Friday, December 23, 2011

It Must Be Christmas

The big Hollywood studios are really spoiling us with trailers for their 2012 releases coming thick and fast over the last few days. Anyone would think it was Christmas...

Men in Black 3

First up is possibly the least anticipated sequel of 2012 - Men in Black 3. The trailer outlines the basic plot. Tommy Lee Jones' Agent K has vanished from the present day so Will Smith's Agent J must travel back to 1969 to right what once when wrong, enlisting the help of a young Agent K, played by Tommy Lee Jones' No Country For Old Man co-star and Goonies alumni Josh Brolin.

  • Will Smith back doing comedy.
  • Time travel, aliens, secret organisations - a science fiction universe in which almost anything can happen.
  •  Josh Brolin doing his best deadpan Tommy Lee Jones impression.
  • 10 years after the last sequel and 15 years (15 years!) since the original MiB, does anyone actually care about this franchise anymore?
  •  Will Smith playing it very safe. An actor in his position surely has the power to take a few more chances. He was reportedly offered the lead role in Quentin Tarantino's Django Unchained and the Wachowskis' Hood, a science fiction fable updating ye olde English myth. He said no to those but yes to Men in Black 3.
  • Not enough of Tommy Lee Jones at his deadpan best.
The Hobbit

After some messing about with Guillermo del Toro in the directors chair, Peter Jackson finally stepped up to helm the inevitable (given the financial success of The Lord of the Rings) The Hobbit movie. Martin Freeman is in my view perfectly cast as reluctant but plucky hero Bilbo Baggins, invited to be part of a rollicking adventure by an old wizard and a troupe of dwarves.

  • Ian McKellen as Gandalf the Grey, looking and sounding like it is 2001 all over again.
  • Peter Jackson's fluid camera, Andrew Lesley's beautiful colour co-ordinated photography and Weta Digital's near perfect integration of models and CGI effects.
  • Riddles in the Dark!
  • Can they really re-create the magic that made the Lord of the Rings work so well?
  • Just how much of the story are they going to change in order to ensure 'old favourites' - Frodo, Elrond, Galadriel and Legolas (none of which feature in the original Tolkien novel) - can make crowd-pleasing appearances?
  • Will Peter Jackson have the guts to fulfil on the promise of a Hobbit movie, which is a quite different beast to The Lord of the Rings, or will this be another LOTR sequel in all but name?
The Dark Knight Rises

Christopher Nolan's follow up to the billion-dollar Dark Knight (2008) and his first film since Inception promises to be another big budget Blockbuster with brains. While The Dark Knight was a metaphor the War on Terror - Batman as George W. Bush, Harvey Dent as Barack Obama and the Joker as a terrorist - Nolan's zeitgeist-aping extravaganza seems to want to take billionaire Bruce Wayne down a step or two by confronting him with a violent representative of the 99 percent - Tom Hardy's Bane.

  • The conclusion of Nolan's Dark Knight saga promises to be bigger than ever.
  • Tom Hardy playing a villain.
  • The story is still shrouded in mystery but as this is definitely the last part in the series, expect high stakes and twists and turns aplenty.
  • Another sequel?
  • Bane, Catwoman and (possibly) *someone else* as well - will the film suffer from the perennial comic book problem of Too Many Villains Spoil the Broth?
  • Too sombre for a Blockbuster? - It Must Be Christmas - Keyword description


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