5. The Pagemaster
A live-action/ animated film about a scared boy who escapes from a storm and ends up in a library run by a librarian who is more than he appears to be. The boy falls and knocks himself out only to wake up to a library where the art is melting around him, eventually washing over him and transforming him and the world around him into illustrations. The Pagemaster appears, he is the Keeper of the Books and Guardian of the Written Word.
The Pagemaster sends the boy through the fiction section as a way to exit the library and on the way the boy encounters anthropomorphic versions of famous books and he eventually enters these worlds. The film begins to feel like an ad for the library about how cool books can be.
And though that’s a fair assessment it doesn’t translate well on the big screen and takes away from the possibilities that could have been made about an Alice in wonderland premise set in a library. The use of public domain books and the voice work by Patrick Stewart bring up comparisons of the holodeck on “Star Trek: The Next Generation” where the use of readers going into a book better utilized how a reader could learn from literature.
4. Lady in the Water
A lady appears in the pool of an apartment building. There is mystery surrounding not only who she is but what she is. A water nymph sent from another world on a mission to find the Author, whose book will save the future of humanity. Of course there are mystical monsters who threaten the mission. The story focuses on the identity of others and how looks can be deceiving and sometimes the most powerful people are the last ones you would suspect.
The story is a decent blend of fantasy, mystery and thrills, but the ego of writer/director M. Night Shyamalan holds the film back as instead it focusing on attacking film critics and putting the role of writer on a pedestal. The film spends too much time depicting film critics and horrible people who aren’t smart but just think they are and then their arrogance gets them killed. A scene that felt like a cathartic experience for Shymalan after his last movie.
“The Village” received bad reviews. This film is a good example of why sometimes a film is worst when the writer directs their own work. And the worst part of the film is the fact that Shymalan cast himself as the great Author, whose work will save us all.
It’s too bad the concept of a fantasy with horror elements couldn’t have been explored more and the world of the apartment building couldn’t have been better utilized as a representation of our world in contrast to the blue world that the lady in the water came from.
3. Little Monsters
The monsters under your bed are real and when you sleep they come into your room. One boy discovers this and becomes friends with his monster because despite how he looks the monster is harmless and just plays pranks. The film failed for its slow pacing and lame adolescent jokes.
The overall plot was thin and felt rushed, but the concept was interesting in how it showed that what a child fears could be real. The concept was proven to be a good one in 2001 when “Monsters, Inc.” came out and showed that just because children were the audience childish jokes didn’t need to be told to keep their attention.
A world of tomorrow where technology appears to have no restrictions. Existing in another dimension is a land where the smartest and most creative people have come together to create a world where ideas and advancements are prioritized over wars and other destructive forms of society which are driving us towards an apocalypse. Our society is creating an apocalypse and Tomorrowland has turned their backs on us. Luckily an android who has been searching the world recruiting individuals who can save the world.
Director Brad Bird is known for his animated films, “The Iron Giant”, “The Incredibles”, and “Ratatouille.” “Tommorowland” would have benefitted from being in the format that Brad Bird excels in, animation. Animation would have made a better use of the world that was created and the tighter runtime that most animated films have. The androids and henchmen in the film are interesting and not all together bad, but it is actors playing androids and especially in the comedic moments they come across as silly, annoying, and embarrassing.
The concept would have been better with its awesome art direction done in a hand drawn and CGI combo. The story is not the worst but it would have benefited from the storyboard process as it would help fine tune the story and develop the characters better.
1. Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice
Two of the greatest superheroes ever are going to do battle. It is day v. night. It is the movie comic book fans have been waiting for. Unfortunately warner bros. decided to use this film to kick off a DCEU series and unlike Marvel they didn’t have the patience to build up to the big tentpole films of a film series, instead they decided to put skip ahead and put 3 films into one, so they could get to the “Justice League” film faster.
Even the title of the Zack Snyder film wasn’t safe from the need to cram as much story into this film as possible. The film should have stayed a film about Batman fighting Superman, but it became the dawn of justice. Marvel has the good sense to hint at future films in their post credit scenes and allow the films to stand somewhat alone as their own story.
One reason “The Avengers” was so great is because the audiences became invested over a series of stories that made the characters into ones that we cared about. Then when “Captain America: Civil War” came out we were invested not just in the characters but the versions that these actors had created.
“Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice” built up a battle and then ended it by doing the now infamous Martha scene and yes it’s interesting that both characters have a mom with the same name, but it was a rather weak way to end storyline. Now that the filmmakers sped through the first story and have laid the tracks for the dawn of justice it was time to do the third movie; the death of Superman.
What should have been its own standalone film of one of the greatest comics turned out to be a rushed afterthought that felt like it was thrown in because someone said “we should end with a cliff-hanger.” The film would have worked if it stuck to one concept instead of 3, plus an introduction of Wonder Woman.