This year, it has been my pleasure to publish monthly movie reviews for Pawling Public Radio. But now that the year is over, I’d like to give a little something back to all the movies I’ve watched. So, I have a few awards that I’ll give out to 2010’s most memorable movies – for better or for worse.
1. Biggest Movie of the Year: Avatar
Without a doubt, the biggest movie of 2010 was Avatar. It has appeal on all sorts of different levels – raising difficult question about what we, as humans, owe to nature; the touching love story between people from two different worlds; the mind-blowing special effects; great acting and relatable characters. I was shocked to see how quickly this movie integrated itself into our culture – plus it seemed to have launched a huge fad of 3D movies. Even though it’s very long, this is an absolute must-see. It doesn’t matter if you don’t like sci-fi… the writing is complex enough that viewers won’t find themselves distracted by the fantastical aspects. I don’t doubt that it will be talked about for years to come (and just a heads-up – look forward to Avatar 2: The Abyss in 2014).
2. Best Family Film: Tangled
Tangled was an endearing retelling of the Rapunzel fairy tale, with Rapunzel as a clumsy teenage girl who must rely on a mischievous thief to help her find her real parents. Not only is the animation colorful and captivating, but the voice acting is fabulous. You’ll find yourself smiling about five minutes into the movie and you won’t be able to stop until they roll the credits. Kids, teenagers, and adults alike will surely delight in such a fun film.
3. Best Storyline: The Social Network
I certainly wasn’t expecting The Social Network to be as good as it was, but this film pleasantly surprised me. As the viewers follow Mark Zuckerberg though the ascension of Facebook, it’s difficult not to empathize (or at least sympathize) with the socially awkward genius. The movie depicts a lot more than just the rise of a corporation – much of the plot has to do with the legal aspects of the trial for stealing intellectual property, and Zuckerberg’s strained friendships. It had everything from humor to tragedy, and moved along at a surprisingly fast pace. The Social Network’s good acting and strong message could not have been possible without such a solid screenplay.
4. Biggest Letdown: Shrek Forever After (4)
I’m a huge Shrek fan – and even though nothing quite beats the first one, I’ve faithfully watched the second, third, and even Shrek the Halls (an adorable 1 hour Christmas special). Although Shrek 4 had a few of the quirks that captured our hearts in the first film, I found it largely lacking. The plot was a little too simple, the characters were not as vivid (whereas Fiona was sassy before, now she’s kind of boring and flat), and just wasn’t up to snuff compared to the rest of the movies. I probably won’t be watching this one again.
5. Who Thought It Was A Good Idea To Make This A Movie?: Hereafter
Yuck. Just… yuck. I really didn’t care for Hereafter. It had three separate storylines that seemed desperate not to come together in any way, shape, or form until the last fifteen minutes of the film. While the opening scene was cool, and I enjoyed the interesting cultural aspects (part of it took place in France, another part in England), just about everything else was boring. And for a movie with a name like Hereafter, it had surprisingly little to do with the afterlife.
6. Personal Favorite: Toy Story 3
As someone who grew up watching Toy Story, it was especially poignant to watch Andy take off for college at the same time I was. I, like most, assumed that Toy Story 3 wouldn’t be very good simply because it was the third installment. I was very, very wrong. It had all the charm of the first movie with an interesting new plot and very lovable characters. It wasn’t gimmicky at all – rather, it was sweet and very fulfilling. My favorite part of the whole movie was the ending. Even just seeing the previews, I thought to myself, “This can’t end happily”. But Pixar pulled this movie off with finesse. It’s my personal favorite movie of 2010.
Happy New Year and happy movie-going… see you all in 2011!