The Dark Age of Film – Nostalgia Critic

Behold, the WORST years for movies ever! Let’s look at the summer movies of 1996-2001.

About Doug Walker

Creator of 5 Second Movies, Nostalgia Critic, Bum Reviews and more.


  1. I’m so glad my brother didn’t see this. He loves almost every movie from that time period. Again, it’s mostly the nostalgia factor. Matthew Broderick is a bad actor. Space Jam is still the biggest guilty pleasure movie! It could have been worse with Baby Looney Tunes and Loonatics Unleashed, which you even said yourself! Siskel and Ebert were the only ones on RottenTomatoes who liked Speed 2: Cruise Control, which I suppose you should review.

  2. I still love “Space Jam” and “Godzilla (1998)”. I now acknowledge they’re not very well done, but they have elements I liked, so I didn’t care.

  3. -Hunger games sucks
    -The Big bang Theory is a funny series
    -You still bitching about the fish thing seriously you need help
    -Godzila was cool, Lost is Space was good, Space Jam was fun
    -One is not reliable of a help on the internet cos just cos someone didn’t liked a movie dos not mean that the person will not like it ether or the other way around unless a person sees it for them self they cannot take what other say serious
    -Fuck twitter (I didn’t hater After Earth)
    -The Matrix trilogy was great, The Pirates are awesome movies, The Hobbit is really cool

    • 1) Agree, but I see worst (especially in that fake “young-adult” movie period).
      2) It is, but it also don’t depict Nerds and Geeks too precise.
      3) Because that still is stupid.
      4) LOL you have pore taste dude.
      5) Guilty pleasure is still guilt pleasure.
      6) No comment.
      7) They are (mostly), but they also have many flaws. NC rarely critic something unjustly.

      • The NC never reviews a film unjustly?
        Dude, he does it all the friggin time!
        Small Soldiers deserved it? The Phantom derserved it? Ghost Rider deserved it? Man of Steel deserved it? The Lost World deserved it? And then there’s all the movies he’s slammed in passing like Phantom of the Opera, The Shadow, The Incredible Hulk, Power Rangers (I know it’s a series but you get my point), The Grudge, The Godzilla films, Halloween: Season of the Witch. The list goes on and on.
        The Critic slamming a movie doesn’t make it flawed. It just means he thinks it is.

    • 1-Agreed.
      3-It’s called a meme.
      4-Godzilla was awful, Lost in Space was awful, Space Jam has a nostalgic place in my heart.
      5-Yeah but if you read five reviews for the same movie then you have a pretty good idea whether it’ll appeal to you or not.
      6-Agreed though After Earth looks awful.
      7-Haven’t seen the Matrix series (deliberately avoided the NC’s reviews until I do), Agreed, Haven’t seen the Hobbit films yet.

  4. not one time not two time but five time you made video and puts AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON trailers in your video I hate spoiler.It only 2 week left before the movie come out and you still puts the trailers up five time in five differences video.I have to puts my hand over my eyes.

  5. This is why a series like The Critic could only have existed in that time period.

  6. I think that it is worth to remind that period between late 90’ties and early 2000 was horrible for most of pop-culture, not only summer blockbuster movies (animation in period between Pocahontas 1995 and Shrek 2001 have also pore time, and new Star Wars new trilogy was created between 1999-2005).

    Comic book speculation bubble burst between 1993-1997, what was horrible disaster for the comic book market which almost ruin Marvel, also associated with flood of pore comic book like those which Linkara make fun whole time.

    Also late four and early fifth generation of consoles (1991-1994) have horrible times which lead to end of Nintendo domination and start of SEGA downfall. From that time in Japan there was large economical crisis what stay and flood many anime ans similar product until even early 2000’t (which kill Gundam F91 and Crossbone for example).

    That is at least what I know, as I don’t know all markets (music for example). Question is why such thing happen? I think it could be related to rise of nerd culture, which originated on previously obscure and low budget products. But blame wasn’t on them, but misconception about what this group of people expect. Many corporations though that they have low expectations, so push large number of flashy crap product in style of 90’ties kids. Instead recognizing some products as legitimate media what should be treat seriously (geeks like them because of rare dazes of potential, not because they were childish). In modern time nerds and geek start control those corporations, and that is why we gradually come out of that crap, but still some shit happen from time to time as generation X dark force is still strong.

  7. Maybe because my nostalgia zone is firmly in the 80’s but I don’t see what you see NC.

    It’s true, 90’s movies sucked in a way that stuck with you. I see those years as a transition and not in the technology, but the demo. ’85 – ’95 the cinema only saw 15 yr boys. ’96 saw no need to change heading. But i think that was when the demo changed in a noticeable way. The audience got older and wanted something meatier.

    This has lingered with me since the Daredevil review, because on the whole Daredevil isn’t different from Iron Man or the first and second coming of Spiderman. I think the audience changed more than the type of movie. Like how a teen might hate coffee in Jr. High, but by freshmen year in college they guzzle the stuff by the gallons. Coffee didn’t change, but the person has.

    • I don’t know? There was change in technologies (CGI change much). I grow up in 90’ties, but I still think that movies from 80-95 period were pretty cool, just what we see now as 15’tin year boy standard was then considered as adult, because there was no alternative to cheesy practical effects and pore filming infrastructure. In late 90’ties standards start to change, but cinema refuse to acknowledge that change believing that demographic don’t care about quality what wasn’t truth.

  8. I agree about the “dark age” as you call it, a lot of forgettables movies, really enjoyed the video.
    But yeah i would take Alien 4 over the battle of the five armies any days, and in some regards BOTFA is a lot like thoses 90’s movies, a lot of CGI to show impressive things, and thats it, bu one problem? imo BOTFA apart from the intro with Smaug looked bad, crappy generic CGI, i ain’t that much picky on movies effects, but that totaly got me out of the movie this time, so yeah Alien 4 over BOTFA all the way.

  9. 1) I really love these rants. Doug, you organize and express your thoughts so well!
    2) I think I’m stuck being an apologist for Independence Day… I just can’t help it, I love that movie. *Plays ‘Guilty Pleasures’ in the background*
    3) I think the new ‘Godzilla’ needs to be thrown in with those movies that people complain about now but don’t realize (or don’t REMEMBER *cough*Broderick*cough*) how much worse it could have been. Maybe I’ll be stuck as an apologist for that movie, too.

  10. To: Doug and Rob

    In Nostalgia Critic:Ninja Turtles 2014 you dismiss the original TMNT for being a parody in a video filled with parodies.

    Do you for some reason think your parodies are valid and there’s aren’t?

    • What the Hell are you talking about? I think you misinterpreted the ending of that review. The co-creators of TNMT explicitly made the comics as a parody of comic book tropes in the 80’s, so he wasn’t dismissing it as a parody, he was pointing out the fact that it was originally a parody.

      If you want to see what he thinks of parody in general, he’s done an editorial video called “Is parody dead?”

  11. I think this time period lasted a bit after 2001, there were still a ton of terrible CGI movies in the early 2000s.

  12. Don’t forget about animation. Between the late 50’s through the mid 80’s was considered to be dark age of animation since nearly most animated television shows and films of that period were very limited. Even major studios like Disney, Warner Bros., and MGM were heavily affected during this era since the public awareness only saw animation as “kid’s stuff”. Because of this a majority of studios started the practice of producing cheap, and low quality animation as a means for profit. Tv shows like Flintstones, The Jetsons, Scooby Doo, and other Hana Barbara cartoons suddenly became the norm of that period and we just accepted it. Luckily films like Roger Rabbit, Little Mermaid and The Secret of NIMH have managed to break out of that norm and push out the dark age to make wave for the Disney Renisance modern age of animation. I’m glad I was born a few years after that span ended but that era had an everlasting impact on both pop culture and the audiences that grew up in during that epoch. Even almost thirty years later some people still consider animation to be childish which I tend to disagree; Animation has come a long way from being considered to a certain demographic audience. Now there are several outlets were cult following tv shows like Gravity Falls, Adventure Time, Regular Show, Clarence, Steven Universe, and Both The Last Air Bender and The Legend of Korra continue to thrive. Granted most adults now or days only consider comedy for their entertainment in animation, but there is more to every genre of animation outside of comedy. This is why Simpsons will still keep on going, this why there are many copycat shows like Bob’s Burgers, Family Guy and most Macfarlane”s shows will keep being made because the audience for them will only see comedy as their means for entertainment in adult animation. Now don’t get me wrong I enjoy watching animated sitcoms once in a while, one of my favorite tv series is South Park but having more than one tv show that follows the exact same formula to the Simpsons is aggravating. I just pray and hope this mindset should disappear within the next few years and allow other mediums of animation to be shared by everyone regardless of age or rating system.

    • In my opinion animation as a medium has so much more potential then people give it credit for. The problem is that it’s stuck in limbo; either aim for children and be childish or aim for adults and compensate by being immature with your adult content. Whoever you aim for you end up trapped in some kind of box.
      And that is why ‘The Prince of Egypt’ is one of my favourite films of all time.

  13. Gotta be honest — I’ve never cared about superhero movies.

  14. I don’t like seeing the NC hyping up Hunger Games all the time. He should point out, that it’s just a rip-off from Battle Royal.

  15. Why stop at the year 2001 ?

    The question is, when will the dark age end ?
    I thought it started in 2000, but you convinced me that it was indeed around 1996.
    And I’m talking about all kind of american movies. You guys were the best before that period.
    Now I can’t think of a single post-2000 american movie I have watched more than once.

    Some movies are okay, but do you really wanna watch I don’t know … Avatar or Inception like two or three times in the course of a lifespan? I could watch Terminator 2 or Pulp Fiction five times in a month; I can still watch them once a year.
    I mean, movies nowadays don’t have any “rewatch value”. Why ? Because there are either bad or okay. You consume them, you are more or less disapointed and that’s it.

    And sorry but the newer movies that you mentioned (like the Marvel Universe ones) aren’t good. I’ve lost faith in you american movie makers and I’ll continue to dig your movies from the past. New movies, I will watch them if they come from Asia, Europe or somewhere else.

  16. One more thing: Stop saying “____ raped my childhood!”

  17. Let me get this straight…a film critic just told us all to “stop whining about movies”.


  18. It’s ironic to me that a lot of people are defending the 90’s in the comments, but as someone who was born in 1990, and saw most of those films growing up (and revisited many of them later, along with some I never cared about growing up), I do have to say that yeah.. a lot of the movies from back then are way overhyped and frankly, not that good. True, we had our Fight Clubs and the like, but a lot of the films were absolute toss.

    I personally don’t like American Beauty, but I don’t think it’s a bad film–I just think it’s kind of boring and uninteresting. Even so, there are other films in the 90’s that were interesting. Whilst we had Jurassic Park way back when, and the sequels.. (who’s excited for Jurassic World? Yaaay…) existed.. some great ideas came out.

    As for summer blockbusters though.. eh.. not superb, as far as I’m concerned. Though, I did see The Matrix on the opening weekend with my parents. (Oh yeah. I saw it when I was 8. And it was like a fucking rite of passage. Though, it hasn’t aged very well, sadly, even with my nostalgia goggles on.) Interesting years to study for anyone into more recent film, most definitely; personally, I’m more interested in what’s coming out now and what came out when I gave up on film–that being the mid 2000’s because I was sooo cool (hint: no I wasn’t, I was just an obnoxious twat when I was a teenager)..

    But yeah. Interesting topic. You’ve given me something to think about, Doug–thanks for that.

  19. Think of Jackie

    I guess I’ve just never paid much attention to theater movies as far as the time of year they come out vs. the quality of movie. But this was an interesting video.

  20. Blaze The Movie Fan

    This is one of the best movie discussion videos you’ve made hands down.

  21. I’d be willing to take Doug’s editorials a lot more seriously if he ever decided to take Disney’s and Marvel’s dicks out of his ass.

    • Thank you for that insightful comment. I’m sure making your point in as crude a manner as possible has done wonders for your credibility as someone with an opinion that should be taken seriously.

  22. I remember that five year period very well and how few good movies there were. Just as one example, there was a tremendous jump from Steel to Iron from just armor design to just about everything else. Shaq still cant act even after all these years, just keep him in commercials.

    I have yet to see Godzilla 2014, but I do know its vastly better than God’thats alot of fish’zilla. Granted I do enjoy all the Jurassic Park movies, yet I stopped watching the Transformer movies after the second one. You have to ‘dare to be stupid’ to watch all four of those movies.

  23. I think the problem is that many of us aren’t that into comic books and don’t want to watch a movie about toys (Transformers, Smurfs, etc.) period, so therefore, the last few years haven’t been that great. That’s not to say that the era NC mentions wasn’t absolute drek, but that things aren’t much better. If anything, I feel like summer movies were okay again for a while, then became worse within the past few years.

    • Yeah you’re right, but the point he makes in his other editorial is that this is a phase and it will eventually pass. In the meantime go watch so good-ole 80s action film on Netflix or Youtube so Michael Bay doesn’t make another Billion dollars for the next Transformers movie.
      Seriously there is an obscene number of 80s action films on YouTube right now, you might want to hurry before they do another copyright blitzcrieg, This is directed at all of you reading this comment.

  24. lol funny you are saying alien 4 cause now we are going to have Alien 5 and Prometheus 2 at the same time

    • I think Blomkamp has hinted it’s going to be more of a Alien 3 then an Alien 5 is you catch my meaning. Nevertheless I’m actually looking forward to it, Also I’m quietly praying Prometheus 2 doesn’t happen.
      But then again this is all coming from a guy who kinda likes Alien Resurrection, but only in a guilty pleasure sense.

  25. (Applauds) Well Spoken Sir!
    Don’t know why you threw The Phantom into all this though, That was a decent movie.
    Please PLEASE tell me you’re planning to review Spawn. PLEASE!!!

  26. I never understood why people didn’t like Titanic. I thought it was a good film. The sinking of the ship itself was pretty well done and I was pretty entertained from beginning to end. I thought it earned its money.

  27. Hey Everyone! I have a great idea! What if instead of going to go see Transformers 5 you could (gasp) watch some OLD movies! They’re lying around all over the place! YouTube, NetFlix, DailyMotion, Vodlocker, Megashare just to name a few.
    Movie trends only last as long as people are paying for them, Sure popular word killed ‘After Earth’ but the Smurfs, Garfield and The Pink Panther remake all got sequels, A Playdough movie is in production, remakes of Highlander and The Crow are in production, the Transformers and Twilight franchises each made over $3,000,000,000!!! That’s more money then any of us will see in a lifetime!
    Would it really hurt you guys to go watch some older movies?
    Rising Sun is on YouTube, Ever heard of it? Wesley Snipes and Sean Connery team up against Japanese badguys. There’s a Christopher Lambert action film called ‘Fortress’ directed by Stuart Gordon the man who made ‘Re-Animator’, The Greatest action movie of all time (in my humble opinion) Hard Boiled is on YouTube right now!!!
    And you know what’s even better about all these movies? THEY’RE FOR FREE!!!!

  28. Battlefield Earth was the best comedy of the year 2000. Maybe it didn’t mean to be, but it was.

  29. I do think we have sequel itis but honestly movies haven’t’ been this good since the 80s. Original creative content are coming out. Disney wouldn’t have dreamed of making something as good as Frozen in the 90s and I’d much rather see the new hobbit films than the Matrix.

  30. Kakarot D Uzumaki

    Wow this really hits your childhood if you grew up in the 90s, though a lot of what he said made since, me personally I liked the movie spawn back then and I still like it now and think they need to make a remake with the same actor but come on who didn’t love Space Jam when they were kids

    On another note I think the next movie should be Dragonball Evolution please this movie needs to be torn to shreds

    • The Critic already said sometime ago he wasn’t going to review DragonBall because he didn’t grow up with it, That’s why way back in the day there was a massive crossover orchestrated by the critic in an attempt to quiet the fans.
      If you still want to see this move torn apart watch the Honest Trailer, Team 4 Star are in it!

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