“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.
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.