Saturday, May 17, 2014
What is the Most Underrated Blockbuster?
A lot of times when we talk about 'underrated' movies, we're referring to smaller, often independent movies that never got the chance to have a lot of eyes on them. But big Hollywood blockbusters can be underrated, too, either because they failed at the box office or because they did fine but were immediately forgotten.
So which one is the most underrated?
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Tricky question. I'd have to say Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End, which I admit is a pretentious mess, but I feel has a lot going for it. I actually really like all the mythology they are obviously pulling out of their rear as it happens, and I think Jack is much more interesting in it than it Dead Man's Chest.ReplyDelete
I don't like that movie at all but I have to admit the soundtrack is wonderful.Delete
Another threequel(?) blockbuster I like and nobody else seems to is Jurassic Park 3. Sure it's dumb, but it's fun dumb, and there are dinosaurs.
Does Cloud Atlas count as a blockbuster? I believe it cost something like 100 million dollars. It's so strange to me that that movie wasn't a giant success. Was it the marketing? Are people just dumb?ReplyDelete
Not sure if it counts as a blockbuster (unless it's defined by budget, in which case I'd say it is) but it certainly is one of the most criminally underrated movies ever.Delete
I couldn't get on board with this one. I really admire it. Totally unique. Just not for me. Glad I saw it though.Delete
Per Box Office Mojo, CLOUD ATLAS made only $27,000,000. That's criminal.Delete
I love Cloud Atlas so much it is such a shame it made so little. Hopefully over time it will gain more appreciation!Delete
Cloud Atlas is an excellent, beautiful film. I have no idea if its failure has any correlation with the relative stupidity of people, but I suspect they are, in fact, related.Delete
I would go with Treasure Planet. The idea of Treasure Island being mixed with science fiction elements was a neat one and I thought the combination of traditional and computer animation for the effects were handled pretty well.ReplyDelete
I probably wouldn't call it the MOST underrated blockbuster, but I've always felt that Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull is was an interesting experiment in transplanting the character into the paranoia and space-crazy 1950s. It would have been much better without George Lucas' broad concepts, without Spielberg's wunderkind Shia LaBeouf and without the inconsistent tone during the first half, but the things I want from an Indiana Jones movie are largely present. The nuked fridge never bothered me because this is a character that jumped out of a plane on an inflatable raft in Temple of Doom. I think Crystal Skull fell short of the mark and has now someone become labelled as atrocious, which I don't think it is. It's very flawed but also very fun. Because it's been beaten to near death in the last few years, it doesn't have to be GREAT to be underrated, just okay.ReplyDelete
typo! Someone = somewhatDelete
I actually didn't mind Shia LaBeouf in the movie. He wasn't great, but Mutt served his purpose for the most part and gave Harrison someone to act with. I think there are parts of that movie that really work, but then other parts that fall completely and utterly flat.Delete
I agree though, it's an okay movie.
You're a hero, Heath.Delete
(your trophy should be arriving in the next few days)
Can't wait for my trophy! Unless it's a sack of dog poo.Delete
I kind of enjoyed Crystal Skull. Despite everyone else I know saying that I'm completely wrong, most of it actually worked for me. Less underrated and more unfairly reviled.Delete
Couldn't agree more, Heath! I've always been a fan of Crystal Skull, even if it is an uneven mess. It has all of the elements I love from an Indy film, and I'm more than willing to wade through the shitty groundhog shots and Shia LeBeouf garbage to watch another wild Indiana Jones adventure. I'd say I even like it more than Temple of Doom.Delete
Once I get through my CCFF reviews, my plan has been to do a "Take Two" column on Crystal Skull. I caught a few minutes on USA the other week and it seemed like a good choice for the TT treatment.Delete
To be fair, I hate the magical raft ride also. I actually mind it more, because in many ways and moments Temple looks and feels a lot more like Raiders than Skull does. (Check out this here blog post of mine on how the visual palette of Skull is far, far more polished and "prettier" than the earlier movies, Raiders especially.) Of course, Temple has the biggest and worst tonal shifts of all the series, from the ludicrous slapstick of the Donkey Kong mine cart chase to the open heart surgery.Delete
Taken purely as a nostalgic popcorn lark that pays homage to Raiders more than it aspires to stand alongside it, I think Skull is pretty okay. But let's not kid ourselves - the best Raiders sequel remains The Mummy '99. :P
Is Titanic an acceptable answer? I know calling it "underrated" might be a bit of a stretch considering it won Best Picture and crushed box office records, but today I think it could be called underrated. Mostly because of the backlash towards it, and that it's a cool thing to say you hate Titanic, and that the movie has nothing going for it.ReplyDelete
For me the movie still holds up, and I find it to be a very compelling movie for the most part. I do find the scenes in the present rather tiresome, but whenever they're actually on the Titanic I commit to the movie. Sure much of the movie is rather simplistic, but considering what the backdrop is, I don't think an original story was necessary. I like the supporting cast as well, even if I suppose they were almost all two-dimensional characters. The action scenes are all well done, and it works as a spectacle.
Should it have won best picture? Absolutely not, but I try not to hold anything against the film just because it was successful. It's a very good moviegoing experience, and usually that's all I expect from a movie.
I feel the same way. Titanic is a movie with tons of problems, but it works for me practically every step of the way. I love how it is interested not onlyDelete
in the death of the ship but it's life as well. The characters aren't the most drawn out people, but I still root
for Jack to win the girl and for bad guy Billy Zane to get what's coming to him. That's a great pick actually.
Ditto x 2. :-)Delete
I so wanted Billy Zane to win out, and the way I remember it, he did. I try to forget the "years later he put a pistol in his mouth" line. Who would phrase his suicide that way anyway? It must have been a censorship concern, hopefully not just poor writing.Delete
It's James Cameron. It's probably bad writing. I say this as a fan of James Cameron.Delete
I gotta go with Last Action Hero. It was meta before all the hipsters in the coffee house even knew what meta was. Much like Scream two years later, it was both a satire of action movies while simultaneously being an action movie. The problem? It was a little too silly at times, and a lot of people didn't really understand the satire. I mean, a cartoon cat voiced by Danny DeVito? They can't be serious; and they weren't. It was just their way of saying "Hey, cut it out with the stupid wacky-partner buddy cop movies. This is where it's heading." But, no one really got it. Plus, we didn't want to see Arnold doing these things. His last movie was Terminator 2. It's not close to Arnold's best movie, but I think it's still a really good movie.ReplyDelete
I'd also like to throw in a mention for Alien 3, a movie which I think gets all the hate for all the wrong reason.
Spielberg's War of the Worlds. Yeah there are a couple questionable character moments and the ending is a little off (so is the ending of the book though). Is there anything scarier than that initial attack? One of Spielberg's best sequences. Improved by Tom Cruise selling near-panic so well. (I also like Heath's pick of Crystal Skull, also Spielberg).ReplyDelete
The remake of The Italian Job is a relatively peppy (and deeply flawed) little commercial for the Mini Motor Company... movie. I meant movie.ReplyDelete
I find parts of Mission Impossible 2 fun, but you sadly have to work through the rest of the movie to get to those parts (Or skip, the remote has a skip button)
Quantum of Solace is just a personal little "I liked that one." That's one of those what doesn't work for some other people works for me. I like the chase scenes in it, but I recognize that if you don't like chases you won't like this.
The problem is, all the other things I can think of have either had their moment to shine, at least as cult movies.
3 of the top 5 grossing movies of 2000:Delete
- How the Grinch Stole Christmas
- Mission Impossible 2
- What Women Want
Willow is one of the best fantasy movies of the 80s and is often frowned upon because it was post-peak George Lucas.ReplyDelete
Congo is incredibly silly but one of the most fun summer blockbusters I've ever seen.
Dead Man's Chest is a great Indiana Jones style adventure and better than the first Pirates of the Caribbean movie.
Totally love Willow.Delete
Is it too soon for "John Carter" and "The Lone Ranger"? Both are known for their epic budget write-offs in Disney quarterly earnings and for not being good, whether the person saying it has seen them or not. As just popcorn movies though I find both (particularly "TLR") supremely well-made and criminally underrated Hollywood summer entertainment treats that, unlike most recent summer blockbusters stuck on a 9-11 loop reel, leave me happy and wanting to take a repeat ride.ReplyDelete
As a guy who's read and totally enjoyed ERB's Caspak trilogy, I feel relatively qualified to say that it will always be too soon for John Carter. :PDelete
No, it's not awful, but it sure as heck ain't good, neither.
Hudson Hawk. Yes, I know it's a complete mess and it probably lands on the wrong side of insufferably smug for most people, but I love its inspired, cartoony lunacy.ReplyDelete
"Brave" was shit on a lot when it came out and I still don't understand why. While it's not the best Pixar has made, I say it's up there with "Frozen" as far Disney animation is concerned. Yes, co-director Brenda Chapman's treatment by the studio was abhorrent, but the finished movie is still enjoyable.ReplyDelete
I have a huge fondness for Brave just because what it means to me and my sister. She is so like Merida! I can see past the messiness of the film because I am very invested in that character. It is like watching my little sister in her own film.Delete
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 was given a hard time by some critics. 'Beautifully shot but a soulless cash machine' is how Lou Lumenick (New York Post) described it. I can't believe anyone would describe Harry Potter as a 'soulless cash machine'! I remember watching and reading film reviews and being so disappointed. Some criticism involved arguments stating things like 'but all I wanted was the explosions!' I was actually upset by this. It seemed this critic was applying Transformers logic to Harry Potter. This movie has its problems, I agreed with a lot of the ones you pointed out on your podcast of it (nice little plug there for you) however I think it is so much better than some other critics suggested. I mean if anything, we are so invested in the characters, and when we know what is coming next, it can be taken as a good part of something really special. I am very biased to the Harry Potter franchise, but I think the film has a lot going for it. Only if you come to as a part of the series though, like you said it isn't a stand up film. But as part of the series I kind of love it.ReplyDelete
Not a single mentioned of Sucker Punch... interesting. I loathe that movie, but I thought for sure it would be brought up. It's more of a "so bad, it's almost good" movie for me.ReplyDelete
I'd definitely add Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest and At World's End to this list. Yes, they're messy. Yes, they're flawed and over bloated. But they are a TON of fun, wildly imaginative, and smarter than most of the blockbuster popcorn flicks we're usually treated to.ReplyDelete
I'd say Lone Ranger, too, another messy movie that has a TON to enjoy. Maybe Gore Verbinski is destined to be a divisive but imaginative filmmaker? If Disney ever trusts him with another huge budget, that is.
I would have to say Super 8. I thought, like Patrick, that it was possibly the best film of that year. It had been years since I had been so engrossed in a film world and setting as I was in Super 8. It was such a fun time that I feel like most people I know either avoided it or forgot it far too soon. Either way, it is a fantastic film that deserves more recognition.ReplyDelete