Friday, December 30, 2005

2005 review

I thought I’d post a review of 2005, highlighting my favourite film and game(s) for the year and also to cover a few of the events of 2005.


Film of 2005:
This really was quite easy to choose, no other film that I have watched this year has struck me with the same sense of awe and appreciation than Oldboy.

I recently took a look on and was pleasantly surprised to see that it was currently ranked just out of the top 100 films of all time (around 118 I think), quite an achievement for a foreign language film. What surprised me even more was the quantity of negative reviews that had been posted for Oldboy. I literally had to go through about 3 pages until I actually found anything other than a rating of 1/10! Even so, the overall rating given is around 8.4/10 (very high for imdb).

I can understand that some people struggle with foreign language films, but this is not the reason for the negative reviews. I think that Oldboy is just a little too sick for the tastes of mainstream audiences. The other complaint aimed against the film is that it is full of plot holes. It isn’t, you just need to watch the film closely, what the film does suffer from is a string of coincidences, but these are no more unbelievable than most other films. I can understand that the subject matter could be seen by most people as rather repulsive, but it serves the story and is not used gratuitously. The film is after all about revenge and the lengths that people will go to exact vengeance, so if this was in any way sugar coated, then this would only soften the blow of the film.

This really is the most striking film I have seen in years. I remember sitting and watching the end credits in a sense of awe, slowly realising that I’d just watched one of the best films I’d ever see. I can understand, however, that this is not a film for everyone. I can quite appreciate that only a small number of people would properly appreciate this film, but those that do, will feel passionately about it.

This film is really encapsulated by the line repeated again and again with the movie… "Even though I'm no more than a monster - don't I, too, have the right to live? "

Runners up:
Batman Begins


Game(s) of 2005:
This was initially going to be just Advance Wars, but Mario Kart snuck in at the last moment and I’m hooked – a such, I announce a tie between Advance Wars and Mario Kart.

Advance Wars: Dual Strike
This really has to be one of the most tightly balanced and most strategic games around. In 2005 there were 2 games which I completed, then rather than stop playing (which I normally do), I just started playing through the game again immediately. These were Resident Evil 4 and Advance Wars. For Advance Wars, I continued to play the campaign mode, but this time on hard mode and boy is it hard.

In this game, every move counts, every decision matters. It’s all a precise balance of power and the trick is to get that balance to fall in your favour, whilst having immense fun trying.

Mario Kart DS
Okay I love Mario Kart games. Even Mario Kart: Double Dash, which most people point to as the weakest in the series. The control in each version has its own individual nuances and Mario Kart DS seems to have hit the perfect balance.

It has always been a dream of mine to play Mario Kart against others online and now that dream is a reality (yes now that I’ve managed to get this working with my router). It’s true that in my first few attempts I got totally and utterly thrashed, but now I’m starting to win the odd few games and within a few more weeks... the world will be mine :)

Runners up:
Resident Evil 4
Metal Gear Solid 3

And Life… (with a little bit of films and games)

I thought I’d highlight a few of the highlight / lowlights and general events in my life during 2005. In no particular order (and likely missing something of vital importance):

Elliot’s 2nd birthday party – His first real kiddie’s party.

7th July 2005 – London Bombings. The day I arrived in London for my Cinema break.

Elliot’s first holiday (a short trip with family to Jersey).

E3 2005. All the next generation consoles revealed for the first time.

Tokyo Game Show. First time the Revolution controller is revealed.

Started the Blog Films, Gaming and Life.

A great holiday with Roz in Canada.

My first flight in a Helicopter (over Niagara Falls).

Buying the flat below our maisonette.

The triumphant return of Doctor Who.

The triumphant return of Batman to the big screen.

Two new handheld consoles. The DS and the PSP, both of which I got before their UK release. The DS via the Nintendo VIP scheme and PSP via import.

Failing (despite perseverance) to get tickets to the world premiere of Serenity.

And that’s about all I can think of at the moment…

Happy New Year!

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