main index




Topical Tropes

Other Categories

TV Tropes Org
Dork Age: Film
  • Highlander II: The Quickening started a Dork Age from which the Highlander film series would never recover. The TV series did all right for a time, until the end of the fifth season alienated many fans by introducing a demonic entity into the series (when no previous episodes foreshadowed it, or implied that such things existed in the Highlander universe), and killing off a popular character abruptly and anticlimactically in an Idiot Plot.
  • The Godzilla movies are claimed to have undergone a dork age during The Seventies, though one is hard pressed to explain exactly how the '70s flicks were any sillier than the films that preceded them, given that Godzilla was already setting Kong's crotch on fire, drunkenly tripping over buildings, chatting up a storm with Mothra and Rodan, dancing in outer space, playing volleyrock with a giant shrimp, adopting a child and teaching said child how to deal with bullies during the '60s. It probably has more to do with the outlandishly low production values for a few of those 70s films coupled with bad direction and poor acting. In fact, only two of the seventies films are considered irredeemably bad, with two films being considered almost on par with the 60s films and a fifth falling squarely into 'love it or hate it' territory. Even the aforementioned bad films often fall into the So Bad, It's Good category for some people. Lately, the Millennium series seems to be taking over this role, though there is still some contention within the fandom on this.
  • Star Wars, due to an Unpleasable Fanbase and having so many different projects going at one time, goes into a constant rotation of dork ages. In the mainstream stuff The Phantom Menace and Attack of the Clones were lackluster in how they were received. It was when Star Wars: The Clone Wars re-established a cool factor that the franchise has managed to recover. Even still, many people feel over-saturated in the merchandise, which led to a Critical Backlash against Star Wars: The Clone Wars. However, that show appears to have grown the beard in Season 2, so hope springs eternal. There's also a true "Dark Age" between 1986 (when the comic published by Marvel, and the animated series Droids and Ewoks were finished) and 1991 (when Heir to the Empire was published). George Lucas was uninterested in making new films, and both merchandise and the Expanded Universe stalled (notable during the period are only the Star Tours ride at Disney, the Star Wars RPG... and Spaceballs).
  • Batman was in it deep during the late '90s. Tim Burton left the franchise, as did leading actor Michael Keaton. Executive Meddling caused Batman Forever to be campier and more toyetic than its predecessors. Following that film, the new lead actor Val Kilmer left as well, and then the camp factor went Up to Eleven and we got Batman & Robin. That so-called "film" killed the Batman movie franchise for eight years until Batman Begins came out.
  • James Bond
    • The Roger Moore era is usually considered a Dork Age among Bond fans. Plots became weaker and campier, with more focus on gadgets and locations than characterization or action. Although this era did have its highlights (The Spy Who Loved Me) it also had its dark abysses (A View to a Kill, Moonraker). The Man with the Golden Gun is a Base Breaker, with some considering it on par with Moonraker and other fans feeling it to be Moore's equivalent to Goldfinger and much better than made out to be. For Your Eyes Only is unique in that it was a Roger Moore Bond film without gadgetry — it was given a mixed reception in 1981, but thirty years later, even fans who didn't like Roger Moore seem to like it. For music fans, on the other hand, the era is most often fondly looked at as the golden age of Bond themes, from "Nobody Does it Better" (Carly Simon) to "Live and Let Die" (Paul McCartney and Wings) to "A View to a Kill" (Duran Duran).
    • For a long time, the Timothy Dalton movies were seen as a Dork Age, with Licence to Kill being so gory and violent that many felt it barely resembled a Bond film. Nowadays, however, the Dalton movies are seen as prototypes for the Daniel Craig era, having had the bad luck of hitting about twenty years too early. In addition, the Bond that Dalton portrays is much closer to the Bond that Ian Fleming wrote: a stone killer and a womanizer with a hinted-at lust for violence. (Well, okay, all the Bonds are womanizers, but whereas Connery is the archetypal Bond-As-Playa and Roger Moore's just... well... Roger Moore, Dalton comes across as a sexual predator.) Craig himself can be seen as a Dork Age by the Moore or Brosnan fans since the plots had no science fiction plots by the villains for monetary gain which is seen as a detractor to some. Additionally, many fans seem to think that Craig-era Bond has taken so many leaves out of Bourne's book that he no longer resembles Bond himself at all.
    • The Pierce Brosnan Age is also viewed as a Dork Age by some, and the consensus seems to be that it got progressively worse after GoldenEye (the only one with a Fresh score on Rotten Tomatoes), ending with what is often regarded as the worst Bond film ever, Die Another Day. Even Moonraker has a Fresh score on RT, although just barely.
    • A large chunk of the fanbase was expecting this when Daniel Craig was announced, but was averted when shown that Daniel Craig was actually pretty awesome.
  • Mae West lost a good chunk of her sex appeal when The Hays Code was imposed, but her movies remained passable. Myra Breckinridge and Sextette, made after she was convinced to come out of retirement in old age, are not. Myra Breckinridge was a terrible film in its own right and only featured Mae in a single scene — basically playing herself — as a man-hungry talent agent-type who gives the eponymous hero/heroine (don't ask) lessons on mistreating the menfolk. Frankly, Mae is not the grossest thing in it — not after you see the strap-on scene. Sextette... well, it was based on her 1926 play Sex, and having her be a Memetic Sex Goddess back then was quite a different matter from having the movie treat her like one when she's a frail, overly made-up 84-year-old woman paired with men young enough to be her grandchildren (such as 32-year-old Timothy Dalton, for whom this is a major Old Shame). Most people's reactions to the film are somewhere between a Primal Scene reaction and profound Squick.
  • Depending on your opinion, either Alien³ or Alien: Resurrection. While in popular culture, Alien 3 is considered the turning point of the franchise, many fans of the franchise appreciate the Assembly Cut's character drama (with an Alien...) approach, leading some to believe that the latter example is true turning point. To support its quasi-popularity, many fans saw Alien 3 as a return to the themes and atmosphere of the first film, where the second was a subverted gung-ho action flick.
    • The Alien vs. Predator films are considered the nadir of both franchises. While the two have crossed over before, the films were considered inferior to previous team-ups and both films have the two lowest Rotten Tomatoes scores of all the films. note . While Alien vs. Predator was criticized for its watered-down PG-13 rating, Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem was panned for trying too hard to go in the opposite direction. Both the Aliens and the Predators underwent severe Villain Decay and later films have rendered the spinoffs non-canon.
  • The Crow pretty much went into one after people realized that there was money to be made after the first film was successful (and Brandon Lee died). The Crow: City of Angels was poorly received by most, not helped by the fact that Dimension cut out at least 20 minutes worth of character development and important plot points, causing the film to feel rather disjointed at times. The Crow: Salvation was considered a definite improvement, while most people see The Crow: Wicked Prayer as So Okay, It's Average. And now there's a remake in the works, and most people have very low expectations for how it will turn out.
  • Friday the 13th lost its edge around the ninth film, when Jason turned out to be a demonic entity capable of body surfing. In terms of actual horror, the subsequent film, where he went to space, marked the lowest point in the decline (though some claim that film to be So Bad, It's Good).
  • The Halloween series had the extremely poorly explained Curse of Thorn storyline from the fifth and sixth films, which tried to tie Michael to prophecies, an ancient cult and the like.
  • The Disney Animated Canon has seen three Dork Ages. The first happened during World War II and a little while afterward, where all films released were cheap "package" films rather than ones with coherent stories, and ended with the release of Cinderella. The second happened between the late 1960s and the early 1980s due to the death of Walt Disney, and ended with the Disney Renaissance, while the third started in the early 2000s and ended with the release of The Princess and the Frog.
  • Some argue the Marx Brothers went through this after their switch to MGM. Zeppo got tired of acting and the studio forced the brothers to go from completely anarchic Rapid-Fire Comedy to more good-natured characters helping out a forgettable romantic lead between increasingly tedious musical numbers (Groucho called The Big Store's "Tenement Symphony" "the most godawful thing I'd ever heard"). Granted, there was still plenty of CMOF, it was just more restrained than during their years at Paramount.
  • Eddie Murphy had one starting with his 1989 flop Harlem Nights that lasted into the early-mid '90s, with many unsuccessful movies including The Distinguished Gentleman, Beverly Hills Cop III, and Vampire in Brooklyn (all of which he has since disowned), before he made his comeback with his 1996 remake of The Nutty Professor. He entered another one in the 2000s, where, with the exception of the Shrek movies and Dreamgirls, his films like The Adventures of Pluto Nash, The Haunted Mansion, Norbit, Meet Dave and Imagine That were all massive failures (Pluto Nash has become one of Hollywood's biggest flops, and many feel Norbit torpedoed Murphy's Oscar hopes with Dreamgirls). He got praised for starring in 2011's Tower Heist, but his 2012 follow-up A Thousand Words (although it was filmed in 2008) was universally panned, receiving a Tomatometer score of 0%, so only time will tell whether he'll recover.
    • Bowfinger is another exception to his mid-career slump. It is generally considered some of the best material to come from both Murphy and Steve Martin in years. It was a box office success and currently holds an 80% on RT.
  • Hellraiser

MarvelDork AgeLive-Action TV

TV Tropes by TV Tropes Foundation, LLC is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available from
Privacy Policy