We typically write about games, but Jen and I saw so many movies this year we wanted to share our favourites. There were so many great films this year and so many awesome performances. It was another great year for strong female leads, from Star Wars to Moana to Ghostbusters– the next generation of young girls and boys will grow up with the best cast of diverse and empowered female characters ever. So here’s our favourite films from the year that was 2016. Enjoy!
5 – Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping
This hilarious mockumentary (written by, produced by, directed by and starring Akiva Schaffer, Jorma Taccone and Andy Samberg) tells the story of Connor Friel and his attempts to break away from his boy band roots. Jam-packed with pop-culture references and top tier cameos, the trailers for this film initially struck me as overcompensating for something. Who needs actual comedy when you can just reference something else that was funny, right Big Bang Theory? Thankfully, however, this movie manages to break the Big Bang Theory mould and become its own comedic entity. The story may be lacking in originality or suspense, but the stellar performances from the whole cast make this an enjoyable hour and a half of delving into the world of a popstar.
4 – Ghostbusters
It’s hard to talk about Ghostbusters without falling into the tired vitriol that’s dominated the conversation around this film. It had a massive hate campaign against it organised by “Gamergate goons whose masculinity is so fragile that they believe the new Ghostbusters film to be an active identity threat” as Laura Penny aptly put it. Regardless of whether you liked this movie or you hate women, Ghostbusters offers a fresh take on the decades-old cult classic. With a stellar performance from Kate McKinnon and plenty of laughs from Chris Hemsworth, this film captures a lot of what made the 1984 comedy such a classic while still breathing some fresh air into the mix. While the hate campaign seems to have succeeded by detracting from the box office, it’s wonderful to see the photos of little girls around the world dressed up as these new heroines they love and adore. Ghostbuster has set the stage for other films like Star Wars to carry the torch forward for female representation in blockbuster movies.
3 – Kubo and the Two Strings
Jen and I both absolutely love Laika’s work. Coraline, my favourite, and Paranorman are two of the most impressive stop motion movies ever made. Kubo’s adventure is one that had me on the edge of my seat at points- I loved watching the handcrafted characters perform incredible feats through the carefully designed set pieces and dazzling effects. Charlize Theron shines as Monkey, Kubo’s protector and guide through his story. It’s a fantastic movie, one that has something to offer people from all walks of life and a diverse cast that offers more interesting and exciting characters than in any of Laika’s previous films.
2 – Moana
It took 80 years but Disney finally made the perfect Disney princess movie. Moana stars a young, South Pacific woman who struggles with not wanting to take her Father’s place as Chief of their village. There’s no love interest, no male hero who saves the day. Just Moana. She is an empowered, capable woman, an actual role model for young girls and boys. And Dwayne the freaking Rock Johnson as Maui?! Nothing made me happier than his song when he meets Moana for the first time. It’s also the most gorgeous animated film of the year, narrowly beating out Finding Dory. Moana’s vibrant world is packed with so many little details and intricate, sprawling vistas it’s easy to get lost in this masterpiece.
1 – Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
The Star Wars saga is returning to its former glory with last year’s The Force Awakens and now 2016’s Rogue One. After the prequels soured a trilogy beloved by many, these new films and Rogue One especially offer a return to form for the biggest movie franchise in the world. Rogue One is brilliantly written. With a script penned by Gary Whitta, a writer on the first season of Telltale’s The Walking Dead, every character and each relationship felt so real and well realised. The new droid character, K-2SO, was my personal favourite, a lovable and entirely relatable reprogrammed Empire droid with a lot of attitude. After two knock out films, I can’t wait for next year’s Episode 8 and beyond.
So what do you think? Any films we missed you absolutely loved this year? Anything you missed and now want to watch? We’d love to hear from you in the comments and thanks again for reading!