Published on January 1st, 2014 | by Michaela Buckley0
Top 10 Films of 2013
I don’t usually like to go see films at the cinema, but this year’s fine selection offered an array of sequels and adaptations that don’t make you feel embarrassed to exist.
10. The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
The sequel to the surprisingly entertaining, ‘The Hunger Games’ is better paced than its top heavy predecessor and has action which you can actually make sense of. The plot drive is about as good as possible considering that they’re just dragging them back for another pop at the sponsored Battle Royale-style fest and takes the series in a more exciting direction than one might expect. Returning characters are more fleshed out and the new roster is more likeable, allowing the film more room to actually get on with the story and not soppy romances.
9. The Great Gatsby
A not too shabby adaptation of one of the best books ever written, this film is directed by Baz Luhrmann with some shockingly apt cast choices bringing to life the 20’s, an era of beauty and glamour, rarely seen with such enthusiasm thanks to its own very lavish budget. If you can get over the toned down sentiments and Fitzgerald’s lost wit, you’ll surely love it.
8. The Worlds End
A disappointing sequel to the first two of the Cornetto Trilogy, but a funny film nonetheless. Pegg, Frost & co relive their pub crawl days, just in time for an apocalypse. Overall rather depressing and only kicks in halfway through the film, and by the end I wished I was watching a film made up entirely of ideas from the last 5 minutes of it. It’s probably best to watch when you’re as drunk as the characters.
A modern day parable allegory for American racism, Elysium sees the return of District 9 director, Neill Blomkamp and actor, Sharlto Copley in a Sci-Fi action about a future impoverished Earth and a rich colony. Of course I was bound to love this based on the fact that it features a Stanford Torus and an exo-skeleton in the same film, also there’s some pretty good fight scenes, however lack of commitment that is seen in District 9, fail to top it or get higher on this list.
6. The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug
Where the first in the trilogy got off to a rocky start, the sequel clears up some of the direction while also remaining more faithful to the book’s intent. Covering some of the journeying aspect and parts that feel more relevant to The Lord of the Rings, Bilbo and his Dwarf company make their way through Mirkwood, home of the wood-elves and on to the Lonely Mountain where Smaug the dragon awaits in Erebor. Featuring a new character made for the film and Legolas EVERYWHERE, the personalities and development of the characters begin to show some real promise. Although less exciting, this installment was able to inspire some excitement for the final film.
5. Thor: The Dark World
Unlike the other heroes from the Avengers, there is no address needed for Thor’s adventures as his home planet of Asgard is attacked by a dark force from its troubled past. Seeing more of Asgard was a good move, with more attention on the societal structure and the aftermath of Loki’s rebellion. Some great action scenes and beautiful design giving it a vibe akin to Doctor Who, Star Wars and Lord of the Rings all being squashed together make this much more enjoyable and re-watchable than the first Thor, even if there’s a bit too much fan service.
4. Iron Man 3
Where do you go from saving the entire world from alien forces with a team comprised of superheroes? Iron Man can’t rely on aliens and visuals like Thor can, but thankfully Shane Black of Lethal Weapon and Kiss Kiss Bang Bang came up with a more personal solution. Stark is suffering from post-New York trauma and a terrorist is on the warpath, stripped of suit and home, he is left to his own devices in an unknown town. A spiffier screenplay and brilliant acting from Robert Downey Jr refresh the movie sequel formula proving that bigger is not always better.
What originally looked like another stranded true story-esque film, Gravity follows a pair of astronauts who experience an accident on a space walk and are trying to return to Earth. Fortunately it isn’t a boring and dull, hangaround kind of movie, and has more action and story development than expected. Like Cuaron’s previous film, Children of Men, the cinematography is excellent and visuals look good, this is also the first film where Sandra Bullock and George Clooney are actually acting instead of playing overtrodden career characters.
The biggest surprise entry for this year is Frozen, a Disney tale inspired by the Snow Queen story by Hans Christian Anderson and made by the same team as Tangled. Probably the best Disney animated feature, and that’s even including Pixar, to come out since the Lion King, instead of trying to retread the same ground as others by trying to tug on heartstrings or worse, become a nostalgia fest, it opts to tell a modern story through the visuals of an old folktale. Nearly all of the songs are amazing and one in particular accompanies and reinforces a very memorable scene, etching it into Disney lore. The only problem is its marketing, which is too afraid try and sell women as the main focus in this film, but even the snowman the main focus of the advertising campaign isn’t annoying. Hopefully this will see Disney back on track, instead of being shown up by Pixar all the time.
1. Pacific Rim
Of course this was going to be my number one, giant mecha AND Kaiju? Who could possibly say no? Well, tonnes of people who went to see Grown Ups 2 did, a film that I had never heard of until I found out it bested Pacific Rim at the Box Office. One might expect a jumped-up Sci-Fi action film with such a ludicrous premise to have little to no lore or plot, however, there isn’t a moment wasted in the film, with lots going on and brilliant characters and arcs, this at times can feel a little rushed but necessary considering how packed it is.
Pacific Rim could have gotten away with just a great plot, fun premise and lots of in-world padding, however add a great cast, including Luther’s Idris Elba, great visual design and effects and an unnecessarily thought-out visual planning in colour coding scenes, the whole package just make film of the year by default.
America has never made a film so dedicated to just fun, Guillermo Del Toro really outdid himself, creating a piece of cultural importance for America as well as cementing his own work with the animé and films that inspired him.