Heidy’s Top and Bottom 5 Film Franchises

“Heidy!” You ask. “What are you doing talking about movies? I thought this is a Blog about Star Trek Online and other MMOs?”

“Well,” I reply. “It is, but Star Trek Online has been kinda slow lately. There hasn’t been much real new content like the big expansions in a while; maybe something will be announced in the Las Vegas convention this weekend? Till then, I wanna talk about movies. Hey, it’s my blog!”

So here we are! I’m rating film franchises, not individual movies, so there will be some generalizations. Also, wait till we get to the Bottom 5 franchises… gosh, do I have some rants to get off my chest. So buckle in for a wild ride.

Top 5 Film Franchises

When it comes to my Top 5 film franchises, I have a very simple Litmus test — does it make me want to RUN, not walk, to the nearest theater to watch the latest installment? I don’t go to the movies very often any more, so this is actually a pretty telling test to gauge how much I like a particular franchise.

5 . Star Trek

Whoa, hang on a second. “Heidy, aren’t you a huge Star Trek fan? Why is Star Trek at number 5?”

Let’s be honest, Star Trek films have always been hit-and-miss (they did say every odd-numbered film is a stinker, right? I have also pointed out a couple of times that the new JJ-reboot movies are fine as summer action blockbusters, but in terms of pure entertainment value they don’t measure up with the other franchises on this list. Even so, when a new Star Trek movie comes along, chances are I would go to the theater to see it, so it’s still one of my favorite franchises.

4. Star Wars

I was just comparing Star Wars and Star Trek yesterday, and now you see how Star Wars rank: yeah, in terms of pure movie entertainment, I prefer Star Wars to Star Trek. In my last post I listed things that Star Wars excel at, and most of those things are pure big screen eye candy — everything that makes the audience go WOW!

Honestly, Star Wars would rate even higher if it weren’t for the craptastic Prequels. The last time I watched a Star Wars movie on the big screen was Attack of the Clones, and I kept remembering the battle scene on Geonoshisumthing between the Clone troops and the Droid army. It was especially memorable for me because I thought that was the worst, CGI-cluttered, nonsensical ground battle scene in history, and I that I wanted my ticket money back. It soured me so much that I haven’t gone to a theater to watch another Star Wars movie since. Which is too bad — I would’ve paid full admission to watch Rogue One on the big screen.

3. Jurassic Park

What can I say? I love dinosaurs, I love nature documentaries, hence I love Jurassic Park. I also love the tropics, the hot weather, the beach, the ocean, the jungle (have you ever wondered why I enjoy STO’s Risa Summer Event so much?) There’s something undeniably fun about heading to a remote exclusive resort/theme park with dinosaurs as its main attraction. That’s why the first Jurassic Park movie is still the best one for me; the newest entry Jurassic World is nowhere as great, but they have a fully functional theme park in that one and it just tickles all sorts of my fancy.

Admittedly the two other movies were kinda meh, but they never stopped me from perking up every time I see a Jurassic Park movie being shown on TV or Netflix. I just need my tropics and my dinosaurs.

2. Bourne Series

Would it surprise you that one of my absolute favorite film franchise is the Bourne series? The entire series is tightly written (especially the first three films), and yes, even though it deviates wildly from the original novels, it is still one of the very best espionage/political thriller series ever shot for the big screen. Bourne is essentially a realistic version of James Bond, removing a lot of the latter’s ludicrous pulp-fiction-esque trappings to focus on a story that can actually happen in real life.

So wait, why is Bond not on this list? I blame it on the inconsistent quality of Bond films in the past. During the Daniel Craig era, I enjoyed Casino Royale and loved Skyfall, but Quantum of Solace was all sorts of lame and Spectre was… you know, I have that DVD and played it once, but I don’t remember anything about it (except the drill scene). Going back in time some more, none of the Pierce Brosnan Bond movies is worth watching; some of the older Connery and Moore ones are still very entertaining, but they are dated by modern standards. Given a choice, I much rather watch Jason Bourne.

1. Marvel Cinematic Universe

Marvel has been killing it with their movies since… 2008? With the first Iron Man film? They’ve been putting out an insane number of movies based in their shared Marvel Cinematic Universe, and most often than not they get it right. Even the ones that are peripherally related (i.e. Guardians of the Galaxy) have been great. I love the fact that they manage to hit so many diverse themes in their movies: Iron Man had the whole Robocop Sci-Fi going, Captain America was a WWII period piece, Thor was fantasy-themed, GotG was Star Trek/Star Wars space, and Winter Soldier was especially good along the lines of Jason Bourne. I daresay that MCU films have gotten more of my moviegoing budget than any other franchise.

While MCU films are still my favorite franchise, I gotta admit I’m feeling a bit of superhero fatigue. With the success of Marvel Cinematic Universe, everyone is trying to cash in on their winning formula and there is a glut of superhero-related stuff in movies and on TV… most of which aren’t very good. This is definitely getting to be too much of a good thing, and I think it’s going to hit the saturation point soon.

Bottom 5 Film Franchises

5. Fast and Furious

I’m going to admit I’ve only seen one Fast and Furious film, and I wasn’t very impressed. It’s not a horrible movie by any means, but the problem I have with the entire franchise is how it glorifies illegal street racing. I see it as the movie equivalent as Grand Theft Auto — it just sends the wrong message to kids. Where is the social responsibility here? Sure, junior, go jack up your ride and take to the streets at night, kill some random pedestrians then crash yourself? Sorry guys.

We had a local case here some years ago when this dumb kid took his pumped up ride to an illegal racing circuit, and ended up killing a cop. Of course he didn’t stop to help, and fled the scene They caught him, but because he was 16 at the time they couldn’t put him away for manslaughter. Nope, he got a slap on the wrist and was put under house arrest for 6 months. In his own home.

I blame this shit on you, Fast and Furious.

4. Matrix Series

The first Matrix film was… intriguingly different. No, the premise made little logical sense (using human bodies as batteries? How much less efficient can you get?), but if you’re willing to shut your brain off to accept it, it made for an interesting standalone movie.

But then they made more of the same, and the movies made less and less sense. Matrix should’ve remained a single movie, and it would’ve been better for it.

3. Saw Series

I don’t have a lot to say about the Saw series. It epitomizes splatter films, which I think as a genre is juvenile and pointless. It’s like when my nephew insists on showing everyone his newly mined booger just to gross people out — it might be the height of artistry if you’re nine years old, but it annoys everyone else. What I don’t understand is why they made a whole string of movies based on such a lame premise.

Fun fact: I don’t actually HATE the three franchises I listed so far. Sure I think they’re pretty lame and they’ll never get another dime out of me in ticket sales, but I am mostly just ambivalent about them. The next two on the list though? Oh yes, for a variety of reasons, they actually ANNOY me.

2. Transformers

I always thought Transformers toys are kinda neat. The engineering that goes into designing these transforming toys is pretty ingenious, and although I don’t buy Transformers toys, when I see them on the aisles sometimes I’d pick them up and see if I can figure out how they turn from a robot into a car.

Naturally they’d get their own movie. Instead, they got Michael Bay.

I inadvertently saw a couple of Bay-Transformer movies on TV, and my gawd they were terrible. The robot designs were terrible. The endless stream of loud explosions were terrible. The plots were barely coherent. They took the concept, stripped out the old-school toy charm, packaged it in overwrought CGI and called it a big budget production. The most telling part is the Transformers TV shows WRITTEN FOR KIDS ARE BETTER THAN THESE FILMS. Why do they keep making Transformers movies? Each film looks almost exactly like the rest, they all blur together. Why does the world need more than one of these? Seriously, stop making them. These aren’t the droids we’re looking for.

1. Twilight Saga

Not only is Twilight Saga my least favorite film franchise, but it’s worse than the others by a significant margin. The characters are vapid, shallow, annoying turd. The dialog is turd. The acting is turd. The story is a huge steaming pile of turd gestating in the hot sweltering streets of Lima. If you want to see how unhealthy, unrealistic relationships work and a thumb-up that it’s okay to do all that crap? Then go see these movies.

Of course, it doesn’t help that as an ex-World-of-Darkness player, I wasn’t pleased that the infamous Twilight “sparkle” made vampires laughing stock of the world. Vampires are supposed to be a metaphor! They represent all the dark, sexy, unspeakable things that appeal to people’s secret desires, not meant for the world to see. And Twilight made them into sparkling candy unicorns.

At least Twilight got one thing right with vampires: THEY SUCK.


P.S. Ha! Gotcha, didn’t I? I borrowed the header image so it doesn’t actually reflect my list. Bond got a mention, but neither Lord of the Rings nor Harry Potter is here, simply because I don’t consider either one best or worst. I like LotR well enough, but the Hobbit trilogy was just another attempt to retread LotR’s success with a lot less substance; similarly I liked the first couple of Harry Potter films, but with like 27 installments it felt like it was just dragging on into infinity.

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7 thoughts on “Heidy’s Top and Bottom 5 Film Franchises

  1. I know you give me crap for watching so many Korean movies, and HK stuff, but they rarely have the millions and millions of dollars at hand to fill their films with wall to wall CGI everything, even when it’s completely unnecessary and actually hurts the end result. And while they tend to rehash plots and character types to death, they do have to make the most of dialogue, emotion, settings and relationships.

    Like, can you remember a character from any of those newer movies that you felt anything for? The JJ-Trek crew barely qualify as cardboard cutouts with maybe 1 or 2 memorable traits and barely a quotable line between them. Compare nu-Spock, Kirk or Bones to old and there’s nothing there. Compare Craig to Connery, or Moore and he’s just a bland thug who punches and gets punched a lot. Hell, compare any of the Bourne movies to A Company Man or The Man From Nowhere . Or even Cloverfield to The Host. Freaking Twilight to something like The Werewolf Boy. Hunger Games to Battle Royale.

    All the screen time that might have been devoted to exploring the characters and laying out a nuanced story, is taken away and replaced with CGI, and the empty fury of light and sound in no stakes action sequences. What little dialogue they have is reduced to one liners or just enough exposition to keep a bare thread of a plot going between stupid chase scenes and explosions.

    It’s all kinda hollow under the warm glow of nostalgia and really, really boring. Also screw Peter Jackson in the ear for making swooping, improbable/impossible CGI camera tracking shots a movie staple. For everything. All the time. In every single movie. The camera should be a stand in for the observer and last time I checked I’m not a supersonic bird, barrel rolling through the sky, yo.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. You and I are going to disagree on some of this.

      For one, I don’t think older necessarily means better. Sure, Craig is just a brutal thug compared to Moore or Connery, but the Trek crew is a much different story. The original cast had dozens of episodes to build their characters, but the new cast had three movies (admittedly three movies that were crammed with CGI and lens flare). There are some great characters in the new movies – the Guardians cast comes to mind, which I think is why that film was so well-received.

      I don’t know if you realize how many HK movies I’ve watched in my time; I bet it’s more than you have. Believe me when I say they mine the same veins so thoroughly you end up with a sinkhole. For the most part they can’t get out of this rut of either (1) glorifying underworld Triads, (2) police drama, or (3) silly romantic comedy. The absolute worst part is the well of actors involved in the HK movie industry is shockingly small, so it’s the same dozen or so actors in every. Fricking. Movie.

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  2. I more or less agree with these lists; I have to say Star Wars does tend to be more entertaining than Star Trek in general. I’ve always liked Star Trek for the stories, high concepts, and character development, and Star Wars for the exotic locales and action/battle scenes.

    I haven’t seen any of the Marvel movies so I can’t really comment on them. But I’ll take your word for it that they’re pretty awesome. Just the few little clips I’ve seen of them looked pretty interesting.

    I really like the Bourne movies too; in fact that’s one of my all-time favorite franchises. I like Bourne more than Bond, just because it looks and feels a lot more believable and realistic. Bond has always been in his own little fantasy realm, while Bourne seems much more plausible. So I’m with you on that.

    The Transformers movies have always been kinda “meh” to me. Maybe it’s just due to the story (or lack thereof) and apparent over-reliance on CGI, tho I really don’t know how else they could design a Transformer that actually transforms; I doubt they’d ever build a real, full-sized, fully functional one, as cool as that would be.

    I do like how they got the original voice actor to do the voice for Optimus Prime. Other than that, the Transformers franchise has just never been one of those franchises that grabs me and won’t let go. I liked watching the old animated TV show back in the day, but the movies just never really grabbed me.

    I’ve never been that into Fast & Furious either because honestly, it just kinda bored me. The story just seemed contrived and uninteresting to me, and besides, if I wanted to go see some cool cars and illegal street racing (which is a big problem in my area), all I’d have to do is go to certain parts of town where that sort of thing tends to happen and I could see the real thing in person.

    Not that I condone that sort of thing – I most certainly don’t and I really wish people would drive more responsibly and safely around here (if they want to race, there are racetracks around here where you can do that legally). On top of that, you could not only get arrested for street racing, but also just for spectating, because it tends to encourage it even more, and because spectators or bystanders can be severely injured or killed by a car hitting them (it has happened all too often). The cops have been known to round up hundreds of people and impound a lot of cars for that around here. So it’s just not worth it.

    I’m just saying that I see those kinds of cars literally every day on my commute to and from work (especially on my way home from work, at night when the nocturnal wanna-be “Fast & Furious” crowd tends to emerge), so for me it’s like “meh, more of those same kinds of cars that I often see.” I enjoy watching the Grand Prix and the Formula D drifting cars racing in Long Beach, but that’s on a closed track and not out in the street where it would endanger others.

    And I’m with you on GTA5 – nope, I’m just not in the target audience for that sort of thing.

    As for Saw, I’ll pass. Suffice it to say that I’m just not in the target audience for that sort of thing either.

    Ditto that for Twilight. I’m just not big on vampires or zombies or anything like that, and so far I’ve heard nothing but bad things about it, so I’ll take your word for it that it sucks. lol

    As for the Matrix movies, I liked the first one, but didn’t really care for the rest.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. (shrug) I’ve just never been into the Marvel or DC comics or the whole superhero genre, so it just never really occurred to me to see any of the movies either.

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  3. It has certainly gotten to a point where I just automatically make plans to see the next Marvel movie. Their quality has always been top notch. Certainly the number 1 franchise for me as well.

    I’m so glad to see Jurassic Park getting a mention. The books are amazing and the movie adaptations pulled through as being solid films. Even the recent reboot of the franchise in Jurassic World was top notch. I saw Jurassic World twice in theaters and I loved how on the second watch you can draw on completely different feelings. I found myself feeling incredibly sad for the I. Rex. The story of it’s life is full of pain, confusion, and loneliness. The final scene with the I. Rex was actually heartbreaking to watch by the end of the second viewing.

    I rank Star Wars and Star Trek in the same pool. Each one has it’s merits, but overall I don’t think I could pick between the two. If SWTOR ever matches STO’s free to play model in terms of openness and freedom, I might run into a severe not-enough-time-in-the-day crisis.

    Twilight… oh Twilight…. how terrible and damaging you are to the minds of the young. Romanticizing abusive relationships and glorifying possessive behavior. May the damage you caused heal as quickly as you fell from the public’s eye.

    But above Twilight on the crap pile, resting on its putrid throne, sits Batman V Superman. Oh how terrible this movie was in some many ways. Portraying Batman, the “greatest detective in the world” as a paranoid, obsessive, hypocrite. Throughout the entire movie I could not find what motive he could possibly have to hate Superman so much. He never explains it in depth, the movie never shows it. Batman comes off as a jealous brat who resents Superman because he happens to be more powerful than him. What a crime. To add to this insult, this movie came after Christopher Nolan’s excellent batman series. To go from that high to that low is a crime.

    The only thing worse than Batman’s portrayal in that movie was Lex Luther’s. The actor sucked, and the character sucked. There wasn’t one redeeming quality to him throughout the whole movie. Not one. On top of all that the writers made him all-knowing without once explaining how he knew what he knew. Just terrible.

    Sorry for the long rant!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I only recently saw Batman vs Superman on Movie channel. Was it bad? Yes. Yes it was. But I don’t think it’s at the level of steaming turd that Twilight is. Luthor was absolutely the worst part of the film, Superman was forgettable, and Batman was a jerk pretending to be a hero. Redeeming feature? Wonder Woman. And from what I hear the Wonder Woman movie is excellent. So in terms of rating “film franchises”, I have to take the entire “DC Cinematic Universe” as a whole, which in its entirety is neither the best nor the worst.

      Interesting point of view on the I. Rex, though. Never thought of it that way.

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