2016 (So Far) in Review

Ben Atwater

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While the year is far from over and there are a slew of new movies coming for the second half of 2016, it would seem apt to rank the best films of the year so far to measure where the industry has come this year alone. As this is the last edition of The Charger Bulletin before next year, here are the top four films of 2016 so far.

4) Deadpool

Many fans were disappointed with Deadpool’s portrayal in the 2009 film X-Men Origins: Wolverine. The character has traditionally been known for pushing boundaries and breaking the fourth wall, so when the character barely spoke in the 2009 film, it was considered a failure to the comics.

Yet, when Days of Future Past rebooted the continuity of the X-Men films, it gave an opportunity for Deadpool, the true inappropriate and sadistically violent Deadpool, to come to life. With a great lead performance from Ryan Reynolds, who also served as a producer, Deadpool acts as an homage to the current superhero film in exaggerating the industry’s clichés and tropes.

While satiring it, the film is an excellent superhero film on itself, with a likeable hero and great action. Deadpool is surely one of the best X-Men films, and one of the best of 2016.

3) The Jungle Book

For the past few years, it has been the trend for Disney to adapt their classic animated films into CGI-fueled remakes. The past few years have seen films such as Maleficent, Alice in Wonderland, Oz: The Great and Powerful, and Cinderella come to life for the new generation. Truthfully, Cinderella in 2015 was the only good film in the bunch, until 2016, Iron Man director John Favreau put out a live action remake of The Jungle Book, first adapted by Disney in the 1967 classic cartoon.

This new movie is superb, and is a landmark equal to Star Wars and Avatar in visual effects, creating an entire vibrant jungle from a green screen. Matching the quality of the effects is Mowgli actor Neel Sethi, who gives one of the most convincing child performances in the past few years.

The Jungle Book is definitely a film to be seen on big screen.

2) Zootopia

Walt Disney Animation Studios has finally put out a film that quite frankly rivals Pixar’s best in Zootopia. Set in a fictional universe where animals live in advanced civilizations with anthropomorphic features, Zootopia looked like it would end up to be pun-ridden childish fare like Planes, but was one of the best commentaries on the social state of America put out.

Focused on a rabbit cop, Officer Hops experiences social biases and prejudice within animals, as the herbivores start to fear the predators as attacks increase. The animation is truly the best it can get; action set pieces of trains running down tracks are choreographed beautifully and would like real live action scenes if not for the fox wearing a tie on top the train.

A great film, Zootopia is second only to the following.

1) 10 Cloverfield Lane

John Goodman in a scene from 10 Cloverfield Lane (AP photo)

John Goodman in a scene from 10 Cloverfield Lane
(AP photo)

While not quite a sequel to the 2008 found footage monster film Cloverfield, 10 Cloverfield Lane stands on its own as an excellent film filled with suspense, thrills, and heart. Silver screen veteran Mary Elizabeth Winstead plays Michelle, who wakes up in an underground compound after a car crash to find herself in a man named Howard’s (John Goodman) care. Howard is clearly not quite with it, yet Michelle and other shelter occupant Emmett (John Gallagher, Jr.) are not sure if the world above is safe or not, as Howard has told them that the air is unbreathable.

As the first effort for director Dan Trachtenberg, this film is masterfully crafted with thrills galore. Great performances by from both Winstead and Goodman keep the pace and assure that the audience is totally engaged for the entire film.

Totally unique, 10 Cloverfield Lane is sure to entertain anyone with its excellent pacing and plot line combined with the right amount of restraint.

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2016 (So Far) in Review