2008 was a big year for Movies. In many respects 2008 could be considered a turning point for cinema as several new series and trends began which today are simply the norm. It saw the release of several major pieces, many of which are still highly praised and thought of to the current day. It was a year that saw the release of at least 4 superhero movies; two of which were the first films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, a series which continues to annually release about 3 movies a year and has become the highest grossing movie franchise to date. Superhero’s weren’t just financial successes either, as they also became some of the highest praised and talked about movies of the year. But it wasn’t just superhero movies that were released either, as a colossal cavalcade of other genres were released in 2008 too; including animated family films, comedic parodies and action packed flicks also stretched and flexed their muscles too.
For me it was also a major year as my focus on movies really came into it’s own as I began to really get into my movies and studied them in-depth more than I had done before. So, on this blog’s (roughly) first anniversary, I thought I would do a sequel post to one of my first posts; in the shape of a top 5 list of my favourite films from ten years after 1998. I have had a look back on the release schedule from 2008 and picked out my favourite films from that year. Sadly of course some have fallen short. They include:
So with that bit out of the way; here are my Top 5 Favourite Films of 2008.
5. Kung Fu Panda – As enjoyable today as it was when I fist saw it. Kung Fu Panda features top quality animation packed with a great narrative featuring both deep scenes of Drama as well as hard hitting moments of Action. Featuring an ensemble cast of voice talent including (but not limited to) Jack Black, Ian McShane, Dustin Hoffman and Angelina Jolie along with a traditional sounding soundtrack. Kung Fu Panda is a standout movie on many levels providing an incredibly positive vibe once the picture comes to it’s overwhelmingly, satisfying conclusion.
4. Tropic Thunder – Possibly the biggest ensemble cast of it’s time until the release of The Expendables film’s: Tropic Thunder features a cast of great talent at their best providing some incredibly believable parts; where-in some cases I really didn’t believe it was them. Helmed by Ben Stiller, Jack Black and Robert Downey Jr., helped in support with famous names including Tom Cruise, Nick Nolte and Steve Coogan. It’s not just the cast though that makes this film, as from start to finish it is absolutely hilarious! Key moments just make you laugh out loud, and the laughs never stop or dry up. Just as you calm down from a period of hysteria; BANG! Another one hits and you just can’t stop!
3. Cloverfield – This one just came out of no-where! First it was merely a cool teaser released when the first Transformers film came out, and then it became a movie trailer that spread like wild fire. Well, it’s a good thing it did! Cloverfield was criticised for it’s unique filming style as causing possible sea sickness, but what Cloverfield became was the first salvo in a new series of Hollywood Giant Monster movies. It was a found footage drama of people surviving an attack on New York City, whilst in the background a Giant Monster laid waste to it. It was very different to anything else released in 2008 with great prospects for what the future could hold, and in the meantime, it was thoroughly horrifying and entertaining!
2. Iron Man – Superhero movies weren’t anything new during the 2000’s, as a string of films were released during that period; including the first X-Men films, Sam Raimi‘s Spiderman films, and others. Iron Man though was the first in the now colossal Marvel Cinematic Universe. Iron Man packed an incredible punch when it arrived on the scene. Backed up with the best in special effects, a cool cast of major Hollywood stars in Robert Downey Jr., Gwyneth Paltrow, and Jeff Bridges, and a titanic soundtrack; all blended together in a nice and easy to understand narrative. I came out of the cinema thinking that finally X-Men had a major rival. To this day Iron man is still all those things and hasn’t aged a day, and in my opinion is still possibly the best film in the MCU.
1. The Dark Knight – When this film was released, I had no real interest in it, it just wasn’t my thing; but I couldn’t ignore the Dreadnaught forever! The Dark Knight is one amazing film. The first time I watched it, I just wanted to watch it over and over again, more and more. What hasn’t been said about this film? Heath Ledger is fantastic as the Joker, Christian Bale is a great Batman, and Aaron Eckhart‘s journey as Harvey Dent is great Entertainment and Drama. It’s a film which has a good story to begin with, but then just ramps up the stakes multiple times to create an Awesome and Dramatic ending which leaves an Incredible mark! Great direction from Christopher Nolan (now one of my favourite directors thanks to this film), a Legendary Soundtrack from Hans Zimmer, and just Awesome everything else! It doesn’t matter how big the MCU gets; in my opinion, it’s still in the shadow of this film!