Some movies are just plain bad, with barely any redeeming features at all. And then there are those movies that are hated by critics but which don’t always deserve the bad reviews they have been given. Check out the movies below for some examples of these.
Do you agree with our choices? Or are you on the side of the critics who hated them? Let us know in the comments below.
A Steven Spielberg movie with a low Rotten Tomatoes score? Surely not! Yet Hook currently has a 29% rating on the popular review site! Critics didn’t like this grown-up Peter Pan tale, perhaps because they failed to re-connect with the child inside themselves when they sat down to watch it in theatres. One reviewer called it a “woeful mishmash of a comedy” and another accused it of being “bombastically boring.” Would you agree with their negative opinions?
Admittedly, this isn’t Spielberg’s best movie but despite the cynical views of the critics, it’s still pretty decent, with some excellent special effects and lots of rousing set pieces. Robin Williams gives a terrific performance as the adult Pan who manages to throw off the shackles of grown-up responsibility and the rest of the cast, including Dustin Hoffman as Captain Hook, Maggie Smith as Granny Wendy, Bob Hoskins as Smee, and Julia Roberts as Tinkerbell, are all equally as good.
Despite the low review scores, kids tend to love this movie but I get the feeling Spielberg’s biggest target is the adults among us. Many of us lose touch with our inner child due to the pressures of work and other adult responsibilities but if we can stop for a moment and remember the people we once were, it might be that we can all learn to fly, figuratively speaking, and reconnect with the passions of our youth.
Superman III (1983)
In 1978 we believed a man could fly when Richard Donner brought Superman to the screen. His movie is still one of the greatest comic book adaptations ever made, and so too is Superman 2 which followed a couple of years later. Hopes were high when the third movie was announced but when it hit the screens, critics were less than impressed. “Superman III may be the saddest disappointment of the summer movie season,” said Linda Deutsch of the Associated Press. And according to Roger Ebert, the movie is “shallow” and “silly.” Perhaps Ebert forgot he was watching a fun comic book movie!
Superman III isn’t the best of the Superman franchise but it is far better than the fourth instalment which had a good message about nuclear weapons but which was otherwise poorly made. The third movie is the one with Richard Pryor as Gus Gorman, the bumbling computer whiz, who provides lots of big laughs as he both aids and abets the Man of Steel. This is also the movie where Christopher Reeve takes on a dual role as both the good and bad side of his character and there is one excellent set-piece in a scrapyard where his two selves face off against one another.
Despite the 30% score on Rotten Tomatoes, this is a far better movie than the critics would have us believe. Yes, it’s silly, as Ebert pointed out, but nobody comes to a Superman movie looking for high art. Well, unless you’re a fan of Zach Snyder’s DC movies, of course, which were technically well-made but not as fun as they should have been.
Not many critics enjoyed Constantine when it was first released. Some considered Reeves’ acting to be wooden. Other critics had problems with the movie’s story, which was a bit of a muddle according to some. And there were those who had issues with the deviations director Francis Lawrence took from the Hellblazer comic books that were the source material for the movie. But despite the 46% Rotten Tomatoes score, which is likely higher than it used to be due to a critical re-evaluation, this is still a decent movie with an undeniably cool (and not wooden) Reeves blazing his way through the story killing demons with a crucifix shotgun!
There is much to like about the movie, not least its vision of Hell which is suitably dark and apocalyptic. The demons are the stuff of nightmares thanks to the excellent special effects that chillingly bring them to life. And the movie features an excellent cast, including Tilda Swinton as the androgynous Gabriel and Peter Stormare in a career-best turn as Lucifer.
Admittedly, the movie could have done with an injection of humour as it’s a little self-serious at times. But it’s far from the disaster that many critics considered it to be, which could be why Reeves and Lawrence are reuniting for a sequel which is currently in the early development stage.
The critics dug their claws into this movie adaptation of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s popular musical. It currently has a 19% Rotten Tomatoes score, which will be of no surprise to you if you have already read the catty reviews that have laid into the movie’s bad CGI and the bonkers plotting. Audiences seemed to be as confused and underwhelmed by the movie as critics were according to IMDB user reviews, with one person accusing it of being “A disastrous show of pompous and inconsequential gibberish.” Meow!
The movie has been universally hated upon but if you’re a fan of the original musical, there is a chance that you might actually enjoy it. Sure, the special effects are dodgy and some of the roles have been miscast, but the songs are performed with gusto, most notably Memory which is sung by the very talented Jennifer Hudson, and there are a few show-stopping moments thanks to the excellent choreography.
The dialogue is cheesy – “Look what the cat dragged in” – and the plot is a bit of a jumble for the uninitiated. But I would argue that this isn’t the ‘cat-astrophe’ that many people called it. I personally preferred it to The Greatest Showman, alhough that’s not something fully shared by my peers at TheReviewGeek! I’m sure I’m not the only person who doesn’t think this movie is the musical equivalent of kitty litter so let me know if you like this too!
Alien 3 (1992)
The critics weren’t the only people to diss this third entry in the Alien franchise. The movie’s director David Fincher also hated on the movie, largely because the finished product wasn’t what he could call his own due to the studio interference that blighted his time on the film. It has a Rotten Tomatoes score of 47% which is far lower than the 98% scores given to both Alien and Aliens.
Alien 3 isn’t the best movie in the franchise and it’s far from being Fincher’s best movie either. However, it’s visually distinctive thanks to its grungy sci-fi aesthetic and the prison planet setting is a welcome change from the spaceship locations of the other Alien movies. I can understand why some people had problems with the script – the death of Newt was one aspect that angered some – but there are still some interesting twists and turns in this one, not least the plot point about Ripley having a baby alien growing inside of her.
The original cut of the film had its problems but the ‘assembly cut’ fixed some of these thanks to the longer running time which allowed for more character development and greater meaning to the movie’s story. But whichever version you watch, the movie still has the power to scare thanks to the Alien menace, and it is far more nightmarish (for the right reasons) than the inexplicably quirky Alien: Resurrection which followed a few years later.
Van Helsing (2004)
The critics drove a stake through the heart of this movie and warned audiences to steer clear. It has a 24% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, with one reviewer calling it “a screaming, noisy, over-edited mess of a movie.” Personally, I think the critics are being a little unfair. This movie about the famed vampire hunter might be a little too over-the-top at times and it’s something of a sensory overload, but if you’re looking for a fun action movie with a slice of dark, gothic horror, there is much to enjoy about this one.
Hugh Jackman gives a spirited performance as Helsing and watching him take down the movie’s monsters, including Dracula’s vampire brides and Dr. Jekyll, is a lot of fun, more so because of the Bond-level gadgets he uses to take them down. The movie harkens back to the Universal monster movies of old, with one excellent sequence at the beginning that is reminiscent of the Frankenstein movies from the 1930s. You won’t be scared by this one in much the same way as audiences were back then but you might still appreciate the various homages to the movie monsters from those classic films.
The movie is packed with memorable setpieces, including the rooftop battle between Helsing and Jekyll and the beautifully orchestrated ballroom scene that features Dracula (Richard Roxburgh) and the hypnotized Anna (Kate Beckinsale) waltzing around a packed dance floor consisting of jugglers, contortionists, and fire-breathers. If you haven’t seen this movie in a while, perhaps because of the crucifix-carrying critics that condemned it at the time, perhaps now is the time to resurrect it again!
Clash Of the Titans (2010)
Despite the 27% Rotten Tomatoes rating, this semi-remake of the 1981 original isn’t that bad. A lot of critics had problems with the 3D effects that were part of the theatrical release but when sitting down with the movie at home on a 2-dimensional television screen, the movie can be better appreciated now than it was at the time.
The storyline will be familiar to you if you have seen the earlier film or are aware of the mythology behind the tale. It focuses on Perseus (Sam Worthington), the demigod son of the Mighty Zeus (Liam Neeson), who embarks on a quest to save humankind before Hades (Ralph Fiennes) plunges the world into chaos and darkness.
Along the way, he must battle various foes, including giant scorpions, the mighty Medusa, and the monstrous Kraken, each of which is brought to life using state-of-the-art special effects instead of the stop-motion animation from the original movie.
At its core, this is a good old-fashioned B-movie, the kind of which we don’t see very often anymore. It’s entertaining, even though it’s not particularly memorable, and Perseus’s battles with the Titans are suitably spectacular. Fans of the original will also appreciate the nods to that classic film, including the mechanical owl Bobo who makes an appearance in this enjoyable remake.
Troll 2 (1990)
Unlike the other movies on this list, this is a genuinely bad film. The title is a lie for starters – it’s not a sequel to a film called Troll – and it has many problems, including bad acting from the cast of amateurs, cheaply-made monsters, and a script that makes very little sense. It’s little wonder that this film has a 5% rating on Rotten Tomatoes as it really is a masterclass in how not to make a horror movie.
However, some movies are so bad that they’re good and this is something that can be said about Troll 2. Its fans consider it to be the ‘best worst movie ever made’ and if you would like to know more, you should check out this documentary which explores the movie’s production and the reasons why it is so loved by many. In terms of storyline, the movie is about a small town that has been invaded by a small army of vegetarian goblins who want to turn the local residents into plants so they can eat them. It’s a ridiculous premise but more laughable is the aforementioned acting from the amateur cast who blunder every line they are given.
If you haven’t seen this movie yet, I heartily recommend that you do so. You will laugh at the terrible latex creature designs, amazingly stupid lines of dialogue – “I’m the victim of a nocturnal rapture. I have to release my lowest instincts with a woman.” – and the bonkers plotting which seems to be anti-vegetarian. The movie is a nonsensical delight even if critics do think it’s one of the worst films ever made!
And there we have it, our picks for the critically hated movies that deserve a second chance.
What do you think of our list? Have we included movies that you liked? Or have we missed any movies that you think should get a mention? We love to hear from you so do feel free to let us know in the comments below!