There were a lot of great movies in 2016. There were! Please don’t let this list convince you otherwise. The movies were absolutely wonderful this year. Just not these specific movies. These were bad. So, so, so bad. Just awful.
Have you ever seen those movie ads on TV filled with gushing quotes from critics and thought to yourself, “I saw that movie; it was terrible. Where did they find these positive reviews?” If you have, you’re not alone — and you’re going to love ScreenCrush’s newest series, Critics Are Raving, which balances the cinematic scales with trailers full of slightly more accurate (and slightly more negative) lines from reviews. Real critics. Real quotes. Really bad movies. That’s what’s Critics Are Raving is all about.
About two months ago, on a day when I was in no way questioning my career path and life choices, I asked a question: “Is 2016 the worst summer movie season ever?” In early July, it was probably a little premature to raise that issue, but with theaters were filled with dreck like Independence Day: Resurgence, The Legend of Tarzan, and Alice Through the Looking Glass, it was hard not to wonder. At that time, I looked at the Rotten Tomatoes ratings from hundreds of wide releases from the last decade, and found that while the overall scores from 2016 were basically in line with those from ones from each of the last five years, the scores for just the biggest movies, the ones like Tarzan or Independence Day with budgets in excess of $100 million, were way lower this year.
I have a dream job. What could be better than watching and talking about movies for a living? Nothing; the answer is nothing. But lately my job has been a lot less fun than normal, because the movies themselves have been a lot less fun. Quite frankly, this summer sucks.
Despite the arrival of two major films, this Memorial Day weekend was ultimately a disappointing affair, as X-Men: Apocalypse and Alice Through the Looking Glass both underperformed. The former should ultimately emerge untarnished in the long run, likely making enough money to keep the X-Men franchise breathing. However, the second Alice adventure only confirms what everyone outside of Disney already knew. People don’t like the first Alice in Wonderland and they had no interest in a sequel.
Much of Tim Burton’s 2010 ‘Alice in Wonderland’ was a forgettable, unsavory mess, but it did have some redeemable qualities. The filmmaker’s eye-popping visuals and imaginative production design were the best aspects of the largely unbearable Disney movie. But you’ll find none of that in the new sequel.
Thanks to the Despicable Me franchise, the word “minion” conjures up images of wacky little yellow guys who speak gibberish. And while the minions of Alice Through the Looking Glass likely won’t inspire their own spinoff (stranger things have happened…), new photos from the upcoming fantasy sequel tease sidekicks who may be just as memorable — at the very least, they boast some lovely design work.
Alice Through the Looking Glass is one of the more curious sequel developments in recent years. Tim Burton’s CGI / live-action Wonderland hybrid (okay, the scales were definitely tipped in CGI’s favor) did fairly well at the box office, but we can thank international audiences for its real success…and for this sequel, which has a brand new trailer filled with wacky characters and lots of cute wordplay involving “time.”