30. Batman and Robin: Return of the Caped Crusaders
Give it up for the only good DC movie this year, folks! An homage to Batman in the ‘60’s. Honestly, I feel a little bit guilty not putting this higher, because it really is a top quality homage. They got several of the old cast back (including Adam West and Burt Ward) and the story captures so much of the fun of the original series while still keeping it enjoyable for contemporary audiences who might be new.
I’ll admit I’ve not seen that much of the ’60 series and I don’t really feel I appreciate it as much as I should, but I still enjoyed the hell out of this. It has a winking, playful sense of humour and it’s clear that the filmmakers loved and understood the original series it was based on and tried to do it justice, rather than being edgy for edginess sake. (Is that a shot at BvS or the Killing Joke? You decide!) But regardless, it’s still a fun movie and the only shining jewel in the turd sandwich that was the rest of DC’s 2016 output.
29. The Jungle Book
You know, I’m actually not that fond of the original Disney Jungle Book movie? Yeah, I can respect its position in history and the leaps forward it made in animation and yadda yadda, but I found the film itself fairly dull. So in that respect, the 2016 Jungle Book is the perfect remake for me, a movie that genuinely expands and improves on its predecessor. Still don’t care that much for the original story, but this movie did a damn good job at trying to make me care.
Honestly, I don’t know what it is about Disney’s recent live-action remakes that keeps surprising me. Sure Maleficent was terrible, but Cinderella last year was a relatively pleasant treat. And this movie only improves on that. It had good acting, good drama, excellent effects as mentioned and, of course, Idris Elba being effortlessly badass and terrifying. I honestly jumped in my seat at a few of his scenes. Even the kid actor was pretty damn good. And considering the usual standards of child actors and the fact that he was interacting with blue screens for most of the movie, that’s really damn impressive.
Still, the fact remains that I’m still not that fond of the Jungle Book story, so I can’t put this much higher. But it’s a very worthy remake that Beauty and the Beast is really going to have to try to live up to later in 2017.
28. The Conjuring 2
Don’t really need to say much about this, do I? James Wan is very damn good at doing what he does. And even in a year that had quite a lot of standout horror movies, the Conjuring 2 still ranks among the better ones. Does it retread on the first a bit? Maybe. Does every scare land? No. Did it feel a little overlong? Yeah. But it’s still a good story with a likeable cast of characters and some real fun, unique scares. The scene with the nun’s shadow and the portrait was a particular standout worth mentioning, as was the Crooked Man. And quite frankly, creating a sequel that captures even part of what made the first Conjuring great is pretty damn impressive.
It’s a hell of a lot better than Insidious 2 and Annabelle to say the least. Also, staring at that portrait while I type this out is going to give me nightmares for weeks
27. Ouija: Origin of Evil
I was 50/50 over whether or not to put this above The Conjuring 2. Ultimately though, I think it came down to one thing. While the Conjuring had a lot of great ideas and scares, there were still moments (especially near the climax) where I found myself feeling bored. That never happened with this movie. Sure, it wasn’t always scary (and sometimes came off as unintentional hilarious, especially towards the end) but it kept me entertained all the way through.
I never saw the first Ouija movie myself and, on paper, this movie doesn’t look much better. A family of fake psychics being haunted? That just makes it sound like the main characters are going to be pricks who deserve what’s coming. But I was surprised by how much I ended up caring for the family in this movie. These characters could easily have been painted with the broad ‘asshole’ brush that so many horror movies end up doing (*cough* Don’t Breathe *cough*) but instead they make them likeable characters with understandable reasons (in their own eyes) for what they’re doing. When the mother of the family states that they’re just trying to give people closure, it doesn’t feel like the half-hearted self-justification of a conman, it feels genuine (although whether that stops it from being a self-justification is debatable). You care about these characters and want to see what will happen to them.
Now, is this a perfect horror movie? No. It does get a bit over-the-top in the third act and it could easily be argued that it’s not that scary, but I still enjoyed the hell out of it and it never left me feeling bored once.
One of the more underrated animated movies this year (and 2016 has had a lot of great animated movies), this movie takes a really stupid premise and… well… okay, it’s still a really stupid premise in the movie proper. But it tells a really funny story with it. I laughed at theismovie more than I laughed at several out-and-out comedies this year. The comedic timing is superb, the two mains have excellent chemistry, some of the gags are really inventive and there’s a good supporting cast (the Wolf Pack in particular were a ton of fun to watch). It’s not something to take too seriously, just a light animated flick that’s a ton of silly, over-the-top fun.
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