It is that time of year once again, where I glance back and assess how 2016’s crop of movies have fared. It has been almost completely ruled by the successes from Disney, including the Star Wars and Marvel franchises. That’s not a surprise, but the sheer scale is just insane. But, there are plenty other titles to look back at, and maybe a few surprises too.
Now before we start, time for some housekeeping which I always do before providing a Best of the Year list. I have only a limited pool of films to choose from since I don’t have access to every title released. Also, these are just opinions – I am not choosing based upon statistical numbers or accolades, they will simply be the ones which stood out for me the most. If you think I should have chosen another as a winner, chances are I didn’t get to watch it. Or it was a close second.
Lastly, since releases here in Ireland can be delayed from the U.S., and I am using the latter release dates as reference in order to reduce confusion, sadly a good few movies that technically released in Ireland this year had to be dropped. I know, I know…. it’s not an easy choice to make and whittles down my nominations even more. But let’s just move past that and do the best we can, shall we?
So with all that done and dusted, let’s get on to the gongs!
Best Visual Effects
Winner: Doctor Strange
Even in 2D, this move was at times making me feel like I was tripping on drugs. It was that intense and intoxicating. The visuals needed to knock the socks off of the audience if it wanted to invest them in this new superhero, and they certainly did that with flying colours.
Best Practical Effects and Stage Design of 2016
Winner: Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
A late arrival onto my list since I only saw it last week, but the sheer level of variance and detail to the sets impressed me a lot. People have spent a lot of time dissecting this movie for the CG details, but they’re forgetting the wondrous and beautiful costumes and props. There’s so much there that it would take a hell of a long time to identify them all. It makes me very happy to see it in a big budget release, and helped in immersing me back into that faraway galaxy from a long time ago.
Best Animated Title of 2016
Winner: Kubo and the Two Strings
MAN, this was a hard choice this year. “Moana” and “Zootopia” were in the running as well, and all three are excellent examples boasting wonderful visuals and voice acting. But Laika Studios surpassed even their own high standards, and Kubo just knocked it the fuck out of the park. The design and visuals are like nothing you have ever seen before on such a big scale. The story is beautifully portrayed, and it constantly fills you with a sense of wonder. I can tell you that this was even in the running for Best Film of 2016 for me, it’s that damm good.
The Most Unnecessary Release of 2016
Winner: Alice Through the Looking Glass
Look, I know. I should have expected this to come along. But really, if this drab and dreary story was all they could conjure up, then they should have just scrapped it. With the fun and capers sucked out and replaced with dull character stories to resolve, it won’t even satisfy fans of the original.
Worst Movie of 2016
Winner / Loser: The Boss
There will have been many worse movies from 2016 than this I am sure, but this takes the biscuit because it ended the rise in the acting career of Melissa McCarthy. She had been part of some very good films to date, but then this hunk of festering shit came along and put that to an abrupt end. It is mean-spirited in a way that never comes across as humorous, the story feels horribly dated, and there’s nothing new or interesting on show.
The “Hey, you want some Cheeeesse????” Movie of 2016
Winner: Batman v Superman
Oh fuck, I’m going to get killed for this… okay, look. I know a lot of people did like this and did indeed enjoy it. But what I saw was some American-grade cheddar walking across the screen for two and a half hours. It is hilariously dumb at stages, constantly tripping over its cape and leaving the audience at times baffled as to whether it was being funny or super-serious. There’s a certain quality in that which you have to love on a cheesy level, and even though “Gods of Egypt” gave it a run for its money, this was the outright winner.
Most Surprising Movie of 2016
Winner: The Jungle Book (2016)
Now, be honest here. Did anyone, ANYONE say with confidence that they predicted this to be good? And yet none of us expected it to as good as it turned out to be! The CG is out of this world, and was the main reason why this could even hold water at all. But then the superb voice acting arrived and strengthened the film even more. IDisney has finally cracked the nut that they have for so long had such a hard time doing – a live action adaptation that can stand on its own legs.
Most Badass Movie of 2016
There was no competition with this decision, Deadpool fucking RULES. It blew me away with the killer script, hilarious black comedy, constant fourth-wall breaks, and the intoxicating charisma of Ryan Reynolds. In the face of so many serious superhero films, this just dances around naked firing off two shotguns in a haze of glitter. I fucking loved it.
Best Movie of 2016
Runners Up: Sing Street / The Nice Guys
Sorry y’all, I just could’t decide which of this to choose, so they earn the honourable mention space. Both provide you with this silly sense of giddiness, although in very different ways. The former is a saturated coming-of-age story set in Ireland using some cracking music to weave the story together. While the latter is a buddy movie filled with dark humour set in the 70’s. They are both fantastic, and I highly, highly recommend them if you missed their release. However, there can only be one overall winner, and that one is……
For once, I’m very happy that this choice won’t be one that I’ll find being not so accurate in a few years time. This film really did take my breath away, it is a wonderful look into an area of Sci Fi and Linguistics that I hadn’t considered before on such a large level. There’s a sense of hope in how the world is portrayed on some levels that caught my eye, but also a joy in how simple the logic is when tackling the problems faced. And behind that all, a deeply emotional story that connects it all together. There may be more releases to come soon that will match this, but “Arrival” at this time and moment, is a deserving winner.
Well, that about wraps it up for 2016, it’s been quite a year. We’ve had our mix of bad eggs to sit through, but some fantastic movies as well. And there’s still the Oscar season releases to look forward to too. I will see you all in the New Year, be sure to check in for more reviews on Event Horizon Cinema, and as always, thanks for reading!