2020 films expectations versus reality

For my first confrontation between reviews and presumptions, I’ve been spoiled with 14 (!) films actually released in 2020 from the 32 films I’ve ranked in my expectations last year.

On every review, next to the title, I indicate the relative predicted rank out of the released films and the evolution with the final rank. And in parentheses, the predicted rank out of the original 32 films.

screenshot of Soul
screenshot of Soul
screenshot of Soul
screenshot of Soul

  1. Soul 6⬆ (12)

Beautiful and moving picture. The moral of the story is fighting directly the "purchase your dream" you can find in the typical American and Disney films. It’s a relief to see this liberty in the Pixar of today. The film is leaving a lot of space for reflexion while featuring endearing characters. They also took risks on the music but it was necessary as it is at the heart of the subject.

screenshot of Tenet

  1. Tenet 1⬇ (2)

I was lucky to experience it in theatre and I think it makes a great difference on this film. Tenet was exactly like expected, it’s very good and still too cold.
The general story is a classic time travel (see Looper, Dr Who, In the Shadow of the Moon) and it’s funny to think about the different time paths but with the twist of the reversed objects. Every detail is well done. The interrogation scene is amazing. The locations are beautiful. The pace is frenetic but the dialogue sounds too flat even if Nolan changes the locations every ten seconds.
It’s missing a bit of good shots but I liked the zoetrope effect on the car and the ending shot of the last action scene, on top of a dune, is beautiful, it made me awe.

screenshot of 1917

  1. 1917 2⬇ (4)

It looks really good but the forced/fake one shot was too obvious and put me off. I was expected just a bit more emotion or engaging story but it doesn’t land so far from my prediction.

screenshot of Onward
screenshot of Onward

  1. Onward 8⬆ (15)

Good surprise, my Pixar expectations are crunched. It gives me so much excitement for the future, compared to the previous Pixar period with many sequels.

  1. Mank 4⬇ (8)

The film is really focusing on a niche subject and I’m not amateur of the Hollywood 30s cinema film industry. Mank is well made but I was missing too much context or background to relate to the protagonist. I appreciate Lily Collins and Tuppence Middleton but they look alike so much it got me confused.

screenshot of Underwater
screenshot of Underwater

  1. Underwater 3⬇ (7)

Oh! I had great expectations for this one, I was digging the concept.
It’s vaguely entertaining but shallow: poor directing, tacky slow motions, weird jump cuts, just a series of scenes. The most interesting is the production design but it’s underused (dashboard, bridge). I understand the deep sea is dark but it’s not an excuse for the action to be so difficult to follow. Really basic storyline in fact.
Weird balance of badass and humour: TJ Miller character is too much and the others are not iconic.

  1. Eurovision 11⬆ (23)

Another Will Ferrel comedy, nothing more. Nice that even the bad guys are good, Eurovision is good feeling only. Except against the Americans!

screenshot of the film Sonic

  1. Sonic the Hedgehog 9⬆ (20)

It’s a decent DTV, the best part is the Sonic music cover by John Baptiste (also Soul), it lasts a few seconds, at the end.

  1. The Midnight Sky 7⬇ (13)

Funny to see again a dad story in a sci-fi contemplative movie after Ad Astra. But this one is lacking the cinematography and the action scenes not to be bland. The finale with a reveal I quite liked should have been the emotional apex but I can’t interpret the final shot with other than a lack of humanity, really weird. The music by Alexandre Desplat is too much. I would like to like it, but I can’t recommend it. The ship and the spacewalk scene can be impressive for a space newcomer but it’s old hat.

  1. The Witches 5⬇ (11)

It was high on my list because of its amazing director: Robert Zemeckis.
But, sadly, it’s uneventful. Nothing memorable, the nice shots are predictable. The film has a lot of CGI characters and not so many are great.

  1. Bloodshot 14⬆ (30)

Vin Diesel as an actor, that’s not possible. We have to do something to stop this.
The film could be as stupid as GI Joe but it’s too damn serious. The sci-fi concept opens a lot of possible questions on the doubt between reality and real life but they just openly decide not to treat it. In result, it’s just an excuse to make a cheap 3D building scene.
The film is saved by some good character design and by Lamorne Morris, I love him in New Girl, joyfully playing a hacker fighting evil corporation stealing his open source code.

screenshot of Wonder Woman 1984
screenshot of Wonder Woman 1984
screenshot of Wonder Woman 1984
screenshot of Wonder Woman 1984

  1. Wonder Woman 1984 12 ➡ (24)

WW1984 is an overlong story about a sad, nostalgic, aloof and undying lady.
The dialogues are simpletons, the writing is terrible, the story is not told by actions, the four action sequences are dreadful, everything is over explained for anything but satisfying outcomes.
The fan service is not even enjoyable. And the film concludes on a tasteless stock-shot montage.
Strangely, the contemplative scenes are nice and the fish out of the water part can be funny. I got the feeling the director just wanted to do another film, about flying particularly.

screenshot of the film Birds of Prey
screenshot of the film Birds of Prey

  1. Birds of Prey: And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn 10⬇ (21)

Clearly silly but they are trying so so hard to be cool and edgy. Terribly lazy storytelling. Ugly. Lazy choreography. Bad music.

  1. Mulan 13⬇ (29)

Meh, nothing interesting here. A pale copy of a Chinese, Hong Kong martial film.