Friday, January 04, 2013
Movies of 2012
Most surprising movie
Disney/Pixar's Brave was a big surprise. I'd been very disappointed by Cars 2 and didn't think the trailers were anything special. I thought it looked like a Scottish-set version of Mulan or something, but the story veered off in an unexpected direction. The animation was top-notch, it had some very funny scenes, and generally I thought it was excellent.
Most underwhelming movie
Prometheus promised much and delivered very little. It somehow managed to combine pretentious ambitions with weak characterisation and a plot that seemed to be mainly made up of holes. Very, very disappointing.
Movie that made me think a bit harder than I expected
I really liked Looper, although I'm pretty sure the central plot device of time travel unravelled right at the end. But it was very well acted - Joseph Gordan-Levitt was excellent, as was Bruce Willis - and the story kept me guessing right to the end. All-in-all, a sci-fi move that was well worth watching.
Enjoyable action movie of the year
I really liked Avengers Assemble. It may not be as cool as the recent Batman films, but it was fast-paced, the actors took the job seriously, but most of all it was the culmination of a series of films that all fed into a much larger picture. As such, it was a believable 'cross-over' film. The characters had back-stories, but this was a move forward for all of them. It maybe was a bit long, but that's about the only criticism I can make.
Movie that made me feel a bit 'meh' afterwards
Two movies vie for this award - The Dark Knight Rises and Skyfall. I don't think either enriched my life. The Batman film had an interesting political edge to it - that without the ruling 1%, all you get is anarchy and terror, while the James Bond film was nihilistic in the extreme (as I said when I reviewed it before). Nihilism can work in a movie (for example, I thought Dredd was very well done), but Skyfall was unremitting for a movie ostensibly about a 'hero'.
Comedy of the year
I didn't see that many comedies this year. Ted was funny, but a bit rude, so I'm going to give this one to Ice Age 4: Continental Drift, mainly because it made a joke about a previous installment in the series involving dinosaurs and said that it "didn't make a lot of sense." That amused me.
Film of the year
And so to the big one - my personal favourite film of 2012 and it has to go to... (drumroll) The Muppets. As I said when I reviewed it back in February, I liked the way the film treated the original Muppet ethos with respect. Disney did a very good job at capturing what made the Muppets work a few decades ago, and it was just a great family movie, with several jokes that made me laugh out loud. On another note, the recent acquisition of the Star Wars empire by Disney hasn't really worried me - given how Disney treated the Muppets, I have high hopes they will capture the spirit of Star Wars in the right way. (And as Cathy has pointed out, they really can't mess it up as badly as George Lucas did with the prequels.)
I'm already looking forward to some of the films due out in 2013, but that was 2012.