10 Blockbuster Movies You Didn’t See in 2016
Do you know what 2016 has? LOTS OF BLOCKBUSTER MOVIES!!! Yay! Wait, no this is terrible.
The problem here is that studios rely on ‘tentpole’ to fund the rest of their schedule, all those smaller, cheaper and experimental movies. The movie business has been using this system for decades. But they’re getting out of hand and pushing more and more into cinemas in the hope that they’re going to turn into the next Harry Potter or MCU money making franchise. What’s even crazier is that there’s more coming out in 2017 and EVEN MORE in 2018, wherein the entire system will collapse.
Tangent brought back around…you may have missed some of this years blockbuster films. Are they worth checking out? We’ll tell you!
The Blockbuster Qualifications: This one has a running start because it’s actually the third part of an ongoing franchise, namely the Robert Langdon Looks at Art/Solves Murder Franchise. The Da Vinci Code succeeded in the face of poor reviews thanks to it being a flash-in-the-pan pop culture sensation at the time, but the prequel that walks like a sequel Angels and Demons fell flat. For this outing they’ve wisely side-stepped the third book in the series, the insufferably dull The Lost Symbol and gone with the remarkably more dull Inferno. On the plus, they’ve further improved Tom Hanks’ hair and mixed up the formula with a bout of AMNESIA!
Should You Have Seen It? Noooooope. Easily the weakest entry into an already mishandled series. Why are Hanks and Ron Howard still pushing this one?
The Blockbuster Qualifications: Ben-Hur. It’s such a big movie that there’s a saying about it. The saying actually applies to the third adaptation released in 1959 and this 2016 adaptation is the 5th time it’s been brought to the screen. This would be considered an event film almost by default.
Should You Have Seen It? To make this movie work you need a movie star, someone who commands the screen and mesmerises audiences. So…who’s Jack Huston? It was one of the biggest box office bombs of the year and with good reason. So no, you shouldn’t have.
The Blockbuster Qualifications: Any other year this would have made bigger waves. A bunch of UFOs turn up around the Earth and just sit there doing nothing. Every country tries to make contact, and a team of American linguists think they can make the break through. Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner and Forest Whitaker head up the cast in a thought provoking, slow burn science fiction.
Should You Have Seen It? Yeah, you should have. The cast are on point and the film goes in an unusual direction towards the end. It’s visually strong and the cognitive effects of language make for weirdly compelling viewing.
The Blockbuster Qualifications: Remaking one of the most iconic movies from the 1980s can’t be anything other than Blockbuster material. Big name director, big name actors and huge studio backing. The only thing bigger is the amount of butthurt felt by the most vocal fans on the internet. Surprise, surprise, the world didn’t end and existing copies of the original Ghostbusters didn’t blink out of existence. The movie came out and people stopped talking about it.
Should You Have Seen It? Well, Kate McKinnon is fantastic and the movie has some good gags and designs, but overall it’s very middle of the road. Whether or not you should have checked it out depends on how much you enjoy the actors making up the team. If you haven’t enjoyed their comedies prior to this, it’s not going to turn you around.
The Legend of Tarzan
The Blockbuster Qualifications: You may not know this but Tarzan is one of the prolific characters in cinema with an insane number of movies based on his story. This new film, starring Alexander Skarsgård in the title role, comes with assumed knowledge of the character so if you’ve never heard of Tarzan you may need to skim Wikipedia for the back story. We follow Tarzan as he returns to the jungle to right some wrongs.
Should You Have Seen It? It’s not bad. You don’t need to add it to your must-view list but if you get the chance to watch it you may well enjoy it.
The Blockbuster Qualifications: Indie sci-fi maverick Duncan Jones takes a left turn with his career and tackles the big budget, big talent adaptation of one of the biggest video games in history. Orcs have travelled from their doomed world through a portal and are looking to take over their new world whether the local humans like it or not. It’s big, it’s brash and it’s colourful.
Should You Have Seen It? Not really, no. If you’re into the game enough to be interested then you likely already saw it. If you’re no into the lore it’s unlikely to appeal.
Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children
The Blockbuster Qualifications: Rather than a Johnny Depp starring remake, Tim Burton is here with a book adaptation that functions as a gothic, creepy X-Men. A young man has grown up listening to his grandfather’s stories about a home in Wales for strange children and finds himself drawn there himself. We get an ensemble cast, good effects and a visually engaging group of weirdos.
Should You Have Seen It? I…stopped watching about halfway through. It was pretty much solid exposition and I got bored watching it trying to spin so many plates at once. So I can’t recommend it.
The Blockbuster Qualifications: The Bourne series kicked all of the ass some ten years ago. It was a rare case of a franchise that got better with every entry into the series until Matt Damon dropped out. Now we get not just Damon but director Paul Greengrass to deliver the true fourth Bourne film.
Should You Have Seen It? Ehhhhh…no. It does everything the other films did, but they were made a more than a decade ago. This film looks dated now.
The Magnificent Seven
The Blockbuster Qualifications: It’s likely that more modern viewers have only heard the name of the classic Western ensemble film rather than have seen it, but it’s a familiar name and that’s all it can take for a studio to green light a project. They have a couple of big names attached to the project, specifically Denzel Washington and Chris Pratt, nicely appealing to two generations of movie fans. It was heavily marketed as a fun, action filled adventure.
Should You Have Seen It? No, not especially. While the original was a full ensemble of known actors this one has hanged the concept on two big names meaning that 2 of the 7 title characters get more attention than anyone else, plus the love interest and villains crowd out the screen further. Over all the film is a by-the-numbers action film with a Western setting.
The Blockbuster Qualifications: Star Ben Affleck is currently playing Batman, one of the most popular and sought after roles in Hollywood. In between stints in the cowl Affleck appears as an autistic accountant who moonlights as an assassin. He becomes embroiled in a wide reaching conspiracy involving his newest client. So he murders everyone.
Should You Have Seen It? Many people have commented on the misrepresentation of autism in this film, which is a load of bunkum. Claims that Affleck’s character can ‘calculate’ martial arts attacks and perfect marksmanship due to magical autism powers don’t hold up to the fact that the film never, ever makes this claim. He attained his skills through a childhood spent with an emotionally abusive father who forced him into rigorous, intensive and lifelong training, leaving our character damaged and dangerous. Funny how that has nothing to do with autism. I don’t think many people making these claims watched the movie. It’s actually a pretty solid espionage flick with a good cast behind hit. It’s not remarkable but worth your time.
Arrival right now is my #1 on the year. Hit me in a very visceral way. The Accountant was really really good and you’re right the whole autism controversy was a joke. The Magnificent Seven you’re right was by the numbers but still enjoyable if a tad long. Ghostbusters was absolutely middle of the road, bordering on bad. And it had nothing to do with the fact that the cast was all female.
Arrival will easily be in my top 5 movies of 2016. Mag7 was definitely a delightful surprise as I went in with zero expectations and ended up actually enjoying it. But…mind you…I’ve never seen the original. I know, totally shameful.
I loved Arrival, but I fear that it was at least a little under-appreciated by the general public.
You didn’t mention Gods of Egypt. It was a huge Blockbuster that was terrible!
I think that one is best forgotten.
Good choices. It is getting ridiculous how many “blockbusters” are released and some of these were so poorly marketed and rushed to screen that they don’t even feel like tentpole movies at all.