Whether you’re into sci-fi, fantasy, super-heroes, or spies, 2012 is gearing up to be a good year for genre movie releases. What’s our top 10 most eagerly awaited genre films? Here’s a countdown to the one film we can hardly wait to see:
10. Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy.* Already in limited release at the tail end of 2011, this spy movie, a remake of the 1974 film based on the novel by John LeCarre, couldn’t have more promise for its all-star cast of Britain’s best: Last year’s Oscar winner for Best Actor, Colin Firth (The King’s Speech, Pride and Prejudice, The English Patient, Shakespeare in Love) Gary Oldman (Batman Begins, The Dark Knight, Harry Potter series, The Fifth Element) Ciaran Hinds (The Woman in Black, Phantom of the Opera, Road to Perdition, Sum of All Fears), Mark Strong (Sherlock Holmes, Green Lantern), John Hurt (V for Vendetta, Hellboy, Harry Potter series, Skeleton Key, Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skull, The Elephant Man, Rob Roy, Contact), and Benedict Cumberbatch (Sherlock, Amazing Grace, The Hobbit).
9. The Dark Knight Rises. Rounding out the latest trilogy of Batman movies, this one hints at the death of Batman in the trailer and advance posters. It’s Batman, so we’re going to see this one, but the franchise is getting a bit stale. If not for Gary Oldman’s perfect performances in Batman Begins and The Dark Knight as Commissioner Gordon, this one might not make the top 10 list. Then again, Anne Hathaway as Catwoman is reason enough to see this one. What we really want for Batman? A film version of Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns.
8. Men in Black III. Although we liked him most recently as a codger of an officer in Captain America: The First Avenger, Tommy Lee Jones’s roles seem to be pretty similar. We were surprised at how good the trailer for the new Men in Black movie looks, even with Jones reprising the role he has played twice. For Jones and Will Smith to reprise their roles yet again, but with a trip to the past for Smith’s Agent J, this may be the first time we like a genre prequel.
7. Total Recall. When there are so many Philip K. Dick stories to adapt for the big screen, it’s a little strange that someone would opt to redo the short story “We Can Remember it for You Wholesale,” when it seems like the original came out only yesterday. Still, if it’s anything like Steven Spielberg’s Minority Report, and early production photos seem to indicate that to be the case, we may have a really stylistic view of the future coming soon.
6. G.I. Joe: Retaliation. It was easy for viewers to laugh off the first G.I. Joe live action movie, G.I. Joe: Rise of Cobra, but we think the movie was a blast, handling both the comic book and animated series universe, the classic story of the original 12-inch Joe action figures, and the small-sized action figures. With the new trailer just released for G.I. Joe: Retaliation, we’re just as excited to see our two favorite tough guys, Dwayne (formerly The Rock) Johnson, and Bruce Willis taking on the G.I. Joe mantle, with Willis as the original Joe Colton.
5. The Avengers. After years of DC Comics movies outdoing their Marvel Comics counterparts, last year the pendulum finally swung in favor of Marvel, with the super Captain America: The First Avenger film matching the first Iron Man in quality. Finally bringing them together with Thor and The Hulk is way overdue. But the character we really can’t wait to see more of is Samuel L. Jackson’s Nick Fury.
4. Brave. Animated movies tend to showcase female characters as cutesy, dressed in pink, damsels being rescued, usually, by some dim-witted guy. It’s about time we have an animated film about a gal with a mind of her own, wielding her own sword. And the fact that she is performed by Kelly McDonald and her cool Scottish accent makes us want to see this film that much more.
3. Skyfall. We haven’t seen a trailer for this one yet. Daniel Craig’s Casino Royale was a contender for best-ever James Bond film, but the follow-up Quantum of Solace didn’t really deliver the punch we all wanted. Whatever this new film will be about, we don’t care, as we love Bond and at the end of each movie when we see “James Bond will return” it just starts the waiting again.
2. The Woman in Black. In part because we just want to see what both Harry Potter and Daniel Radcliffe do following the end of the Potter series, in part because we love a good ghost story, and in part because this trailer may be the best one released this year, we can hardly wait to see The Woman in Black. Eerie, cool with Radcliffe playing an adult role, we hope this will be as good as it looks.
1. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. Not since the original Star Wars trilogy had we seen a more significant fantasy series than Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings series. The original story from Middle Earth has been read and loved more than any of Tolkien’s works, and for it finally to hit the screen is not only a miracle because of production issues, we’re lucky all the original cast members from the Lord of the Rings series are still around and interested in reprising their roles from the Oscar winning series for Best Picture and a roster of other awards. Although the first trailer released wasn’t all that exciting, since Peter Jackson is in charge again, we’re certain this film will deliver as promised.
Based on trailers and early release photos, we’ll also keep an eye out for the following genre films, although, as noted here previously, we think some of the trailers make us want to avoid a few of these instead of get excited to see them: Prometheus, Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance, The Amazing Spider-man, The Hunger Games, and Man of Steel.
*Update: Don’t miss our January 8, 2012, opening weekend review.