6. Warcraft (28%) vs The Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies (59%)
Aside from the fact that we could recommend either of these films, they’re both fantasy productions with great special effects, and no specific goal in mind. The last part of The Hobbit trilogy is a part of Peter Jackson’s long running set of Tolkien-inspired epics. It features the filmmaker’s famous wide shots and, as always, sensational scenery. It also features an incredible amount of boredom, although Luke Evans and Benedict Cumberbatch can liven things up.
“Warcraft”, on the other hand, features great CGI, a more interesting story, and probably one of the most compelling virtual characters in late years, the orc chieftain Durotan. Unfortunately, the movie also features a lot of incoherent scenes, wooden acting, and a video game franchise that immediately makes critics run for cover.
Overall, although the movie has a lot of flaws, “Warcraft” was appreciated by fans and did well at the box office. So, in this case, if you were to choose a movie to spend more than two hours watching, you’d have to choose between A Battle for Boredom and The War for Coherence.
7. The Angry Birds Movie (44%) vs Finding Dory (94%)
“Finding Nemo” is a Pixar animation staple, a movie every parent has seen at least four times. Its sequel, “Finding Dory”, was heavily promoted and easily forgotten, although critics praised it for… frankly, we have no idea why “Finding Dory” was praised. This second entry in the “lost fish saga” is a great sample of Pixar’s animation style, but that’s all it is. Despite the talented voice cast, the movie never seems to find its pacing and manages to be boring for both parents and children. Sure, it’s a child-friendly entry on Pixar’s roster, but it’s also a mediocre film.
“The Angry Birds Movie” on the other hand… well, we have to face it – this one is pretty bad, too. It’s more of an adult-oriented animated film, with a far lower budget than its Pixar counterpart. Sure, it can be fun at times, as it completely disregards the source material (the Angry Birds game, by Finnish company Rovio) and it also features a talented voice cast. But that’s all.
However, the point is not that “The Angry Birds Movie” deserved better. The point is that “Finding Dory” has no business in having a more than 50% rating, and most animations that came out last year (save for “Zootopia” and “Moana”) have been unfairly compared to a mediocre flick.
8. Independence Day: Resurgence (31%) vs Star Trek Beyond (85%)
Let’s be clear from the get-go. No Star Trek fan will ever take into account any serious critique when it comes to their beloved franchise. Even the abysmal “Nemesis” found some defenders. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Even more surprising is the fact that “Beyond” is not here to serve as an example of an overrated or poorly executed movie. It’s here to stand as an unnecessary sequel, an otherwise forgettable experience that gave Chris Pine, Simon Pegg, Zachary Quinto, and the late Anton Yelchin another chance to go aboard the Enterprise.
On the other hand, a sequel to “Independence Day” had been requested by fans for a long time. Unfortunately, the fans of the 1996 original seem to have forgotten just how campy and senseless the movie was. Yes, “Independence Day” was fun and surprising, but it was also nonsensical, something “Resurgence” was more than eager to accept.
Although filled with recognizable faces, this new film lacked its biggest star, Will Smith, and was also exaggerated with convoluted explanations and flashy action sequences. However, although critics felt the need to express their disgust, Independence Day 2 was never a catastrophic failure.
The excessive use of visual effects, action, and the barely believable plot can be easily applied to the “Star Trek Beyond title” and to many other sci-fi titles, come to think of it. However, the Star Trek brand puts “Beyond” in the first row while Independence Day’s reputation leaves it sitting in the back of the classroom.
9. Chappie (33%) vs Elysium (67%)
Despite his subsequent efforts, South African director Neill Blomkamp seems to be doomed to the moniker “that guy who directed District 9.” Both “Elysium” and “Chappie” bear his hallmark – a mix of social commentary and retro sci-fi effects – but, despite suffering from exactly the same flaws, they have been received quite differently by movie fans.
“Elysium” pits a dying Matt Damon against the likes of Jodie Foster and the ever-present (in Blomkamp films) Sharlto Copley, in hopes of proving to everyone that the “1%” is going to lead the Apocalypse. While the movie itself is entertaining, Blomkamp doesn’t seem to grasp the basics of technology, nor the basics of social conflict. In fact, the final goal of “Elysium” and its ending look like they’ve been taken from a young socialist’s manual or from a Robin Hood adaptation.
On the other hand, while it does not feature fancy space stations, “Chappie” goes for the “nature vs. nurture” opposition, focusing on a A.I. powered police robot that falls into the hands of small time villains. While “Chappie” has its share of decent performers (Sigourney Weaver, Hugh Jackman), and the effects are more than satisfactory, many felt the movie’s plot was too convoluted and resembled a dark fairytale. Furthermore, the performance of the African rap group Die Antwoord as the crooks who capture Chappie has been considered by many as being… too much.
And that’s the problem: “Chappie” is far closer to a real scenario than “Elysium” will ever be. People from the slums being marginalized and acting violently? Check. A child (because that’s what Chappie is, in the end) imitating the behavior of his adoptive parents? Check. Xenophobia? Check. Ok, Die Antwoord doesn’t look good on-screen, but neither do real people from the slums. If you want to draw attention to an issue, make sure you make it unnerving.
The problem here is not that these movies are without their flaws, but that “Chappie” may, in fact, be the better film and, as entertaining as “Elysium” was to some, its grade should be dragged down by the inept social commentary and its incoherent plot.
10. Pandorum (29%) vs Alien: Covenant (71%)
“Pandorum” has appeared on multiple lists of underrated and underappreciated movies, and for a good reason – this interstellar action film had all the ingredients of an isolation horror and most of the advantages of a space sci-fi film. Along with them, it also carried all the flaws of a movie trying to achieve too much with too few ingredients. The viewer will often be distracted from the psychological undertones of the film, only to focus on senseless chasing scenes or random encounters.
On the other hand, pitted against its lowly Rotten Tomatoes score we could have easily placed both “Prometheus” and “Alien: Covenant”. Sure, they’re both entries in the beloved Alien franchise, but, overall, they’re so unremarkable that “Pandorum” comes off as a star by comparison.
Their plot holes are greater than those of most recent sci-fi films, their action scenes unnecessary, and their characters unmemorable (save for Michael Fassbender’s androids). Both “Prometheus” and “Covenant” raise more questions than they answer, tarnishing the original ‘Alien’ films with childish explanations. There’s nothing wrong with the fans liking these two, but to consider them the space isolation films we all needed? Not a chance.
We know this list technically presents 20 films, but only 10 of them drew the short straw. We’re also sure you have more suggestions of movies that have been panned by critics, the same critics that previously or subsequently praised equally flawed titles.