liked this movie is because we’ve all had such a really crummy year and we really needed to find a way and enjoy something? Most of the actors were, at best, as good as those in the original Mortal Kombat movie. And others were more like a dollar-store imitation.
Worse was the writing. The interactions between Sonya and Kano, while fun, lacked the deep-seeded, burning hatred so essential for the characters. Lui Kang also should never be relegated to a side-character, especially for someone’s OC.
But one actor gave us the excuse we needed to leave the theater happy: Joe Taslim.
Joe Taslim not only looked the part, but he brought a uniqueness to Bi-Han that is almost certain to become cannon in the franchise in the same way as Trevor Goddard’s portrayal in the 1995 movie made Kano Australian. Joe Taslim’s body language dripped with arrogance that we could feel, even with the face mask blocking his facial expressions from view most of the time.
Joe Taslim not only made this film worth watching, he provided a service to Mortal Kombat fans everywhere. In the game canon, there was very little to distinguish Bi-Han from Kuai Liang. Bi-Han was the evil Sub-Zero, and Kuai Liang came in as his good-aligned replacement who was otherwise identical to him in every way (at least prior to Bi-Han’s death and resurrection as Noob Saibot).