5. The Hunger Games
The Hunger Games is responsible for making every teenager aware of the dystopian subgenre of science fiction. To some extent, that’s a good thing because it may have pushed them to watch or read things outside of their comfort zone.
On the other hand, it brought us countless lazy copycats like Divergent and Maze Runner. That’s not why this movie has been included on the list though. It would be silly to bash a movie for being influential. It’s a little less silly to bash movie for being influential when it doesn’t deserve to be. It’s a middle of the road young adult movie and it’s a middle of the road dystopian movie. It’s certainly worth a watch, but it’s hard to see how people can view it as such a game changer.
The Hunger Games is lacking in complex worldbuilding and emotional depth. Panem is interesting at first glance, but you quickly learn that there isn’t all that much to it. By comparison, the wizarding world of Harry Potter constantly makes an effort to surprise viewers (and readers).
In terms of the aforementioned emotional depth, the side characters are so poorly developed that their inevitable deaths often fail to lead to any kind of reaction. This is all made worse by the fact that the themes are so in-your-face that the audience isn’t required to do any thinking. They’re spoon-fed whatever message they’re supposed to learn and then the credits roll. This lack of depth is precisely why The Hunger Games shouldn’t sit in the same category as comparable movies.
4. Independence Day
This is an interesting film to include because it wasn’t exactly a smash hit from the perspective of a film critic. Independence Day came out to slightly-above-average reviews, but most people view it as something of a science fiction classic.
It’s an interesting case of when the reception of a movie changes drastically over the time. After dominating at the box office and making its way into countless conversations, it seems as though people have now forgotten the fact that this movie is, well, kind of dumb.
There are a lot of movies on this list with great ideas that simply aren’t well-executed. Independence Day, on the other hand, doesn’t even have all that great of ideas. It’s a generic alien invasion movie that only wins people over due to its balls-to-the-walls action and popcorn thrills.
Yes, it is a fun popcorn movie, but it’s hard to compare it to other blockbuster movies that try a little hard to keep people thinking. Not every movie has to be Under the Skin, but Independence Day feels like a Michael Bay flick in disguise.
Christopher Nolan is a talented filmmaker who has a surprisingly irritating fanbase. Prior to the closure of IMDb’s message boards, people treated him as if he were some kind of filmmaking god. The reality is that, while Nolan makes very good movies, he also makes very flawed ones. Following the release of Interstellar, a surprising amount of people claimed it was the best sci-fi movie of all time. In reality, Interstellar might not even be the best sci-fi movie of 2014.
Here’s the deal: Interstellar is a thinking man’s sci-fi movie that really does offer up some food for thought. It’s just not as thought-provoking as the masses make it out to be. There are giant plot holes scattered throughout the runtime. These plot holes are accompanied by weak characters and weaker dialogue. While the big ideas are often appropriately mind-binding, one can’t help but feel like certain aspects don’t really work.
Gravity is a technical masterpiece and that can’t be disputed. Hell, it’s one of the best looking movies ever made. The visual effects are some of the best to ever hit the big screen. From a filmmaking perspective, this is a masterpiece, so why is it on this list? Well, even though it’s incredibly well-made, it’s just not all that entertaining to watch. Sure, you could argue that not all movies are made for entertainment, but it’s an issue when a movie just can’t keep the viewer’s attention. That’s one of Gravity’s major issues.
This is because the plot isn’t half as interesting as the visual effects. Like Avatar and countless other movies, Gravity chooses style over substance. This tale of survival isn’t quite as captivating as comparable survival movies. It lacks the intensity of something like All is Lost or even The Revenant. The stakes are high, but the flat characters don’t make any of the intense moments feel all that important. In conclusion, Gravity is a gorgeous movie that’s miserable to sit through.
It feels like a cheat to include Avatar at this point. So many people have acknowledged the fact that it sacrificed plot for technological showiness. At the same time, there’s no denying the fact that this movie was hugely influential following its release.
It broke box office records, it won countless awards, and it introduced people to a new blockbuster world that didn’t feature superheroes. It’s no wonder people got so excited following its release. Now that time has passed, can we all admit that Avatar was a pretty mediocre movie?
To start, it borrows numerous plot points from other movies. The world may have been original, but the story itself doesn’t have an original bone in its body. Furthermore, Avatar is perhaps the greatest example of style over substance.
It sure is a pretty movie, even today, but it ultimately has very little to say. The commentary it does have to make has been seen in better movies like Dances with Wolves and Pocahontas. Had Avatar done something a little more interesting with its story, it may have been a science fiction classic. It seems likely that it will be forgotten pretty quickly.