Top 5 films of 2009

Having sent a call out to my usual partners in crime I did not know what to expect from their top five films of 2009. In the end I managed to get three out of five of the opinions I hoped for. This year has been an odd one with no huge standout film that blew people away… until December when Avatar arrived.

5. Avatar
4. Up
3. Star Trek
2. Gran Torino
1. The Wrestler

For me The Wrestler just contained a great storyline, and a convincing actor at the top of his game in a role he could sink his teeth into. You really felt sorry for this guy who had come to the end of his career but was unable to do anything else because it was all he had ever known. The ending also worked so well and was a great way to finish the film. Meanwhile Gran Torino showed once again what Clint Eastwood can do.

5. Star Trek
4. An Education
3. District 9
2. Avatar 3D
1. Inglourious Basterds

Inglourious Basterds tied with (or at least closely followed by) Avatar. Tarantino’s return to form is a funny, violent, hugely enjoyable and wildly original re-imagining of one of the most infamous periods in modern history, while Avatar (in 3D) has to be included because it will probably change cinema, or at least what we expect from blockbusters in the future.

Inglourious Basterds’ dialogue, plotting and performances may be superior to Avatar’s, but then Avatar isn’t really about any of these things; it’s about immersing the audience in the sights and sounds of a whole new world. This month Avatar became the second highest grossing film of all time (incidently, the highest grossing film of all time, Titanic, was also directed by James Cameron) and, thanks to its cutting-edge 3D technology and the list of big-name directors lining up to use it in their own films – Steven Spielberg and Peter Jackson’s Tintin project springs to mind – it may well prove to be the most influential film of the year.

Star Trek, Young Victoria, Sherlock Holmes, Up, Avatar 3D

After much mental deliberation and brow-furrowing, I would like to announce my five favourite films, but not in any specific order. The above could well be listed: Up, Young Victoria, Avatar, Star Trek, Sherlock Holmes or in any other order. Avatar was thrilling and the 3D was excellent, but I’d seen it before in Pocahontas and in Dinotopia (not the film which was rubbish, but the beautifully illustrated book). I enjoyed Young Victoria the most and have watched it the most times, but it is not strictly historically accurate (Prince Albert never took a bullet for her, though that was one of my favouite parts of the film). Up made me cry twice, Sherlock Holmes kept me laughing, and Star Trek has led me to discover the original TV program (but I promise not in a sad, Trekkie, comicon-going way). One other film deserves my mention, but Jonathan will insist I only list five (he isn’t too happy that I haven’t numbered them either) so I will just leave you with a quote: “Boy! What day is it? Christmas?” “No, it’s Saturday, you moron!”

The film of 2009 may have been inconclusive from our three top fives but two films appeared in all three lists. Is it a sign of the times that our two favourite films of the year are both sci-fi at heart?

Out of the two finalists though Avatar is the one that was placed highest up the ratings and therefore is the Film of the Year. As Cathy pointed out it is a film that is likely to change cinema. There are already a raft of films coming out in 2010 that use the technology including Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland. The plot fits the technology on show beautifully and it all blends together to make an immersive and enjoyable experience for the viewer. This is the film that shows there is life in 3D, it is obviously not a new technology but this iteration shows that that technology has now matured to be used as entertainment for the masses. Avatar has proved this and done much more. In three weeks ithas become the second highest grossing film of all time… Titanic’s record is looking weak now.

Also congrats to Star Trek for a successful reboot that placed it in as our runner up. No other Star Trek film would have even made this list. (Except the one with the whales. I like whales – Beth)


Yes this post is late but the film of the decade award will be on the site tomorrow. will be back in April 2010.