2017 saw the release of hundreds of films in a multitude of genres. There were box office smashes, and box office flops. There were surprise hits, and expected successes. But what can certainly be said is that audiences undoubtedly looked forward to, and eagerly awaited, a plethora of new film releases. Anticipation for a film can be built up in a number of ways, from word of mouth to behind the scenes news.
One of the most effective ways to build up momentum before a film’s release is the trailer. A good trailer can make a massive difference to who decides to go and see a film, and it can also build up excitement for a film over several months.
Amongst all the anticipation and momentum that is built up towards the release of a new film, is also the weight of expectation. This expectation can mean that we have high hopes that we will enjoy a film, and that it will be well received. Sadly, this doesn’t always turn out to be the case.
When this doesn’t turn out to be the case, feelings of disappointment and sadness may follow. But maybe even more than that will be the feeling of the film being an anti-climax, and so with that in mind – here are a list of films from 2017 that promised much, yet delivered little, and in doing so, are the biggest anticlimactic films of 2017.
1. Mother! (Directed by Darren Aronofsky)
What we expected: Director Darren Aronofsky is well known for his surreal and disturbing films. And Mother! promised to be no different, with buzz being built up around it from when it was first announced. The trailer didn’t give too much away, and Mother! looked to be a film full of intrigue, mystery and horror. When the critics’ reviews started to flood in, the majority were positive. Some called Mother! the must-see film of the year, whilst others promised audiences that Mother! would be the craziest film that they would ever see, filled with undecipherable metaphors and mind-blowing ideas.
What we got: Mother! ended up polarising audiences. The metaphors were obvious, and the biblical allegories were plain to see. This generated controversy with many audiences, and sparked outrage at what people deemed to be blasphemy. This controversy aside, Mother! had looked to be a taught, psychological horror.
In reality, Mother! was often hard to follow, and at times the pace was incredibly slow. There were moments of violence that were harrowing to watch, and overall the pace and tone of the film were completely different from what audiences expected. Mother! ended up being slightly too niche and bizarre for mainstream audiences, which was reflected in the lower than expected box office figures.
2. The Dark Tower (Directed by Nikolaj Arcel)
What we expected: Efforts to adapt The Dark Tower have been ongoing for many years, and so this Stephen King adaptation was widely anticipated, and audience’s hopes were high. A great cast was assembled, and an August release date was announced – marking The Dark Tower as one of 2017’s summer blockbusters. It was also hoped that The Dark Tower would be the first instalment in an epic new franchise, and so The Dark Tower looked to have the potential to be one of the biggest box office smashes of the year.
What we got: The problems started when the first full trailer dropped. The trailer was supposed to garner even more excitement for the film, yet it was pretty mediocre and didn’t make much of an impact. When the reviews started to come in, they were overwhelmingly negative, and many audiences were dissuaded from parting with their money to go and watch the film. Those who did make the effort to go weren’t impressed, and fans of the book were disappointed. The Dark Tower was narratively weak, had mixed performances, and had a running time that was too short to incorporate the epic story effectively into it.
3. Star Wars: The Last Jedi (Directed by Rian Johnson)
What we expected: Easily the most anticipated film of the year, fans and movie goers had been counting down the days until the December release of The Last Jedi. Picking up the story from The Force Awakens, audiences expected more of the same – an action packed, character driven, and massively entertaining film. Throw in promised appearances from legendary Star Wars’ characters such as Luke Skywalker, and The Last Jedi looked set to be the most successful and loved film of the year.
What we got: The Last Jedi proved to be divisive amongst audiences, and for many it was a huge disappointment. Hard to pinpoint exactly why The Last Jedi was a let-down for many, with various reasons stated from weak narrative to poor character development, what is abundantly clear is that after such a massive build up – The Last Jedi felt incredibly anticlimactic.
The Last Jedi has done well financially at the box office, and will undoubtedly finish its cinematic run as one of the biggest grossing films of 2017. But with such a huge campaign built up all year around a film that didn’t deliver for many, The Last Jedi felt like the film year’s biggest anti-climax.
4. The Killing of a Sacred Deer (Directed by Yorgos Lanthimos)
What we expected: This psychological thriller from director Yorgos Lanthimos, was selected to compete for the Palme d’Or at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, and won the best screenplay award. When the trailer was released it was undoubtedly one of the best trailers of the year, and The Killing of a Sacred Deer definitely looked like a film not to be missed. The cast also looked great, with acting stalwarts Nicole Kidman and Colin Farrell teaming up with relative newcomers, Barry Keoghan, Raffey Cassidy and Sunny Suljic.
What we got: The problem is not that The Killing of a Sacred Deer is a bad film. It is not by any means. The main problem with The Killing of a Sacred Deer is that it set itself up to be unmissable due to its fantastic trailer, and it simply does not live up to its hype. The film is a difficult watch, sometimes deeply engaging and other times slightly odd and hard to follow. The Killing of a Sacred Deer looked to be a clever and disturbing horror – and it is to a point. But the third act tends towards absurdity, therefore it loses some of its impact.
5. Geostorm (Directed by Dean Devlin)
What we expected: There hadn’t been a big budget American disaster film in cinemas for a while, and Geostorm looked to fill that gap nicely. The trailer saw plenty of action sequences, explosions, and lashings of CGI. All in all, Geostrom looked like it could be lots of fun to watch, entertaining, and look pretty darn good on the big screen. The premise was interesting and original as well, and played nicely into current concerns on global warming and climate change.
What we got: Critically panned, Geostorm was less of a disaster film, and more of a disaster of a film. The narrative was weak, the dialogue uninspiring, and the overall result felt trashy. Even the big budget effects couldn’t save Geostorm, and the film that had promised to be one of the best popcorn flicks of the year, turned out to be one of the worst.