Hello again dear listeners and readers. Today will consist of numbers 10 to 6. I hope you enjoy!
*Footnote: Again, here are a few key words that helped me narrow my focus on why certain movies were chosen: Risk, originality, genuine, geeky, beauty, closure, intensity.
10 – John Carter – Obviously in the minority, I found John Carter to be captivating, entertaining and visually stunning. It’s a shame that Disney really mucked-up the marketing surrounding the movie. Not many people know that John Carter is based off of a book, A Princess of Mars, which is an integral story, written back in the early 1900s, that influenced the modern-day genres of sci-fi and fantasy. Plus, it inspired MANY of today’s best writers and directors, not to mention movies like the Star Wars saga. Had the marketing focused on that, I think people’s perspectives might have changed.
9 – The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey – Having seen it twice in the best format possible (with the exception of Dolby’s AMAZING Atmos sound system), IMAX HFR 3D, this part one of a theatrical trilogy looks like it’s off to a great start! Having read the book for the first time before I saw the movie, I really appreciate how the writing team made the movie more accessible to its audience (adding characters and spending more time creating a backstory for the dwarves, to provide motivation that doesn’t seem forced), whether they know the material or not. The visuals are top notch from the giant effects company Weta, and the high frame rate, HFR, really works as you start getting used to it. For me, it was around 25 minutes into the movie, right when the all the Dwarves arrive. Let me say I’m not a fan of 3D, BUT when the (what I call) “Depth Game” is used rather than an over abundance of gimmicks, it works like it did with The Hobbit. See: Life of Pi (2012), Prometheus (2012), Hugo (2011), The Adventures of Tintin (2011), Avatar (2009), etc.
8 – Wreck It Ralph – Talk about guts. With the production of this movie lasting more than a reportedly 4 years, mostly in pre-production, and not having this film’s main characters based on any existing characters, this movie still rocked! Throwing in a couple of existing, classic video game characters, (thank you Zangief for you words of wisdom) this animated wonder was a great nod to gamers of the 90s and helped integrate Ralph into a world we’ve become familiar with. Plus, getting to visit all of their incredible, inventive & clever game lands they created were a wonderful treat. P.S. Disney producing a better animated film that’s better than Pixar’s film, in the same year?! It’s unbelievable, right?
7 – The Dark Knight Rises – I want to start off by asking a question: how many trilogies exist that have an equally good or better third act? I ask because how could cinematic genius Christopher Nolan and his crack team overcome one of the best movies of the last decade, The Dark Knight?? He took a daunting task to end his Batman saga with a cinematic and emotional bang, that left me giddy and emotionally complete by the time the credits rolled. It may not be directly from the comics, but this is Nolan’s Batman, not Frank Miller’s or Bob Kane’s. There are subtle and obvious homages to those two writers, who helped shape and mold the Caped Crusader into what he is today, but Nolan finds a way to make it his own. I was able to see this in IMAX multiple times and I gotta tell ya, I really want this trend, of partially shooting with IMAX cameras, to take off because it makes the experience of the movie so much more captivating.
6 – Zero Dark Thirty – A thoroughly engaging and thought-provoking film. I posted on a social blog I frequently visit, that I thought this film was “a potential masterclass in suspense with a HECK of a third act” & I still think that. There is only one other movie that came out this year that can rival it in suspense, but more on that later. This movie, although based on the hunt for Osama bin Laden, is not about Osama, but about Maya, a dedicated and intensely-obsessed CIA agent played by Jessica Chastain, who has blown up in the movie scene for the last two years, and completely deserves her Best Actress Oscar this year. Based on a real CIA agent, Maya sacrifices all her time to catch Osama, and because the script is so well written, the audience becomes as invested into the hunt as her, thus creating an incredible and engrossing thriller. There is only 1 movie that I subconsciously made multiple connections to, in terms of suspense, intensity and a script so well written that the audience becomes just as obsessed as the main character, which is David Fincher’s Zodiac (2007). *Like Zero Dark Thirty, Zodiac is not for the squeamish or faint of heart, considering the amount of graphic, realistic violence portrayed.
COMING UP NEXT: The finale to my Top 20 with Numbers #5 to 1!