10 Ways to Spot a Mediocre Film Right Away
Some people just need to take one look at a poster for an upcoming film to understand that it’s going to be mediocre and that they don’t need to rush to the movie theater. But others don’t realize this until it’s too late. And even fewer people can actually say what exactly went wrong and why a film didn’t satisfy them.
We at Bright Side found out about the red flags that can alert any movie fan and tell them that a movie is not worth their time.
1. It’s a comedy with an action film actor.
There comes a time when the actors that play cool guys decide to change their genre. Most of the time, nothing good comes of this. Of course, there are some positive examples. Arnold Schwarzenegger was really good in Twins and Kindergarten Cop. But he was already leaning toward comedy, even in his straight-up action films.
Vin Diesel tried to do something similar in The Pacifier, but the film was heavily criticized. Another sad example is Sylvester Stallone, whose experiment with comedy in Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot almost cost him his career.
2. The film itself looks like an amateur video.
This shooting method is supposed to make you feel as if you are in the film. And the first movies with this method achieved exactly that effect, but today this technique has been overused.
Directors and cameramen love making the chase sequences in superhero movies and action films like this.
Unfortunately, the shaky-cam effect keeps you from being able to concentrate on what is happening in the film and might make you feel nauseated. Watch Quantum of Solace and you’ll see that in the most action-packed sequences, the shots change really fast. So fast, in fact, that it’s hard to tell what is happening on the screen.
3. It’s the 3rd, 4th, or any other part in the franchise.
A telltale sign that a studio cares more about its income than about quality is when they make several movies based on one novel. Most of the time, it’s like that: a story is split into several parts, there are some unexpected twists, and every movie ends on a cliffhanger to make you want to watch the second, the third, and all of the subsequent films. But it’s also obvious that they could’ve probably put everything into 2 parts, or even 1.
Sometimes, the first films are so successful that studios decide to make a sequel when the stories are basically over. The scriptwriters end up having to squeeze in the last bits of the story, so the films turn out to be weak.
4. The trailer says, “Based on a true story.”
Of course, there are a lot of great movies that have been based on true stories (like Apollo 13 and Adrift). But very often, the phrase “based on a true story” is just used for marketing purposes and today it doesn’t sound as exciting as it used to. It’s a type of manipulation: the creators want to make you sympathize with the characters.
Internet users say that if a movie is based on true events and the story itself is worth making a film about, the title will have something like “Story of X that did Y.” And if the commercials have to scream about the real events of the film, it is probably because the story itself is not very interesting. This is why studios try to make you interested artificially.
5. A comedy film with old actors in the main roles
Comedy films with older actors in them are all a lot like each other. Usually, the plot revolves around characters that are going to go somewhere to remember their youth and deal with certain problems on the way. Of course, there are a lot of jokes about Viagra and young girls that one of the characters loves.
6. The film is based on a video game.
Very often, iconic video games get movies based on them, like Warcraft, Max Payne, Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, Doom, and others. These movies don’t usually come out well, and they are criticized a lot. The reason is probably that video games let users control them, and the world and movies don’t.
Besides, many games don’t have a story that should be in a movie. Or, there are so many events that it’s almost impossible to put them all into one film.
7. Too much CGI
Of course, a lot of great movies wouldn’t be great if it wasn’t for the CGI (like Avatar, The Matrix, Interstellar, and Gravity). But in recent years, CGI is being used to make the product cheaper. It’s much easier to draw a landscape or wounds on the body, rather than look for that landscape in reality or do complex makeup.
One of the reasons is because technology is cheap today. In the past, computer graphics were used only when it was really necessary, but today there are very few movies that go without them. This is why the laws of physics are often ignored. Think about The Matrix Reloaded or Catwoman. The stunts the characters do are impossible to do in real life. These movies used to impress viewers but now everyone is tired of it.
There’s a simple way to tell if there’s too much CGI in a film. If you think about, “Wow, they did a great job with the CGI!” it probably means there’s too much of it. Because the point of CGI is to make the film more real. Good CGI is not something we should notice.
8. The trailer says, “From the producers of...”
When you hear “From the producers of...” you can turn off the film and look for a new one. The thing is, producers can only find talented people and coordinate their work. A producer can’t make a good film on their own: they are not directors, actors, writers, or cameramen.
Of course, this is a total marketing trick. When you are told, “From the producers of Us and Get Out,” the marketers are really trying to tell you, “If you like these movies, you have to watch our new one.” And viewers expect the film to be great but they are often disappointed.
Marketers use this trick when they don’t know of any other way to sell the film. For example, when the film doesn’t have any big stars in it or if it’s someone’s debut.
9. Cliché poster
Sometimes, the posters can even help you to predict where the story goes. If there’s a building on it, it’s probably where the film will end. And if there’s a big guy with a good-looking girl, there are probably a lot of cheap jokes and stereotypes.
10. Girls with beautiful bodies
According to movie fans, if a movie shows you a woman’s body in the first 10 minutes, the film has nothing else to offer you.
If there are a lot of scenes like this, then it’s just a way to sell the film. If you see a woman that is too attractive, nothing good will probably come of this film.
How do you understand if a movie is worth your time or not?