5. The Goldfinch
“The Goldfinch” was adapted after Donna Tartt’s bestseller novel of the same name, which won the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and spent more than 30 weeks on The New York Times Best Sellers list. Like other recent failed adaptations of great novels (Ewan McGregor’s “American Pastoral” comes to mind), “The Goldfinch” is a film that made its fantastic source material feel rather mundane and uninteresting.
Director John Crowley, who was behind 2015’s critically-acclaimed “Brooklyn” (another novel adaptation), didn’t do justice to Tartt’s book and, despite its beautiful cinematography and impressive cast, the final result was a rather dull, boring and unfocused Oscar-baity movie. Maybe trying to condense a 780-page book into a 2 and a half hours movie wasn’t a great idea and this would have worked better as a miniseries.
4. The Lion King
Back in 2016, Jon Favreau directed a live-action remake of Disney’s “The Jungle Book”. While we still like the original animation more, Favreau’s film was a really enjoyable experience that tried to improve on its source every time it could, and a perfect way to introduce Mowgli’s adventures to a newer generation of viewers.
Disney tried to rejuvenate their 1994 classic animation “The Lion King” with another CGI remake, but Favreau’s obsession with photorealism took the film into the uncanny valley and resulted in a fantastically looking, yet completely cold and emotionless film. With all of its animal characters staring at the screen poker-faced in scenes that were supposed to make us feel something, “The Lion King” remake looked like a Discovery documentary with voice-overs. Even if it managed to bring together an impressive cast and was a remarkable technical achievement, “The Lion King” remake was a disappointment that didn’t come close to the brilliance of the original animation.
3. Gemini Man
From his masterpiece “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” to “Brokeback Mountain” and “Life Of Pi”, Ang Lee has done some great movies throughout his career. Sadly, “Gemini Man” isn’t one of them.
As you’ve probably already heard, the film features Will Smith as an elite shooter who has to face off a younger clone of himself while on the run from the government. Unfortunately, Will Smith’s (double) onscreen presence and the groundbreaking de-aging technology couldn’t save “Gemini Man” from its underdeveloped characters and one of the worst scripts of the year.
Despite an interesting premise and a legendary director behind the camera, “Gemini Man” was one of last year’s worst movies.
2. It Chapter 2 & Pet Sematary
In the last couple of years, Stephen King has been more popular than ever and we’ve received countless adaptations of his work. While some of them were at least decent (“Gerald’s Game”, “It” or the “Mr. Mercedes” and “11.22.63” TV shows come to mind), we’ve also got plenty of bad ones.
This year, “It Chapter 2” and “Pet Sematary” came to the big screen. Based on some of King’s best work, both of the films could have been among the best horrors of the year. Unfortunately, this didn’t happen and what we’ve received were some lackluster movies that seemed to be made only to earn some easy cash.
2017’s “It” was a better than average readaptation of King’s 1986 novel and, despite not being a great horror film, at least it worked really well as a coming of age story due to great chemistry between its young cast.
We all hoped that “It: Chapter 2” would be an improvement improve over the first film, scare us more and do justice to King’s novel. With James McAvoy, Jessica Chastain and Bill Hader as part of the cast, things looked very promising. However, we were sad to discover that despite a great cast and some impressive performances (Bill Skarsgård was still a perfect Pennywise), “It Chapter 2” was all over the place, repetitive, lazy and filled with clichéd jumpscares and CGI monsters.
To make things worse, the film didn’t even manage to be as scary as the (not so scary) first part and for some reason every potentially terrifying scene was ruined by unnecessary and totally unrealistic jokes. And we almost forgot about the laughable ending – what was that supposed to be? Let’s pray that Warner Bros won’t decide to come up with an “It: Chapter 3”.
“Pet Sematary” was another readaptation of a King novel. While the original 1989 film became somewhat of a guilty pleasure for horror fans, it was far from a great film and, apart from Fred Gwynne’s perfect casting as Jud Crandall, there wasn’t anything memorable about it.
When “Starry Eyes” directors Kevin Kölsch and Dennis Widmyer were announced to helm the new “Pet Sematary” adaptation, we had our hopes high that this time the movie would do some justice to King’s novel. While “Starry Eyes” wasn’t a flawless horror movie, it was original and pretty unnerving.
This wasn’t the case with the 2019 “Pet Sematary”, an adaptation which needless to say disappointed us. The film tried to be a literal adaptation of King’s novel, yet the results were bland. Despite some fine performances, “Pet Sematary” wasn’t scary at all, suffered from a weak direction and some ridiculously bad scenes, including a truck accident that somehow leaves its victim intact.
Fans of “Hellboy” have been longing for another movie featuring the well-meant half-demon superhero since 2008, when director Guillermo Del Toro released his second on-screen adaptation of the famous Dark Horse Comics graphic novels.
After years of rumors of a potential sequel to the two “Hellboy” films, Del Toro announced via Twitter that a “Hellboy 3” would certainly not happen. Instead, what was initially supposed to be a sequel to the original films became a reboot. Neil Marshal, who directed the 2005 horror “The Descent” and a couple of “Game Of Thrones” and “Westworld” episodes, was announced as the director of the new film, and “Stranger Things” actor David Harbour was cast in the titular role.
Things looked promising: David Harbour seemed like a good replacement for Ron Perlman, the film was supposed to be R-rated, and Neil Marshal was a proven competent director. Then the trailer came up, and we were already getting mixed-signals.
Unfortunately, when the “Hellboy” reboot was finally released, it became both a box-office and critical failure. The new film was all over the place, with an inconsistent tone, a painfully unfunny and not-thrilling script, poor CGI, and lots of bad acting. Fans wanted a decent spiritual successor to Del Toro’s “Hellboy” and instead they received this ugly, bloated and forgettable mess.