The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen
The comic on which it is based is probably too violent and graphic for mainstream Hollywood fare. But it was utterly fascinating and wildly entertaining (if you can get bast its more grotesque parts). The concept sounds great: bring together a group of Victorian era characters as heroes against a horrible menace. However, most everything from the book was wrong. It isn't the fact that they ignored the story of from the comic book. Its that they didn't get the characters to resemble anything like the original story. I read the books and was fascinated by the great love and care that went into make their complex world. None of that was reflected in the film. Instead you have a "Hollywoodized" version of everything.
Mina Harker was the human ever-woman holding things together. In the movie, she is a female Dracula.
Allan Quartermain as a wash-up opium adict trying to regain his honor. In the movie, he is the elder statesmen, perfect hero.
Captain Nemo was a complex man of conflicting contradictions. In the movie he has a sub.
The Invisible Man was a psychopath whose evil would come back to haunt him. In the movie he was a wise-cracking thug.
Jekyll and Hyde were close to the original comic, but sanitized heavily
Add Tom Sawyer and Dorian Gray for no apparent reason and you have something that in no ways resembles the original.
Batman: The Killing Joke
I went to see this as a Fathom Event screening. The Killing Joke is one of the most crushing of Batman stories, so I was very curious to see how they adapted it. The original has such a strong, cinematic style to it, that you would think an adaptation would be simple.
For some reason, the first half consists of a completely unlrelated sub-plot, which is only used as an excuse for Batgirl and Batman to hook up on a rooftop. I remember watching the first half and feeling like this has nothing to do with The Killing Joke. But when the main story finally started, I had lost a good deal of interest.
I've read a bunch of Michael Crichton books and I think Sphere is the best of them. It is better than Jurassic Park or Disclosure. It is a story that is terrifying in how it is told, with some amazing twists and turns all the while filling the story with an incredible science fiction setting.
The movie starts promising, but you can tell they didn't know how to really film most of the high concept ideas that Crichton brings up and it devolves into a illogical mess.
Romeo + Juliet
I almost passed on seeing Moulin Rouge because I knew it was made by the same director as this film. I have seen good Shakespeare adaptations and bad ones. This was one of the worst. I understand the idea of trying to update the setting to make it more "relevant." But that isn't the issue. The problem is the insane, over-the-top style that director Baz Luhrman brought to the screen that makes the film almost unwatchable. He films dramatic scenes comedically, thus robbing them of all of their weight. When he does slow down enough to let us try and connect with the characters, it is far too late.
Nicholas Cage had been wanting to play a comic book superhero for years. Ghost Rider is a C-list character with whom you could make an incredibly interesting story.
However, all of the edge that makes Johnny Blaze so appealing was gone. The only scene worth remembering is where he tries to impress a girl with his motorcycle skills. Beyond that, the movie is so tedious that I was hoping it would end sooner, rather than later.
This character is a hard one to crack. He is not a hero. As one reviewer once said, "The Punisher scratches an itch, but then after a while he's kind of a turn off." They incorporated elements from Garth Ennis' classic run which portrays Frank Castle as nothing more than a psychopath. But instead of tilting him in that direction, he is like more muscle-bound version of Charles Bronson from Death Wish.
On top of that, you have a script that makes NO SENSE AT ALL all the while killing you with a terrible soundtrack. The disappointment is worse because Thomas Jane had all of the skills to be a great Punisher, but the movie let him and all the fans down.
Stay tuned for our next section on the Over-Hyped films.