Thursday, January 3, 2013

2012 King of the Hill Finale: Round 2

Four movies have been eliminated and eight remain.  This time the winners of Round 1 are up against the movies that were fortunate enough to get a Bye the previous time around.  Can Whip It, The Avengers, Back to the Future, and War of the Worlds survive one more round of elimination, or will Brave, Hanna, The Dark Knight Rises, and Paranormal Activity 2 stop them in their tracks.

This is the second round of the 2012 King of the Hill Movie Challenge.  For the last year, I reviewed every movie that I watched and I have pitted those films against each other to determine the best movie of 2012.  This is the finals bracket where the best of each month is squaring off to be crowned champion.  All movies were seeded based on the number of direct movies they compared with and defeated as well as when I saw them during the year.

Brave v Whip It

Brave was Pixar's release of the year and it was a powerful film bringing one very unique princess to the movies.  Brave and Whip It share a lot in common.  They are both movies about young girls on the verge of adulthood who are struggling with their mother.  The first major difference between the two films is the supernatural element.  In Whip It, Bliss runs away from home when it is discovered that she is defying her mother and going out to Rollerblade behind her mother's back.  In Brave, Merida curses her mother in her attempt to gain independence.

There are other differences between the film.  The question, however, is which of these films is the better of the two.  Whip It, despite it's story of parent/child struggles, is focused more on the aspect of the world of roller derby.  it is a broader picture and less focused on the narrative of family.  Brave is also set to target a younger audience.  This gives Brave a stronger place in my mind.  It gives a great moral lesson to children, particularly young girls, and is more accessible to the audience where as Whip It deals with a darker story and is not appropriate for all ages.

Winner:  Brave

Paranormal Activity 2 v The Avengers

So, let's be honest for a second.  Do you really expect the sequel of a supernatural horror flick to stand a chance against one of the biggest blockbusters of all time?  Marvel planned this out perfectly.  It would be a waste of your and my time to compare these two films.  Let the real comparisons begin in the quarter finals.

Winner:  The Avengers

Hanna v Back to the Future

Hanna is an amazing movie with some incredible stopping power.  Unlike most of the movies I've seen this year, Hanna uses a ton of visual tricks to help carry the story in addition to the story itself.  It is a movie that is both well written and excellently filmed.  Back to the Future is a cult classic and has aged well over the years.  The story is highly entertaining and has put a lot of effort into getting all of the details right.  Comparing the two movies is difficult because I want them both to win.  In the end, Hanna is the better movie.  While Back to the Future is flawless, Hanna carries a better story because below the surface of the film, there is an imagery of the loss of innocence.  And that depth gives it the edge it needs to advance.

Winner:  Hanna

The Dark Knight Rises v War of the Worlds

See my discussion on The Avengers above.  This was the long-planned conclusion to the Batman trilogy.  And while it is great to see a War of the Worlds movie done right, it was even better seeing a Batman series come to an end.  Otherwise, it would have been just another freaking story line reboot.  Yes, I'm looking at you DC Comics!

Winner:  The Dark Night Rises

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