It is been a solid year with a lot of great movies and it was a tough task to pick out just my top 10 and order them in a manner that I am satisfied with. By no means did I see every movie this year so it is very possible that some of your favorites for the year did not make the list more so because I didn’t get a chance to see them. For example, I have never been a Harry Potter guy so I didn’t end up watching Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them but I have heard numerous good reviews on it so it could easily be one of the best films of 2016 but will not be on my list. Other notable movies that I didn’t get a chance to see include: The Nice Guys, Jason Bourne, and Pete’s Dragon; among others. I also usually tend to stay away from the romance or horror genres though I am sure there were some very well made films from both of those groups to come out this year. Anyway, without further ado, here are my top 10 movies from 2016 that you should see today!
10. Magnificent 7
There are at least a couple of stereotypical westerns that come out every year and none of them are ever any good, right? On the contrary, this film works because it breaks many cliches that you expect to see out of a western. Also, this movie has a star-studded cast playing a group of very diverse characters that all compliment each other very well. An excellent blend of action, humor and suspense makes The Magnificent 7 one of the best western movies that I’ve seen in a while, and the number 10 movie on my list.
9. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
A lot of you are probably thinking Rogue One deserves to be a lot higher in the top 10. Unfortunately, there were just too many things wrong with this film cinematically for me to move it any higher in my rankings. The film did however, do exactly what it was intended to do; and that is fill in the missing pieces left in the gap between episodes 3 and 4. It is a solid movie in an iconic franchise and for that reason it is still a movie that almost everyone should give a try.
8.The Little Prince
Didn’t see this one coming did you? This Netflix original animated film is the brainchild of director Mark Osborne and is based off of the 1943 French novel of the same name. It was the easily recognizable voice cast and surprisingly large movie budget for a Netflix original film that convinced me to watch it and I wasn’t disappointed. The two distinctly different animation styles that it displays throughout are blended seamlessly, and the story behind it is so inspiring that I guarantee it will leave you with a smile on your face. Most of you haven’t even heard of The Little Prince, and that’s ok. Give it a chance and it will surprise you like it did me.
7. Doctor Strange
Being one of Marvel’s lesser known superheros made Doctor Strange really interesting to me. Marvel was forced to create an original story with all new characters and tap into the intrigue of the audience while not scaring them off with all the inter-dimensional strangeness that comes with the fight scenes of the film. The first thing that made this movie so good was Benedict Cumberbatch. Everyone knows how good he is, but the surprising thing to me was how funny he was at times. Also, director Scott Derrickson did an amazing job of making a movie that could easily be really far-fetched or unrealistic, seem almost feasible to be real. A really fun and interesting watch for the whole family!
To be honest, when I saw trailers for Arrival, it quickly found its way on my list of movies that I had no interest in seeing. However, after hearing countless positive experiences with the film and seeing how great of ratings it was getting, I decided I had no choice but to see it. The first thing you will likely notice is how beautiful the cinematography of the movie is. The wide shots that show the alien spacecrafts are truly spectacular. Amy Adams was fantastic and the mind-bending nature of the film is sure to leave you in awe at the end. Arrival will likely be up for multiple Oscars before it’s all said and done and is very deserving of its spot on my list.
5. The Jungle Book
As a lover of Disney movies of all kinds (not to mention a Disney World Cast Member), I was really excited to see this modern take on a 1960s classic. Director Jon Favreau had a tough task to make The Jungle Book different enough from the original in terms of portraying the action and suspense of the story in extremely realistic CGI, but keeping it light enough for younger audiences. For the most part, I really loved the voice cast chosen to play the classic characters that I enjoyed watching as a kid on VHS tapes. They even remastered some of the original songs! Overall, I would say that the 2016 adaptation of The Jungle Book not only paid due homage to its 1967 predecessor, it actually outdid it!
Keeping along with the Disney theme, I have had a thing for Zootopia ever since it came out this past March. Not only is it a great movie with stellar animation (and the first movie I ever reviewed on this blog), but it also has a message that touches older audiences. The plea of tolerance from this movie is probably the most powerful message ever used as the central theme of a Disney animated movie, and it somehow managed to convey that while still keeping the mood light and funny throughout. Seriously, Zootopia is really funny. A great choice for family movie night because of its ability to capture the hearts of all audiences!
3. Captain America: Civil War
Captain America: Civil War was probably the most anticipated film of 2016. Anticipation is often a bad thing for ratings because expectations get set way too high and it is impossible for the movie to meet those expectations; i.e. Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice. That is not the case with this movie. It capitalized on that anticipation and delivered us a fun, action-packed, and extremely exciting movie to headline 2016’s additions to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. I did have a few nit-picky complaints in my review, but this film is just too much fun to watch to really get down on it much.
The second of two movies released in 2016 by Disney Animation Studios was just as fun as the first, and then some. It was an excellent movie that introduces a new Disney princess to join the current group of 11. In my opinion, the thing that ended up putting Moana in front of Zootopia is it’s hugely popular soundtrack. Also, the animation was downright spectacular. As I mentioned in my review, Moana boasts the second most stunning and realistic animation of any movie I have ever seen, only behind The Good Dinosaur. Another big highlight for me was Dwayne Johnson’s character. Who knew The Rock could sing?
1. Hacksaw Ridge
Yes, you read that right, Hacksaw Ridge (not a Disney Movie), is my pick for the best movie of 2016. I went into the theater with plenty of doubts. I had heard that it was going to be an extremely gory movie and I am the type that can sometimes get queasy when watching this sort of thing. I was somehow able to not let all of the graphic violence bother me as I took in the shear beauty that was Hacksaw Ridge. Director Mel Gibson gave me the type of war movie that I have been waiting to see for a long time. One that is really action-packed and intense, but isn’t scared to lighten the mood with some great humor from time-to-time. Couple that with an Oscar worthy performance from Andrew Garfield, as well as some unexpectedly good performances from Vince Vaughn and others, and you may start to understand why this movie earned the top spot on my countdown.
Deadpool: A hilarious action/comedy that I had a very difficult time leaving off the list.
Kubo and the Two Strings: A fun and clever stop-motion animated film that is getting way less hype than it deserves.
The Finest Hours: A really solid movie from Walt Disney Pictures about a crewman at a Coast Guard station in Massachusetts that does the unthinkable to rescue 32 crewman from an oil tanker. It is based on a true story and it seems to stick to the story pretty well.
Well that’s it for 2016 everybody! I want to thank everyone for reading and supporting this blog. I plan on changing to a 10 point scale for ranking movies in 2017 as well as possibly changing the format of my reviews in other ways too. Next year should be a great year for movies and I am really excited!