With 2012 just days away, here are fifteen things you have to look forward to in the coming year.
The Dark Knight Rises: This one is an easy pick. The final installment in Christopher Nolan’s reboot of the Batman franchise is pretty much a guaranteed mega-hit both at the box office and in the critic’s column. Warner Bros. has been shy with promotional material, a method that has increased anticipation for what will be, for many people, the film of the year.
Drive Reunion: Drive director Nicolas Winding Refn and star Ryan Gosling, who got along famously while making Drive, team up again in Refn’s Bangkok-set crime thriller Only God Forgives. Revolving around a British gangster seeking revenge on a Thai ex-cop, the movie already has Gosling in intensive Muay Thai boxing training. The duo’s success on Drive and Gosling’s across-the-board popularity should catapult the flick into the spotlight. Drive will also appear on the radar yet again next year in literary form, with James Sallis’s sequel to the book that inspired the film, Driver, coming to shelves in April.
Bizarre Adaptations: In the new year, we’ll be blessed with not one, but two, “adaptations” of completely un-adaptable sources: one, a board game, the other, a pregnancy guide. Battleship and What to Expect When You’re Expecting will hit theaters with, what I’d presume will be, little more than a whisper. The latter is packed with celebrities (Jennifer Lopez, Cameron Diaz, Chris Rock) and is “based” on the question-and-answer book that has promoted anxiety and paranoia, and a little bit of comfort, in pregnant women everywhere for decades—which just means that the movie is about pregnancy. Ladies who are expecting: put down those books and get over to the local theater! Bring any already-born children with you and you won’t have to buy them more board games; they can just watch real battleships (battling aliens?) on the big screen!
Prometheus: Ridley Scott’s sci-fi flick Prometheus is one of the most-anticipated films of the year. Originally conceived as a prequel to Scott’s Alien, the movie now has no direct connections to any of the characters or storylines of the Alien franchise, and instead focuses on the mythology within the Alien universe as a whole (including the origins of mankind). The movie stars a plethora of talented, well-liked actors: Sweden’s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo’s Noomi Rapace, Michael Fassbender, Charlize Theron, and Guy Pearce, and is written by Alien scribe David Giler with Lost writer Damon Lindelof. Out in June, Prometheus is sure to top the charts.
More 3-D: 2012 kicks off with the 3-D upconversion of the much-beloved 1991 Beauty and the Beast, and if the Lion King 3-D release is any indicator, this Disney classic will definitely rake in the big bucks. Other 3-D upconversions of old classics to appear this coming year include Titanic, Top Gun, Raiders of the Lost Ark, and Star Wars Episode 1 – The Phantom Menace. And of course, expect to see many new releases promote their pricey 3-D showings. From kids’ flicks like Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax and Madagascar 3 to Texas Chainsaw Massacre 3D to Prometheus, movies continue charging down the 3-D path, despite the mediocre success of 3-D films in the past year.
Twisted Fairytales: Fables are in (check out TV’s Once Upon a Time and Grimm), and in 2012, they hit the big screen in a big way. Two Snow White adaptations, Rupert Sanders’s gritty Snow White and the Huntsman (Kristen Stewart, Charlize Theron) and Tarsem Singh’s whimsical Mirror Mirror (Julia Roberts, Nathan Lane, Lily Collins) are set to compete with one another mid-2012. Bryan Singer’s Jack the Giant Killer, based on the classic British story of mythical creatures and damsels in distress starring Nicholas Hoult (About a Boy, A Single Man). And the Hansel and Gretel fable gets a little darker with Jeremy Renner and Gemma Arterton as the vengeful siblings in Tommy Wirkola’s Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters. In perhaps the biggest departure from the source material, Ben Hibbon’s Pan spins J.M. Barrie’s classic Peter Pan into a cat-and-mouse chase in which Pan is the villain and Hook is the police captain hunting him. Add in Disney’s jump on the Snow White bandwagon (The Order of the Seven), two Little Mermaid projects (Mermaid and The Little Mermaid), the rumored Angelina Jolie flick Malificent, and Guillermo del Toro’s whispered-of live-action adaptation of “Beauty and the Beast” all on the table this coming year, 2012 will be a fairytale year.
The Avengers: This May, Marvel’s superhero franchise plans will come to fruition. Fanboy (and -girl favorite) Joss Whedon is at the helm of the flick, after his sideline involvement with the last two Marvel Universe installments (Captain America: The First Avenger and Thor). The Avengers will bring together Iron Man, the Hulk, Thor, and Captain America when they are recruited by the S.H.I.E.L.D. agency to save the world. Marvel, Disney, Whedon, Robert Downey Jr, Jeremy Renner, Scarlett Johansson, Chris Hemsworth, Chris Evans, Samuel L. Jackson, Gwyneth Paltrow, Mark Ruffalo, and over four years of hype…in case you hadn’t already heard, this one is going to be huge.
Abraham Lincoln: The 16th President makes two very different appearances on the big screen in 2012. The summer will bring the Tim Burton-produced and Timur Bekmambetov-directed adaptation Abraham Lincoln: The Vampire Hunter, in which Lincoln indulges in his passion for hunting his least two favorite things: vampires and slave owners. The President returns in time for Oscar season with Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln, a more traditional biopic starring Daniel Day-Lewis as Lincoln. Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Tommy Lee Jones, James Spader, and Sally Field round out the cast of this big budget, big buzz film.
Franchise Revivals: When Bourne franchise director Paul Greengrass decided to part ways with the films, star Matt Damon stepped out as well, leaving a gaping hole in plans for a fourth movie, and little has been heard about Bourne since he last appeared on the big screen in 2007. Now, with Jeremy Renner stepping in as a new title character in The Bourne Legacy, the franchise is alive yet again. Other franchises that haven’t been heard from in a while will also hit theaters this coming year, including a third installment of Men in Black with Will Smith, and the original cast of 1999’s American Pie will return in April for American Reunion—both will be for better or for worse or both.
The Hunger Games: This March, Jennifer Lawrence will enter a ring of death in front of thousands of packed movie theaters, to the sound of a lot of money being made and a lot of readers reacting dramatically (probably positively, considering the trailer, the early buzz, and the fact that the book’s author Suzanne Collins co-wrote the screenplay). It will top the charts for more than a few weeks this coming spring.
Jeremy Renner: Ending 2011 on a high note with his role in the well-received Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol (currently no. 1 at the box office and on many critics’ Top 10 lists), Renner has a busy 2012 ahead of him. Even though the actor has had impressive parts in the past few years (most notably in Best Picture The Hurt Locker), they have been primarily in smaller films. In 2012, Renner takes off where Matt Damon left off in The Bourne Legacy, stars in the anticipated The Avengers as Hawkeye, transforms into Hansel in Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters, and plays a magician opposite Marion Cotillard in a currently untitled James Gray (Two Lovers) project. With all these highly-publicized flicks on the conveyer belt, Renner is sure to be headed to the top of the moviegoer’s radar in 2012.
Django Unchained: Quentin Tarantino’s Western Django Unchained has an enviable cast of Leonardo DiCaprio, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Jamie Foxx, Samuel L. Jackson, Christoph Waltz, Sacha Baron Cohen, and Kerry Washington. Set in the 1850s, it is the story of a slave-turned-bounty-hunter (Jamie Foxx) looking to liberate his wife from a cruel plantation owner (Leonardo DiCaprio). The hype is sure to be huge: Quentin Tarantino’s take on slavery will surely be fascinating; we get Leo as a villain for the first time; and the film will be released in December at the height of Oscar buzzing.
The Great Gatsby: Earlier this month, Bazmark Films released the first photos of Leonardo DiCaprio on the set of this film adaptation of Fitzgerald’s beloved novel. Leo looks quite dapper as Gatsby and stars opposite it-girl Carey Mulligan and Spider-man vet Tobey Maguire. Literature enthusiasts are enthusiastic, to put it lightly. This is another one that will be talked about come Oscar season.
Sequels, sequels, sequels: Each new year comes heavy with last year’s movie baggage. 2012 will be no different – expect sequels and prequels and reboots and trequels and fourquels. Some are uncalled for (Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance, Wrath of the Titans), some anticipated (Star Trek 2, The Dark Knight Rises, The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2, The Hobbit), some debated (The Amazing Spider-Man), and others inevitable (as if all sequels these days aren’t…Step Up 4, The Expendables 2, Madagascar 3, Ice Age 4). There’s clearly no end to the ways in which a single film can be stretched into many, and this coming year, that’s the way Hollywood likes it.
The End of the World: It’s questionable whether or not we will live to see all the movies there are to look forward to in 2012. Those Mayans make a good and frightening case. The best we can to is just cross our fingers, and have a wonderful new year, as long as it lasts!