Most Underrated Franchise Entry?

Okay, after thinking that I was the only one on earth to hold this opinion, I’ve met two smart, thoughtful moviegoers in the last 24 hours who count The Matrix Revolutions as their favorite movie in the Matrix series. So since I’m coming out at a Revolutions fan, this is your big chance:

What franchise film do you consider the most underrated and overlooked?

Pick a series, pick an episode. And then make your case….

If I find some time, I’ll update this post with some reasons for why I like Revolutions best…

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  • joshmshep

    And, now, for something completely different…

    This one is directed and co-written by Frank Oz, features all the classic Muppets voiced by their original creators, and is a very funny comedy.

    Here’s a few others that haven’t been mentioned:
    HARRY POTTER. These keep getting better, imho. So I’ll say #7.
    BATMAN BEGINS. Love this re-start of the series.
    THE HUNT FOR THE RED OCTOBER, best Jack Ryan movie.
    LIVE FREE OR DIE HARD, which was So Much Better than the ‘Rocky Balboa’ sequel, it was actually fun to watch.
    TOY STORY. The 2nd one was good, but the first was where these characters began. Toy Story 3 coming Summer 2010.

    As to the other franchises mentioned…
    THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK, of course. If you watch all 6 Star Wars movies over a couple days (as I’ve done), you’ll realize how bad The Phantom Menace is. Even though I think Qui-Gon is the coolest Jedi.
    STAR TREK: GENERATIONS, because it features the Next Generation cast in a story where they all can act as their characters normally do
    THE MATRIX. The 2nd one was so bad, I’ve never seen the 3rd.
    INDIANA JONES AND THE LAST CRUSADE, due to Sean Connery as noted above.
    THE RETURN OF THE KING. But that entire trilogy is The Series Of Our Generation.


  • bobbinthreadbare

    I’m a fan of “The Phantom Menance.” I think that it is the only one of the prequels that Lucas actually made the way he wanted to(2&3 just turned into badly written fan-service, IMO), but “The Phantom Menance” really tried to start off the series in a very different way, with the Jedi as supporting characters to a child and a goofy CGI stereotype. It had the best villian of the prequels, the best hero, and the best lightsaber duel of the entire series. You can complain all you want about Jar-Jar and the little “Ani,” but I think that Lucas wanted to start the series with a fairy tale of knights and queens, and he did it well.

    That said, I also think “Attack of the Clones” was admirable for trying to fulfill as many Star Wars fan wishes as possible in its running time. The less said about “Revenge of the Sith,” the better.

  • bfriesen

    Alien 3

    Because I was still a teenager when it came out.

    The setting makes the film for me – and the camerawork is sometimes breathtaking.

  • Yeah, I definitely agree on Star Trek V. I actually saw it for the first time during the holidays, and having never heard a positive word said about it, I expected something truly awful. Far from it . . . it has its flaws, certainly, but it was still a fun ride in many ways.

    I, for one, really really liked Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest. I found it to be a wildly entertaining and funny spectacle, nearly as good as the first Pirates movie, and I didn’t even notice how long it was. I also had a great time at the third one, although it failed to inject the same level of whimsical humor that the previous two thrived on. Nevertheless, I thought it was a good movie, though not a great one. I look forward to eventually owning the whole trilogy.

    Finally, going really old-school, I enjoy all four sequels to the original Planet of the Apes. They range wildly in quality, but they’re all a good watch with some interesting social commentary underneath.

  • petertchattaway

    In what way is Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade “under-rated”? I and many others consider it inferior to Raiders of the Lost Ark, but Last Crusade has quite a few fans of its own, no?

    I love the nomination of Star Trek V: The Final Frontier. Yeah, that scene with the “pain” is a real keeper, even if so much of the rest of the film makes me want to wince.

    I can’t think offhand of any “under-rated” franchise entries that I particularly love, but I will say that I have always preferred the Schumacher Batman films to the Burton Batman films. I loathe all of the pre-Nolan Batman films, actually, but Schumacher at least served the basic silliness and campiness of the franchise as he received it, whereas Burton went out of his way to twist and distort the franchise into something quite unlike anything seen in the comics at that time. The worst display of self-indulgence on Burton’s part was producing Oswald Flipperhands — er, I mean, Batman Returns — so soon after Edward Scissorhands. After all the damage that Burton did to those movies, I have never understood why so many people complain about Schumacher instead.

  • I’m pretty sure I’m one of the most die-hard Matrix fans you’ll ever meet, Jeffrey. I have seen each film in the series about twenty times (M1: 22, M2: 23, M3: 22), and love every single one of them, though I was disappointed by revolutions.

    I just felt that everything kind of became darker, more bleak, and characters were cast aside in favor of action. As part of the legion of fans who racked their brains trying to figure out where they were gonna go after the end of M2 (when you really pay attention to the Architect’s speech it’s a fascinating one), it was very disappointing to just see them go with a straightforward ending that didn’t really see any payoff of the promises from the first two films. Theories circulating around the net before the third one came out are a lot more fascinating than what ended up on the big screen, let me assure you. Another big disappointment with fans was the major lack of Kung-Fu action, which was a hallmark and one of the best parts about the second film. But it is a major travesty that neither film was nominated for Best Special Effects. The battle scene at Zion was mind-blowing in how complex and welll-executed it was.

    Morpheus yes, is a hollowed out shell of a man, but that destitution is never really explored. Agent Smith becomes the stereotypical pissed-off villain at the final battle scene, going in completely the opposite direction of what he was before, and what made him so unique.

    But I still believe the Matrix trilogy as a whole is one of the most underrated of all time. I mean, the second one received decent critical ratings when it was released in theatres, but then there was a curious backlash, and now Reloaded is a punchline. Entertainment Weekly even put it on their worst sequels of all time list, which it definitely did not deserve. And now most every one of my friends, when I speak to them, are surprised to hear that I loved Reloaded, as the general consensus is that it sucked, but in fact it’s the highest-grossing worldwide R-rated film of all time, so you wonder where all that money came from if not from people liking it and telling their friends to go see it and good critical ratings.

    It’s sad, because it’s definitely one of the most unique and probably the best new millenium trilogy that created a cultural and worldwide phenomenon all on its own and spoke most to the geek-speak, semi-metaphysical cultural cinematic revolution in the early 2000’s. When you see The Matrix 1, 2, and 3, as much as I have, you realize how well thought out everything is, how every last piece of the puzzle fits snugly and perfectly (except for that stupid rave scene in Reloaded), and the Wachowskis really meant to tell this entire tale lik this.

    The first one is birth, the second life, the third death. Reeves has even said that in interviews. It all works.

  • I think they totally dropped the proverbial ball with Revolutions. Going back to Reloaded, there is such tremendous potential there, and it’s squandered in the third film with a glut of special effects (tho they are neat-o to watch) and leaving major characters -like Morpheus, who barely makes an appearance- left out to dry.
    My major gripe with Revolutions is that the Wachowskis blew their premise to pieces: this was supposed to be a story that presented a new kind of salvation for those that follow a self-actualized messiah. Flaky as that sounds, it was a worthy premise, and as a retelling of Christ’s resurrection, it is especially worthy.
    But the Wachowskis were saying that they weren’t retelling Christ’s story; they were supposedly creating something new. Well, anybody that has seen the end of Revolution knows that folks at Zion are pretty much like us: they’re waiting for the return of their savior. They did the precise opposite of what they set out to do, and I think the weakness of the final product reveals that.

  • I’ve always liked Alien Resurrection. There, I said it. It ain’t my favorite of the Alien movies (that would be Ridley Scott’s original) but it’s fun. The underwater chase alone is worth the price of admission. Plus, I just like the fact that 20th Century Fox was insane enough to put a French director at the helm of a major sci-fi franchise. Also, two words: Ron Perlman.

    I’ve also never understood the intense hatred for The Godfather Part III. Sure, Robert Duvall’s absence leaves it uneven and inferior to the first two movies, but it’s cool that Coppola and Puzo avoided an obvious ’70s drug cartel plotline in favor of something grander and more elegiac.

  • taj

    I am not a major REVOLUTIONS fan, but I’d still love to read your thoughts.

    And my pick for most underrated franchise film (I just know I’m going to catch flack for this): STAR TREK V: THE FINAL FRONTIER.

    Yes, the special effects are awful. Yes, the “God encounter” came off a bit hokey. OK, really hokey. And I won’t even get into the whole Uhura-loves-Scotty bit. But this was STAR TREK’s first real foray into honest character drama. Spock’s half brother Sybok–a Vulcan who has chosen to embrace the emotions cast off by his people–attracts followers to his quest by helping people confront their “secret” pain. Although it does sound a bit like something you might find on Oprah, this is something that strikes very near to the heart of many men in particular.

    John Eldrege writes that men often carry a wound given to them from their fathers, something that goes beyond the after-school special crap of “daddy didn’t take me fishing and that’s why I’m a serial killer.” Most men deal with an alarming amount of insecurities, many of which find a root in a father’s failure to bestow a sense of genuine confidence or masculinity in his son. You’ll notice that every character Sybok “heals” in the film (other than Uhura) is male–and the closest peek we get of Sybok’s telling look into people’s souls comes through a glimpse of the secret pains of Spock and McCoy.

    Each suffer from scars directly associated with their fathers. McCoy stopped the mechanisms that kept his father alive when the elderly man pleaded with him to end the pain, only to learn of a cure for his father’s deadly ailment soon after. Spock, though half-human, embraces his Vulcan heritage, and can still remember his father’s first words upon seeing his newborn son: “so human.”

    Sybok’s abilities, then, would seem beneficial to men who desperately need healing. Kirk, however, displays a wisdom that runs counter to his usual impulsiveness. “I need my pain,” he says. This is no rejection of healing or restoration; Kirk knows that real healing doesn’t come by killing the pain. It comes from entering the wound, and confronting it. “They’re the things we carry with us, the things that make us who we are,” he says. That’s the quality that made Kirk such a great leader, and led him to confront his own prejudice in the next film. Kirk knows himself, and has confronted his pain.

    I don’t know, it may sound like a reach, but it’s the one shining moment in the movie and it leaves a bright glow for me.

  • As the Matrix franchise went on, they got more and more self-important and pompous . . . it’s as if the Wachowskis took their role as pop philosophers way too seriously. By the time it got to Revolutions, the plot had become as murky as the visuals, which were plenty murky, believe me. They were so dark, and complex and chock full of writhing, squirming information that at times I had trouble picking out the foreground action from the backgrounds.

    All this to say that I preferred the–relatively–cleaner, more straightforward, plain vanilla Matrix.

    Other franchises–the third Indy the best of the three, because of two words: Sean Connery.

    Rocky — hated them all.
    ditto with Rambo.

    LOTR — the first, because of the promise, the mystery, the atmosphere; ROTK devolved into an epic, which was not at all in the spirit of the books. Although I still liked it, especially the quiet scenes

  • tompaulwheeler

    Back to the Future 2.

  • I just FINALLY watched Revolutions a couple of weeks ago. I was a little bored by all the Zion-ness, but the end fight was possibly the COOLEST THING EVER.

  • I was a major Matrix Revolutions fan as well. Would love to read your thoughts as to why its your favorite, however!