From Tom Cruise releasing yet another action-packed Mission Impossible: Dead Reckoning, to ‘Barbenheimer’ becoming a global phenomenon; 2023 was marked by quite a few exciting releases yet a few did leave the audiences disappointed. Here are the 15 worst movies of 2023:
15. The Super Mario Bros. Movie
The prospect of a movie based on Super Mario seemed quite bleak after the commercial failure of the first such movie in 1993, yet it did not entirely deter another production until now. Based on the popular Super Mario Bros video games, it revolves around Mario and Luigi trying to save Princess Peach and her kingdom.
Though faced with a disaster several months before its release, when the entirety of it got posted on Twitter for seven long hours and watched by almost at least nine million, the film, labeled as a ‘feature-length advertisement for Nintendo’ opened to mostly positive reviews later.
14. The Pope’s Exorcist
Pushing the boundaries of supernatural horror is not everyone’s cuppa tea. The innocent child in the movie seemed to carry the weight of the story on his weak shoulders and the constant visage of a demon uttering profanities through the child seemed to bore more than frighten.
While the backstory involving the medieval inquisition did prove to be quite an intriguing piece of historical fiction, it nevertheless seemed to pander to Christian apologia.
13. Shazam: Fury of the gods
While the prequel to this installment in the franchise had an unmatched spontaneity, Shazam: Fury of the gods seemed to seal the franchise’s fate by demonstrating a forced attempt at amusing the viewer and shoehorning moments of distress.
The film seemed to follow a predictable run of events rendering the movie seem like an attempt to capture the charm and candour of the first.
12. The Nun II
The demonic nun has surely given us many sleepless nights yet the moment it landed its franchise, it did not quite have the same effect it did in its first-ever appearance in The Conjuring 2. The Nun, when it came out, seemed to forcefully patch up the inconsistencies within the other films of the franchise, while compromising on developing its own story.
The Nun II had the advantage of not being beholden to this need. Free from these constraints, it seemed to resort to every trick in the book to develop a successful horror yet oversaturation of this sort, left the few surprises it could afford the audiences, as hardly surprising.
11. The Archies
The Archies did a fantastic job lending the characters and the setting of the story, a distinctly Indian character, by providing a back story that did not compromise on the essential character of the comics. The film labeled, ‘Nepotism Central’ by a critic starred the much-talked-about star kids and was probably the other reason it had quite the viewership it did, apart from the fact that it was based on the ‘60s’ comics.
The dialogues, banal, and the acting, a travesty, made the much-awaited debut quite a disappointment among the audiences.
10. The Little Mermaid
Not every movie warrants a live-action especially if it runs the risk of not keeping with the high expectations set by the original. The Little Mermaid could be said to have been doomed right from the beginning when it did not seem to carry an iota of difference from the original and recreated it in every detail, inevitably leaving it to be overshadowed by the ghosts of the original.
This latest movie in the wake of Disney’s obsession with live-action remakes, may hint towards a dearth of originality that may be underway at Disney, declaring this travesty of the original as a blatant cash-grab.
9. Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny
Indiana Jones had the misfortune of being at the receiving end of criticism in The Big Bang Theory when a character quite rightly declared that the presence of Indiana Jones did not seem to have any effect on the outcomes of the film.
With this in mind, it hardly seems believable that a sequel could have a further descent from that. The apparent originality in the first three films did not see a recurrence in this one, with overused tropes and recycled clichés making it just as boring as ever.
8. Insidious: The Red Door
The initial chapters – as they say, of this franchise explored a new concept in horror and had the audiences over the edge of their seats throughout. This latest installment in the series seems to build on the glories of the past successes that the franchise delivered.
With the familiar trope of a teen becoming rebellious as he ages and estranging from his father, the film builds on a familiar theme and delivers an unoriginal piece and makes one long for the ‘horrors’ of yesteryear’.
7. Peter Pan and Wendy
The idea of wanting to grow up rather than remaining forever young came as a direct avowal of accepting things the way they are – in line with modern movements that express a disdain for ideals.
The critics seemed to reckon the idea of longing for one’s mother as a weak thread to hang onto and anchor such an impactful franchise, yet if Maleficent could draw on the strands of motherly love, so could Peter Pan and Wendy idealize motherly love to the point of making Neverland, entirely futile.
6. Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom
The plot felt dumb and formulaic, sticking to easy tropes to the point that it did not carry the same vigor as a DC movie is often expected to, and seemed to cater to an adolescent mind. The underwater visuals and graphics, while quite stunning, did bring a sense of detachment from reality, making it more artificial.
The movie was described as goofy and its humour was downright atrocious and forced. No one likes humor shoved down their throats or eyes blinded by the glaring CGI.
5. Choose Love
Interactive films allow the audiences to make choices, keeping unpredictability and interest alive. Yet, this particular movie could not make the most of this paradigm through the disconnected events and shallow interactions it came to portray, making it no better than an actual videogame simulating encounters and ‘dates’.
In the moments that the film could naturally seem to follow a particular story, the gimmick strained that progression, making every interaction a big fat lie in the face of the viewer.
4. Knights of the Zodiac
The storyline is strangely reminiscent of The Mummy Returns – in that the male lead eventually realised his destiny to protect the female lead, the movie however did not quite etch a good impression on the audiences that were made to endure it.
Plagued by a generic and excessively convoluted plot, the movie redeemed itself by delivering the few and far-between positives, such as combat scenes. With its dialogues ever so stilted, it was described as bland and tasteless.
3. The Marvels
The film is the shortest one yet of MCU films, and maybe for good reason. Crossovers may be conducive to the excitement of having all your favorite characters feature in a single feature, yet the prospect of having a crossover cannot warrant a commercial success. A power-packed action film, with three strong leads bent to save the universe, must score high on the Bechdel test – a score that quantifies the representation of women in films, though appreciably low in a critic’s estimation.
Writing the script for crossovers is truly an art, in which the writer of the present film visibly delivered an abstract piece. It was messy and all over the place, with no semblance of coherence.
2. Love Again
Packing two giants, the film did not do justice to Priyanka Chopra or Celine Dion, having them star in a run-of-the-mill rom-com with a painfully predictable storyline.
Beginning with characteristic depression from having a loved one die or cynicism from suffering a break-up, the protagonists meet predictably, fight predictably, and reconcile predictably, making the viewer wonder, if the movie was AI delivering the typical bland rom-com.
1. Winnie the Pooh: Blood and Honey
No movie has ever had the misfortune that this one has come to accrue and for good reason. It was quite gruesome and uninhibited in its gore and at no point did it deliver the slightest hint towards forming a plot. The context of Winnie the Pooh and his friends seemed to be there, only to lure in audiences by appropriating a popular franchise. Critics unanimously declared an overwhelming dislike for this abomination.
The human urge for stories and storytelling has a long history. Film directors are modern storytellers. A film director can either play it safe by appropriating a franchise or creating something that speaks to millions. While there surely is some science behind it, filmmaking is truly an art. The genius of it…can find a bearer anywhere, but not everywhere.
What are the worst films of 2023 in your opinion? Let us know in the comments!