Our dismay at PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: DEAD MAN’S CHEST drew a mixed response in the comments section, but we’re not the only ones feeling the dismay. Anne Thompson, one of our most favoritest writers about the movie business, had a similar reaction to the budgetary excesses of this summer’s film crop over at her Risky Biz Blog over at THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER. What is widely being perceived as SUPERMAN RETURN’s under-performance is also a matter of some concern.
I’m glum about how Superman Returns is faring at the summer boxoffice. I know that part of the problem is that studios are indulgent parents. They have gobs and gobs of cash to spend, and especially when they’re investing in a huge potential franchise, there’s no incentive NOT to let their smart, talented, imaginative directors throw more money—and length— into their movies. So Bryan Singer gets to spend $2.3 million on that bullet in the eye sequence. (Which I’m glad is in the movie.) Or he decides that he just doesn’t like the way that mini-continent looks when Superman hoists it into outer space. (Here’s my report on Singer and VFX supervisor Mark Stetson’s fab FX.) Superman Returns reminds me of King Kong. Because Peter Jackson was coming off the amazing Lord of the Rings trilogy, Universal let him do whatever he wanted—and got a three hour movie that barely scraped into profitability, and should have been trimmed.
BTW, for those who chastised us for idolizing 20-year-old movies, we checked out the IMDb’s chart of the top-rated films of the Aughts to see what we were forgetting. IMDB is hardly infallible, but it’s a handy yardstick. While the LOTR films dominate a lot of their charts, there aren’t that many action/SF on the list, and the ones that are — KILL BILL and GLADIATOR — tend to back up our idea that a great script makes a great movie. SIN CITY is also on the list at #13, while BATMAN BEGINS is in at #15. Honest injun, this film made NO impression on us when we saw it, but we have a DVD of it kicking around here somewhere, so maybe we’ll give it a second chance one of these years.