2016 has been a big year for many reasons, whether good or bad. I’ve been through a lot of highs and lows, so I’m trying to focus on the highs because far too often the lows win out.
So here are some of the lows because I need to get them out of the way-
- Somewhere around 60 celebrity deaths, including Alan Rickman and Carrie Fisher from two of the most popular movie franchises of all time.
- More than 20 major world-altering terrorist attacks, not to mention the daily attacks that happen that are too commonplace for the media to cover.
- The spike in police brutality and brutality against the police in the U.S.
- My uncle commit suicide this spring.
- I didn’t finish editing Powerful in time to submit by the end of the year.
- I was published! It wasn’t Powerful, but I still got to check that off my list!
- The Olympics are always a great way to lift spirits, and Michael Phelps’s record number of medals and gold medals is certainly exciting. As is Brazil’s participation
- The Juno spacecraft reached Jupiter! Yay, Science!
- The Cubs won the World Series! I’m not a sports fan, but a lot of people can celebrate this.
- The U.S. held an election, and while the results may not be something to celebrate, democracy certainly is! And a record breaking number of Americans decided to participate.
- And exactly how many fan favorite tv shows (like Full House, the X-Files, etc.) were rebooted this year? I can’t even find a number!
- The Jungle Book– A beautiful and artistic retelling of Rudyard Kipling’s collection, originally done by Disney in 1967. I have to be honest with you- the story was lacking. But, it is more of a children’s movie than anything else, and like Disney’s live action Cinderella that came out last year, the writers at least branched out from their first attempt at the story. When it was originally told in 1967, Disney was famous for their artwork, not their stories. And with today’s technology, they are once again becoming famous for the beauty of their movies. All in all, it was beautiful and unique, but not one of my favorites.
- Finding Dory– Pixar is renowned for their emotional storytelling. And while Finding Dory definitely had a rollercoaster of emotions, it wasn’t up to the caliber that was Up or Inside Out. Nothing about the story was particularly mind-blowing, and the story they told wasn’t as forward as some of their previous movies. But it was still very cute, funny, and emotional. I think it made an excellent sequel to Finding Nemo as the story matched very well with the original. But I wouldn’t say it was anything extra spectacular.
- Captain America: Civil War– Now, I love superheroes, especially Marvel’s recent string of storytelling successes that equally balance action/adventure/fighting sequences with the slower, more emotional parts of the movies not to mention the pithy, quick and funny one-liners that Marvel is so good at fitting into the seemingly worst moments. My favorite Marvel movies are Captain America 1 and Ant-Man. Captain America: Civil War was still a good movie that I think really brought up some interesting plot points that creates a real conflict for the superheroes. However, I found the ending to be a bit disappointing. It seemed very abrupt, and didn’t hold the effect that I hoped it would. But I am interested to see what happens in the continuing saga, and mostly I can’t wait until I get to see more of Ant-Man talking with Captain America.
- Moana– Oh, Disney, how I love your original stories. I was very excited to see Moana because of the worldbuilding, and because Disney’s original stories have been buried behind their live action reboots that haven’t been as exciting because the story isn’t original. Moana stands up to all the hype. It was beautiful, captured the Polynesian culture well, and mixed a great bit of the impossible with the possible. Maui had a great character backstory, and so did Moana and her family. I am very partial to character driven stories, and this is one of the best I’ve seen all year. I only have one complaint, and that was that Maui left for a bit towards the middle and had a change of heart off screen, and I would’ve liked to see what changed his mind because I felt like something was missing.
- Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them– Harry Potter holds a special place in the hearts of all modern-day fantasy writers because for most of us (especially those my age) it kicked off a journey into the fantastical that never ended. I started reading Harry Potter when I was in first grade. No joke. But I did grow out of it because I didn’t enjoy the movies as much. I felt that they didn’t do the books justice, and I had friends who only saw the movies and refused to read the books and I hated how much they missed. So I grew out of it after it was over. When I first heard about this series of movies, I was skeptical and unexcited about the prospect of this continuation. However, the movie was much better than I expected (mostly because I didn’t have high hopes for it). The story was a great mix of fun and serious, and did a great job expanding the Wizarding World that we all know and love. The characters heavily influenced the story, and the actors did a great job with them. I would highly recommend this movie.
- Zootopia– Okay, so I may have seemed disappointed with a lot of movies this year, but that may be because I started off the year with Zootopia in March, and WOW, did my expectations of movies jump up to a new high. Zootopia is not the kids movie that I was expecting. It teaches hard-hitting lessons on segregation and acceptance, but in a way that is easy for everyone to understand. I love the juxtaposition of the problems that are so commonly facing the world today. It really made me think about life in a different way, and that is my definition of a good story. The animation was beautiful, the story was original and taught a much needed lesson, and the characters were relatable, fun, and lovable. I don’t know who didn’t want to hug Nick and Judy by the end of the movie. I’ve seen it probably a hundred times so far this year and I still haven’t found a plot hole in it. Every little tidbit that is introduced gets tied up and has relevance to the story. And the villain was so good that it was almost tragic. Every character was lovable, and the dialogue was snappy, funny, and hard hitting. I though for sure that Zootopia would be my number one movie this year, but then it got surpassed at the last second.
- Rogue One– I am not biased about Star Wars, I swear. Rogue One deserves every bit of praise it is receiving. The story was strong and fast paced, the characters were engaging, and the movie overall looked amazing. One minor complaint was recreating the image of Grand Moff Tarkin because his face didn’t look quite right, and they could’ve written around that, but they chose to use modern technology as best as they could which I think has always been the Star Wars way. And those of you who know my love of R2-D2 have to understand just how spectacular K-2SO was to immediately surpass R2 as my favorite Star Wars character of all time. The story is one that every Star Wars knows- the retrieval of the Death Star plans that kickstarts the ever important original trilogy that sends Darth Vader after Princess Leia who desperately hunts after the long lost Jedi, Obi-Wan Kenobi to bring the plans back to the rebellion to destroy the weapon that will spell the end of the rebellion. But what we don’t know is HOW that happens. And the writers did an AMAZING job of keeping viewers on the edge of their seats the whole time. Even when you know they succeed, you fear for their failure the whole 2 hours. Rogue One quickly jumped up to the top of my list of favorite Star Wars movies. For those of you who hate the prequel trilogy, forget about those movies. Seriously, you don’t even need to worry about them anymore. This is the prequel you are looking for.