Donald Strohman’s Top 5:
5. Finding Dory
Despite it being over thirteen years since the release of the original Pixar gem Finding Nemo, this highly anticipated sequel manages to pack the same amount of heart, laughs and tears as its predecessor. What makes Finding Dory stand out as not only a great sequel, but a commendable film in its own right, is the overreaching theme of “living with disabilities” and the assortment of new characters we get to follow alongside Dory, Marlin and Nemo. Finding Dorydefinitely has the Pixar seal of quality to thank for being one of the year’s best animated features thus far.
4. The Jungle Book
A near perfect blend of Rudyard Kipling’s classic and Disney’s own animated version, the 2016 retelling of The Jungle Book sets a new high standard for both CGI work and novel adaptations. With a perfect performance from Idris Elba as Sheer Khan and masterful direction at the hands of Jon Faverau, this could arguably be the best version of The Jungle Book to date.
I probably would have never seen Hush had it not been for the strong word of mouth. Thanks to Hollywood’s love of making over-glorified blood fests without any character or definition behind it, horror movies are more of a “miss than hit” genre in my opinion. However, Hush is the exact opposite of these terrible horror films, as this fantastic horror feature doesn’t rely on cheap jump scares or unnecessary buckets of blood to invoke its frights. It serves as one of the more intelligent cat and mouse stories out there, as neither the victim nor the killer are ever completely in control of the situation. It’s a genuinely creepy and spine chilling house invasion tale, and in a sea of horror mediocrity, Hush feels like a wave of relief.
2. Captain America: Civil War
How do you top the high standard of super hero films set by Winter Soldier? By creating Captain America: Civil War it appears. Not only was the well-choreographed action as impressive as ever, but the incredible development in narrative and characters is what makes this a prime super hero feature in the history of both Marvel and DC flicks. And perhaps I’m alone on this assertion, but I felt that Helmut Zemo was one of Marvel’s best villains to date. His motivations were sinister, yet completely understandable, and he didn’t need superpowers to defeat his foe in the Avengers. His intelligence and “Average joe” characteristics are what made him especially ominous in my book.
A lot of audience members didn’t expect much when Zootopia was originally announced. Many just expected a cute little comedy starring animals, but Disney did a fantastic job of hiding the true reason Zootopia needed to exist. Not only is this one of the most intelligent animated features Disney has released, but with themes that delve into racism and stereotypes, Zootopia was released at the perfect time considering what’s been thrown about during election season. Years from now, Zootopia could indeed be regarded by scholars as one timeless animated feature that represents the era we currently live in for future generations to understand.