The Most Overrated Adventure Movie- National Treasure (2004)
Of course this isn't a critical darling or often confused for a quality movie but it was definitely not good enough to warrant its incredible box-office and sequel (which I never bothered with). This was just dull, the action wasn't creative and there isn't much chemistry among the cast. I know Nicolas Cage has legions of people who will defend him to the death, but when he isn't good he is bad. He was miscast in this role and there wasn't a good enough premise.
The Most Underrated Adventure Movie- Indiana Jones and The Temple of Doom (1984)
I really don't understand the hate for this movie. I watched this so many times growing up. I know that people find Willie and Short Round irritating but I love those two characters. I think that it was important to go a different direction than Marion Ravenwood and as a kid I loved seeing a sidekick for Indiana Jones because that's who I wanted to be. There are several well timed comedy scenes as well as some of my favorite action scenes. It gets dark, but is still over the top. It's what I want to see in an Indiana Jones movie.
The Most Disappointing Adventure Movie- The Adventures of Tintin (2011)
Sometimes there are just too many talented people involved in a project. I didn't feel many of the considerable strengths from Spielberg, Jackson, Wright, Cornish and Moffatt, the whole movie felt like an uninteresting mess. There is really no story here, the hunt for the treasure is uninteresting and the rest is forgettable. The characters are dull. Tintin never gets a personality and neither did Snowy, which an animated should be able to make an animated dog amusing. Of course the decision to use motion capture was ill-advised. It limited the already unamusing characters. It seems like a lot of fans of Herge like this, or at least they really want to but there is not much for visual style and it is just forgettable.
The Most Surprising Adventure Movie- Up (2009)
I had no doubts that this movie would be great, Pixar was on a roll at this time. But I didn't expect an adventure movie. But when you think about it, it really is a great one. It is about misfits traveling (in a very unique way) to an unexplored area of the globe. It really embodies the, well, Spirit of Adventure. Of course it also has Pixar's strong characterization and emotional storytelling which sets it apart and really makes this movie a one of a kind experience. Certainly the only movie on this list with an old man, kid, talking dog and snipe.
My Guilty Pleasure Adventure Movie- Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest (2006)
Not as good or as much of a surprise as the first movie, but I really love it. I remember the excitement around it and I have seen it many times. It was fun seeing these characters again, Bootstraps Bill and Davy Jones were great additions to the cast, the action scenes were bigger. It also had just the right amount of Jack Sparrow who I felt became overplayed and insufferable in the next two. A lot of the reason for the success of these movies is Hans Zimmer's score, which sounds like just like a pirate adventure.
My Favorite Adventure Movie- Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)
Maybe this should be listed as the best. No matter where I put it, it is a great movie and very influential. There are so many iconic action scenes and quotable lines. There are few things that I love more than Indiana Jones and I still want to be him when I grow up.
The Worst Adventure Movie- Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008)
Oh man, this is why I don't get excited for movies anymore. Easily the biggest letdown of my life so far. I know that not everybody likes the Indiana Jones series, or certain installments in the original trilogy. And they aren't the most critic friendly movies. But there is a sense of adventure, fun and excitement that all of the eighties movies have that is completely missing here. Also how do you go from Sean Connery to Harrison Ford to Shia LaBeouf? I demand to see a blood test because there is no way that Mutt is a Jones.
The Best Adventure Movie- Only Angels Have Wings (1939)
If I don't have an Indiana Jones movie as the best then it is either this or The Adventures of Robin Hood. I decided to go with this because it isn't often remembered as a great adventure movie but it really is a classic. Cary Grant and Jean Arthur have great chemistry and Howard Hawks is a terrific auteur. This film perfectly illustrates the stubbornness of an adventurous spirit and the natural conflict between adventure and love. Definitely a classic.