My five favourite films from 2016

Normally I do a roundup of my ten favourite films from the year, it’s become a bit of a tradition towards new year. In 2016 I struggled to put together a top ten list, I don’t think there were ten films in total that I could rate all that highly.

Even this list of five was a bit of a struggle.

I know why, I just have blockbuster fatigue. I’ve seen the explosions now, the fan service and the spectacles and frankly I’m bored by it. Now I want to see something charming, thought provoking and interesting. It’s not enough to just “do things” and throw it up on the screen, these companies have a lot of money to produce the absolute best films and yet they keep producing these loud and shallow action pieces that care more about fan recognition than plot or characters that make sense.

It’s okay to demand more from these companies, it’s fine to challenge them. It doesn’t make you less of a fan or change who you are. You’re not betraying your cult and it doesn’t change how you feel about anything else.

This works both ways too, for example, you can enjoy the Ghostbusters remake without it hurting your love for the original, plus you can hate the remake and surprisingly enough it still doesn’t impact your love of the original.

You are no less a fan of Batman if you thought Batman V Superman was a mess of a film.

It’s okay.

With that being said on to my top five films of 2016:

Arrival

I fucking loved Arrival. I had no idea what it was about apart from the obvious and I was absolutely riveted the entire time. I love that I had no idea where it might go and it was an absolute joy to discover the true story it was telling.

Now I’m not the biggest fan of the lead actors but I think they all performed the hell out of the story and made me care about what was happening. The visuals were beautiful, the soundtrack was exceptional and the design of the aliens and the alien ships were refreshing.

Beautiful does sum this film up for me.


Star Trek Beyond

I think I’m going to start referring to how much I enjoy a film from here on instead of labelling a film good or bad. You can’t argue with how someone feels about a film. I don’t think Star Trek Beyond is a particularly brilliant film, I also don’t think it’s a particularly bad film either. For me, however it hit all the notes that I needed it to during the 50th anniversary of the television show that has influenced me more than any fictional medium.

I like the reboot cast, I think they’re all really great a capturing the spirit of the characters that they have taken on. I enjoyed Justin Lim’s take on the Enterprise and the space station. The soundtrack is exceptional again and Michael Giacchino has become my favourite composer.

I do think that Simon Pegg drives the film a little too much and the villain is again way too underdeveloped. But the emotional scenes fare welling Leonard Nimoy and the celebration of the original cast were very satisfying.


 

Deadpool

In a year full of comic book movies this is the only one that makes it to my list because this was the only film that took a fresh approach to a comic book film. Deadpool’s team completely understand the character and what it should be in a film. Even with huge set pieces and lots of special effects the film is never buried under them. The characters even played for jokes never lose an emotional tie to the audience, we’re not left feeling like passive bystanders, we actually care about the merc with a mouth.

Deadpool has never been one of my favourite characters, to be honest most of the X-Men lines leave me pretty cold but I loved the shit out of this film, much more than any other comic book film I saw in 2016 (note that I did not see Doctor Strange and I heard good things about it so you never know).


Hunt for the Wilderpeople

A charming character driven film with a huge amount of heart. I just really enjoyed this film. It was refreshing to see something original and focused on its characters and their relationships with each other. It also doesn’t hurt that it’s bloody hilarious and the whole cast has a fantastic chemistry.

The film really is a wonderful response to blockbuster fatigue.


Eddie the Eagle

No offence to Eddie but in any other year this film probably wouldn’t have made my list but I was pretty desperate to round out to five titles and I just enjoyed this film quite a bit. For many of the same reasons I loved Hunt for the Wilderpeople, this film is charming, funny and has a lot of heart. I’m a sucker for sports films like this and at the end of the day this delivered on all that I enjoy out of inspirational sports films.

Also I’m old enough to remember those Olympics, they’re probably the first Winter Olympics that I remember and I have memories of Mum discussing Eddie. So nostalgia was a bit of a cherry on top.


So that’s really it, I can’t think of any other films in 2016 that floated my boat. All the big films fell flat for me including Star Wars Rogue One (which is apparently heresy). They just didn’t connect with me.

I’m probably hopeful for 2017, I plan on getting my arse into the cinema more and I’ll post my thoughts about the coming year tomorrow.

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