Not every film can be a slam dunk or a box office smash, but sometimes films just disappoint. These are the big releases that came with some degree of hype, be it from the director or franchise brand, that ultimately fell below our personal expectations. Here are the mxdwn staff’s picks for our most disappointing films of 2019:
Alita: Battle Angel
There’s certainly an appeal to Alita: Battle Angel as, compared to most anime adaptations, it is significantly better in quality. However, the film itself feels rather hollow much like James Cameron’s other recent work. There are some neat ideas, visuals and world building, but it’s all plagued by a rather weak script that doesn’t let the film have the emotional depth I was hoping for. Whatever attempt there was to make a story felt overly reliant on clichés. Not the absolute worst film, but I can’t say I am a part of the massive cult following this movie has gained.
– Ryan Pineda
With high hopes for the cast, the writing just fell so flat that not even Kristen Stewart’s one liners could keep the film alive. As a big fan of the previous Charlie’s Angles movies from the early 2000s, I enjoyed the little throwbacks to those films and the fun action scenes, but overall it felt like another unnecessary remake that was scrubbed clean of all style and substance.
– Leilani Reyes
With more money and more people behind it, you’d expect Disney to actually try harder and give people of all ages a chance to enjoy the movie rather than spew out something we’ve seen before. Let alone fill that something with awkward moments and unfunny Olaf humor.
– Noah Pfister
With M. Night Shyamalan building momentum from Unbreakable and Split in a 19 year span, Glass was expected to be the big psychological thriller that would pair Bruce Willis, Samuel L. Jackson, and James McAvoy up against each other in an Avengers-esque scenario. Instead Glass tends to drag at times with a lot of exposition, lack of development between the three supernatural beings and less action. This eventually leads to an uninspiring and underwhelming conclusion brought down by plot twists.
– Drew Mattiola
I loved M. Night Shyamalan’s Unbreakable and thought Split was a return to form for the director after years of mediocrity and the abomination that was The Last Airbender. Theoretically then, Glass should have put him back on the map. Unfortunately, despite moments of potential and a stellar performance from James McAvoy, the third entry in this unofficial superhero trilogy fell flat. Any goodwill it built up dissolved with a third act plagued by clunky camerawork, underwhelming arcs and questionable plot twists galore, proving that Shyamalan has yet to escape his career Achilles heel.
– Ben Wasserman
It: Chapter Two
I really liked the first It adaptation and all it had to say about bravery and friendship among the Loser Club members, as well as Bill Skarsgård’s terrifying Pennywise. The sequel, however, felt like a parody rather than a proper movie. The plot was really overstuffed, some of the characters were ridiculous, and the horror was extremely cheap. Bill Hader was still great though.
– Avalon Allen
The Lighthouse should have been a home-run: Robert Pattinson and Willem Dafoe in a black and white horror film directed by The Witch’s Robert Eggers. Sadly, the formula can be guessed before getting to your seat. The two performances are admirable, but the scale leaves way more to be desired by audiences. After the genius work Eggers provided in The Witch, The Lighthouse seemed like a step backwards in potential.
– Ryan Sterritt
The Lion King
I don’t like the idea of Disney bringing back the classics with polished special effects- it doesn’t do anything for me. But especially in the case of remaking The Lion King, this was a mistake. The songs are not as iconic, the live-action doesn’t work when the animals sing, and a lot of scenes from the original film are used here almost shot for shot. Some say this brings back the memories, but I call it lazy filmmaking. The Lion King is yet another quick cash grab from Disney in order to make a profit at the hands of sacrificing what made their animated films classic to begin with…bringing magic and originality to the screen.
– Rick Rice
The Perfection set itself up as an interesting horror/psychological thriller revolving around two talented young women. It ended up being a sloppily written narrative that came to an unsatisfying ending and used unnecessary gore to accommodate genre expectations. The two main actresses, Logan Browning and Allison Williams, have starred in well-produced pieces before, but this film simply missed the mark and failed to have any real takeaway for the viewers. The plot easily could have been symbolic and meaningful, but most of it ended up feeling empty of significance.
– Natalie Holderbaum
Given my love for Dan Gilroy’s Nightcrawler and near-obsession with Jake Gyllenhaal, I expected Velvet Buzzsaw to be a fun and campy satire of the art world. Well, the camp is there, and not much else. Despite a superb cast and intriguing premise, the Netflix film doesn’t take its criticism far enough and relies too much on caricatures without being very scary either. Still, Morf Vandewalt is a perfect name for an art critic.
– Alicia Deveraux
Really just a bad movie through and through. Despite a good director and cast, Yesterday leaned far too heavily on The Beatles’ catalog for smiles and didn’t produce anything original.
– Raymond Flotat