Another year, another time to reflect on what we did and did not like about it. Though my output on this blog has slowed significantly, you will still find my thoughts on my favorites and disappointments of the year (out of the handful of new movies and games I watched/played this year), with review links where applicable, presented in no particular order.
Top Movies of 2015
This is truly Pixar’s best effort in a while, especially after the awful Cars 2 and disappointing Brave. Without giving anything away, this movie about emotions manages multiple times to tug at the heartstrings (and when it does, it hits hard); it nearly got me to cry in a public theater, and after a second viewing at home it still managed to get to me. I would encourage anyone who hasn’t seen this movie yet to do so as soon as they can, and if you’re a Pixar fan you will not be disappointed.
I was nervous about what to expect from this movie going in, especially after factoring in the massive hype as well as the Prequel Trilogy, but my fears were alleviated upon my initial viewing, surpassing my expectations to where I feel like watching it again. Without delving into spoilers, though it’s not perfect, the writing was really good, especially in regards to character dialogue, and the story took some interesting turns that I really was not expecting. It doesn’t live up to the sheer amount of hype in the months preceding the movie’s release, but it is definitely worth seeing as soon as possible, especially if you’re a Star Wars fan and have managed to avoid spoilers up to this point.
Dragon Ball Z: Resurrection ‘F’
In this canon Dragon Ball movie, the almighty Frieza is brought back to life and, after he decides to train for the first time in his life, the ensuing battle against Goku and Vegeta is nothing short of glorious. There is also a healthy dose of comedy mixed in with all the action, with humorous situations coming from smaller moments. The animation is also amazing, doing justice to the style of action present in the series. This movie is a must-see for Dragon Ball fans, especially after you’ve seen the other canon movie, Battle of Gods (and/or have read the 9-chapter manga, Jaco the Galactic Patrolman). If you are going into this movie without any knowledge of Dragon Ball, you should at least watch Mega64’s humorous companion video, which will effectively get you up to speed on the major events of the Frieza Saga.
Top Games of 2015
Platinum Games did an amazing job with this Transformers game, especially with how it goes all out in matching the 80’s cartoon’s look, style, and sound (they even got a number of surviving voice actors from the original cartoon, meaning Dan Gilvezan gets to play Bumblebee again after all these years). I haven’t actually played Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance (Platinum’s ever-popular entry in the Metal Gear series), but from what I’ve seen of Rising’s gameplay, I thought that the gameplay style translated perfectly to Transformers, including the way they incorporated the ability to transform. There are five playable Autobot characters in the game: Optimus Prime, Bumblebee, Sideswipe, Wheeljack, and Grimlock; I only played through the game once as Optimus Prime, though I am interested in playing it again later as each of the other characters, as well as trying to get all those oft-elusive collectibles.
Having played the Skylanders games annually for the past 5 years, I think this is perhaps the best one yet (though it did come out about a month earlier than usual). The gimmick this time is Vehicles, and while said gimmick admittedly has one or two shortcomings, the game seems to require less to get 100% (which is good for me) and items are made easier to get with the addition of a wishing well in the hub world and chests in each level randomizing what you get (this includes Soul Gems and Story Scrolls, the latter of which is presented as pieces of Kaos’ Diary recorded on vinyl). I have not bothered with the new Online Multiplayer option, but I can definitely say that the game is more fun with a second local player.
Top Disappointments of 2015
This is not to say that Age of Ultron is a terrible movie; I thought it was actually enjoyable and it still had some good humor in it. However, I found that there seemed to be too much going on within the overall story and that it could have been either cut down to speed up the pacing or presented as a longer feature to give the full story. In any case, while I loved Marvel’s first Avengers movie (I rank it up there with Spider-Man 2), this one did not feel like it lived up to its predecessor.