Saturday, 5 January 2013

More Things about 2012

Entertainment Theme of the Year: Hype and Hype-Backlash
2012 featured a large number of big projects, which in turn caused a large amount of fan buzz surrounding them even before they hit theatres or television screens. Dark Knight Rises, Prometheus, Legend of Korra, the Hobbit, Brave, Cabin in the Woods... All were met with, we shall say, mixed reactions from the public. People either loved them or hated them, with seemingly few people taking the middle ground on the subject. This isn't to say that it was a universal thing for all of the Big Projects of the year, Hunger Games and Amazing Spider-Man both were fairly evenly liked by both critics and audiences, but in comparison to previous years it seemed that highly anticipated releases were met with disappointment from a lot of people. 

Some of the time it was because of the trappings of the genre or things added to pad the running time (the Hobbit), sometimes it was because the story had some kind of glaring flaws (Dark Knight Rises and Prometheus) and sometimes it was due to following on from a project that was so beloved by fans that a lot of people were hypercritical of whatever came afterwards (DKR again and Legend of Korra). Either way, there were a lot of TV shows and movies that people either loved or flat out despised last year.

11 Favourite Films of 2012
- Chronicle
- Cockneys. vs. Zombies
- the Avengers
- Dark Knight Rises
- Hunger Games
- Argo
- Brave
- the Woman in Black
- Looper
- Amazing Spider-Man
- Paranorman

Unnecessary Remake of 2012: Red Dawn
A piece of hilariously over the top 1980s propaganda, the original Red Dawn used a combined Soviet/Cuban invasion of the continental United States as an analogy for the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. It was very much a product of its time... and the remake is sadly a product of our's. Now it was a tiresome example of Michael Bayish uberpatriotism, all Uh RA and no depth. The post-production editting of the remake's invading army from the Chinese to the... highly illogical choice of the North Koreans, the science fictiony installation of an electromagnetic pulse weapon to justify how they're able to get as far as they did, rather than the original's use of "real" military strategies and the use of tactical nuclear missiles etc. The fact that the film was held back after it was completed to capitalise upon the stardom of Chris Hemsworth doesn't exactly help matters either.

Runner-Up: Total Recall
The 1990 original was a classic, in so far as kind of daft Arnie vehicles can be judged, and although the remake is technically a new adaption based upon the same short story, it doesn't really carry itself as well as the original movie. Even if the Arnie version didn't exist prior to this it wouldn't be strong enough to stand alone, and as such the brief in-jokes to the 1990 version come off as kind of limp pandering to people who don't really want to see the movie in the first place.

Necessary Remake of 2012: the Amazing Spider-Man
Not all remakes and are necessarily bad moves upon the part of the creators, I'm a big fan of the Hugo Weaving Wolfman movie for example, and in this case I can happily say that I'm kind of glad that the Spider-Man franchise was remade. For all the success of the original Spider-Man trilogy (or at least the first two), there was really enough wrong with them to make them not exactly up there in the rewatchablity stakes. Toby Maguire's Peter Parker was kind of a creeper (even before his antics in Spider-Man 3), for example, while Kirsten Dunst's Mary Jane managed to be an annoying damsel in distress who meandered through the three films, while giving us no reason to suggest why Peter likes her so much beyond her looks.

No so in the Marc Webb film the Amazing Spider-Man! Peter Parker has a personality, and not just a personality, but a likable one as well! The female lead, Emma Stone's Gwen Stacy, is also likable, is capable in her own right and actually assists in saving the day! Relationships are built upon! The villain has a somewhat logical explanation for what he's doing! People act like human beings instead of pantomime characters! A big step up from the Raimi trilogy, and you may disagree with me, but this is just my opinion.

Favourite Computer Games of 2012
- Max Payne 3
- Dishonored
- Hitman: Absolution

Best Horror Comedy of the Year: Cockneys vs. Zombies
A British movie that somehow managed to sneak under most people's radar, mostly because it was made by a bunch of people involved with Torchwood and only had a limited release in cinemas. But despite this, CvZ actually manages to be a fun, silly take on the genre while also giving things a unique spin of its own. The zombies in this case come from a tomb from around the time of the Great Fire of London (implicitly started to contain the last zombie outbreak in 1666) who start an outbreak after some workmen accidentally break it open and go inside to look for buried treasure. An entertaining spoof of both the Guy Richie brand of London-based crime movies as well as the zombie genre, the sense of humour could almost place it within the same universe as Shaun of the Dead, albeit in a different part of London. Just be glad that Danny Dyer turned down the chance to make this movie, on the basis that "films with versus in the title automatically fail", considering what his last zombie "comedy" was like... 

Runner-Up: Grabbers
An Irish monster movie released at the end of December, Grabbers is effectively Tremors to CVZ's Shaun of the Dead, and deals with a remote island off the coast of Ireland having to repel an invasion of blood-drinking alien squid. Squid that are deathly allergic to alcohol, so the islanders resort to getting absolutely plastered in order to survive until help comes. Silly in places, but has bizarrely good special effects, a likable cast and genuinely funny moments to make this a really good film to watch. Recommended.

Films I'm Looking Forward To In 2013
- Iron Man 3
- Man of Steel
- Frozen
- Maleficent
- Pacific Rim

Most Unexpected Cameo in a Comic - Mary Poppins, League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: Century 2009

Computer Games I'm Looking Forward To In 2013
- Bioshock Infinite
- Tomb Raider
- Grand Theft Auto V
- the Last of Us

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