Determining what makes an under rated film under rated is difficult. Is it one that the critics savaged but you still enjoyed (like “Austin Powers in Goldmember”), or is it one that you loved but everyone else you know hated, (like “Premium Rush”)? All of these under rated films are ones that the critics dismissed, but I enjoyed to the point that many of these films are my favorite films.
5. “Kingdom of Heaven” (Ridley Scott, 2005)
Listing “Kingdom of Heaven” here is a bit of a cheat. The theatrical release, while certainly not the worst thing ever, has sloppy editing, and places too much emphasis on Orlando Bloom’s vacant expressions. The directors cut though, which includes an extra 45 minutes of back story and context, is an absolutely fantastic film. Unfortunately no one gave “Kingdom of Heaven” the time of day after the theatrical release tanked at the box office, which is why I consider “Kingdom of Heaven” to be one of the most under rated films ever.
4. “The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou” (Wes Anderson, 2004)
“The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou,” which is the most Wes Anderson’y Wes Anderson film, never got the love it deserved, even from stalwart Wes Anderson fans. I never understood it. “The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou” has every tick and trick in Anderson’s book, and is the most quintessential of his films. And yet for some reason people don’t like it. It’s apparently too weird. I say it’s damn near perfect.
3. “The Lost World: Jurassic Park” (Steven Spielberg, 1997)
“The Lost Word: Jurassic Park” is under rated only because it’s the successor to one of the best films ever. I say it’s nearly as good as “Jurassic Park.” There can never be too much Jeff Goldblum, and there’s 50% more dinosaur action than in “Jurassic Park.” Even though both movies deviate significantly from their source material “The Lost World: Jurassic Park” is the closest to capturing the more mature and darker tone of the novels, because with 50% more action comes 50% more deaths than “Jurassic Park.” Also a T-Rex rampages through San Diego. Awesome!
2. “The Fountain” (Darren Aronofsky, 2006)
I can certainly understand why “The Fountain” is under rated. Trimmed from a 70-million dollar epic with Brad Pitt to a notably smaller, more intimate drama with Hugh Jackman, “The Fountain” perplexes with its obtuseness. I know it means something, and I know that it is an absolutely beautiful movie, filled with intense Tree of Life imagery, gripping performances, and one of the most epic soundtracks I have ever heard. And even though I don’t know what it means, I know that it took me on a strange journey that I will always remember vividly.
1. “Where The Wild Things Are” (Spike Jonze, 2009)
As one of my favourite films ever, it pained me dearly to see everyone reject “Where The Wild Things Are.” It’s a deeply skewed and emotional movie that I felt was made just for me. It’s odd in all the ways I enjoy; I saw myself in young Max in just the right way, and damn did the ending, where all the Wild Things howl at Max’s departure from their island, really hit me right in the feels. Everyone thought it was too strange and too long, but I think it is just the right amount of strange and not a single frame too long.