Pacific Rim: The Black starts on March 4th on Netflix. The animation is set in the same universe as the two Pacific Rim movies when Kaiju rising from the sea overrun Australia. The show’s heroes are two siblings who pilot at Jaeger as they search for their missing parents. Together they will encounter new creatures…
Note that these are (mostly) not what I consider the BEST films of the decade. Honestly I don’t even get to go the movies all that much, so the best ones I might not have even seen. But they are the ones that made me the happiest.
My GOD this film. It was claustrophobic, creepy, gnaw-your-own-arm-off terrifying… and a FANTASTIC power fantasy. Michelle, the protagonist of this film, quickly became one of my favourite sci-fi heroines ever. She suffers a lot of trauma during the movie, unimaginable things (but nothing graphic/titillating/male-gazey) and comes out the other side swinging. Then she downs an entire alien spaceship using nothing but her wits. God I love her and this film so much. I could write essay after essay about female empowerment as portrayed in this flick.
When I was a child I dreamed they would one day make a Pokemon live-action film, and they DID, and it was better than I ever imagined. It was sweet, it was funny, it was packed with references to the Pokemon lore (Pokelore?) that would have gone over most people’s heads but was included anyway, and Bill Nighy was in it. I loved this film so much and I can’t wait to show it to my future children.
Okay here goes: I never saw the original Ghostbusters. I never saw the sequel movie either, or any of the cartoons. Why’d I like this so much then? Well… honestly… because it was all women. Funny, smart, main-character women, the mere existence of which apparently drove some people into teeth-gnashing mania. And that was it. That’s enough, right?
The Greatest Showman
It stills surprises me that this film got such bad reviews on release. Audiences apparently disagreed because not only did it get really high audience ratings it ALSO made a ton of money AND everyone I’ve ever shown it to liked it! I know some of the songs within it ended up massively overplayed (especially This Is Me, thanks a bunch Simon Cowell) but when you see them being performed in the movie they really do seem raw and real and touching.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2
I have absolutely no idea if GOTG2 is a good movie or not and honestly, there’s a part of me that doesn’t even care. It fills me with such insane joy every time I watch it. I love the friendships between all the main characters, I love Yondu’s redemption, I love how the music ties into the story, I love Baby Groot. And I especially love how the film is mostly about different forms of abuse and how we all have it within ourselves to overcome them.
Les Mis is a very good movie, but it’s actually on this list not so much for itself but because its existence introduced me to the book, which transpired to shape my entire life. That being said I do really mean that it’s a very good movie (and quite faithful to the book as well it turns out), it thoroughly deserves to be on everyone’s Best of the Decade list. Don’t be put off by the fact that Tom Hooper’s next musical was Cats.
The Lego Movie
I wasn’t expecting much from The Lego Movie. Was anyone?! I thought it was a cheap, cynical cash grab. MAN was I wrong. Instead it was an amazing story about the power of imagination and the importance of childhood. The final speech (“You are the most talented, most interesting, and most extraordinary person in the universe…”) is one of my favourite speeches in any movie, ever. It makes me think of a parent talking to a child and it captures the spirit of Lego perfectly.
Mad Max: Fury Road
Is there anything to be said about Mad Max: Fury Road that hasn’t already been said? It’s been called the greatest action film of all time, a feminist masterpiece, one of the best movies of its era… and all the people claiming those things are 100% right. I don’t think it’s technically perfect but it’s damn close. And special-effects wise it’s a staggering achievement. (All those people REALLY WERE climbing poles on motorbikes, holy heck.) I hope it’s celebrated for years to come.
I love Pacific Rim not because it’s a bonkers, brightly-coloured monsters-vs-robots movie (though that definitely helps) but because how utterly adamant it was that teamwork, collaboration and in some cases love would help humanity save the world. God, the whole movie seems like a relic from a totally different time, doesn’t it? The less said about the sequel the better.
Apparently Paddington 2 is the highest-rated film ever on RottenTomatoes, and despite what you think of RottenTomatoes the site (I personally am not a fan) HOLY HECK IT DESERVES IT. This is a children’s film about a cute teddy bear who lives among humans and loves marmalade sandwiches and somehow it was more hard-hitting, beautiful and poignant than a lot of the “serious” movies released the same year. Hugh Grant deserved an Oscar for playing such a fantastic baddie/hilariously exaggerated version of himself. The whole damn film deserved an Oscar. (As it happened, The Shape of Water won that year. They got the wrong Sally Hawkins Forms A Relationship With A Non-Human Character Resulting In An Emotional Underwater Scene film.)
Honourable mentions: (my god there are a lot) Toy Story 3, Avengers: Endgame, Black Panther (most of the MCU honestly), The Rise of Skywalker, Belle, Their Finest, Big Hero 6, Frozen II, Aladdin, Batman vs Superman (yes really), Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, the entire Hunger Games series, SO MANY
I’m a dumb idiot who needed Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria to hit in the same month to realize Kaijus in Pacific Rim were a metaphor for climate change and hurricanes and, like, the movie isn’t even subtle about it
there’s a very long tradition in monster movies (and kaiju eiga if you wanna be specific) of monsters as allegory for natural disasters, pollution and climate change. Godzilla vs Hedorah is a really good example where the enemy is literally sentient pollution, and pacific rim does the same thing it did in taking widesweeping environmental issues and linking it DIRECTLY to the appearance of these monsters, both with the above examples and newt’s dialogue after he drifts with the kaiju brain and points out that climate change and co2 emissions means we practically terraformed our planet for these aliens to come BACK and take over. Monster movies are a LOT of different things and can be very silly and absurd but they can also be built around very serious and specific messages about the condition of our planet, and in many ways messages about human impact on the environment has been built into modern monster movies since the very beginning (looking at the impact the original ‘godzilla’ had on pop culture and monster movies the world over)(its also worth noting that this probably extends into many other monster films and franchises from many other countries that i havent seen)