Saturday, December 31, 2011

2011 - The Highlights (Tetris_King)

2012 is just around the corner, so this is a perfect time to reflect on some of the best and worst releases of 2011. Included is a list of what I liked and didn't like out of my experiences this year, with some added links to the full reviews elsewhere on the blog. Keep in mind that what I list is not in any set order.

Top Movies of 2011

It feels sort of obligatory for me to include this, but I really enjoyed this movie as a Transformers fan. The special effects are better than ever, the 3D was spectacular, and there was some nice pacing to the action that eats up about half the movie. It still wasn't my favorite movie this year, but I definitely felt it was exciting, unlike Revenge of the Fallen from two years ago.

As an adaptation of a book, this movie does a fantastic job, enough to let it stand on its own. Its theme of older movies is handled quite nicely, mainly in the way it revolves around the life and works of Georges Méliès, and it also gives a nice emotional story that is very unforgettable. The 3D adds a sense of depth to the environments, as well as some of the scenes themselves, and sometimes it's really cool to see very intricately placed automaton parts work in motion.

In an era where every movie has sound and most have some sort of special effects, The Artist is unique in that it is a black and white silent movie much like those from the early days of the medium. There is plenty of time to get to know and feel for the characters in this movie, and some scenes can even make you cry because you are given time to care. Though most modern film-goers probably wouldn't be caught dead watching this film, it is one that you have to see if you appreciate the era that this pays homage to.

Top Games of 2011

The original Portal is a very interesting, not to mention fun, puzzle game, and the sequel truly ups the ante. More complex puzzles, new gameplay elements, humorous characters, fantastic music, and the ability to play together with someone else across systems really add to the experience and make it one of the best games this year. This is especially a must for puzzle gamers to witness for themselves.

The God of War games have been consistently good thus far, and this collection of two PSP games is no exception. Even though the only major differences are shinier graphics and a more dedicated dodge command, it feels nice to play them with a controller in hand on a bigger screen.

Top Disappointments of 2011

This game was disappointing, if only due to some flaws. Ledges cannot be grasped, mid-air attacks are impossible, and some of the horror aspect becomes a little generic as the game progresses. Still, while it does not hold up to its predecessor, this sequel provides a solid, worthwhile experience.

The movie itself isn't too bad, just the awful 3D that bogged down my theater experience. It was difficult to see exactly what was going on in several scenes, particularly when there was any fighting on another world. Hopefully I'll have a better experience once I watch it again on Blu-ray.

This is quite possibly the worst movie I've seen from this year. The plot is made of nearly every spy movie on the planet, it's filled with national stereotypes, and the character we hear for most of the movie is practically unbearable. What's made even worse is that this abomination to cinema was made by Pixar, a very highly respected animation studio with an impressive track record up to this point. It seems rather obvious that this movie was made just to sell toys, which is rather sad, though unlike Transformers 3 which had a similar intent, this one is severely lacking in thrills.

Honorable Mentions of 2011 (Things I Did Not Review, But Deserve Mention)

Yu-Gi-Oh! 3D: Bonds Beyond Time
As a Yu-Gi-Oh! fan, I really enjoyed this movie. Sure, there are some logical fallacies here and there, but it was still amazing to watch the 3D make all the monsters pop right out at you. Even if you see this movie and don't like it, it's at least a vast improvement over 2004's Yu-Gi-Oh!: The Movie.

Tetris (PS3)
Tetris is a game that is pretty much expected to appear on any gaming platform nowadays, and this recent addition to the series doesn't disappoint. I have yet to dip into the multiplayer aspect of this version, but I can say that while it isn't too much different than its PSP counterpart, this game can easily provide hours upon hours of addictive fun.

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