Here it is, my eagerly awaited (if it's not, humor me) top film and bottom film from all the films I watched for the first time in 2007. And, as an added bonus, you get an honorable mention as well. So sit back, relax, and try not to think too many unhappy thought about my two choices.
Pan's Labyrinth (2006)
It was a toss-up for me as to which film was my top film between this one and Children of Men. I even debated having a tie for first place, but decided that was cheap, especially since there is a tie at number 3. The ultimate tie-breaker ended up being the fact that I am more likely to revisit Pan’s Labyrinth more often than Children of Men. The visuals are wonderfully evocative, and the faun looks fantastic. The film takes some pointers from George MacDonald in that while there is a fairy world just beyond our own, it is fraught with danger and peril all its own, especially for humans improperly equipped to survive in a world run by different rules. Of course it’s no wonder that the young Ofelia wants to escape into the fairy world despite its dangers, since she lives in the middle of civil war torn Spain, with a cruel step father who cares less than nothing for her. As a kid I often dreamed that, even though I had nothing against my parents, I would learn that my parents were not my real parents and that my real parents were powerful, most likely supernatural, beings, and were ready to take me home to a fantasy world of wonder. This actually happens in Pan’s Labyrinth.
Rear Window (1954)
This was actually about the fourth viewing of the film for me, but the first time I saw it in the theater with a full audience, and in that atmosphere, it was like watching the film for the first time all over again. Watching the film on a TV I find myself straining to look in all the different boxes that are the windows of the other apartments, but blown up on the big screen there are so many more nuances to catch (and Miss Torso sure looks much better when she is taller than ten inches). Every time I watch a classic movie in the theater setting I am rewarded. I encourage everyone to seek out some of their favorite classic films on the big screen. You will not be disappointed.
Happy Feet (2006)
How on earth could a film this lame and implausible win the Oscar for best animated feature? I felt like I was watching a 100 minute Coke commercial, without the anticipation of the polar bears eating the penguins. The comedy fell flat, the musical numbers were dull, and watching an animated creature with no legs tap dancing just does not have the same appeal (nor is as impressive) as a real person doing all the moves. Robin Williams was way over the top in his roles, doing broad racial voice stereotypes, there was very little to distinguish the penguins from each other, and of course the villains in the film were the religious conservatives, doing their part to keep our hero from being his unique self. And then there is the completely implausible joke of an ending, where humanity decides to stop fishing because they saw a bunch of penguins tap dancing. I think what would really happen is Ringling Bros. would snap up as many of the penguins as possible and put their tap dancing in the center ring. Of course, what should you expect from a film with a moronic title like Happy Feet?