What makes a film bad?

There are many films which do not entertain, do not provide food for thought and do not have you come out of the theatre either crying or laughing. What is it that makes a film bad? Perhaps it is a case-by-case matter. Let’s then tackle one film which does not pass muster whatever your definition of good film entails.

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2047 – Sights of Death is sold as action/science fiction/thriller/comedy.  It was filmed in Rome, directed by an Italian director, and employed a cast of international stars. The story involves rebel forces (or, better, two representatives of the rebel forces called Green War) fighting against the world domination of a corrupt, violent, and otherwise unidentified Confederate Central Government (or, better, represented by a colonel and a handful of his troops). Countries which did not accept to succumb to the Central Government forces were annihilated by ruthless massacres and left uninhabitable (or so it seems) because of the amount of radiation. It turns out that there is at least one indigenous survivor: a (what else?) beautiful young woman.   So the expectations of the spectators are placed on a pretty high pedestal.

There is no reason for the label science fiction, other than the film’s obvious nod (in the title) towards the future. Although specialists are still discussing the one and only definition of science fiction, setting a film in the future is not a sufficient reason to call it science fiction.There is lots of shooting, stabbing, hide-and-seek, fist fighting, so action may be one of the genres of this film.The audience (at the Italian contemporary Film Festival in Toronto, 13 June 2014) did not laugh once, even though I heard two chuckles blurted out by a woman behind me: clearly, the film did not strike anyone as comedy. It could be thought of perhaps as a bad spoof on science fiction-thriller films, but even that is stretching it a lot, and only after having considered the names of (some of) the characters, such as “Sponge” (the one in charge of the Green War faction); “Colonel Asimov” (of the Confederate Central faction), “Lobo” (a ruthless once-rebel-turned confederate), “Evilenko” (you can guess his affiliation).

The only survivor of the local massacre (who the rebel Ryan discovers by chance and who would set the world against the confederate Central government for its viciousness and absolute randomness) comes out also as shallow. Conclusion? The plot is thin, the violence gratuitous, the characters one-dimensional cut-outs, the cinematography ok, the dialogue useless.

The only redeeming feature of the film is the obvious willingness and tenacity of the producers, actors, director, filming crew, to finish a product that obviously was made on a tight budget. It is very sad to see that in today’s world an attempt (at creating a highly complex cultural product such as film) not availing itself of every help that is available in order to create something memorable. Many will say that money is the issue; in that case, then, get more of it and do not squander it for the sake of just doing something.

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