10 Movies Made Before Their Time

09 February 2015
M-Net Movies looks at ten underrated movies.
the iron giant

They were not well received by the public at the time; but even if they didn’t get your money, they definitely deserved it. You might think some are classics and you wouldn’t be wrong. M-Net Movies looks at some of the most underrated films made before their time.

In Bruges is first on the list. A dark comedic British and American collaboration, In Bruges stars Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson who play two hitmen sent to do a job by a crime boss. When one of the hitmen gets a crisis of conscience, it all goes to hell. In Bruges only managed to double its very humble budget of $US15 million.

Next on the list is The Iron Giant. This Warner Brothers' animated film is heavy on themes of love and friendship and it stars Vin Diesel as the gigantic metal eating machine that is befriended by a little boy. Unfortunately it was a clever and fun family animation that was slaughtered at the box office, only pulling in $US30 million; a far cry from its $US50 million budget.

Next is the criminally underrated cautionary sci-fi tale Gattaca. It was a poor box office draw, but loved by critics. Many put it down to its thought-provoking but dark look at the world over mindless action. It recouped only a third of its $US26 million budget. Set in the future where DNA dictates every action of a person’s life and career, it stars Ethan Hawke as a man who fakes his identity to become an astronaut.

Sticking with sci-fi, we look at Children Of Men. Coming up just shy of its modest budget at the box office, this film showcases a society without hope as mankind has been struck with infertility. With one woman inexplicably pregnant, Clive Owen plays a bureaucrat in charge of taking her to safety. Children Of Men is a true masterpiece seen by far too few.

Adam Sandler is known for his insane comedy, but he made a rare attempt at drama. In Punch Drunk Love Sandler took his acting to new heights as he played a shy and repressed man with anger issues. He falls in love with Emily Watson before being extorted by Philip Seymour Hoffman. It is an odd film, but was tragically underrated as the all-star cast give amazing performances.

Then we have Dredd. Not the really bad 1995 Sylvester Stallone Judge Dredd, but the 2012 Karl Urban version. Set in the dystopian future, the film is true to the source material, with its extreme violence and deadpan humour and Urban nailing the character. A plus is that most of the movie was filmed right here in South Africa. But people probably stayed away because of the previous film's reputation.

This is followed by Kiss Kiss Bang Bang. Yes, it is possible for a clever, witty satire starring Robert Downey Jr. and Val Kilmer to flop. Just breaking even, this murder mystery brings a private eye and small-time thief together for a comedy filled with great banter and amazing storytelling.

Next is Sunshine. Sci-fi usually lets us escape to other planets. But this one takes you to the sun, as a crew are tasked to deliver a nuclear payload to reignite the failing star. Starring Chris Evans, and directed by Danny Boyle, it delivers an intense, intelligent action-filled movie about science versus fundamentalism.

The Fountain was nominated for many awards, the art film only won for its score and made back only half its cost. It's a romantic drama starring Hugh Jackman that follows three storylines based on themes of love and mortality. Despite getting a standing ovation at its release, the major public did not take to it at all, maybe because it only focuses on loss and despair.

Harrison Ford and Ridley Scott in their heydey: how could they fail? At the time, Ford had just done two Star Wars' films and Raiders of the Lost Ark. Ridley Scott had just done Alien.  So Blade Runner seemed set to be a big hit. But it wasn’t meant to be. It was actually a box office flop.

Hard to believe since this has become one of the biggest cult films of all time and inspired many films. Ford plays a blade runner, a special police operative. Set in dystopian Los Angeles, Blade Runner must hunt down and terminate four genetically engineered cyborgs called replicants who stole a ship in space and have returned to Earth to find their creator. This film asks hard questions about humanity and the human condition.

In 1993, the film was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant." Blade Runner is now regarded as one of the best science fiction films ever made.

These are just some of the films that were made and not appreciated at the time. They have since received recognition and really are must-see films.