Generally, each year, I tend to try to figure out my 3 favourite films and 3 favourite games of the year and highlight these.
So here goes. Starting with…
Not a very good year film while in my opinion. I can honestly say that I have not seen many outstanding films at the cinema this year. Most of the films mentioned below are actually films which were released in earlier years that I have only just caught up on DVD. Anyway, here are my 3 favourite films of the year, followed by a list of notable films (both good and very bad).
Films of the year:
An incredible film, both beautiful and moving. What is especially special about this film is that come the ending, it can be interpreted in 2 very different ways. I will not spoil it for those who have not seen it, but I will say that it can be interpreted either optimistically or pessimistically. I unfortunately, saw the ending scene in a pessimistic light – which makes the ending absolutely soul destroying. I cannot recommend it enough. It also occurs to me that for last 3 years, my favourite films for each year have been foreign language films… What does that tell you about the state of Hollywood?
Not a film for everyone’s tastes.
This just shows that Lynch is still a great creative force. This is not a film that is meant to be fully understood (but I will give someone a medal if they can explain it to me), instead this is a film that needs to be experienced. It is shocking, disturbing funny and most of all, utterly bizarre.
Why oh why can a film about a Rat bring a lump to my throat, when near the end of the film, the main character (Remy) cooks an exceptionally fine meal for a food critic? It’s because it’s a Pixar film. Quite frankly there is no studio, or director in Hollywood today that can match them for storytelling and also consistency. Roll on WALL-E next year (which I think looks incredible btw).
Children of Men
Very almost made it into my top 3. What is slightly annoying, is that I had a fantastic idea for a potential novel – called Children of Lazarus (honest) which was incredibly similar to the plot of Children of Men. Unfortunately I never got around to writing it, so Children of Men beat me to the punch. I don’t mind though, as it is an excellent film.
A French film which uses a very similar plot mechanic as Memento (namely the film is told backwards in segments). This film is notable this year, however, because it is by far the most depressing film I have ever seen.
Certainly not a film to watch unless you want to feel utterly depressed for the remainder of the day!
Another French film. I will not waste my breath too long on this, other to say that this is simply a pile of steaming excrement. I honestly could not conceive of a worse film. All I will say is that do not watch this film ever, not even out of curiosity (as I did), it really is bad beyond words.
Showed me that a full feature length film can work admirably in 3D. Whilst at times the affect can be used as a gimmick, it can also add to the experience no end. The initial attack by Grendal to the strobeing ghostly flickering light of the drinking hall, really was simply awe inspiring.
Little Miss Sunshine
It should have won Best Picture over the Departed… There I’ve said it.
Overall it’s been a great year for the average gamer. There seems to have been truly great games released on all formats (although obviously I have not been able to play the 360 titles – damn you Bioshock for not going multiplatform). The PS2 continued to have great titles in its twilight years, the PS3 has had less titles, but a few gems. The Wii game front was a little barren earlier on in the year, but the latter half of the year brought some great titles – from Nintendo of course.
Games of the Year:
Final Fantasy XII
I love Final Fantasy games, but even I must admit that there was need for change. Final Fantasy X, whilst good, was not as VII to IX and I never go to play Final Fantasy XI – being online only. Final Fantasy XII reinvented the Final Fantasy system in such a fantastic way, simplifying many things, but at the same time adding a level of planning and complexity. It also featured many memorable, likeable characters (Balthier in particular, who I hated at first, but absolutely loved by the end of the game).
Roll on Final Fantasy XIII (soon – pretty please)
Phoenix Wright 3: Trials and Tribulations
The first 2 games were great (although 1 was better than 2), but this final chapter is just perfect.
It takes all the loose threads from the first 2 games and knits them together into 5 fantastic cases which tie everything up perfectly. Although getting to the end of these cases was no easy feat – there were so many twists and turns in the story. There is really nothing to beat the feeling you get, however, when you know that a case is finally turning in your favour
Super Mario Galaxy
Okay – so I’ve only had it for a few days and I’m only around 14 stars in, but all the same… :)
No other game has put a smile on my face to such a degree as Super Mario Galaxy – it’s pure gaming nirvana, nothing more, nothing less.
Now I am amongst the few who really enjoyed Super Mario Sunshine, but even I can admit that it wasn’t nearly as good as the classic Mario 64. It has been said before, but I can say that I agree entirely that Super Mario Galaxy really is a true sequel to Mario 64.
An absolute highlight to the gaming year.
Resistance: Fall of Man
The game I played on the PS3 and also my first real experience of online gaming (I had only dabbled a little before). The single player game was okay – but not spectacular, but it was the multiplayer where the fun was. To this date, no other PS3 games has run as flawlessly and has had as many community and online options as Resistance (even the online only Warhawk), and that’s saying something for a launch game.
Call of Duty 4
Very almost made it into my top 3. The single player game is like the best adrenalin filled action film that you have ever seen mixed with an absurd level of atmosphere and graphical sheen. Then in addition to that, there is the multiplayer, which bring RPG like levelling up into the world of FPS. It slower and more realistic approach also makes it a very different game than the likes of Resistance.
Best game so far for the PS3 (and it’s a multiplatform title)
Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass
Takes the classic Zelda formula and wraps it perfectly around the unique capabilities of control scheme of the DS.
The fact that it is a Zelda game immediately endears it to me, however, this is Zelda reinvented for the portable casual gaming world and it works beautifully. There are a few niggles – namely I hate having to redo the damn Phantom temple time and time again under a time limit, but there are also some extremely good points – the omission of fairies in bottles, which has made previous Zelda games too easy.
Overall an excellent game.
Metroid Prime 3: Corruption
Although I have enjoyed the first two Metroid Prime games and was looking forward to the next instalment, Metroid Prime 3 has always been about the control scheme. A couple of games have tried using the Wiimote for a FPS game in the past and failed, to the baton was then passed onto Retro to perfect he technique and they did just that. It also helps that the game is fantastic fun and not as stupidly difficult as the first 2 games. Plus it’s art design is fantastic and looks great compared to other HD games even in standard definition.