Cult classic satire space adventure movie Starship Troopers is 20 years old this year. The hilarious film is essentially Beverly Hills 90210 mixed with Hairy Legged Freaks, Star Wars, Robocop and Aliens. What a concoction. The movie is a fantastic example of forgotten movies that age well and obtain a bigger cult following over time. Starship Troopers is one of the most underrated movies of all time and it should be held with as high regard as Director Paul Verhoeven’s over satirical classic – Robocop. But that got me thinking – What are the most underrated movies of all time?
- Pacific Rim (2013) – How do people not enjoy this movie? Visionary director Guillermo Del Toro essentially brings us Transformers, Rock’em Sock’em Robots, Voltron, the Hulkbuster from Avengers 2, the Iron Giant and Godzilla all shaken up and spat out into over 2 hours of glorious giant robots fighting giant monsters. Sci-Fi action movies have become to serious and this movie knows it’s campy. It even uses the voice of GLaDOS from the Portal video game series as the voice of the computers powering the robots. This movie is essentially your 8-year-old fantasies coming to life on the big screen in the way they should be. The fight sequences are edited so that unlike every other Sci-Fi action movie these days you can actually see the action. A robot picking up a boat and using it as a baseball bat? Hell yeah! Cars being used as robot brass knuckles! Sick dude! A will they wont they relationship that doesn’t actually happen? Yeah! F*** unnecessary love sub-plots ruining action movies! Pacific Rim has cheesy, funny moments that satirizes modern movies like Transformers just like Starship Troopers does. You go to the movies to have fun and be taken away from reality not brutally reminded of it like most blockbusters try to do these days. Pacific Rim is different. And I like different.
2. Prometheus (2012) – Yes I know the writing isn’t great and yes I know it doesn’t do terribly well at providing a prequel to the Aliens franchise. But, it is a good film that a lot of audiences failed to understand because they approached the movie incorrectly. Fans cried out claiming the film was riddled with ‘plot holes’ without understanding what a plot hole is. Prometheus is a good Sci-Fi film that a lot of plot points can actually be seen in its very extensive online marketing such as the fake Weyland Cooperation website. Prometheus is an enjoyable experience that opens more questions about franchise, opening up the possibility for further sequels, whilst also telling its own story. Michael Fassbender shines as the synthetic David and he is very enjoyable to watch. He learns the plot details alongside us. The CGI is fantastic here and although I dislike the large number of landscape shots in the movie, they are breathtaking to behold. It is a very good standalone Sci-Fi film as well as being an opening to a much larger origin story for Aliens.
3. Deadpool (2016) – If Pacific Rim brings out your inner 8-year-old, then Deadpool brings out your inner 15-year-old. Deadpool is an outstanding Superhero movie which centres around a small plot, rather than a world ending scenario which is something audiences have been crying out for. This was a clear passion project for leading lad Ryan Reynolds and it’s a brilliant piece of Cinematography. A by the numbers love and revenge plot aside, this movie is the funniest movie of all time. It has some of the best action in a superhero movie. It was released a time where comic book movies don’t normally release and it still did well. Deadpool is a hoot from start to finish and this movie not even being nominated for the Oscars is frankly an insult bigger than any crude line in this movie. Alongside Birdman, this is arguably one of the best superhero movies ever created and it’s often overlooked for being crude in a society that looks down upon stuff like that.
4. Sherlock Holmes (2009) – I remember coming out of the movie theatre simply breath taken by this film. It was a triumph in 2009. Guy Ritchie is an excellent director and his complex editing choice really captures the complexity of Holmes. Despite Downey’s questionable British accent, his energy is welcomed in a reboot that’s fast paced, provocative and has brilliant set-pieces. Despite a somewhat lacklustre sequel, Ritchie’s blend of witty dialogue and excellent CGI captures a realistic depiction of one of Britain’s greatest detectives. Mark Strong makes an excellent adversary for Holmes to do battle with and the whole magically premise is a quite intriguing one. This movie is highly underrated and defiantly worth a watch.
5. Beyond the Sea (2004) Academy Award Winner Kevin Spacey stars as Bobby Darin, American Singer and Actor in this biographic movie. This was clearly a passion project for Spacey who also directed, produced, wrote, and sang all the songs for this musical epic. It didn’t go as well as he had hoped at the time, but this movie is honestly one of the most enjoyable musicals ever created. What’s striking about this film is Spacey’s singing voice. He sings every song and at times you have to wonder whether it is actually Darin himself. It did receive a number of negative reviews but this film is heavily underrated. Spacey’s voice is phenomenal, the dancing is outstanding, the emotional scenes are gritty and the life of Mr. Darin is portrayed with dignity as well as respect. This film was considered a box office bomb as it didn’t make back its budget, so it’s actually quite a rare film to have seen. Spacey’s voice alone is worth checking out this musical delight.
6. Star Trek (2009) – Yes. I like Star Trek. I also like J.J. Ashram’s reboot of Star Trek. I thought it was a pretty competent movie. It’s fast paced, exiting, has a great score and uses the source material to full effect. It resets the timeline nicely in order to bring the adventures of Kirk and Spock to a new generation. Yes it doesn’t feel like Star Trek fully but this feels intentional. This movie did prove popular enough to grant itself one crappy sequel and one pretty good sequel. But, mainstream audiences are still a bit cautious of this franchise. They still believe that it is the most nerdy thing you will ever let your eyes see. Anyone who likes fast paced action movies would enjoy this film. It has intense phaser battles, sky diving, spaceship battles. Just because it says Star Trek on the tin doesn’t mean you should knock it.
7. Despicable Me (2010) – Ok. This movie has one good sequel. One money-making spin-off and a third sequel due out in 2017. But I still think that the original should be considered alongside Shrek, Toy Story and the Lego Movie. This is honestly one of the best children’s films of all time. It is funny, engaging and frankly has one of the best scores for any kids film. The minions are hilarious. They do make the film good but without them the film is just as enjoyable. They are a humorous side note in an otherwise enjoyable movie. The level of voice acting is off the charts and I really don’t think this movie gets as much love as it deserves in all honesty. The three children are so sweet and really make the film cuter considering it’s about evil super villians. The premise is a villain becoming a hero with heartfelt undertones and humour in every crevice.
8. Hot Fuzz/ Shaun of the Dead (2007 & 2004) – The two best films in the Cornetto trilogy both make this list in a joint sign of underappreciated-ness. These two films should be considered a pair of comedy’s greatest films. Their combination of British humour with witty, elegantly timed jokes that satirize action movies and zombie movies respectively. Whilst appreciated in the UK, these two films have had relative success internationally, but not as much as they deserve. They are absolutely outstanding and really highlight the talents of Simon Pegg and Nick Frost. Edgar Wright is one of the best young directors of the day and his fast paced editing style is not to be missed. He is an absolute genius and his bitter divorce with the Antman film was a saddening one. But these two delights are underrated and really deserve international praise.
9. Moon (2009) – Director Duncan Jones’s outer space epic is a fabulous film filled with promise brimming from every ounce. Sam Rockwell gives an intense performance as a lonely lunar worker. It’s an old school Sci-Fi film which is on the same level as Arrival…and I love arrival. Kevin Spacey finds himself on this list for the second time, this time he’s a super computer who is Rockwell’s only companion. The design work is outstanding. The emoji interface which changes based on reaction really is a nice comment on society’s decline in the English language. Compare Gerty’s design to mother’s from Alien and it shows how illiterate we are becoming. Moon is an unsung delight which barely anyone has seen, but everybody should see.
10. Layer Cake (2005) – In Dumber and Dumber, Jim Carey’s character Lloyd said “I like it a lot.” I like Layer Cake a lot. It’s a stylish exercise in high style, high-octane and low-key suaveness. This delightful crime thriller is kinetic and razor-sharp. The film that thrusted Daniel Craig into the James Bond world, it’s clearly a wonder if that managed to happen. Layer Cake is a fun, action packed crime film that rises atop the modern action movie pile and overlooks its sub-par alternatives. Why watch Taken, when you can enjoy a true modern British classic? There is only one way to describe this film, electric.
So that’s my top ten underrated films of all time. What did you think of my list? Do you agree? What would be on your list? Why not leave a comment on what would be on your list or Tweet me @bwodecki96