A new year, a new dawn. But let’s all take a look back for the last time as we say goodbye to 2016 and reminisce about all the good, the bad and the ugly that it had to offer.
Culture Corner Special: Best of 2016
The Top 5 Movies of 2016
5. Finding Dory
Disney’s Pixar Animation established themselves as the king of animated features ever since the first Toy Story hit theaters in 1995. But for me, Monsters Inc. and Finding Nemo were the movies that made me a fan. The announcement of a follow-up to Finding Nemo had me worried though, as Monsters University was such a disappointment for me a few years ago. I guess I was wrong. Luckily!
4. Star Trek Beyond
Yeah, some people, hardcore fans in particular, aren’t happy with the way the “Star Trek Reboot series” turned out. And I do acknowledge that it surrenders the deep philosophical themes for the tropes of blockbuster cinema. Having said that, the move from the boring-as-hell revenge story in Star Trek Into Darkness to the more personal themes, focused on Kirk and his crew was exactly the right move that made their journey to the stars so enjoyable this time.
3. Jason Bourne
Oh it has been a while, hasn’t it!? But that seems to be the theme these days. While some revivals of old franchises just fall flat, feeling like a cheap cash-grab for everyone involved, seeing Matt Damon kick ass once again was incredible. The whole movie is a rollercoaster ride through thrilling moments and shocking revelations. A worthy addition to one of my favorite movie-series of all time.
2. Star Wars: Rogue One
This one is very fresh in my mind. And I loved it. A darker, grittier take on the Star Wars universe. There are no heroes in this one, no Jedi. Just a bunch of normal people do the best they can. And it might just be my second favorite Star Wars film, right after The Empire Strikes Back. There’s not going to be a follow-up, no trilogy out of this, no sub-franchise. And hell yeah, I like that.
Yes, it’s the mother of all dickjokes. The dirty, definitely not a hero, hero. It’s Pool, Deadpool bitches. Sorry, just got into the mood for my favorite movie of 2016. Oh how were we worried when this one was announced. How could a studio ever make a Deadpool movie that had any chance of living up to fans expectations. Well, here we are with a sore ribcage and tears in our eyes. You know, because it was fun and hilarious.
The Top 3 New TV-Shows of 2016
3. The Night Manager
The BBC’s adaptation of legendary novelist John le Carré’s book of the same name is an incredibly faithful take on the story of Jonathan Pine, former british soldier now night manager in a luxury hotel in Cairo. After he’s approached by a mysterious lady he is dragged into a world of shadows. Recruited by the british secret service he goes undercover in the organisation of an international arms dealer. Tom Hiddleston and Hugh Laurie star in this tense espionage drama that can rival any James Bond.
It will not be long until Game of Thrones is gone and HBO needs a new flagship show. I’m not yet sure if it’s Westworld, but in terms of story and characters it runs with the best. A crazy fascinating first season full of mind bending moments from start to finish has me waiting anxiously for the show to be continued. Unfortunately we’ll have to wait until 2018 to see where the maze leads Dolores and the other hosts in season two.
1. The Expanse
After the finale of Battlestar Galactica in 2009 there hasn’t been a deep, character driven SciFi show for years. But from minute one the story of James Holden and Joe Miller had me intrigued and on the edge of my seat as they race through the solar system, caught in a conspiracy of epic proportions. It’s a universe on the brink of war, and the first discovery of alien life might just be the match to light the fuse.
The Top 3 Returning TV-Shows of 2016
3. Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
Tina Fey’s new Netflix comedy is just so bright and colorful, one of the most enjoyable shows from last year, fun, a little crazy and full of classic Tina Fey moments. Moments I’ve missed after 30 Rock’s finale a few years ago. And this year’s second season is just more of that, which, in this case, is absolutely fine with me. New experiences for Kimmy, she even learns driving and meets Jeff Goldblum along the way. Who would’ve thought!?
2. Brooklyn Nine-Nine
I don’t really have that much to say about this one. It’s amazing. Kind of ridiculous and stupid at certain points but I mean that in the best of ways. After death threats at the end of the last season, Jake and Holt have to go into hiding in Florida, but New York follows them everywhere. And there’s hardly anything I’m looking forward to as much on TV than this show’s annual Halloween episode. And just as expected, it didn’t disappoint.
1. Game of Thrones
Last year’s season five was horrible! And it might sound harsh to say that after just one season, but I was actually losing faith in the show, just because I had, like everyone else, an incredibly high standard regarding the writing and directing of this show, but the producers didn’t seem to know where they wanted to go with it. There were too many loose threads and it didn’t feel like they had any idea how to tie everything together in the end. And we might not be at the show’s finale, but so far it’s looking good at the end of season six. The show feels very much like it’s on the finish line, racing towards an awesome finale. It’s like a strategic explosion, all the fuses and C-4 is in the right place. Now, let’s light it the fuck up.
The Top 3 Most Disappointing Games of 2016
3. Mirror’s Edge: Catalyst
I loved the original. It was innovative, new, exciting. And its reboot/prequel Catalyst is not a bad game, it just couldn’t live up to my expectations. I had quite a number of enjoyable hours with it, but to reinvent the wheel after you’ve done it once already can’t be easy. It also didn’t help that the characters were boring as shit across the board. Parcouring is still fun and the controls are intuitive enough to find your way around the city of Glass. But in the end I couldn’t bring myself to finish it.
2. Mafia III
Well, even though I’ve never played a Mafia game before I was pretty excited. A story about race, police corruption and organized crime in the American South of the 1960s sounds incredibly interesting. And it was. At first. But not even the well written story and it’s characters can make the tedious commutes across an empty open world fun. Add a number of game-breaking bugs and glitches and the „Game of the Year on paper“ becomes an exercise in tears and frustration. Oh, and boredom.
1. No Man’s Sky
I don’t think I have to say a lot in regards to this one. Over-hyped, under-delivered and alleged false marketing. I was so excited as one of the biggest SciFi fans in the world at the prospect of visiting an almost infinite number of planets, discovering new and weird species along the way and taking part in huge battles amongst the different factions. What it became was just boring with many promised features scrapped before release. No real interaction with the world, no impact. I’m just gonna play Elite: Dangerous and (if it ever comes out) Star Citizen.
The Top 5 Best Games of 2016
5. Forza Horizon 3
Yes I like a good story with interesting characters but don’t we all want to just have a little mindless fun once in a while? Some might go for a boring realistic modern warfare shooter, I get behind the wheel of my 2554 M12S Warthog and race through the Australian Outback. Stunts, challenges, highspeed races along the coast, Forza Horizon 3 has more than 400 cars to compete in against the AI or your friends online. Put the pedal to the metal and get going!
4. Dark Souls III
I’m relatively new to the Souls-Series and only dared to try them myself after I saw two of my favorite Youtubers slashing and dodging their way through the second entry. So after I got myself a PS4 I tried Bloodborne and I loved it. I went back to the older Souls games and loved them. And here’s Dark Souls III, not as great as the first one, but still more than exceptionally good. So if you’re into banging your head against the wall again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and.. whoops, sorry. But yeah, if you’re into that, there are no excuses.
3. Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End
Also a series I’m quite new to. But I finished the first three installments before this one came out to be prepared. And it was so much fun. Nathan’s latest adventure led to impressive vistas, fun shootouts and cool puzzles, paired with Naughty Dog’s brilliant writing and Nolan North’s acting, this is the definitive adventure for Nathan Drake. It might sound weird, but I hope that his story is over with this entry, just because the game’s ending gave him the perfect farewell. But I have no problem with you making a few smaller side stories, Naughty Dog, wink wink!
2. The Witcher 3: Blood and Wine
Yeah I know, it’s an expansion. Fuck you it was amazing. If it wasn’t for the next game that snuck it’s way in towards the end of the year this would’ve been number one! And an expansion that has more content than most other full prized games should be judged just the same. Especially Blood and Wine that can stand on its own perfectly, the game even gives you the option to just go for this part of the Witcher right on the title screen. Geralt’s journeys leads him to Toussaint, a mediterranean land of warmth and wine. But as a vampire threatens to tear apart the country, he must descend into the world of the blood sucking beasts lurking in the shadows. Recently a complete edition with the main game and its two expansions released. Get it! No excuses!
1. The Last Guardian
I almost feel like I said everything I had to say on this. Yes, I’m a grown man and I cried in the end. Nothing to be ashamed off, just something that speaks for the incredible impact this game had on me. I mean, I already decided that my first cat will be called Trico, soooo…. I’m okay with ignoring its technical issues in favor of its characters and the world The Last Guardian brings to life. The connection between a boy and a beast, almost without words, based on mutual respect and admiration. Emotional, beautiful and simply my game of the year!
There are so many more things we loved and hated in 2016. Too much to mention it here. Feel free to ask here and on Facebook and be sure to tell us your favorites. And now, let’s hope for a great 2017.
Beitragsbild und Banner: Kevin Wendlandt
Bilder: Walt Disney, Paramount Studios, Universal Pictures, 20th Century Fox/Marvel, BBC, HBO, SyFy, Netflix, Electronic Arts, Take Two Interactive, Hello Games, Microsoft Studios, Bandai Namco, Sony Computer Entertainment America, CD Project Red