Well, there goes another year. And as far as movies are concerned, good riddance. With the occasional exception, it was one to forget.
My favourite of 2011 was the heart-pounding mixed martial arts film, Warrior. The plot was your basic clichéd sports movie, crossed with an emotional family drama that wasn’t the most original, but it worked brilliantly because of fine direction, inspired casting, and the best fight scenes anywhere, ever. It was so good, it almost made me want to work out. And any film that makes my wife cry uncontrollably and punch me with excitement at the same time, clearly has something going for it.
So what’s in store for 2012? Well, as I’m pretty sure I’ve been writing at this time every year since this column was born, it includes a hell of a lot of déjà vu. Sequels, prequels, rehashes, reboots, and more superheroes than you can shake an angry, green, radioactive spider’s utility belt at. These, and the toys that always follow in their trail, will all arrive soon at a town near you, available for the price of the arm and leg you didn’t lose last year.
Spider-Man returns this year, with Andrew Garfield stepping into Tobey Maguire’s tights, which I’m sure will look lovely in 3D. Batman is back, too, Christian Bale taking one last gallop around the block in The Dark Knight Rises. At the other end of the scale, Nicolas Cage takes on the Devil again next month as the hellish renegade Johnny Blaze in Ghostrider: Spirit of Vengeance.
Staying with the freaks, The Avengers will kick off the summer, finally bringing Hulk, Thor, Iron Man and Captain America together, and finally bringing Samuel L Jackson out of the closing credits of other movies. They’ll be joined soon after by Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones, getting reacquainted with black suits and aliens in the long-awaited (by some, I’m sure) Men in Black III. And if that’s not enough freakiness to be getting on with, Sacha Baron Cohen will turn up as The Dictator, which I hope is better than what they’ve been showing in the trailers.
Also showing in Sequel Town, Wrath Of The Titans, with Sam Worthington as Perseus again, back to give some more mythical monsters an epic kicking. The American Pie gang will return for an epic attempt at the gross-out gag count in American Reunion, though they’ll have some competition in the moron race because here’s Scary Movie 5, coming up on the inside. Yes, we live in interesting times.
Ah but the boys in Hollywood know we haven’t had enough yet, which is why we’ll also be treated to Taken 2, The Expendables 2, GI Joe 2, Madagascar 3, Halloween 3D, The Chainsaw Massacre 3D, Step Up 4 and Ice Age 4. There’ll also be another episode of the Bourne series, with Jeremy Renner taking over leading man duties from Matt Damon. And lest we forget, The Twilight Saga comes to an end with Breaking Dawn Part II, breaking the hearts of young women all over the world, and bringing many grown adults to tears for somewhat different reasons.
Beloved TV shows have always been fertile ground for the movie moguls, and this year is no different. The old high school detective show 21 Jump Street gets the big screen makeover this Spring, starring Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum. Hill co-wrote the script, so expect the old show’s drama to get a large shot of comedy, or something resembling it. What to expect from The Three Stooges is anybody’s guess but I fear it will be tears, and not from laughing.
Fairy tales have been mined for big screen gold, too, never more cleverly than in the Shrek series. The big green guy is not on duty this summer but Snow White is in action in Snow White And The Huntsman, with vampire chick Kristen Stewart as the heroine and Charlize Theron as the Evil Queen.
Not to be outdone, Jack The Giant Killer climbs a large beanstalk and does battle with, well, some giants. Bryan Singer (The Usual Suepects, X-Men) is in the director’s chair, so it might just be a blast.
Fairy tales, myth, horror and history all collide this summer in Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, which presents the great man not just as president and emancipator, but as the American Van Helsing. And did you know that vampires were the real the reason the Civil War was fought? Neither did I but I’m looking forward to learning the truth.
If that’s too much to handle, then Steven Spielberg will offer up a more traditional version of the man’s story in Lincoln, set for release in December and starring Daniel Day Lewis in the title role. I can’t wait to see that one, either.
But the film I’m most looking forward to in 2012 is Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit, which you could call a Lord Of The Rings prequel but you wouldn’t feel right about saying it. The trailers have provided many goosebumps, and it’s going to be a long wait till the middle of December.
Then again, if the Mayans were right, we won’t be watching many more movies after that one, so we should enjoy the time while we have it.
And have a happy new year.