Peter Jackson

My Film Year in Review and my Film-related Goals of 2021

What with 2020 being what it was, my film-watching didn’t really take a hit. I watched 265 different films and of those films, 93 of them were rewatches. I think with everything going on I definitely enjoyed revisiting old favourites, where I knew the story so didn’t necessarily have to think too much. I did manage to see 16 films in the cinema in 2020, pre-pandemic and in between the various lockdowns the UK has had. I shared my Ten Favourite Films last month, in some ways it was hard to pick favourites as I felt I hadn’t seen many new UK releases what with everything else going on, but I really would recommend all the films I mentioned in that post.

I completed the 52 Films by Women challenge for both directors and screenwriters again, which was the fifth year in a row. I watched 57 films directed by women and 70 that were written by women.

I did make some headway with my unwatched DVDs and Blu-Rays! That’s thanks to the A-Z in April Challenge where I posted a film review for every letter of the alphabet. Now I have 63 unwatched physical films so that’s good. I did watch some of my Clint Eastwood and Alfred Hitchcock boxsets but I still have over 10 films in each boxset.

I didn’t spend much time watching TV series in 2020 (what a surprise!) but I did finally finish watching Shadowhunters and I was really happy with how they managed to wrap everything up. I also watched series two of The Alienist and His Dark Materials, Good Omens and Down to Earth with Zac Efron, which I all really enjoyed in different ways. My newest TV obsession is Cobra Kai, I watched the first two seasons in one weekend in September and fell in love with it, then I watched season three in two days at the beginning of the month and even got my mum into it. I love that show a whole lot.

Now it’s time for the fun actor and director stats I get from having a Letterboxd pro account.

My most watched actors of 2020 were:

I watched the Underworld series, the Karate Kid series and the Descendants trilogy for the first time, and I rewatched the entire MCU in April/May (and wrote about how that helped me grieve for my dad). I also rewatched The Chronicles of Narnia, the original Ocean’s trilogy, the original Pirates of the Caribbean trilogy (that was back in January and wow does that seem like a long time ago!), the Bourne series, the Jurassic Park/World films and The Lord of the Rings – so that explains most of the actors who make an appearance. I also made an effort to watch more of Anton Yelchin, Chadwick Boseman, Kristen Stewart and Gugu Mbatha-Raw’s filmographies.

My most watched directors definitely reflect the fact I watched a lot of different series. Kenny Ortega (Descendants), Steven Soderbergh (Ocean’s), the Russo brothers and James Gunn (MCU), Paul Greengrass (Bourne), Gore Verbinski (Pirates of the Caribbean), Steven Spielberg and Colin Trevorrow (Jurassic Park/World), John Avildsen (Karate Kid) and Peter Jackson (Lord of the Rings). It’s disappointing but not surprising that it’s just male directors as I didn’t watch many films made by the same woman.

So what are my film-related goals of 2021? I’ll continue to be a mood watcher, there’s loads of films of different genres in my Netflix and Amazon Prime queue to keep me busy as well as the physical films I have. I want to watch 52 Films by Women, both directors and screenwriters, again. I was considering to try and watch one Alfred Hitchcock film, one Clint Eastwood film, and one Studio Ghibli film (they’re all on Netflix and I’ve only ever seen Spirited Away and Howl’s Moving Castle) a week but we’re a week into 2021 and I haven’t watched any of them yet. But I do like that idea and hopefully going forward I’ll watch at least one of those types of films each week.

With regards to TV, I suppose what I’d really like to do in 2021 is finish all the Marvel Netflix series. I’ve watched up to and including season one of The Punisher so that means I have six series left to watch. Speaking of Marvel, I’m really looking forward to all the MCU shows coming to Disney+ this year, with WandVision starting next week. I do think I’m generally better at watching shows when they’re released weekly so I should be able to keep up with them. Otherwise, there are a load of series I’d like to try like The Madalorian, Dickinson and Ted Lasso but I won’t hold out too much hope with that one – I know what I’m like with TV.

Do you have any film or TV-related goals for 2021? If you have a Letterboxd account do let me know so I can follow you.

Thoughts on The Hobbit Trilogy

On Sunday I saw The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies with my mum and my gran and so comes to an end another Middle Earth trilogy. I really liked The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, in fact I liked it a lot more than I was expecting to as I’d previously been left feeling a bit “meh” about the previous two films. So the end of The Hobbit trilogy got me thinking about my relationship with the Middle Earth films and why I love The Lord of the Rings but (on the whole) find The Hobbit just alright.

First a bit of a history lesson about me and how I grew up watching The Lord of the Rings.

The Fellowship of the Ring was released when I was just ten years old and I don’t know why ten-year-old me wanted to see it really. I had never read the books and hadn’t even heard of them before the film was released but I had read other fantasy books so was interested in the genre. I went to the cinema with my mum and gran on Christmas Eve to watch it and while I do remember clinging to my mum’s arm when Frodo, Sam, Merry and Pippin were being chased by the Nazgûl (the sounds they made really scared me) and during the battle in the Mines of Moria (seriously, the cave troll was terrifying) I loved it. Merry and Pippin made me laugh, Arwen was awesome and Aragorn was instantly my favourite character. In fact all the characters were cool and (if they didn’t have their moment in the first film) went on to have the time to shine throughout the trilogy.

I’ve always loved The Lord of the Rings movies and have rewatched them many, many times over the past thirteen years – in fact I’m currently in the middle of watching the entire extended today.

So if I loved The Lord of the Rings so much why am I almost indifferent towards The Hobbit trilogy? They have the same director in Peter Jackson, pretty much the exact same scriptwriting team, the same filming location and no doubt so many of the same behind-the-scenes crew from the special effects to the costumes.

I think it can probably be broken down into five things.

1.
My age. I watched each Lord of the Rings film for the first time when I was ten, eleven and twelve so the trilogy was a big part of my childhood and probably helped shape some of my interests both in terms of genre and in characters and narrative. I’ve seen The Hobbit films at ages 21, 22 and 23 and have studied film and am probably a bit more critical of what I watch because of it. I still like fantasy a lot and still read books and watch films in that genre but maybe I’m not so easily impressed – or maybe there’s heavy nostalgia value attached to The Lord of the Rings so it can do no wrong in my eyes.

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