By Emily Briggs || Contributing Writer
Films have been missed the last six months since COVID-19 hit the United States and closed theatres nationwide. As someone who loves to go see movies in the theatre any chance I get, it’s been odd not stepping foot in a theatre, getting my popcorn and candy, and sitting through previews to watch the year’s newest films. Compared to 2019, the list of the top ten grossing films of 2020 is more than lacking. Last year was jam-packed with blockbusters like Avengers Endgame, Joker, Toy Story 4, and more. Meanwhile in 2020, the list features Bad Boys for Life, Sonic the HedgeHog, and Birds of Prey as the top three films of the year. And two of those films came out before the pandemic!
The film industry may seem lackluster in 2020, but there have been a few hidden gems to have made appearances this year without gaining as much traction as they would have had in theatres.
Right before COVID-19 struck, The Invisible Man debuted in February. In the film, Cecilia (Elizabeth Moss) has escaped her abusive boyfriend, but after he commits suicide, she notices strange things start to happen to her months later. No one believes her story, so she must fight back against the “invisible man” to survive. Going into this film, my expectations were low because Universal’s previous films tied to their “Dark Universe” (The Mummy and Dracula Untold) were all busts. However, by the end of the movie, my opinion changed. Elizabeth Moss’s performance was excellent and added to the overall quality of the film, and the horror/thriller aspect of the film was not too overwhelming for me, as someone who can’t handle jumpscares but likes a good suspenseful film.
Another February release was Birds of Prey. If you’re craving some superhero action, this is the movie for you, although its star is technically a supervillain. Follow Harley Quinn around Gotham as she tries to get over her most recent breakup with the Joker and accidentally attracts some unwanted criminal attention in the process. This movie is colorful and fun: a good movie to watch when bored.
Sonic the Hedgehog, ANOTHER February release, surprised audiences by actually being a decent movie. Watch as Sonic teams up with a town sheriff to get back his gold rings and defeat the evil Dr. Robotnik. This film is a miracle in the making, though starting as a disaster waiting to happen, but Paramount pulled it together for their fans. After the audience bashed the original trailer for the horrible design of Sonic, Paramount delayed the film from the original 2019 release to redesign Sonic’s look and give the audience what they wanted. Audiences respected and appreciated the studio’s decision, which paid off in the end with the film being an enjoyable watch for all ages.
Onward, Pixar’s latest film, came out in March on Disney+. It was nice to see an original story by Pixar since so many of their recent films have been sequels. The movie follows the story of two brothers in a world full of magic who go on an adventure to find their dad. The film was full of heartfelt moments that the whole family can connect to and enjoy.
Scoob came out in May and saw mixed reviews from audiences, as the Mystery Gang returns to the big screen focusing on Shaggy and Scooby’s backstory before joining Fred, Daphne, and Velma to solve mysteries and fight crime. The film meddles with the classic Scooby-Doo we all know and love, which has left audiences to either love the film or hate it. Either way, it’s a fun, wacky, lighthearted movie that the whole family can enjoy as long as you keep an open mind to the changes.
Although not originally a film debut, Hamilton came out on Disney+ in July, bringing everyone back into the Hamilton hype of 2016. People all over the world could experience the musical in its entirety for the first time but now in HD! The original Broadway cast is excellent, and it’s definitely worth a watch!
All in all, 2020 hasn’t been too bad of a year for films considering the circumstances. In the age of streaming services, films no longer have to premiere in theatres to draw audiences, and more movies are still coming out this year. Mulan, Wonder Woman 1984, Dune, West Side Story, and plenty more are yet to come out this year. But whether they’ll be worth the watch is yet to say.
Junior Emily Briggs is a Contributing Writer. Her email is email@example.com.