This post may be the first of many concerning the topic of movies that I believe got shafted by the audience and never given a second chance. Because these movies are not well-critiqued, many people may disagree with me on these movies, but I hope that many of you will give these movies a second shot, knowing what to expect this time, and watch them with an open mind:
Cars - This Disney/Pixar film has been coined by some as the worst of the Pixar films. I think many attribute this to the fact that it lost the Academy Award® for "Animated Feature Film" to Happy Feet (a wreck of a movie if you ask me). This happens to be one of my favorite Pixar films. I think the voice acting is perfect and very well played. Owen Wilson is not one of my favorite actors, but he does an excellent job in this film. Paul Newman is a nice treat for the film as well; and while I am certainly not a fan of Larry the Cable Guy, he does a great job giving Mator his Podunk, redneck attitude. And I can't leave this post without mentioning the animation. The animation is absolutely gorgeous in this film. Pixar did an amazing job with taking an inanimate object and giving it life and personality. Not even the Chevron© Cars have a believable personality compared to the cars in this film! Pixar was able to take a car and make it point at something, shrug, jump from fright, slouch, crawl, etc. It is amazing! It really is! Now, I'll admit that I like every single Pixar film, but if I had to choose a least-favorite (which is still better than most movies I've seen), it would be A Bug's Life.
Speed Racer - Being that this film was made by the Wachowski brothers and based on a semi-popular Japanese anime cartoon with a catchy theme song, I don't think anyone knew what to expect with this film and many walked away a bit overwhelmed. The visuals in this film pay perfect homage to the cartoon, but it's not a style that you are used to seeing in a live-action film. It even took me a half-hour or so to get past the brightly colored, cartoony environments before I could just watch the film; but once I did, I really, really enjoyed this film. It's a fun, family-friendly film that rivals other top racing movies, if not placing as the best racing movie. I think most people walked away because of how in-your-face the colors and style was in the movie; but knowing now what you are going to see, I say take another gander at this film and I guarantee you'll enjoy it more than you thought you would have. (I mean, even my wife likes this movie, and that says a lot!) Also, this is one of those movies that has to be seen on Blu-ray© in order to appreciate the visuals.
Super Mario Bros. - Now, I know a lot of people are going to have something to say about this film. I think people's main disagreement with this film was the style-difference between this movie and the games, not the quality of the movie itself. As one of the first game-to-movie adaptations, this is a very touchy film for people because of the lack of previous game-to-movie comparisons and how well loved the games are. I believe that most people were expecting something quite a bit closer to the bubbly, goofy fun displayed in the games and cartoons where two overall-bearing Italians fight off turtles (not the ninja type) and other shelled villains to eventually make battle with a giant, spike-shelled turtle/dragon named Koopa in order to save a princess. I'd say that people were most upset about the costume change of overalls being replaced with coveralls in the movie... or not. I think the movie turned out to be a bit darker and less kid-friendly than audiences expected. Plus the story was given a greater touch of reality with the adventure taking place in a Brooklyn-like city where dinosaurs are the villains in human form (minus the goombas). People seemed to be shocked at how different an approach this was to the Mario game franchise and how very different the tone of the film was. True, it is a very different world. But I like it. I like how they translated everything for the film into something more realistic and a tad more believable. Plus, you can't argue with the casting choice for this film: Bob Hoskins as Mario, John Leguizamo as Luigi, Dennis Hopper as a spiky-haired Koopa. Unarguable. Yes, it has its cheesy moments, but I think it's still a fun movie for all ages. So I say, try it again. And if it's too much of an assault on your childhood memories, watch it as a movie unrelated to the games and I still think you'll enjoy it.
Surf's Up - I think the main ordeal with this movie was the timing of its release. This movie came out at the tail-end of a series of penguin movies and I think we were done with penguin stuff by then. Being overshadowed by March of the Penguins and Happy Feet, I think this movie deserves a lot more applause then the aforementioned predecessors. This movie was very well cast and I think one of the shining movies for Shia LeBeouf. It is smart, funny, and the water effects are the best I've seen in a CG movie! Incredible water effects! Plus, the tiny little things that are always happening in the background of this film are hilarious. I don't think critics disliked the film, I just think it got passed over by a lot of people and needs a first chance more than a second chance. The movie also sports voice-power from Jeff Bridges, Zooey Deschanel, and Jon Heder. It's a fun movie, so give it a shot.
Well, that's my opinion for now. I look forward to everyone's comments about this post.
P.S. - The images used in this post are copyrighted by Buena Vista Pictures, Warner Bros. Pictures, and Columbia Pictures.