5 Failed Epics of the 1990's

04/07/02 by Qubert

Some movies should have been home runs.  And yet, they struck out swinging.  The 90ís were the worst period since Demille for this phenomenon.  Hereís a top five for ya:


Lost in Space
How could it have failed?    Cast?  Check.  Gary Oldman as a villain,   venerable William Hurt, still-sexy-after-all-these-years mom-figure Mimi Rogers, 1998's red-hot Heather Graham, hugely-popular Friend Matt LeBlanc, and spunky Lacey Chabert from "Party of Five".  Budget?  Check.  This film must have cost a fortune in special effects.  Marketing campaign?  Check. I saw zillions of previews and ads for months.  Subject matter?  Check.  Based on a fondly remembered if somewhat ridiculous TV show.  Nostalgia is a powerful thing. Result?  Not check.  An abysmal failure.  Horrible script.  Mediocre directing.  Guess that's all it took. 
The Avengers
Again, start with an excellent cast.  (If anyone could be Emma Peel today, it would be Uma Thurman.)   High production values, with expensive weather effects and psychedelic visuals reminiscent of the show should have made it shine. But a silly storyline hamstrung it.  Lack of chemistry between the stars smothered it.  Bad acting by Sean Connery defiled it. Even an inspired "cameo" by the great Patrick McNee as an invisible spymaster couldnít help. Result?  Failed again.
Wild Wild West
Yet another on our list of shouldhavebeens.  Will Smith was coming into his own when this film debuted, having wowed cinema-fandom with ID4. Kevin Kline and Kenneth Branagh remain two of the finest thespians in the business.  Sexy Salma Hyeck rounded out the lot.  The picture was obviously expensive and firmly tongue-in-cheek, but it crashed sooooo hard!  Unfunny and boringly noisy, I hope it never rears its ugly head in this town again
I thought Copland was pretty bad, myself.  But this high speed look at Indy Racing really takes the cake for Slyís poor choices.  He surrounds himself with beautiful young co-stars of both genders and fights to steal scenes from a wheelchair bound Burt Reynolds. The cameras bounce around; there are no real villains (who do we cheer for at the end?); and the acting and dialogue stink to high heaven.  Avoid it at all costs!
The Messenger
Really, this one may be the worst of the lot. I eagerly attended this massive medieval epic about Joan of Arc, directed by Luc Besson (didnít he do The Fifth Element?) and starring the stunning Milla Jovovich.  Dustin Hoffman and John Malkovich couldnít save the anachronistic speaking-styles Ė who ever heard of a 14th Century Frenchman speaking like a New York thug? Ė and choppy direction.  If I hadnít gone to see The World is Not Enough immediately after, I might have sworn films off forever. (Letís not even talk about Denise Richards as the worst Bond Girl ever until we have that Top Five List.)


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