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.
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REVIEW: Avatar (2009)

A whole new world.

Summary: It’s 2154 and a marine who lost the use of his legs finds a new opportunity to take his twin brother’s place controlling an alien body on a beautiful planet.  His job is to study the natives and maybe convince them to relocate so the humans can have a rare substance on their land.  However, he finds that betraying the natives is a lot harder after they accept him as one of their own.

Thoughts: James Cameron hasn’t made a movie since Titanic.  The mind that brought us Terminator and Aliens has been out of action since 1997.  However, this movie has been in his mind since before then.  Finally, the technology caught up with his vision, and unlike George Lucas and the Prequels, Cameron’s vision was worth waiting for.

While the story may have been told before, its never been told this well.  Every aspect of the film is technologically superior to anything that has come before, CGI or live action.  The characters are incredibly life-like (Sigourney Weaver’s Avatar is obviously alien and obviously Sigourney).  The mannerisms of each actor is brought through their CGI counterparts perfectly.  The planet itself is beautiful as well.  I found myself lost in the CGI, forgetting it was computer-generated several times.  The action was fantastic, the plot engrossing, and it was genuinely entertaining.

I got to see it in 3D, which I have to recommend.  Cameron designed it to be seen in 3D, and it is exquisite.  Most of it is very subtle and really helps bring you into the movie.

Overall: Beautiful, thrilling, groundbreaking.  While I wouldn’t say it changes everything about filmmaking, it certainly changes a whole lot.
5/5