Arnold Schwarzenegger finally gets a zombie movie with Maggie, and it’s everything you’d expect it to be, loaded with action, explosions and a bit where Arnie shoots his zombie wife in the wife and quips, “Consider that a divorce.”
Nah, just kidding. So listless that it might be an episode of Fear The Walking Dead under another name, Maggie consists of Arnie moping about while his daughter (Abigail Breslin) slowly succumbs to infection after being bitten. Just like FTWD, it’s basically a zombie story for people who’ve never watched a zombie movie in their lives.
Back in the 90s, Arnie was being mooted as a possible lead in the long-gestating remake of I Am Legend, and if he’d done the movie instead of End Of Days, then he would’ve been taking on zombies with machine guns, a very different approach from the version that eventually starred Will Smith. Maggie’s lack of firepower turns out to be a bad idea because if ever a movie needed endless sequences of the Austrian Oak mowing down hordes of flesh-eaters, it’s this one.
4. The Last Airbender
Now let’s get this right: there are four nations – Water, Earth, Air and Fire – and the Avatar is the only person who can control and unite them. A hundred years ago, he mysteriously vanished, but it turned out that he was trapped under the ice in a giant sphere all along, and now the villainous Fire Nation are hunting the Avatar for oh some reason.
Yeah, The Last Airbender could’ve used a tongue-in-cheek approach.
You know you’re in trouble when a character asks what the Spirit World actually is and is told, “It’s not a place made up of things you can touch. But it exists, nonetheless.”
The latest in a string of anti-masterpieces, The Last Airbender is so bad that you suspect M Night Shyamalan must be sending himself up. How else do you explain dialogue such as “I offer my condolences on your nephew burning to death in that terrible accident.”
3. Fifty Shades Of Grey
Fifty Shades Of Grey swept the board at the 2016 Razzie Awards, winning Worst Picture, Actor, Actress, Screenplay and Worst Screen Combo. Critics called it “absurd” and a “half-baked mess” and even fans of E.L. James’ books conceded that they probably weren’t up there with the Sistine Chapel.
None of which affected the picture’s box office: with a worldwide gross of $561 million, it was the 11th most popular film of 2015, ahead of Ant Man, San Andreas and Mad Max: Fury Road. Try to wrap your brain around that. A $40 million bonkbuster that nobody claimed to like made nearly $200 million more than Fury Road, which was nominated for 10 Oscars (and won 6).
When Deep Throat tore up the box office in 1971, making more money than either Dirty Harry or Diamonds Are forever, The New York Times coined the term “Porno Chic” to describe the burgeoning interest of middle class couples in hard-core pornography. Fifty Shades isn’t explicit enough to bear comparison with that clunker, but it does shine a light on the private lives of your middle class friends.
2. The Happening
Attention fans of Signs and The Village: you’re the ones who equipped M Night Shyamalan with a bulletproof ego and convinced him he could do no wrong with his humourless, po-faced storytelling. The Happening is all your fault.
Another in a string of anti-masterpieces that make The Sixth Sense look like a fluke, The Happening is bad enough to convince you that M Night Shyamalan must be sending himself up. An early sequence where an entire construction crew leaps to their collective doom is funny enough, but it’s nothing compared to a scene where Mark Wahlberg attempts to brainstorm a solution but can’t concentrate because his colleagues keep shooting themselves.
Trapped in the midst of this, and looking like Bambi in headlights, is poor Zooey Deschanel. Hopelessly miscast, and called upon to deliver lines like “Just when you thought there wasn’t any more evil that could be invented!” her ‘stoned goldfish’ acting is the icing on the cake.
1. The Da Vinci Code
Dan Brown’s novel sold over 50 million copies, but have you ever met anyone who said they liked it? This adaptation is just the same: it has the best cast, director and screenwriter that money can buy, but its apologists are few.
Too clunky to be thrilling, too ridiculous to be taken seriously and with a notable lack of chemistry between Tom Hanks and Audrey Tautou, The Da Vinci Code is in such a hurry to cash in on the novel’s popularity that it has no use for decent staging and cinematography. Instead, it just plods along for two and a half hours, and even casting an A-list actor in every role doesn’t generate much interest.
That said, the movie took $758 million worldwide and launched a franchise starring Hanks as Robert Langdon. The series limped along for a while, but nobody went to see Inferno in 2016 so we won’t be bothered by this kind of nonsense again.