The Big Movie Presents: Five Surprises of 2017

Every year there are a few films that either fly in under the radar or were films that you didn't expect to be as good as they were. 2017 had a bunch of films that I didn't expect to be any good but were. Here are five of them.

Alien: Covenant

I know that people are going to rip me apart for this, but I really liked Alien: Covenant. I loved the look of the film, the discovery of the new planet, the feel of suspense, and the shock of some of the kills. I expected the film to look great (this is Ridley Scott, who can make anything look good), but I was expecting this film to be the stinker that many thought it was. In fact, this opened around my birthday this year and me and the wife were going to go see it. I decided at the last minute not to go. My brother called me a bit later and told me that the film was awful. After I watched the film, I kind of kicked myself for not going to the theater to see the film. I think that the film is fun and doesn't strive to be anything but that.

Better Watch Out

The trailers for Better Watch Out make the film seem like a Home Alone horror film. It could have gone this way and I think that people would have dismissed it, but the film goes into unexpected waters and becomes a better film because of it. I can not disclose what happens in the second half of the film, but I will say that I was not expecting it. Looking back on that second half, the first half of the film now plays out a bit differently. Actions and motivations now make sense. Besides the twist, the film is very pretty to look at and doesn't skimp out on what matters most in this film, which is another thing that I will not talk about, but it is another something that you don't expect.

Cult of Chucky

The announcement of Cult of Chucky about a month or two before it was released caught everyone off-guard. The previous film, Curse of Chucky, was an excellent film that brought the series back to its horror roots. The premise of the film, where the survivor of Curse is locked up in a mental hospital after being convicted of the murders in Curse and having the fend off Chucky inside of an enclosed place where everyone thinks she is crazy. Everyone thought that this would be another fun entry that would be more like Curse and less like Seed of Chucky. Then the reviews came in and people were pissed at how different the film was. They wanted more of the same but got something that messed with our minds. I thought that the film did a great job at being a "mind fuck" film and the kills were nice and gory. I am looking forward to the next entry to see where they take it from here.

Ghost in the Shell

I love the original film from 1995. It is a film that takes its time to tell a very complicated story. It also contains some really beautiful animation and the action scenes are handled well. My expectations for this live-action film were high. Then it bombed at the box office and everyone HATED the film. I was put off by all of this negativity. I avoided the film in the theaters and rented it when it came out on blu-ray. I have to say that I don't normally listen to critics, but this one was a rare time for me. I wish that I had gone to the theater to see it. This is an amazing looking film. The way the city looks to the robots that serve in the beginning of the film, everything looks and sounds awesome. I will admit that the story is a bit clunky, but audiences don't want to see a complex sci-fi film (very few went to see Blade Runner 2049 for the same reason.)  I really liked this film and think that people need to level their expectations (and their attacks of racism) when it comes to some films. There are very few films that will ever exceed expectations. Accept a film on its own terms or go home.

Power Rangers

I am not a fan of the tv that this film is based on. I was a bit too old for it when it hit the airwaves in 1993. So it came as a surprise when I watched this version of the Power Rangers. I thought that the film would be a cheesy version of a Kaiju film, but what we got was a John Hughes film that ended with a Kaiju film. I liked the characters. I found them to be very believable and even likable. I liked that the film took its time to get to the Kaiju part of the film, something that would prove fatal with fans of the tv show. I thought that the film looked and sounded great. The two things that I was not all that happy with was Elizabeth Banks as the villain. I thought that she was the wrong choice for the film as I never believed for a second that she was going to take over the world. I also didn't like the actual Power Rangers third act. I was so involved with these characters that by the time they put on their suits and went out to fight the villain, I just wanted to see their story to the end. I kind of wished that this was a high school film instead of an action film. I didn't care about the CGI third act.

So there are some of the surprises that I happened upon in 2017. There were a few more, but these are the ones that were special to me.

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