Jump the Shark vol. 2

Back with another edition of where our favorite film series went careening off the tracks of logical and sensible filmmaking. The first topic today:

Halloween

Michael Myers and the Halloween franchise. This series is fairly easy to run through and point out the jump the shark moment. I’m sure most of you know exactly what I’m talking about, at least broadly. I am of course referring to the ill-conceived third entry in the series. Halloween III: Season of the Witch is most notable for one glaring omission…Michael Myers. Yes, in case you didn’t know about this little oversight already, the third Halloween film is missing the iconic killer’s presence entirely. In fact the film goes in a completely different direction choosing to tell a story about razor blades in apples or Chinese lead based candies or something. I’m not really sure what the plot was because I was steamin’ mad at the inexplicable non-casting of the series most important character. So, the actual jump the shark moment is when the credits roll on part III and one realizes that this bad dream is real, they really did leave Michael Myers out of a Halloween movie. It’s noteworthy because as bad as any horror series gets, I honestly can’t think of another that went this wrong. It wasn’t like Leprechaun in the Hood 7 featured no leprechaun and no hood; as bad as Hellraiser gets, Pinhead manages to make an appearance.  It’s quite a dishonor to be sure, let’s move on.

The Mummy

Brendan Fraser is a method actor, he must truly place himself in front of terrifying monsters to fully realize his interaction with the Mummy

Now, I am only discussing the most current iteration of this film franchise. Brendan Fraser takes a lot of crap for being a talentless actor who stars in terrible movies. Both of these are criticisms that one looks stupid for trying to rebuke because for every Mummy theres three Dudley Do-Rights. But, I will defend his efforts in Encino Man (classic) and The Mummy. The first movie in this series is an entertaining update of the Universal horror classic. This movie focuses more on the swashbuckling action but does not ignore the horror roots of the film. It was quite successful at the world wide box office, needless to say, they made a sequel. And it wasn’t terrible. However, it ignored much of the building tension and subtlety (okay so The Mummy is relatively subtle…like relative to a genocide subtle) of the first Mummy. This movie had absurd action set piece after absurd action set piece, and as I was watching it I just knew the series was strapping on the water-skis and chumming the water. With every ridiculous CGI creation I could see the Mastercraft picking up speed and see that ramp in the distance getting closer. Then came the final straw. We were treated to a glimpse of the Scorpion King:

Ugh. Is this a screen cap from my Gameboy Color or a mega-budget Hollywood film?

Is there a reason the previously human character played The Rock is suddenly transformed into a goofy, poorly animated minotaur thing? Is there a reason you couldn’t try just a little bit harder to make the texturing on the character more resemble human skin and less resemble X-Box graphics? I just threw my hands up at this point and said “Done!”. Awful, I hate total reliance upon CGI and this movie went absolutely overboard with the crap. If you’re unconvinced that this was the turning point in the films than I present as evidence: The Mummy 3: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor (crap), The Scorpion King (spinoff film, crap), and The Scorpion King 2: Even Scorpiony-er (ed. note: this might not be the title, I’m not going to dignify this movie with a fact check though).

Final Destination

If you haven’t gone back and watched the first Final Destination in a while I highly recommend doing so. It is a very original story and a well executed horror flick. It was on the front end of the wave of ‘unseen force’ horror films but this one did it first and did it better than a majority of the films to follow. But, as with any successful film, the sequels followed. There are currently four Final Destination films, but we need not look past the opening moments of the first sequel to identify when the film held tight and went flying over those sharks. The moment happened quickly and some may even have missed it. The jump the shark moment is when the main character and hero of the first film (played by Devon Sawa) is killed off off-screen and with only a mention. Hmm. So you mean to tell me that the character that was in practically every scene of the first film, who we grew to care dearly about, is killed off with merely a passing reference? Well that my friends is where I call shenanigans on this film. Killing Sawa off in this way tells me a few things: that Devon Sawa read the script and said no, he wouldn’t even film a few minutes of getting killed off (a la Cotton Weary in Scream 3). Studios aren’t exactly beating down Devon Sawa’s door to cast him so that means he decided that sitting on his ass at his apartment was the better career move than appearing in Final Destination 2. Not a good sign. Now, the highway car crash scene was effin’ awesome, absolutely the highlight of the film, and possibly the best single scene in all the Final Destination films. From the awesome beginning, the movie devolves into random, gratuitously violent death scenes linked together with poor acting and stupid dialogue. This formula was inexplicably used in all later Final Destination films.

Death doesn't have to work very hard to kill characters like these that are prone to non-chalantly standing on Nascar tracks whilst races are going on.

Stay tuned for more…

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