2007 saw a number of great things fantastic, science-fictional, and generally just plain cool cross the collective consciousness. Here's my list of (some) of the best stuff I got to see, read, and play in 2007.
The Video Game That Made A Grown Man Cry
Mark Finn pointed out
that the old geek truism of the threequel was broken in 2007. It was if you count the cineplex. If you're one of the geeks who own an Xbox 360, sales statistics say you probably played the only sequel that didn't suck ass in one way or another last year.
During a Star Trek panel one year, I witnessed an audience member ask if Star Trek 6 would be subtitled "The Apology."
Halo 2's ending was to most fans of the series their own personal Star Trek 5.
Halo 3 is the apology. It brings to a close the three game story arc of Cortana, Master Chief John 117, and Staff Sergeant Avery Johnson, and had me reaching for a hanky more than once in my ten-hour playthrough.
Movies That Didn't Steal My Hard-Earned Dollars
didn't disappoint me completely, but it was a pretty close thing.
What I liked: Ron Howard‘s daughter, nice effects, J.K. Simmons. They're all entertaining to watch, for various different reasons.
Didn't like: What was the point of Gwen being in the movie, again? Two really nicely CG-realized characters that had no character. Not nearly enough.
Maybe now Sam Raimi can make a really good character-driven film without a superhero in it. Like the Evil Dead remake!
In just two hours, in a dark theater in Michigan, The Host became my favorite monster movie, surpassing even my overwhelming boyhood nostalgia love for all things Godzilla. Believable story, great cast, grotesque and fun-to-watch monster, and a satisfying ending.What more do you want in a monster movie?
It's not sci-fi, fantasy, or classical western, but I think No Country for Old Men fits nicely in what I shall now dub the "neo-western" category. The Coen brothers remain tremendously faithful to the Cormac McCarthy book, but also reference their own classic Raising Arizona in many scenes. They made the movie that much more enjoyable. It pleases me to no end that Javier Bardem got a Golden Globe for his performance.
John Doe from Se7en would shiver at this guy. Or buy him a cup of coffee. Maybe they'd flip for it.
I watched Alvin and the Chipmunks and didn't get annoyed by that Christmas song, or any of the others in the movie. I think Jason Lee might have sold some of his soul for this role, but then I was too busy laughing, and then crying (It was Theodore's fault!), and then realizing this is the textbook definition of a family film. And I liked it. A lot. So why's it on this list? It's got talking chipmunks, which are fantastic, baby.
This last one barely slips into the fantastic category. Or perhaps alternate history? Imagine a world where The Beatles didn't exist. Now imagine a love story wherein all the characters' thoughts and actions are taken from Beatles songs. Have a cast of attractive, likeable unknowns sing the songs as they act the story.
Add some hard-to-swallow transitions and some beautiful, inspired segues, then season with a couple well-known folks (Bono, Joe Cocker, Eddie Izzard), shake well and you have Across the Universe. Julie Taymor (plays Frida, and Titus), crafts a delightful and occasionally bizarre (The Beatles went through a drug phase, and so do the characters in the movie) tale that leaves you richer for the experience, and without all the hands being cut off and replaced with twigs like they were in Titus.
Best Comic Book
Oh, I didn't want to do this. After Charlie Huston
signed on to resuscitate Moon Knight
for Marvel, I said, "One comic a month. That's not too much disposable income to part with. I have to have more of Charlie Huston‘s scribbling. He scribbles good."
Then Marvel said, "We're putting Stephen King's Dark Tower into comic form, with pretty art and glossy pages," and I began salivating and my wallet hemorrhaged more cash.
But all these bowed their unworthy pages to the J. Michael Straczynski/Oliver Coipel revival of
Thor. You thought the pretty guy with the flowing locks and big hammer was dead? If you've been keeping tabs on the Marvel Universe, you did. I had no clue, though, and don't really care much what came before.
Highlight of the first three issues: Thor kicks Iron Man's ass in a lightning-filled fit of righteous anger. He lays out Tony Stark the way you would a kid who told you Santa wasn't real. Only Thor has a hammer. And lightning. Puny power armor.
Looking Forward: The Tree of Whoa 2008
Instead of looking at what I was disappointed with in ‘07 (which, while living in Michigan, was quite a lot), I'd like to look forward to some things that I sincerely hope do not suck in this newest of years.
Captain America #34
gets a brand new bag! After seeing the pretty new costume the new Captain's sporting, I'm sold. This'll be the addition to my burgeoning new comics collection that may break the bank. We'll see how it stands up to Thor.
Fortified with Iron!
I loved Elf. Before that, I loved Robert Downey, Jr. Not personally. His work. I‘ve loved his work. Home for the Holidays gets watched every Thanksgiving, and often sometime in late spring, too (Jodie Foster‘s commentary track is great, also).
So with Downey as Tony Stark, and Jon Favreau at the helm, Iron Man, I've already decided: cannot lose.
The game might be good, too. Even if Tony Stark is being a dick in the comics right now.
To temper my feelings on Stark's jerkdom, I think of Twisted Toyfare Theater in which Iron Man is never sober.
With All These Games, When Will I Eat?
It's the question many players will have to answer in 2008. Maybe we're supposed to be eating and sleeping right now, since nothing new appears to be slated until next month and beyond.
With titles like Ninja Gaiden II,
Fallout 3, and
I'm going to need a second job to buy everything I want to play. Then several weeks off to play them! Dilemmas!