Being released during Bond’s 50th Anniversary only increases the heavy pressure on Skyfall to perform, not just well, but excellently. Despite its rather poor title, Skyfall does look rather promising; it can’t be a bad thing that Dame Judi Dench will be getting considerably more screen time, due to the plot being wrapped up in her past. Also there are the makings of an excellent Bond villain in Javier Bardem (No Country for Old Men) and the return of Q is a particularly exciting move. I happen to really like Craig’s Bond and count Casino Royale as one of the best Bond films of all time; therefore I am eagerly awaiting this latest offering. Having said that, the trailer didn’t completely blow me away, but after re-watching Casino Royale recently, I have faith in them to deliver.
4. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
The film follows the adventures of Bilbo Baggins prior to the events of Lord of the Rings, and we will be reunited with cast members such as; Ian McKellen as Gandalf, Andy Serkis as Gollum and even Orlando Bloom as Legolas, albeit for a considerably smaller role than in the previous films. Martin Freeman will be taking up the role of Bilbo, playing a younger version of Ian Holm’s portrayal. The fact that it has been split into two films is annoying, but if it means that the end result is that much better, then it’s forgivable. Arguably the most anticipated film event this year, it’s to the credit of the next three entries that this has taken fourth place.
3. The Dark Knight Rises
The concluding episode of Nolan’s Batman trilogy is so highly anticipated that it seems an impossible task for them to meet such high expectations and hopes. Tom Hardy has the unenviable pressure of playing the new villain, Bane. Following on from Heath Ledger’s legendary performance as The Joker must be daunting and yet, Hardy is such a good actor that I can’t help but believe that he will succeed. Again people have casting issues, just as before people doubted Ledger as The Joker, now they doubt Anne Hathaway as Catwoman. Give her a chance people; Nolan has proved himself as a caster before now.
2. The Great Gatsby
Having been looking forward to this film since the first rumours began, and knowing director Baz Luhrmann’s reputation (Moulin Rouge), I never doubted that it will deliver visually. The saturated colours match the decadence, and extreme wealth Fitzgerald captured in his novel, whilst keeping a modern tone to the piece. Again, for anyone who has seen Moulin Rouge this should sound familiar. A great cast includes Tobey Maguire, Leonardo DiCaprio, Carey Mulligan and Joel Edgerton, who has been excellently cast as Tom Buchanan. He proved himself opposite Tom Hardy in Warrior and his physicality is perfect for Tom and he has the acting chops to match. Being released late December, if the film is as good as its trailer then we are in for an excellent ending to 2012.
Note: The Great Gatsby’s release date has now been put forward to the summer of 2013 meaning it no longer will feature in this article’s follow up at the beginning of next year.
1. Django Unchained
Technically this film makes its UK premier just the other side of the New Year, but in America it’s released in 2012, and that’s good enough for me to include it in this list. Tarantino has remarked that this latest film is a Southern, and it certainly appears to feel and act like a Western; it’s just one which has instead been set in the South, just before the Civil war. Leonardo DiCaprio will play the film’s villain; a plantation owner, whom the protagonist, a freed slave played by Jamie Fox will have to go up against in order to free his wife. Now this film has a pretty great cast but most of my focus is on Leonardo, he appears to be having a blast in the trailer and I can’t help but grin when watching him. I’m sure it won’t all be fun and games however, and the prospect of seeing him as a brutal Tarantino villain was what swung this entry above the others, and to the top of my list. Promising to be extremely entertaining, whilst also exploring sensitive issues, namely racism, it has been described by some who have read the script as Tarantino’s most adult and mature work. There is also talk about the script being up to Pulp Fiction’s level of quality. Now, this is dangerous and unfounded talk, and I am determined to keep my expectations under control, but hell, I’m excited for it.
The final four films in this list can easily be swapped around; interest in these four is extremely high and together they promise a very exciting second half to 2012. Despite being confident about my choices for the top ten, there were a few that didn’t make the list but deserve a mention all the same.
I would feel bad if I hadn’t included the latest Pixar release in here somehow. Pixar’s first female protagonist battles against her culture’s expectations and tries to carve out her own role and place in the world, fighting of threats with her bow and arrow and generally not being a typical Disney princess. This all sounds like great stuff and yet, this entry’s trailer hasn’t really done anything for me at all. It all just looks too generic and unoriginal but hey, maybe I’ll be proved wrong when I see it.
Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays a gun for hire, killing targets that have been sent through time by a criminal organisation who want all traces of said target removed. Levitt’s character will then have to deal with his older self (Bruce Willis) being sent back as the next target. Looper seems to be treading familiar ground to recent films such as Inception or in particular Source Code, and it’s difficult to judge whether this film will be merely mediocre, or another inspired sci-fi action film able to join Inception’s ranks. Still, the trailer looks pretty entertaining so it will probably be worth checking out.