45. Pete’s Dragon
Pete’s Dragon is the sort of a homely Disney family movie you don’t see that often these days. And, honestly, while I feel a bit guilty for not putting this movie higher, I just thought it was alright. Well made, but just alright. Well paced, well told, but just alright. There weren’t any major notable flaws, but it was just alright. Maybe I just don’t have a heart, but eh. Even Karl Urban can’t save this movie from mediocrity for me.
44. Deepwater Horizon
This is another one of those movies that got a hell of a lot of praise this year, but really didn’t click with me that much. I will say it’s a good disaster movie with good performances, build-up and tension. But the overall movie itself just struck me as underwhelming. There’s a lot decent build-up to the Deepwater incident, but said incident really doesn’t feel like it goes on long enough to truly enjoy.
To compare with an admittedly lesser disaster movie, The Finest Hours, that movie had a relatively decent sideplot with the sailors on the damaged ship trying to keep afloat long enough for the Coast Guard to arrive. It made the disaster and the hardships the sailors had to go through feel longer and greater. With Deepwater Horizon, it was mostly just ‘explosion happens, everybody not killed gets off’ with a halfassed sideplot for Wahlberg to go switch off something that doesn’t really feel that exciting. It’s a disaster movie where the disaster feels kinda lacking.
But, honestly, there was a lot of good stuff to balance it a bit. The set-up was excellent, the acting good (and it’s hard not to love Kurt Russell) and the disaster itself isn’t bad, just underwhelming. That’s kinda how I’d describe the movie. Good but underwhelming.
Really internet, really?! This was the movie you wanted to get into a tiff about? ‘Cause, in hindsight, all that drama felt like a hell of a lot of fuss over nothing. (Well, okay, partial lie. Hindsight be damned, it felt like a hell of a lot of fuss over nothing while it was happening.)
The movie is just okay. It’s not great, it’s not terrible, it’s just okay. Some jokes land, some don’t. It’s no Spy, but it’s not Adam Sandler either. It’s just an alright comedy. There was really no need to make such a fuss about it.
42. Godzilla Resurgence
Now, I’ve made no bones of the fact that I actually genuinely really like the Gareth Edward’s 2014 Godzilla movie (even if I totally get why those who dislike it don’t). Sure ATJ could’ve been replaced by a cardboard cut-out and there was a lot of annoying teasing with its battles, but Godzilla 2014 had some genuinely amazing sequences, a real sense of scale and destruction and ultimately, I felt the positives far outweighed the negatives. This movie also had a lot of positives and negatives but in comparison to Godzilla 2014, to me this movie just felt… okay.
On the positive side, it is definitely a lot more balanced in terms of quality. Unlike Godzilla 2014, both the human side of the story and the Godzilla side are relatively interesting to follow. But the dry political discussions do start to get tired after a while and the relatively limited budget does show in Godzilla’s rampage with some questionable CGI scenes. Certainly, there are some standout scenes like Godzilla’s atomic breath, but nothing quite on the same level as Godzilla’s arrival in Florida. Hell, the reason I keep bringing up 2014 Godzilla is because on it’s own, there’s really not that much I can say about this movie. It was decent.
Maybe Resurgence is a lot more of a satisfying movie to fans of the original Godzilla, but it’s still the 2014 movie all the way for me. Also, Imma say it, original form Godzilla in this movie looks silly as hell. Look at this googly eyed goober.
That not terrifying, that’s just adorable.
41. Psychonauts: The Forgotten Children
I’m 90% certain most of you will probably have never even have heard of this movie but it’s an interesting, (albeit messed up) little flick. At the London Film Festival, I had the choice between going to see this dark Spanish Animation about an island on the brink of dystopia and the critical darling, potential Animated Oscar nominee, My Life as a Zucchini. I chose this. Why? Because I am an idiot who should not be trusted with hard decisions. But, as much as I regret not going to see Zucchini… I can’t honestly say I regret watching this either.
See, this movie is flawed. Undeniably so. The pacing is wacked to all hell because it constantly goes off on side stories and the main story feels underdeveloped as a result. Really I’d say it should’ve been an anthology film. Not to mention, it occasionally feels more like it’s being dark to be ‘edgy’ rather than because the darkness really serves a point. The main character is an anthropomorphic bird who’s a drug addict. There’s a nuclear-ish disaster shown in the opening sequence that really doesn’t have much to do with anything else in the story. One character hears voices in her head telling her to kill which, while giving a few genuinely creepy moments, doesn’t really have any major effects on the plot. It just feels a bit over-the-top in its darkness. Plus there’s a ton of backstory that feels like it really should’ve been explained better. Honestly, it’s the sort of movie where I get the impression I should’ve read/watched some side material first.
So, after all those problems, why is this movie this high on the list? Because, for all the plotting/pacing problem, there’s a hell of a lot of memorable and inventive imagery on display here. Genuinely, a lot of this stuff really stayed with me and it has a real fucked up visual inventiveness and style that you really don’t see much in animated movies these days. And, again I suggested this movie should’ve been an anthology and that’s not an insult. Because that’s because some of the segments, on their own, are actually really really good. There’s one story about a pig boatsman with an ill, overbearing mother and one about a pair of father-son scavenger mice and one about a dog soldier and they’re all really good with genuinely effective and heartwrenching endings. They just struggle to fit into the ‘whole’ that is the film.
Ultimately, with a movie like Finding Dory or Pete’s Dragon, they’re fairly consistent throughout, but that just means they’re consistently ‘alright’. This movie has a lot more low points than those movies, but its high points are infinitely more memorable. So I gotta give it credit.
Still wish I’d seen Zucchini though.