Tuesday, January 03, 2006

My Top Ten Movies of 2005

For the first time, a retrospective of the movies I saw in 2005 which were also made in 2005, counting down from number ten, along with the reasons they made the list.

10. Constantine: I love movies about heaven and hell, angels and demons, and I like those movies even better when they involve a gun that fires blessed bullets. I’m also in love with the scene where Lucifer can’t drag Constantine off to hell because of the sacrifice Constantine made. Reminded me of how the people of heaven were ‘heavier’ in C.S. Lewis’ “The Great Divorce”.

9. Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith: Like one of the other movies on this list, Sith has all the inevitability of watching Titanic; we all know how its going to come out, but the journey there is the movie. The best of the prequels by far, and in my mind better than the third film of the original series. I have further thoughts on this particular flick HERE and HERE.

8. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory: The world outside the factory is a modernized Dickensian landscape, while the interior of the factory is like some moving black light poster, filled with 70’s psychedelia and hip cool cat slang. Favorite line: “Mumbler!”

7. War of the Worlds: Yeah, I know. Everyone else thought the ending sucked. I just had a son this past year, and I liked the ending. While Tom Cruise as a father was a bigger stretch of suspended disbelief than the aliens hiding underground for thousands of years, the sheer terror such an event would have produced was nicely captured. Every time the tripods made that basso sound, I crapped my pants.

6. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire: 16 Candles meets…ummm…Harry Potter! The sheer size of the source material made this particular Potter excursion an ambitious project to say the least, but I’d say they pulled things off nicely. The films continue to mature with the core cast, and the visual storytelling is still top notch. ‘Nuff said.

5. Serenity: The feature film of Joss Whedon’s ill-fated television series seems to have befallen the same fate, namely a bad time slot. The TV series could arguably be said to have tanked because of the crappy time slot it was given, and the release date of September for the movie could arguably be to blame for why this movie raked in less cash than the sequels to Saw and XXX. This is a fine piece of space opera, the sort of thing we remember the original Star Wars for being. The opening ten minutes is one of the most brilliant transitional expository openings to make the big screen. If you haven’t experienced the ‘Verse of Serenity, then rush out and buy the one and only season of Firefly, as well as the widescreen edition of Serenity and join the Brown Coats already. This film would be number 1 on my list if it hadn’t been such a hot year at the movies…

4. Sin City: This is an amazing work of art, technology, and one of the best comic book movies in existence. You can actually match shots up from frames in the graphic novels, and Bruce Willis was born to play Hardigan, as Mickey Rourke turns in one of his best roles since Year of the Dragon as Marv. Violent, sexy and digital as hell—I loved this flick! Check out some more musings on Sin City as Secondary World here.

3. Batman Begins: Three great comic book movies in one year, and they’re all in my top ten list. Can you say ‘biased’? Yeah, I love the comic books. Always have, always will. And Batman Begins is by far not only the best Batman movie ever, but Christian Bale is also the best Batman yet, along with Michael Caine as the best Alfred and Gary Oldman as the best James Gordon…well…you get the idea. And the Batmobile…I gotta get me one of those. Some other thoughts on Batman Begins HERE.

2. King Kong: For sheer filmmaking brilliance, this film should be my number one, but I honestly couldn’t give it to a movie that made me so sad. Again, like Sith, this movie is one long inevitable walk towards tragedy. The difference here is that I had lots of things I’d have changed about Sith…the acting, plot points, and the CGI. ILM needs to go to a workshop hosted by WETA already. I loved the original, have seen the remake, and I positively think Peter Jackson has created what will become a classic. Like his version of Lord of the Rings there are many things I like better in the version than in the original. The battle with the T-Rex(s) was jaw-dropping, the insect scene was soooo gross, and Naomi Watts deserves an Oscar for making us believe in Kong. It’s all her fault I cried at the end…

1. Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe: In a nutshell, this movie gets the number one spot because I spent the better part of the movie biting my lip to keep from crying. Maybe it was the sleep deprivation, but I think it was a combination of Georgie Henley and Harry Gregson-Williams’ soundtrack that really got to me. I do my top ten based on how the movies made me feel, as well as their technical brilliance. And while Kong really got to me in the last fifteen minutes, Narnia was one long suppressed sob. In addition, it’s the perfect Christmas movie: it involves a lot of snow, which is always key in a Christmas movie, has an appearance by Father Christmas involving the distribution of gifts, is entirely magical (I feel Christmas is a magical time, and I require magic in the best Christmas movies) and best of all, has an overt Christ allegory, which, without wanting to sound cliché, is missing from too many Christmas movies and specials nowadays.

So there’s my list. Here’s to a great year of film; 2006 has a tough act to follow.