Film as a medium requires sophisticated artistry and collaborative effort to achieve success. Individual elements of a film might stand out in an otherwise bad film. Good films can be instinctively distinguished from bad films, although all judgement may be subjective.
That being said, here is my subjective list of the ten worst films of 2004:
1. The Polar Express: This film degrades the art of film-making in ways never before possible. It is now not only possible to make a bad film with good actors, but to entirely erase the actor in the process. None of the characters themselves have any reality, not being named. This is akin to writing a book without any names. The only other instance I can remember of this is in an old film where the pets had the name 'dog' and 'cat'. This film is visually rich, but nauseating to watch for too long, much like an overlong train ride
2. Catwoman: One of the most interesting female characters in comic books is given the dominatrix treatment and turned to kitty litter. The most exciting character in the film is the whip that is lashed across the screen and the viewer, almost in condemnation of a poor viewing choice. It also wastes an able actor who is capable of much more. The grossest error the film makes is to ignore Batman as a central factor in Catwoman's world.
3. Man On Fire: Too much of a genre film, and it is sad to see a good actor begin to get typecast. Better editing and a tighter storyline could have elevated this film. As it is, the film is overlong, stereotyped and a wasted effort by a good director.
4. Shark Tale: The most derivative film of the year, the humor is unfunny and the marquee voice cast is wasted in send-ups of themselves, other films and coolness. The product placement is out-of-place, although quite amusing
5. King Arthur: A film that strives for historical accuracy and fails, along the way dropping off Sir Lancelot. Good acting is ruined by a terrible storyline and weak character development.
6. The Big Bounce: This unwatchable film destroys an excellent Elmore Leonard book with lackadaisical acting and a weak screenplay. The film just does not hold together.
7. Alien Vs. Predator: Blecch! A lame plot, poor scripting and unending cliches ruin this film - of course if Ahnold had played the Predator, we might have had something here. Guess he was otherwise occupied.
8. The Return Of The Jedi: The DVD re-release had just a bad feeling about it, especially when the ghost of Darth Vader appears in Anakin Skywalker's garb. All the same, the boxset is a must-have.
9. Taxi: Watch the French version, although Queen Latifah is indeed hilarious and upbeat.
10. Fill in your favorite 'bad' movie of the year here - there's a lot to choose from.
Also-rans: Garfield, Without A Paddle, Day After Tomorrow
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