Whilst 2017 brought us some fantastic films, it is fair to say that 2016 had some disappointments as well. Luckily, not as many 20 which is what I have in my favourites list, but listed below are 5 films that really disappointed me. I must note before that I actively try and avoid films that I just know are going to be horrendous (a real film critic has to sit through everything though which is what in an ideal world, I want to be) so this list might not be truly representative. One must also realise the difference between a film that is disappointing and a film that is truly bad. I could probably find 20 films that disappointed me last year but this is not the purpose of this post. Compared to 2015 and 2016, I have to say that this list is a lot more mild. Although the worst film on this list is a bad film, if I were listing these films in tandem with last year, I think the Top 4 are probably worse from last year than the worst film this year. Hence, why this isn’t a ‘worst of’ list like I have done in the past, more of what films I found most disappointing.
5) La La Land
It is with heavy heart that I found La La Land to be an incredibly disappointing film that is totally undeserving of all the praise it is getting. This film especially hurts me even more considering director Damien Chazelle’s previous film, Whiplash, was my favourite film of 2015. I really wanted to like this film and I kept trying to make excuses for Chazelle but there’s just too many missteps to ignore and the film feels very disjointed in its pacing. The performances are admirable and Gosling and Stone carry the film well but by no means are they awards-worthy and the script in particular, which is normally Chazelle’s main attribute is dismally lacking and doesn’t have any direction to it. Surprisingly, it got nominated for an Oscar in this category. The whole plot of the film is by extension, confused and the film doesn’t know what it wants to be and the many elements of the narrative just aggressively don’t come together. Did I miss something in this film? Did I watch a different film to everyone else, not the one that has made such an impression on both critics and audiences and has attracted sterling reviews? (My original review here)
4) The Lego Batman Movie
l is a film of two halves – its first act is particularly impressive and constantly cracks jokes left, right and centre and is surprisingly very cine-literate. The opening sequence which is a fight between Batman and the Joker is particularly well-crafted and the gags keep coming at a rapid pace and there is so much to absorb on-screen, little references to the character and previous incarnations scattered across the screen – it is pure eye-candy. The voice cast are generally pretty strong and Lorne Balfe’s score is generally competent and there are a couple of memorable, dark and brooding themes that elevate the narrative, particularly in the opening fight sequence. Unfortunately, the film completely violently tanks in its second half. The major factor as to why this film falls off the rails in its second act is due to its story which is misjudged. Rather than go down a route where it thoroughly explores Batman and his supporting characters, director Chris McKay chooses to shake things up and try and mix in popular culture with this iconic superhero. This does not work at all and as the film progressed, really started to get on my nerves. By the time the credits started to roll and I was being lectured on the subject of working together, I was seething. This is an insult to fans of the character and completely undoes all the good work the film managed to do in its first act. Part of why the first act works really well is because the filmmakers are clearly respectful of the source material but all that respect goes out of the window in the second half and this very much becomes a film centered for children. (My original review here)
3) Pirates of the Caribbean: Salazar’s Revenge
Although Pirates of the Caribbean: Salazar’s Revenge represents a slight improvement over On Stranger Tides and a lot better than At World’s End, it still feels unnecessay, insubstantial and a cash grab to try and reinvigorate the series. What’s even more disappointing is how little of a director’s stamp there is here by Rønning and Sandberg – the film feels as if it was made by studio executives which is such a shame considering how talented this duo are. Other than for a short while in the middle section, the film completely lacks any energy and it feels far longer than the 129 minute run time than it is. It’s not a terrible film and it does have a couple of redeeming features to it but this is definitely a film to skip if you’ve got a choice this Summer. Of course, the visuals here are excellent but the action sequences don’t really have any flow to them and it’s hard to care for any of the characters. (My original review here)
A late entry into this list that I watched close to writing this, Mindhorn is a comedy that has no humour. I didn’t laugh once in this, instead I winced and cringed at most of the juvenile attempts to raise a chuckle. The story is a good concept, but it feels overly familiar to other films of this genre and I’m genuinely surprised at the extremely positive reception this film recieved. What did I miss? Anyway, for now, along with La La Land and The Lego Batman Movie, it is my job to put these films in their place once and for all.
1) The Mummy
The only really bad film on this list and a film that I was rightly worried for ever since it was greenlit, The Mummy is an abomination. Director Alex Kurtzman is a poor match for the material and Tom Cruise is also woeful in a role he should never have been cast in. The film is not scary in the slightest and any attempts the film makes at injecting humour are aggressively unfunny. Whilst Dracula Untold was forcefully pushed aside and despite that also being a disappointing film, it is a far more enriching experience than this film is. It doesn’t quite achieve a 1-star rating as there are a couple of nicely choreographed action sequences and the film does have a few hints of momentum in its mid-section but the film constantly stumbles and falls apart. At times, the film is even laughable which is always a poor sign. (My original review here)
So there we go – as mentioned, I’m sure if I would have actively gone and watched all the really bad films, this list would definitely change but I didn’t. The fact still remains though, regardless of whether there is anything worse out there, this list is still a collection of flops. However, as mentioned compared to last year, 2017 was a miracle run in terms of bad films and other than ‘The Mummy’, none of these films are really that bad. Fingers crossed 2018 ends up being as good a year as 2017!