Flicks that Fizzled: 10 Over-Hyped Movies that Couldn't Deliver
Here are 10 films that promised much but delivered way too little.
1. The Phantom Menace (1999)
No list of over-hyped films can start anywhere else but the elephant in the galaxy, Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace. The anticipation was cosmic. Sixteen long years after Return of the Jedi, we were finally getting a new Star Wars movie. The trailer lit a spark of excitement that spread like wildfire. But then, we met Jar Jar Binks, and our dreams crashed faster than Anakin's pod racer. The film was muddled with trade federation disputes, midi-chlorians, and an underwhelming young Anakin Skywalker. Although it raked in a whopping $1 billion worldwide, it holds a cringy 51% score on Rotten Tomatoes, and while it bagged three Oscar nominations, it won none.
2. Cats (2019)
The internet went wild when the trailer for the star-studded film adaptation of the beloved Broadway musical Cats was released. The cast was packed with A-listers, including Judi Dench, Ian McKellen, Idris Elba, and Taylor Swift. However, when the film came out, it was greeted with a chorus of hisses. The unsettling CGI, confusing plot, and questionable character designs made this film a critical disaster, and it limped away with a 19% score on Rotten Tomatoes. It was a cat-astrophe so epic that even the cast and director disowned the film, and it secured a dubious place in film history as a movie so bad it's... still bad.
3. The Dark Tower (2017)
Stephen King's The Dark Tower series is a sprawling epic, a magnum opus that weaves together various genres, from fantasy and horror to westerns. When it was announced that Idris Elba and Matthew McConaughey were leading the film adaptation, expectations were sky-high – and how could they not be? However, the end product was a shadow of the source material, stripped of its complexity and distilled into a simplistic action movie. The film was met with a wave of negative reviews, garnering a 17% score on Rotten Tomatoes. Neither Elba's gunslinger charisma nor McConaughey's sinister sneer could save the film from its fate as a monument to missed opportunities.
4. Justice League (2017)
There was a great deal of excitement leading up to the release of Justice League. The film promised to be the DC Extended Universe's answer to Marvel's The Avengers. However, the end result was far from super. The film was marred by behind-the-scenes drama, including director Zack Snyder stepping away due to a personal tragedy and Joss Whedon stepping in to finish the project. The result was a mishmash of styles that didn't satisfy fans or critics, to say the least. Despite its A-list cast and an impressive budget, the film holds a disappointing 39% on Rotten Tomatoes and failed to make an impact at the box office.
5. The Goldfinch (2019)
Donna Tartt's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel The Goldfinch seemed destined for silver screen success. It had a compelling narrative, complex characters, and a built-in fanbase. However, the film adaptation turned out to be less a soaring bird and more a lame duck. Despite an impressive cast, including Ansel Elgort and Nicole Kidman, the film couldn't capture the novel's emotional depth and sprawling narrative. It was critically panned, holding a 25% on Rotten Tomatoes, and it was a box office bomb, earning just $9.7 million against a $45 million budget.
6. The Happening (2008)
M. Night Shyamalan, the master of the twist ending, led us into The Happening with high hopes. With Mark Wahlberg in the lead and a storyline shrouded in mystery, it promised to be a thrilling ride. However, the film ended up being more comedy than horror, with wooden performances and an underwhelming plot that centered on killer... plants. Audiences laughed when they should have been gasping. Despite the hype, The Happening has a mere 18% score on Rotten Tomatoes. The film's most significant twist? That it managed to turn a promising premise into such a forgettable flick.
7. The Lone Ranger (2013)
After the incredible success of the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise, Johnny Depp and director Gore Verbinski tried to capture lightning in a bottle again with The Lone Ranger. The film promised a wild west adventure, but it turned out to be more of a tumbleweed than a stallion. It was criticized for its bloated runtime, disjointed plot, and controversial casting of Depp as Tonto, a Native American character. The film was a box office bomb, earning only $260 million worldwide against a staggering $225 million budget, and holds a 31% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
8. Suicide Squad (2016)
With a trailer set to the tune of Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody, Suicide Squad promised an anarchic, fun-filled romp with DC's bad guys. Unfortunately, the film couldn't live up to the hype. It was panned for its muddled plot, underdeveloped characters, and lackluster villain. Despite an ensemble cast including Will Smith, Margot Robbie, and Jared Leto, it holds a dismal 26% on Rotten Tomatoes. The film managed to snag an Oscar for Best Makeup and Hairstyling, but let's be real – it wasn't the mascara we were worried about.
9. Green Lantern (2011)
Ryan Reynolds in a skin-tight suit fighting cosmic villains? Sounds like a recipe for success, but alas, Green Lantern was anything but. The film was plagued by a convoluted plot, cheesy dialogue, and questionable CGI. Even Reynolds himself has since mocked the movie, notably in his later superhero success Deadpool. Green Lantern is currently sitting at an unflattering 26% on Rotten Tomatoes and is widely considered one of the biggest superhero movie misfires.
10. Aloha (2015)
Aloha had all the makings of a hit. Directed by Cameron Crowe and starring Bradley Cooper, Emma Stone, and Rachel McAdams, it promised a charming romantic comedy set in the beautiful backdrop of Hawaii. However, the film was more confusing than a lost tourist on a Hawaiian volcano trail. The plot was muddled, the character motivations were unclear, and the film's casting of Emma Stone as a part-Asian character sparked controversy. The film holds a 20% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, proving that not even a star-studded cast could save this sunken ship.