Thursday, September 04, 2008

Rating Game Redux 42: "What's So Special About Them?"

I usually don't go for the snarkier Rating Game categories for our local paper, but I eventually succumbed to "Worst Movie Special Effects." And while I promised myself not to kick a movie when it's down--that is, no low-budget picks--I couldn't resist just one.

The Polar Express (2004)

The mask-like faces of the motion-captured actors convey a sense of menace, rather than the almost-solemn dream that was the attraction of Chris Van Allsburg’s book. You know you’re in trouble when Tom Hanks (as the Hobo) looks more like Tom Waits.

Spider-Man (2002)

Yes, Spider-Man is strong--like the man says, “Listen, Bud, he’s got radioactive blood”--but the CGI Spidey seems made of rubber as he bounces from one skyscraper to the next, his trajectory as convincing as Wile E. Coyote’s--while only unintentionally funny.

Robot Monster (1953)

I’m being unfair: Good special effects are hard to come by when you have no budget. But when the interplanetary threat is the one and only Ro-Man--a guy in a gorilla suit sporting a dual-antennae space helmet who communicates with his home world via bubble machine--one must conclude that the lack of funds was exceeded only by a lack of imagination. As Ro-Man remarks, “Your deaths will be indescribable.”

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