Top 10 Movies of 2012
GMG chooses his Top 10 Movies of 2012
Many colleagues have posted their unavoidable Top 10 Movies of 2012. Interesting choices appear in The New Yorker, Listal or The Powell River Peak. While I agree with many titles on their Top 10 lists you certainly will not find disappointments like The Avengers here ;-). One of my favourite critics, dear Roger Ebert, has also compiled an interesting list. Although I find his choices a bit “snobbish”. Okay, to make things short: Here are my personal choices. This time I start at the bottom.
I love stop motion animation. And I love Tim Burton movies. Sadly Dark Shadows was only average in my opinion. Frankenweenie is also not Burton’s best as the story is too episodic and the characters a bit flat. Especially if you compare Frankenweenie to the similar but vastly superior ParaNorman. Still Frankenweenie is a lovely made stop motion effort. The handcrafted designs are typical Burton. So is the morbid atmosphere. My biggest complaint is that they should have shot this in 3D instead of post-converting it.
9. Robot & Frank
Robot & Frank has an interesting premise. The old ex-convict Frank (Frank Langella) is suffering from dementia. This is why his son (James Marsden) buys him a robot companion. Both develop an unusual friendship. And also become an unusual criminal duo. For me Robot & Frank was an unexpected surprise. This movie has a lot of heart and is funny, too. The sci-fi elements are really light. Mainly this is a dramedy with a twist. I can’t wait for the Blu-ray and will surely buy this.
8. James Bond: Skyfall
I will be honest here. For me Casino Royale and a Quantum of solace are rubbish. I despise both movies. And as much as I surprisingly like Skyfall – Craig is still no James Bond for me. But putting my thoughts about this miscasting aside, Skyfall is actually a great summer blockbuster. Director Sam Mendes tells one of the best Bond stories. The action is as great as ever. I also liked that the film did not take itself as serious as Quantum of Solace. All in all I’d recommend Skyfall to anyone. Even to those who (like me) hated Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace. This is why Skyfall made it into my Top 10 Movies of 2012.
7. Mirror Mirror
This year there were two movies about Snow White. While I also like Snow White and the Huntsman I prefer Mirror Mirror. First I REALLY dislike Kristen Stewarts two facial expressions. So she ruined big parts of Snow White and the Huntsman for me. This gives Lily Collins (daughter of Phil Collins) an edge. But I am also a big fan of director Tarsem. After all he made one of my favourite films: The Fall. He has a very individual style that shows in Mirror Mirror. I am also a fan of the humour in this movie and liked the funny bits a lot :-). Julia Roberts shows a lot of self-irony.
6. Moonrise Kingdom
Wes Anderson made it into my Top 10 list of favourite directors with Fantastic Mr. Fox. I like his quirky style with this nostalgic feeling to it. Moonrise Kingdom is only one of the many great movies he made. He works again with Bill Murray, who is one of my favourite actors. Of course guys like Bruce Willis and Edward Norton are a plus, too ;-). Moonrise Kingdom tells a heartwarming story about a young love in Anderson’s trademark style. Once again he has crafted a timeless dramedy here that split audiences. It comes down to whether you like his eccentric style or not. I do.
5. The Hobbit
While The Hobbit will certainly top the Top 10 lists of others, I was mildly disappointed. Emphasis is on “mildly” here. The Hobbit is a great movie. But it is no masterpiece like the original Lord of the Rings trilogy. There is too much exposition at the beginning. And there are many cameos (like Elijah Wood) that just feel unnatural. But the biggest minus is, that Peter Jackson chose to use so much (partly bad) CGI. In the LOTR trilogy the orcs were played by real actors. Here all the fantasy creatures are mere CGI. There is also a lot of greenscreen work which I am not a big fan of. While others complained about the 3D and the high frame rate (48 fps) I loved both. We are used to seeing movies in 24p but it really is an old habit and an obsolete way of producing films. Mainly studios shot their movies in 24p because film stock was expensive. Today this is no problem and therefore a higher frame rate was long overdue. Now I look forward to the extended edition. If that one is done as well as LOTR it might make it to a higher spot in my next Top 10 list :-).
4. Life of Pi
While I can’t understand the praise for the story I certainly agree Life of Pi is a wonderfully looking movie. Although there is not much substance to it this movie enchants with mindblowing visuals. This is not a movie that tries to impress with action pieces or hectic CGI. No, Life of Pi is about visual art and aesthetics. It is also one of the movies with the most effective use of 3D yet. I could not have imagined how beautiful a lonely sea journey with a tiger could be. This is why Life of Pi made it into my Top 10 Movies of 2012 easily.
This year there were two big stop motion movies with horror themes: Frankenweenie and ParaNorman. I like both but in my opinion ParaNorman is clearly superior. It deserves the third place in my Top 10 list :-). I love the story of Norman, who can see the dead but is believed by no one. It is the classic story of an outsider becoming the hero. Even though there are horror elements, this movie can be watched by children, too. There is a lot of humour here. The voice acting is fantastic, too. As always I especially love Christopher Mintz-Plasse. Laika did a really great job on the stop motion animation. It is even better than Coraline. I am surprised that not more critics have included this in their Top 10 Movies of 2012.
2. Wreck-It Ralph
Phew, we are making it to the top of my Top 10. Here is the third and final animated movie in my Top 10. While Pixar’s newer movies feel like Disney productions, Wreck-It Ralph is a Disney film that feels like a Pixar movie. Wreck-It Ralph is right up my alley: It is an animated movie and it’s about videogames. I love all the cameos here. Sonic The Hedgehog, Zangief, Q*Bert…They are all here! This movie could easily have become a by the numbers thing. Yet it tells a compelling story. Ralph is a bad guy who is no “bad guy” which is a very cool premise for a plot set in the videogame world. Gaming nerds rejoice: This is the best movie since Scott Pilgrim vs. the World. This was a nobrainer for my Top 10 Movies of 2012.
1. The Amazing Spider-Man
Tada! And at the top of the cream of the crop is The Amazing Spider-Man. This one catched me by surprise. I was sceptical of the reboot since I really like the Raimi movies. While I still think Tobey Maguire was the better Peter Parker, Andrew Garfield is the better Spider-Man. In my opinion director Marc Webb made a movie that is very different but as good as Raimi’s take. Raimi emphasised humour and Peter’s emotional problems and his status as a nerd. Webb shows Peter Parker as a lot more capable and tells a more serious story. The difference between Raimi’s Spider-Man and Webb’ version is similar to that of Burton’s take on Batman and the later Nolan movies. Both are valid interpretations of the iconic characters with different core themes. The Amazing Spider-Man is the best comic book adaption of 2012 and a very pleasant surprise. I look forward to the sequel very much!
Okay, this is my list of the Top 10 Movies of 2012. Missing The Avengers? As said I did not like that movie much :-(. I was also quite frustrated with The Dark Knight Rises, although I am a big fan of Batman Begins and The Dark Knight. But in The Dark Knight Rises I really hated the ending which was totally out of character if you ask me. Maybe I will write an in-depth review about The Dark Knight Rises later.
Probably you got your own list of Top 10 Movies of 2012, eh? Anyone is of course welcome to discuss with me here or on Twitter, Google+ and Facebook!
See you in 2013 :-)!