It has not been long since the latest Academy Awards were handed out for the films that made positive critical impacts in the last year. But in the midst of this award giving season, it is all too easy to forget another brand of films all together, the ones that won’t achieve critical acclaim but in their own way made just as much as an impact. And that is the guilty pleasure movie.
Historically, a guilty pleasure movie is one that is enjoyed but is not generally held in high regard – whether that be by critics or other moviegoers. It may be one that you wouldn’t want to admit liking or one that falls short narratively, regardless of the film’s flaws – it is a film that you enjoyed and would watch again.
2018 was a great year for the guilty pleasure movie. Filled with cheesy blockbusters, box office bombs and films that completely missed the mark – there were many films that could have earnt a place on this list. When it comes down to it, whether the filmmakers’ intent was for their film to perceived as a guilty pleasure or not – these films still manage to bring joy and entertainment to their audiences.
1. The Meg
When a deep-sea submarine is attacked by a massive creature that was previously thought to be extinct, and the crew are left trapped inside, expert deep-sea rescue diver Jonas Taylor is recruited to save the crew and prevent disaster. But when the creature turns out to be the monstrous seventy-five-foot-long shark known as the Megalodon, Taylor realises that there is a lot more at stake.
When the trailer for Jon Turtletaub’s The Meg dropped, audiences were pretty excited to see this B-movie esque film. And why wouldn’t they be? It’s Jason Statham and a giant shark! The trailer promised lots of epic shots and sequences of the Megalodon jumping out of the ocean, chomping down on boats, gobbling up unsuspecting beachgoers and possibly even eating a small, cute dog.
Often a trailer doesn’t live up to its promises, but in this case The Meg turned out to be exactly what it said on the tin. And in spite of its less than favourable reviews from the majority of critics, audiences showed that they had an appetite for the film – it grossed just over $530 million at the box office.
Released in prime blockbuster season, The Meg was exactly what a big blockbuster should be – namely fun, entertaining and boasting some great visuals. And yes, the film is cheesy, yes the acting is slightly iffy in places and no, The Meg won’t be winning any awards (apart from Razzies) any time soon. But with talks of a sequel on the way, it looks like The Meg 2 could be hitting shores soon.
Primatologist David Okoye must ride to the rescue when George, a gentle and intelligent ape with whom he has an unshakable bond with, is mutated into a raging monster by a rogue genetic experiment. Matters soon take a turn for the worse when it is discovered that there are other animals that have been targeted and are tearing across North America destroying everything in their path.
There were two Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson films that could have made this list. Skyscraper, a film in which Johnson battles a bunch of baddies whilst also dealing with a towering inferno was definitely a contender. However, Rampage with its added monster film elements just clinches it instead. What is it about The Rock being in mortal danger that is so appealing to audiences?!
In spite of receiving a number of mixed reviews, Rampage has actually officially become the all time best reviewed film based on an arcade game. Take that haters! The film was also a box office success, grossing $428 million against its budget of $140 million.
Rampage, as well as being the subject of some rather harsh reviews, has also found itself the subject of some controversy. German director Uwe Boll threatened to file a lawsuit against Warner Bros. in regards to the film’s title. Boll, who directed an unrelated film trilogy entitled ‘Rampage’ said that the recent film would shrink his own brand.
3. Robin Hood
After arriving back home from a violent war, Robin of Loxley returns to a ruined house, lost love and a corrupt English Crown. Along with Moorish Captain Little John, they set out to mount a revolt against all that has been taken from them.
Poor old Robin Hood. Director Otto Bathurst’s take on the popular fable was one of the worst reviewed films of last year, with critics criticising everything from the direction to the waste of talent. The film was also nominated for three Razzies, including Worst Picture. It suffered with audiences too, grossing $84 million against its $100 million budget. So, with the film thoroughly confirmed as a financial and critical failure, could there possibly be any reason to enjoy Robin Hood?
Well, the short answer is yes. Multiple flaws aside, Robin Hood is jampacked full of action and stunt sequences and it will keep you engaged throughout. Taron Egerton, who has already proved his action film status as a Kingsman, is fun as the titular character and who doesn’t want to see Academy Award winning actor Jamie Foxx hamming it up as Little John?
Robin Hood may be a classic tale, but this take on it can certainly be called unique – if you have ever wondered what the story of Robin Hood would be like if you added designer hoodies, make-up and a lot more explosions, then this is the film for you. And let’s face it – doesn’t that sound like fun?
4. The Predator
The universe’s most lethal hunters are now more terrifying than ever as they have been genetically upgrading themselves with DNA from other species. When a soldier’s young son accidentally triggers a signal that causes the them to return to Earth, it falls to a team of misfit soldiers to try and stop the extinction of the human race.
When rumours of a new Predator film started in 2014, fans were thrilled to hear of another instalment in the series. But when director Shane Black’s contribution to the franchise dropped, audiences soon changed their mind on whether another Predator film was a good thing or not.
Critics lambasted the film, calling it completely unnecessary, hollow and muddled. And audiences followed suit, with many disappointed with the direction that the franchise had been taken in. The Predator underperformed at the box office too, grossing $160 million against its $88 million budget.
But in spite of the primarily negative reviews for the film, it soon became clear that The Predator may have unexpectedly found a place in some audiences’ hearts. Whilst it wasn’t the smart and gripping sci-fi film that they might have hoped for – it was instead a highly watchable, action-packed blockbuster that had mass appeal.
People who had never seen previous instalments in the franchise were watching The Predator and then discovering the earlier films. Adding in the nostalgic vibes that the film presents with its eighties style humour and use of the original score, and The Predator has all the makings of a guilty pleasure movie.
5. Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom
Three years ago, the island of Isla Nublar was the luxurious resort of Jurassic World. Now it stands destroyed by dinosaurs and abandoned by humans. When the island’s dormant volcano suddenly becomes active, Owen and Claire return to the island to rescue the remaining dinosaurs from extinction, but they soon come to realise that their expedition might not quite be what they expected.
Whilst Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom may have fallen short with critics, it certainly made a Tyrannosaurus Rex sized impression at the box office, grossing over a billion dollars against its $170 million budget and becoming the twelfth highest grossing film of all time. So, although the film may not have received the critical praise it was hoping for, it was a definitely a financial success.
Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom doesn’t have the same narrative impact as some of its predecessors in the franchise, but it does manage to bring some of the elements that make the Jurassic Park franchise so incredibly watchable. It’s tense, fun and the visuals are brilliant. And above all else, the film manages to squeeze in a cameo from Jeff Goldblum – what more could a Jurassic Park fan ask for?