5. Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald (2018, David Yates)
“Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald” is one of the films that has the worst editing ever, with scenes jumping from one place to another and weird unexplained cuts that don’t make any sense to the story and are just boring. The Harry Potter extended universe doesn’t have a solid narrative ground to be filmed on, and of course doesn’t live up to the original Harry Potter films, yet the film is visually amazing and beautiful to look at. The creation of the creatures (the beasts) is unique and solid, and the creation of period times (Paris, New York in the 1920s) is flawless and compelling.
The film benefits greatly from the Harry Potter aesthetics and delivers a visually stunning look at the Harry Potter world with a fresh perspective. The major problem of “The Crimes of Grindelwald” is the fact that the story has been stretched to cover a series of films; it ended up being a long, boring film that feels crowded with characters, with a weak, lazy story and major technical and writing problems that the expensive CGI didn’t save.
4. Elysium (2013, Neill Blomkamp)
“Elysium” is an Orwellian story; in the year 2154, the very wealthy live on a man-made space station while the rest of the population resides on a ruined Earth. These stories have always been fan favorites. “Elysium,” written and directed by Neill Blomkamp, the man who made the brilliant “District 9,” this time comes with a different story with similar themes. Blomkamp has this unique vision of creating a science fiction world that looks and feels different; his approach doesn’t create worlds from scratch but uses real-life wasteland-like landscapes and adds the science fiction elements to it, a fresh and different approach of dystopian fiction and cyberpunk.
“Elysium” has all of these elements, the looks and the feel of a great setting where the story takes place, but despite the fact that the story sounds interesting and futuristic, it lacks any depth that makes the audience connect with it. The film promises the audience with a lot with its great bold ideas and great looks, yet it doesn’t deliver enough. “Elysium” is a film that looks uniquely special and fresh, with real creative world-creation, but is flawed with its lack of depth and its weak writing.
3. Ghost in the Shell (2017, Rupert Sanders)
“Ghost in the Shell” is an American remake of a Japanese animated film released in 1995; even though the American remake had a budget over $110 million, it didn’t live up to the original, for the original complexity and charm was and still is one of a kind. The film tells a story set in a cyberpunk future where the advancement of technology gave birth to cyberbrains and cybernetic human parts. Mira Killian (portrayed by Scarlett Johansson) is a half-machine half-human who experiences hallucinations that are dismissed as glitches, but the fact is that she is troubled by how little she remembers of her past.
The story is complicated and layers so many themes and ideas, and in the original animation, it highlights such themes by creating a psychological cybered landscape that explores the relationship between human nature, memory, and the technical environment in the city that encompasses them. While the American remake managed to masterfully create visually stunning surroundings, it didn’t manage to capture the complexity and the philosophical existential background that were engraved in the original film. The story that explores the robots’ existentialism and the meaning of a cyber-packed life has been completely minimized into an action American film with a stunning cyber-punk look that is empty on the essences.
2. Crimson Peak (2015, Guillermo del Toro)
“Crimson Peak” is one of those movies that sounds great on paper, with its star-packed cast and skillful director on top, Guillermo del Toro, yet the film fails as a properly written film. The story has a haunted house, demons, a vintage period setting, murders, and incest, and yet the film doesn’t benefit from all these concepts and ends up a crumbling and messy picture. Despite that, the film has a mesmerizing style and special mood; it’s aesthetically bloody and beautifully shot, starting from the costumes to the tiniest details in the production design.
The special effects are one of a kind, with the amazing gothic representation of the haunted house and the quite scary grimy look of the demon. Every detail in the film is fantastic and magical. “Crimson Peak” is a perplexing film; it’s grimy and dark, stylish and electrifying to look at. It failed to impress and scare as it was aimed to and it doesn’t benefit from its actors or stylish mood, yet it’s charming to look at.
1. 47 Ronin (2013, Carl Rinsch)
“47 Ronin” was a box office bomb, unable to recover its $175 million production budget. The film stars pre-”John Wick” Keanu Reeves as Kai, a half-Japanese half-English samurai who joins 47 Ronin to avenge their master’s death.
The film is complete disaster; the story, which is based on real and more interesting events, has completely changed the folklore to fit Reeves’ character and moved the story from a real story in Japan’s history into a mystical one with mystical creatures and a middle-earth like atmosphere. There’s nothing wrong with benefiting from real events to create an alternative history narrative, but the problem isn’t just here; the film is one-dimensional in an annoyingly boring way, and the way the story is carried on by Reeves’ character doesn’t make sense even for a fantasy film.
The story failed to impress Japanese audiences and so it was a huge disappointment. But despite it being a complete failure, the film’s action sequences are quite good, inspired by Japanese samurai martial arts and Kurosawa’s samurai films. The creation of a mystical Japan is mesmerizing, creating a completely graphical world based on Japanese culture. The aesthetics were a real success, as the film was shot entirely in Europe and never shot a scene in Japan. The special effects team managed to lay out a magnificent landscape and beautiful visuals that make the film a greater disappointment that didn’t benefit from its CGI, and it would have been much better if it stuck with the real events by which it was inspired.