The movies I saw in 2017

Hello, and welcome to the first part of my 2017 wrap – the movies I saw at the cinema. In a later post, I’ll discuss the notable games I played.

The movies can be divided into several tiers, from great to bad:

 

The Greats

Blade Runner 2049 – Overall, my movie of the year. An excellent piece, succeeding on multiple levels: (1) as a cyberpunk thriller; (2) as a thematically rich story about one person’s search for identity; and (3) as a commentary on humanity’s relationship with technology.

La La Land – My surprise hit of the year: beneath the catchy songs, I found a deeply resonant story about what it takes to fulfill a dream: hard work, setbacks, and ultimately, sacrifice.

 

Honourable mentions

Dunkirk – A war movie that eschews bombast for quiet heroism.

 

Entertaining time-killers

Star Wars: Rogue One

Star Wars: The Last Jedi

While not very deep, Rogue One succeeds as an action-oriented return to the original timeline. The highest compliment I can offer is that it made me yearn for a good Star Wars game!

Like The Force Awakens, The Last Jedi is a remix of the original trilogy, but compared to its predecessor, it’s smarter, more self-aware, and more willing to diverge from the originals. It does stretch on too long.

 

Valiant defeat

Ghost in the Shell – Visually striking anime adaptation (drawing especially on the 1995 movie and the Second Gig TV series), brought down by a reliance on cyberpunk cliche.

 

Avoid

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets – A mess of a movie, missing much of the original comics’ charm.

 

 


Also published on Medium.

2 thoughts on “The movies I saw in 2017”

  1. Dunkirk was a very different war film, but one I did enjoy. It isn’t something I could imagine watching again, but that is not any kind of criticism of the film.

    Love Rogue One, one of my favorite SW films, and really enjoyed The Last Jedi.

    I didn’t have high hopes for Ghost in the Shell, but it was even more of a let down than I thought it would be. I was glad I didn’t go to the theater to see it.

    I do plan on watching Valerian when it comes up on free streaming. Not at all familiar with the comics.

    1. Thanks for commenting, Carl!

      Sounds like we have similar takes on Dunkirk.

      I went into Ghost in the Shell with fairly limited expectations and liked quite a few of its ideas – unfortunately the overall package was less than the sum of its parts.

      The Valerian comics are available in English from Amazon US (hardcopy & Kindle). They’re cheerful, pulpy space opera – quite fun once they hit their stride, and at their best, uniquely whimsical (aliens disguise themselves in the rush hour on the Paris Metro!). Worth a glance if that interests.

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