By Jeremy Say & Shazwan Zulkiffli
It’s been one heck of a year for moviegoers, and as the we flip the calendar to 2017 we took a look back at this year’s greatest hits of the silver screen. Presenting The Level’s Top 10 Movies of 2016, feel free to agree or disagree and leave us a comment if we missed anything. You can also post on our facebook page.
Number 10 – Doctor Strange
Marvel fans and recreational drug users rejoice, Doctor Strange is one of the trippiest and better origins movies to date. Benedict Cumberbatch was amazing as the arrogant Dr. Stephen Strange, a former neurosurgeon on a quest to heal his hands. Little did he know that he would become Earth’s Sorcerer Supreme. The casting was spot on, as Cumberbatch personified Dr Strange on screen arguably as well as Robert Downey Jr personified Tony Stark. With Nolan-esque Inception-like mind-bending landscape CGI effects, world building of the magical side of the MCU, and humour from loveable and memorable characters makes this movies worth watching.
Number 9 – Kimi no Na wa (Your Name)A wonderful Japanese anime from Makoto Shinkai, Kimi no Na wa is the story about two lovers who have a dramatic impact on each other’s life. Even though they never met each other directly, the star crossed lovers vibe mixes beautifully with the detailed landscapes. While there are your general Japanese anime plot holes, the movie fantasy elements are well grounded. This is one movie that despite all its flaws is just emotionally satisfying – and never boring.
Number 8 – Central Intelligence
As much as it looks like another Buddy cop movie without the compulsory reckless white guy – it’s not. Central Intelligence features Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and Kevin Hart in an unexpected world of espionage. Despite a few cringey jokes here and there, the movie grabbed the chance to edge away from your generic and formulaic feel-good action movie that no one wants to watch anymore. Central Intelligence shows that you can be funny without being too cringey.
Number 7 – Captain America: Civil War
There are two different opinions about Captain America: Civil War – it’s a yay because it’s a superhero crossover gangbang and is similar to The Avengers (plus Spiderman’s first appearance in the MCU), and nay because it’s too much like The Avengers and lacks the original Captain America aesthetics that fans have learned to love. Ultimately, it was exciting to see your favorite Marvel characters get into a brawl with each other over a disagreement. The best part about the movie is how they gradually scale down the conflicts by size, but scale up the feels. Captain America: Civil War may not be the proper Civil War we hoped for in the comics, but it was a thrilling enough experience for Marvel fans to enjoy.
Number 6 – Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
Marvel fans would be enraged to see their biggest movie of the year being beaten by a little magic. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them wasn’t created to match the seismic effect and expectations of the Harry Potter world, and that’s okay. The film is a brilliant standalone movie that happens in the same Potterverse that we all grew up with alongside cute and quirky creatures and a charming young Newt Scamander. The rebellious magician DNA of Harry Potter is still present in the movie, and it’s exciting to see how that spirit has been upheld across the sea decades before Harry’s birth. We certainly can’t wait for the next movie!
Number 5 – Kubo and the Two Strings
Stop motion has never been so amazing that you actually forget that you’re watching a puppet show. Blending both practical and computer generated effects, this visually stunning masterpiece is accompanied by equally brilliant oriental music. You can feel the blood, sweat and tears that they put into this film. Building a 180kg puppet that is 1.82 meters high with an arm span of 7 meters? Now that’s dedication to filmmaking.
Number 4 – Zootopia
The amount of detail in Zootopia is astounding. For the first time ever, you can actually see every tuft of fur, from the hamsters and other furry animals present in the film. The jokes are relevant, the puns are accurate, and the overall humor is spot on – not to mention the classic underdog plot that we can all relate. However, not everyone realizes how socio-political the film is – touching on effects of racism, segregation, democracy and a harmless portrayal of real-time politics. The message is subtle but can subconsciously teach children that it’s okay to have an alternative opinion.
Number 3 – Train to Busan
Finally, a horror movie made its way into the top 10. Train to Busan is not just an ordinary zombie apocalypse movie. It is a mixture of the 28 days/weeks later series and War World Z. Why is a zombie horror movie deserved to be in the top 3? Well, this movie caught our attention with the trailer itself – teasing with short scenes of the zombie jumping, attacking, twitching and ravaging in the train. The best scene from the trailer for me is when one of the civilians head down from the station using the escalator only to discover that the whole station is covered with zombies and they had to run back in the opposite direction of the escalator (bad luck for those on the front line). We have seen a lot of zombie movies ranging from George A.Romero’s classic slow shuffling zombies to Danny Boyle’s super fast raging zombies, but the zombies in this movie are spectacular – the makeup, movement, expression, CGI, and the amount of screen work done for the perfect zombie outbreak. Also, this is one of those zombie movies that actually has a proper ending rather than the usual cliffhangers. I recommend to all horror or zombie fanatics to watch this movie. If you already watched, please watch “Seoul Station”, an animation prequel to the movie.
Number 2 – Star Wars: Rogue One
Everyone knows that the rebels retrieved the plans of the Death Star to destroy it – but no one knew how it was retrieved. Star Wars: Rogue One is an epic emotional roller-coaster ride of a standalone film that can leave you in tears at the end of the movie. It was the first Star Wars movie to truly show a universe at war behind the curtains of the lightsaber battles and force chokes. From the looks of it, you would know that Disney was rolling the dice on the concept of this movie. Fortunately for them, luck – I mean the force – is strong with this one. Rogue One gave us what we wanted: spaceship dogfights, badass Darth Vader killing everyone, Star Wars Rebels easter eggs, and Donnie Yen. This makes the wait for next episode much more excruciating.
Number 1 – Deadpool
Tables were flipped, cups were thrown, arguments broke – because not everyone’s happy with Deadpool being number 1. Aside from the actual Deadpool not giving a flying f*ck if he’s number 1 or not, Deadpool’s efforts in breaking almost all the rules actually worked. Love or hate the movie, you can’t deny how much the movie affected the industry. Deadpool opened up a brand new genre in Hollywood – an R-rated comedy superhero movie, and we can’t imagine someone else doing it other than Deadpool. Looking at the concept and the script, Deadpool is arguably the best standalone superhero movie thus far, and it’s certainly better than any standalone abomination by the MCU. The film matches ticked all our boxes well, especially impact-wise thus, earning Spiderman’s wannabe BFF the first spot on the list.
P/s: Deadpool didn’t write this.
Honorable Mentions – Pixar’s Sandpiper
The most enjoyable part of Finding Dory was actually the short animated feature Sandpiper. Since this is a not a full feature film, this can only be an honorable mentions. Which is a shame, since this was so well thought out and tells a simple emotional story with no narration or voices. The animation quality is also top notch with every minute sand grain and feather rendered in full fidelity, as expected from Pixar. Plus you can’t say no to the adorable baby sandpiper. If this doesn’t just melt your heart, you don’t deserve to have one.