I wouldn’t be surprised if Zack Snyder lives in a house with only green walls. His dreams must be crazy. Two things matter to Director Snyder: CGI and computer generated imagery. This guy definitely lives for the “WOW” factor, which to his credit, worked for the beginning of his career. Actually, according to the numbers it has worked for his entire career.

These five films listed generated a total cumulative budget of around $530 million. Zack Snyder has been given over half a billion dollars to make films. The reason why? Those same films have garnered over $1.5 billion at the box office. Flashiness and reputation are marvelous things. Snyder’s next endeavor, the upcoming Batman vs. Superman film, will give him over $200 million to play with as the studios have high hopes of reaching $1 billion in the box office. Money, money, moooooooney! Moooney!

 

Hit: Dawn of the Dead 

I’ll be honest, first time watching this, I had absolutely no knowledge of the original or who George A. Romero was. I thought, “hey, cool zombie movie.” Believe it or not I still stand by that statement. Regardless of its “remake” nature, Snyder’s version has something to offer his audience. It had been 26 years since the original, meaning my ignorance of Romero and his films might have been more commonplace than one would assume. Which in turn makes the gravity of this film’s success much more dense.

Usually with most zombie films there is a lot of camera time given to the survivors, specifically in enclosed spaces of a very personal manner. The way these characters interact is quite important and usually sets apart dime a dozen from spectacular. Basically what I’m trying to say is character matters when it comes to the genre. Sure, people give a lot of focus to slow zombie versus fast zombies or more gore versus less, but the underlying and often overlooked aspect will always stem from those terrified living people.

the year: 2004
the writing: James Gunn
the acting: Sarah Polley, Ving Rhames, Jake Weber
the time: 100 minutes/110 minutes (Director’s Cut)

 

Hit: 300

Talk about entertaining. In fact, 300‘s style and content peak the charts of entertaining. By far my favorite Zack Snyder film, for many visual reasons. In actuality, which is kind of embarrassing, a large part of that has to do with not expecting much. At least in terms of his other films. But don’t get me wrong, we owe many thanks to this marvel. The breaks of many actors. The amount of gore films need to have. Showing us yelling equals better. And setting the bar on visual effects.

It’s funny how much joy I can take from a film that pisses me off every time they have a Lena Headey/Dominic West scene, and those are great actors! It goes to show why we bought the ticket. I just want awesome fight sequences, cool kills, and less talking. Damn… my words are making the indie part of me sad.

the year: 2006
the writing: Zack Snyder, Kurt Johnstad & Michael B. Gordon
the acting: Gerard Butler, Lena Headey, David Wenham
the time: 117 minutes

 

Miss: Watchmen 

If you asked me a couple of years ago this would have emphatically been my least favorite Snyder film. My knowledge of comic books in general is rather limited, I never really read them growing up or had any interest. What I did read though was Alan Moore’s Watchmen. Reading through that graphic novel, I quickly realized it was more than pictures and written out sound effects. Moore’s magnum opus contained a lifetime of meaning and thought. So why didn’t I like the film? It took away the heart.

Although I remain somewhat distant from this film, I’ve come to understand the idea of adaptations over the years. There are some rights to original creativity, and the director will maintain his vision. Of course people are not going to agree. After every single Harry Potter film I had to hear how they cut out this chapter or this character or, “that wasn’t in the book!” Watchmen still remains a miss in my book, even if it’s clawing at the fence. The film is more flashy than anything else, but then again holds some entertainment value. At least my dislike has nothing to do with creative differences anymore.

the year: 2009
the writing: David Hayter & Alex Tse
the acting: Patrick Wilson, Malin Akerman, Jackie Earle Haley
the time: 162 minutes/186 minutes (Director’s Cut)/215 minutes (Ultimate Cut)

 

Miss: Sucker Punch

Man was I stoked for this film. The whole Vanessa Hudgens craze was right around this time and Emily Browning’s role in A Series of Unfortunate Events was at the back of my mind. It wasn’t until later I realized how much talent was tucked away within the other part of the cast. I mean Abbie Cornish and Jena Malone have made a name for themselves in recent times and Oscar Isaac has given fantastic performances in some superb films. Not to mention the likes of Jon Hamm, Carla Cugino, and Scott Glenn.

So, this film should’ve been good. I remember much emphasis was given to Sucker Punch being Snyder’s first original film, writing his own screenplay like great directors should. Then after watching the film, I kind of realized maybe he shouldn’t write as much. Snyder will always be about the visuals, he’s good at that, we all know that. Yet when it comes to the story or dialogue, eh he’s not a fan.

the year: 2011
the writing: Zack Snyder & Steve Shibuya
the acting: Emily Browning, Abbie Cornish, Oscar Isaac
the time: 110 minutes

 

Miss: Man of Steel

I went to go see this on my birthday… and after all was said and done Man of Steel became my least favorite film of the year. I think I’ve railed on this film enough in the past, but let’s touch upon the unfortunate consistency of Mr. Snyder. Again, story seems to be his kryptonite – although in fairness some of the blame for the final product could go to that editor – along with dialogue, flashbacks, and any type of chemistry.

This film doesn’t have a saving grace, but visually Man of Steel was pretty cool. In the final fight scene when Metropolis gets leveled, I couldn’t help but think how much cooler the Matrix movies would have been with that technology. See, I wasn’t even thinking about the movie while I was watching it. I really don’t know what else to say, I just wasn’t a fan. It’s obviously not a unanimous opinion, but certainly holds some weight.

the year: 2013
the writing: David S. Goyer & Christopher Nolan (story)
the acting: Henry Cavill, Amy Adams, Michael Shannon
the time: 142 minutes

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