REVIEWS: 2009 Movie Review Retrospective

This is a retrospective of the movies I saw in theaters this year.  I’ve arranged the movies in the order in which I would recommend them.  You might notice that the listing doesn’t match up exactly with the ratings I gave them originally, but that’s the point in a retrospective.

  1. Avatar
    Yes, I’m going to do it.  I’m going to put the last movie I saw at the top of the list.  But this movie changes so much about movies in general, that I can’t help but put it at the top.
  2. Star Trek
    JJ did the impossible and made a great Star Trek movie that manages to both reboot and continues the series in a worthy manner.
  3. District 9
    Surprisingly good, partly because the ad campaign gave nothing away and partly because it was heartwarming and action filled.
  4. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
    I think this movie can finally stand alone as a good movie, not just a good Harry Potter movie.
  5. Up
    It’s Pixar.  It’s funny, heartwarming, doesn’t talk down to you or your kids, and looks amazing.
  6. Drag Me To Hell
    A good balance of funny and scary, with a satisfying ending.
  7. Zombieland
    While Zombieland wasn’t exactly what I wanted, it was still tons of fun.
  8. 2012
    The world is literally falling apart and they want us to care about individual people?
  9. The Twilight Saga: New Moon
    My least favorite book of the series turns into a dull movie.
  10. Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen
    A movie built on the cliché that bigger is better, which it definitely isn’t in this case.
  11. Terminator Salvation
    Skynet reveals their big plan and its a Terminator with free will?  All I know is that it could have been worse.  A lot worse.  It’s still pretty bad.
  12. The Hangover
    Funny, but highly inappropriate.  Can’t really recommend it.
  13. The Men Who Stare At Goats
    Advertised as a slap-stick comedy, its more of a dark comedy, and not very comedic at that.
  14. Watchmen
    So long, so boring, so weird.
  15. Hannah Montana: The Movie
    Yet another “movie” version of a TV show that manages to not be a game changer, even when that’s supposed to be the moral of the story!
  16. Year One
    Probably the worst movie I’ve ever seen.  Unfunny comedy, cringe-worth dialog, every scene dragged on and on.  First movie we literally talked out loud about walking out of.

REVIEW: 2012 (2009)

And so the world ends...

Summary: It turns out the Mayans running out of room on the rock they carved their calendar into happened to correspond with all of the planets lining up and solar flares that heat up the Earth’s core so much that every continent is violently moved.  We follow a novelist (played by John Cusack) and his family as he gets into and out of one improbable situation after another on his way to safety.

Thoughts: I found this movie to be very conflicting.  On one hand, it seems to want you to enjoy the destruction of all of the houses, roads, skyscrapers, runways, and land masses, but then seconds later expects you to care about the random character they threw in the middle of it (even if the rest of the characters don’t seem to mind either).  All of the trailers show only the destruction, making you think that Roland Emmerich (director of Independence Day and The Day After Tomorrow) had finally realized that people only watch his movies for the destruction and not the forced human/dog element (there’s always a dog).  However, a surprising amount of this movie is spent in dark rooms talking about what to do/not do.  Sure, its nice to have a plot, I’m just not sure that much was necessary for a movie with this level of expectation.

Characters seem paper-thin.  Everyone fills their cliched role and no more (obsessed writer, obsessed scientist, sad president, evil politician, rich Russian, crazy person).  The effects weren’t that impressive either.  Sure, it was thrilling to see California tip into the Pacific and Yellowstone explode with the power of thousands of nukes (everyone outruns it, of course.  At least everyone important), but the effects were off just enough to make everything look a little plastic.

I can’t say it wasn’t without enjoyment.  I did find myself on the edge of my seat a few times and the theater experience definitely added to that.

So I’m conflicted.  On one hand, I enjoyed the action (even if we did see a great deal of it in the trailers), on the other, I was bored when things weren’t exploding.  A fault of my MTV-generation thought process, my expectation from the trailers, or the fact that the movie was actually boring?  I can’t be sure.  All I know is though I wouldn’t watch it again, it was a fun ride.

Overall: Cliches abound, but its fun to see.