So it’s been a slow couple of weeks movie wise, hence the lack of opinions being splattered across here. I saw This Means War last week and it was actually quite good, but not the sort of film I could have a rambling opinion of. So I got to thinking that I wish all the movies I want to see this year were coming out sooner so they would end this cinematic monotony and spice up this blog! As I had that thought I could already hear the masses crying: “but what are these films that you’re so looking forward to Tom?” and who am I to deny the people what they want?! While there are many, for the sake of length I shall limit myself to some highlights. So here they are, in order of release date: the movies of 2012 that I am looking forward to and why you should be too!
The Hunger Games
Release date: March 22nd
I am arriving very late to the Hunger Games party, but having recently read the first book in the trilogy I am very interested in the upcoming film adaptation. For those of you who don’t know, the basic premise of The Hunger Games is that it is a dystopian, science fiction, action story (for the uninitiated, the last five words immediately spell: awesome!) set in the relatively newly established country of Panem, formerly the United States of America. A gluttonous “Capitol” presides over twelve Districts, and following an attempted uprising the Districts must each donate a young girl and a young boy between the ages of twelve to eighteen to compete in the “Hunger Games”, a televised fight to the death; last one standing wins precious resources for their district.
The book was quite good, and it felt like it would make for an interesting movie. I suppose the main reason for my intrigue in the film is that large parts of the novel involve the lead character Katniss being by herself in the large arena, with only her internal monologue guiding the reader, and I don’t know how that will translate to film. Will they literally have the internal monologue playing ala Dexter or will it be a more WALL-E affair and convey so much story and character through very little. I hope for the latter as the former may result in cheesiness. And finally, I felt in the novel that the power and confronting nature of the fact that the main characters are children who are murdering each other was downplayed more than I would have liked in the book; so I am hoping that the visceral nature of film will aid on this front.
Likelihood of awesomeness: Fairly likely
Release date: April 26th
It feels like it’s been a lot longer than three and a half years since that jaw dropping reveal at the end of Iron Man back in 2008, but after five movies worth of anticipation, The Avengers is here and its here next month! Now I was initially very skeptical of this film. With Iron Man‘s sub-par final act, The Incredible Hulk being largely forgettable, Iron Man 2‘s sub-par final act, Thor’s unbelievable romantic sub-plot and Captain America‘s unbearable amount of cheesiness; the scale and ambition of this film was seeming to becoming so huge that there was absolutely no possible way that it would be successful and live up to the hype. I’m not even a huge Avengers fanboy who has probably been wanting this to happen for the last thirty years and I was extremely skeptical of the hype. But then I learned a new piece of information. A piece of information that was only six words long and it put my fears at rest. “Written and directed by: Joss Whedon.”
And with that one beautiful statement, no one has any need to worry because if there’s anyone who can tackle the challenge that is The Avengers, it’s Joss Whedon. Because the trick to making this Avengers movie successful is to not only deliver huge spectacle and action (which it clearly will, watch the above trailer) but to also add depth to the interactions of these larger than life heroes, and this is Joss Whedon’s strong point. Anyone familiar with his work with shows like Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel will know that if there is one thing Joss is good at it’s working with superhero ensembles. He understands how they would work together, how they would fight together and sometimes with each other and how all of this would fit their psychology. Couple that talent with the fact that he is an amazing dialogue writer, then we are in for one hell of a ride come April 26th.
Likelihood of awesomeness: Guaranteed
Release date: June 7th
Ridley Scott has not made a science fiction movie in a long time, the last one he made was that awful movie Blade Runner (that’s right, I said it!) but before that he made another science fiction film. You may be familiar with it, it was a film that defined a genre and is still considered one of the greatest science fiction movies of all time. I am, of course, referring to his masterpiece: Alien. That had me sold on this film, the fact that Ridley Scott was returning to science fiction plus it had some interesting stuff going on in the early promotional pictures and posters. But then the trailer I linked above was released and suddenly I knew that this film is a prequel to Alien…
Now nine times out of ten that would make me (and many others) very apprehensive. Prequels usually never go down very well and are often seen as blemishes on the original film’s legacy. The classic example of this would be Star Wars and the prequel trilogy that while was passable as trashy sci-fi was not to the calibre of the original trilogy. However, Prometheus is something different. Ridley Scott has said that Prometheus is not a direct prequel to Alien. They do take place in the same fictional universe, and the two films are connected, but the events of Prometheus are not related to the Alien story. The best example I can think of for what he is talking about is that of Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit, as in that The Hobbit is a prequel to Lord of the Rings, however the only connection between their stories (other than certain characters obviously) is that during The Hobbit, Bilbo Baggins stumbles across the Ring. The Ring isn’t the focus of the story, but it is an important part of the follow up story of Lord of the Rings. I have the impression Prometheus is the same, in that it will involve the planet LV4-26 and by looks of things will involve the crashed spaceship from Alien but the story itself will be about something different, but will result in those two things occurring. Anyway, I’m excited!
Likelihood of awesomeness: Very likely
The Dark Knight Rises
Release date: July 19th
The next installment in the Christian Bale Batman films also seems to be suffering from same problem The Avengers is suffering from: the amount of hype and anticipation behind is almost surely going to make it collapse under its own weight! The Dark Knight back in 2008 was received as the greatest movie of all time by critics and movie goers alike, and combine that with it being the eternal legacy of the late Heath Ledger with his inspiring portrayal of The Joker, and you have one hell of a movie to follow up. I remember thinking back when The Dark Knight Rises was announced that they should have just quit while they’re ahead, especially since I could see no way in which the villains of the third installment (admit it, Batman is all about the villains) Bane and (maybe villain?) Catwoman could live up to Ledger’s Joker. But then promotional material started to emerge as well as some interviews with the people involved and finally the above trailer and then I suddenly remembered what I should of remembered all along. Forget “dystopian, science fiction, action story” and “written and directed by: Joss Whedon”, the true spelling of brilliance is made up of just two words:
It’s no secret to anyone who regularly reads my posts that I am a huge fan of Christopher Nolan, but the man has proven many a time that he is the very god of the medium of film. He can tell a compelling narrative backwards (Memento); he can pack a film full of little intricacies that lead to a mind blowing revelation (The Prestige); and he can handle a complex concept in a coherent manner (Inception). The man has consistently established that we should have complete faith in him to deliver an amazing cinematic experience.
Not everything I have seen about this film has been perfect. The one that sticks out for me is Bane. Don’t get me wrong, I am very much looking forward to Tom Hardy’s Bane and I am very sure he will be amazing, but I am being cautious. My initial concern was that the mask they have put on his face, while awesome looking, basically hides all the main parts of his face that would convey character. This may result in a wooden performance. But then I thought: “but Darth Vader had no moving features and he was a fantastic character, mainly through his vocal work!” so that led me to think that it was Bane’s voice that would save him. But then the critics came back from the famous six minute preview saying “it was great, but couldn’t understand a word Bane said!” And the first time I saw the trailer above, I didn’t hear a word he said. It was on my third viewing that I finally caught the awesome line: “when Gotham is ashes, you have my permission to die.” Hopefully this will be fixed, and if it is, then this film will almost certainly be amazing!
Likelihood of awesomeness: 95% guaranteed!
Surprised? So was I a little when I realised I was actually anticipating the final film in The Twilight Saga. But my reasons for anticipating it are very different to those that all the “Twi-hards” have (along with all their other annoying, pre-pubescent/lonely-housewifery tendencies). For starters, my review of Breaking Dawn Part 1 is the highest viewed review on my entire blog EVER, so clearly it’s something that you readers like to hear me talk about. Or maybe you don’t but the point is I feel I am at my most entertaining when I passionately hate something rather than enthusiastically love it. But there is another reason I want to see the final Twilight (aside from the obvious that the whole thing will be finally over and we can hope the fans will be so depressed that they shall spend the rest of their days in tearful isolation where I won’t have to hear about them!) and that is that, SPOILER ALERT, Bella turned into a vampire at the end of the last movie.
I don’t know about you, but I’ve been waiting for that to happen for ages! I think it’s the shot in the arm that the series needed to actually become interesting. I haven’t read the final books, so clearly there are people who can tell me I’m already wrong, but I’m really hoping for some actual drama to occur in this next film revolving around Bella struggling with an insatiable blood-lust and trying desperately not to become a serial killer that would mean she’d have to be put down by her husband. But knowing Stephanie Meyer and all her crappiness, I’m most likely gearing up for disappointment. Just hopefully I’ll be angry enough to write another good rant about it.
Likelihood of awesomeness: Hilariously unlikely
Well I hope you all enjoyed this insight into my anticipatory mind. See you next time!