The films of 2018 have had some hugely memorable moments in them. From exciting action to heartbreaking dialogue, they have shown that the cinema is still the best place to get a huge range of emotional entertainment. Here, I’m going to reflect on twenty of the most memorable things that have happened in 2018 films.
Let’s start out with a huge spoiler for the end of ‘Infinity War’ (although anyone who hasn’t seen it by now is clearly not bothered). In a bold move for the biggest Movie Franchise, the Marvel Cinematic Universe killed off more than half its main characters. I mean…WHAT? What a way to end a film on a cliff hanger! Unfortunately, with it being a franchise with sequels already confirmed, we know that certain characters will survive. But still, what a bold move on Marvel’s part and a defining moment of 2018’s cinema.
Another great end to a superhero film is the mid credits sting from ‘Deadpool 2’, in which Deadpool shoots Ryan Reynolds in the head before he can make Green Lantern. It’s always funny when Ryan Reynolds mocks his regrettable DC film, but to do it in such a gory fashion was genius. Deadpool also featured perhaps the funniest, yet simplest, use of CGI this year, by giving Ryan Reynolds baby legs. Such a disturbing sight, yet so hilarious.
To continue looking at blockbusters, it’s only fair that I look at some of the best CGI sequences in films. For all its (many) flaws, ‘Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom’ did have one redeeming feature; that Eruption Evacuation scene! A stunning use of CGI created an utterly realistic and gripping chase scene where the human characters ran away from dinosaurs, who in turn were running away from a giant volcano erupting.
Another incredible use of CGI was the thrilling car chase that opens ‘Ready Player One’. In my mind, any film that shows a DeLorean swerving around a T-Rex immediately wins massive points, but when that is part of a huge sequence which also features Night Rider, King Kong, The A Team truck and countless others, just WOW. It created a stunning visual feast for the eyes that immediately introduced the audience to the crazy pop-culture world of the film. Having said that, ‘Ready Player One’ had an even better scene, set in The Shining’s Overlook Hotel. Perfectly recreated, it re-enacted the classic horror film with a stunning level of detail.
Moving on from CGI, we now look to the in-CREDIBLE practical action of ‘Mission: Impossible Fallout’. There are countless scenes that could have been chosen here as the most memorable (the HALO jump, the bathroom fight, the Paris motorcycles, the helicopter chase, etc.) but considering the amount of press it received, I personally have to say that the rooftop chase across London remains the most memorable. The scene was meant to be a small piece that got Cruise from one scene to another, but when he broke his ankle leaping between buildings and stalled filming for 6 weeks, it became an iconic moment that changed the whole action sequence. Culminating in a stunning helicopter shot on top of the TATE Modern, it was a thrilling end to the second act of 2018’s best action film.
Let’s now look at some of the funniest scenes of the year. Right off the bat, one of the funniest moments is a major spoiler for the film ‘Sorry to Bother You’. If you’ve seen it, then you know that around two-third’s of the way through the film, the narrative suddenly takes the most bizarrely twisted turn, and it was one of the most hilariously weird things that has happened this year. A very brave and confident move from director Boots Riley.
Perhaps the only funny part of ‘The Happytime Murders’, the deeply unfunny adult Muppet film, was a sex scene. In a similar fashion to 2004’s ‘Team America’, two puppets begin having gratuitous sex all over an office before silly string (yes, silly string) covered the room. It was truly shocking and pretty disgusting…and yet, so deeply funny. Perhaps the fact it was the first (and only) time the film got a laugh that made it seem funnier than it was, but boy was it a memorable scene.
While we’re laughing at questionable films, it’s only fair that we have a bonus round for Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. Some of the funniest moments in his films must have been unintentional, and these include my quote of the year from ‘Rampage’, in which Jeffrey Dean Morgan’s character introduces himself by saying “when science shits the bed, I’m the guy they get to clean the sheets”. Other hilarious “Rock” moments from 2018 include climbing a skyscraper with Duct Tape and fist-bumping a giant albino Gorilla. As Mark Kermode said, it’s ridiculous, but I’d like to see Daniel Day Lewis pull off a scene like that.
Moving onto the power of drama, we find the heist scene from ‘American Animals’. It’s rare that a film gets praise for making the viewer feel physically ill, but that is exactly what happened with American Animals. The anticipation of the scene, mixed with the characters performances and the disturbing sound design created a memorable nauseating moment that perfectly summed up the guilt and fear our characters felt.
‘BlacKkKlansman’ was equally a film that revelled in making the viewer uncomfortable. Multiple moments of disgusting racism juxtaposed by the pure stupidity of those standing for it were used to show the disgraceful position that America was (and still very much is) in. The most uncomfortable watch, however, was the KKK ceremony and subsequent banquet scene, where all the members gathered together in celebration of hate. Chillingly memorable but utterly horrible.
The stunning ending to ‘First Man’ was another powerful piece of film-making. The scene everyone was waiting for, the moon landing, was recreated with a stunning level of technical detail. When viewed in IMAX, the top and bottom of the screen melted away as soon as Neil stepped outside the space craft, revealing the huge black expanse that greeted him on his groundbreaking expedition.
Elsewhere in drama, we find some stunning musical scenes. Firstly, the opening number in ‘A Star Is Born’ featured an amazing rock song, “Black Eyes”, sung brilliantly by Bradley Cooper. Intelligently shot, perfectly sung and with the kick-drum hitting you in the chest, it made you feel like you were at a rock concert and perfectly introduced you to the film.
While mentioning rock concerts, however, one scene stands out, and obviously that’s the Live Aid sequence from ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’. Such powerful, raw emotion bleeds from this scene as we see Freddie Mercury put on what is arguably still his most iconic performance. Rami Malek’s Oscar-worthy portrayal of the Queen singer perfectly captured the stage presence of this music legend.
Concerning scenes that take place in front of a live audience, who could forget the horrific leg break from the start of ‘Red Sparrow’. The sound of bone crunching, mixed with the disturbing image of Jennifer Lawrence lying on the floor, a beautiful ballerina with an utterly mangled leg, was a brilliant way to open up the film and introduce the intense violence to come.
Another intense opening came from ‘Sicario 2: Soldado’. The camera gently pans through a supermarket, the shoppers minding their own business, when suddenly three suicide bombers take their positions. Two of them explode, with a third armed to go off as a mother and her child beg the bomber to let them leave first. After a brief moment, the bomber detonates the bomb, and all three are blown away. Deeply troubling and utterly realistic, this scene was unsettling and introduced the darkness of the film perfectly.
Perhaps the darkest of opening’s, however, is that of ‘A Quiet Place’. A family walk through a silent world, never making a noise due to the fact they are surrounded by aliens that hunt by sound. Suddenly, John Krasinski’s son turns on an aeroplane toy, and in an instant we see the family get torn apart by a tragic death of a child. It was a chilling scene that immediately showed the audience the very real stakes of making a noise.
To brighten up the opening’s section we have the delightful Lily James and her song “When I Kissed The Teacher” from the start of ‘Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again’. What better way to throw the audience into the camp glamour than have Lily James strut her stuff in 1970’s flares, before riding her bike followed by hundreds of extras in graduation gowns.
One of the best uses of camera work in cinema this year was the one shot in Martin McDonagh’s ‘Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri’. An enraged Sam Rockwell, racist cop extraordinaire, storms across the road to a local publishing agency, and proceeds to throw the worker out the window. In the same shot, we follow him back downstairs to where the worker is lying on the ground before Rockwell continues to beat him up. It’s a brutal shot that gives an intense insight into Rockwell’s character.
Finally, and another huge technical achievement, is from Peter Jackson’s ‘They Shall Not Grow Old’. His team painstakingly restored over 100 hours of footage from The Imperial War Museum. Their restoration process included cleaning the footage, making it 4K quality, adding in extra frames to make the motion fluid, adding colour and even using lip readers to work out what the people were saying. It was a truly stunning technical achievement that all paid off around 15 minutes into the film. Up until that point, we’d been watching a small black and white square with old fashioned footage. Then, suddenly, the square boarders move away to reveal a huge and brilliantly coloured picture of the war. It’s a scene that words can’t describe, but it really evokes the true meaning of what it must have been like to have fought in The Great War.
Well, there we are, these are my thoughts on the twenty most memorable moments in film this year. To recap in alphabetical order, my selections are:
- American Animals (Heist Scene)
- BlacKkKlansman (The KKK Ceremony)
- Bohemian Rhapsody (Live Aid)
- Deadpool 2 (Baby Legs)
- First Man (Lunar Landing)
- The Happytime Murders (Silly-String Sex Scene)
- Avengers: Infinity War (Avengers turn to dust)
- Jurassic Park: Fallen Kingdom (Eruption Evacuation)
- Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again (When I Kissed the Teacher)
- Mission: Impossible – Fallout (London Rooftop Chase)
- A Quiet Place (A Noisy Opening Death)
- Rampage (Quote of the Year)
- Ready Player One (Enter The Shining)
- Red Sparrow (Ballet Leg Break)
- Sicario 2: Soldado (Supermarket Bombing)
- Skyscraper (The Rock climbs with Duct Tape)
- Sorry To Bother You (SPOILERIFIC Twist)
- A Star Is Born (Black Eyes)
- They Shall Not Grow Old (Entering the War)
- Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (Sam Rockwell’s One Shot)
Obviously as with any list my opinions will probably be different tomorrow, and I have almost certainly left out something vital that should be in here. I’d love to hear your thoughts on what I missed and what you agree with. Let me know in the comments, and I’ll see you tomorrow for my final post of 2018, The Best and Worst of 2018 in Film!