SCAN Reviews 2012: Films of the Year

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The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (Jackson, Dec 2012)

When I first heard that The Hobbit was being made into a film, I was beyond excited, that was until I found out that they were making it three films, to be released a year apart from each other! However, my annoyance was soon put to rest as I watched the first installment. The book was brought to life and looked fantastic on the big screen. We ventured out of Hobbiton with Bilbo into the big wide world of Middle Earth, riddled with things that Hobbits had only ever read about in books. Martin Freeman seemed the perfect choice to play the role of Bilbo Baggins. Despite his slight hesitance, he was witty and stood up for himself when required. The film showed us Bilbo’s adventures and how he came to gain the ring and the other treasures that he gives to Frodo in “The Fellowship Of The Ring”. As usual the sound track was phenomenal, once again given to us by Howard Shore. The most intriguing part of this film was that you never got to see much of Smaug, only glimpses and then one final shot at the end of the film that saw his eye open. You’re going to have to wait a while for “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug”, but it will be well worth the wait.

The Amazing Spiderman (Webb, July 2012)

So you thought you’d see the end of Spiderman, well think again. In July a new installment of Spiderman hit our cinema screens, but not in the form of Spiderman 4 thankfully. Instead, a different interpretation has been given based on the comic books. This version starring Andrew Garfield as Spiderman was much more interesting than the Tobey Maguire version. This film showed more of Peter Parker’s background and you got to understand and relate more to his character. This story was much more than a boy being bitten by a spider and gaining super human powers. There was a science behind it which let you into the story that little bit more. Peter Parker in this film is only a teenager, which again gives a different perspective, as this is a young boy fighting crime. He reveals himself to the love interest, played by Emma Stone, perhaps showing the naivety of this new Spiderman. Definitely a better Spiderman film and I hope a sequel will follow.

The Dark Knight Rises (Nolan, July 2012)

A long awaited finale to the Batman trilogy hit cinema screens this summer with phenomenal box office success. Nolan’s masterpiece was sensational and was jam packed full of action, explosions, a bat plane and an outstanding plot twist that left me revelling for days. Following in the footsteps of the legendary villain The Joker, the villain of Bane played by Tom Hardy was outstanding – a formidable voice not to be forgotten in a hurry! The film saw the introduction of a new character, Robin, which opened the door for a new set of films, much to the delight of DC comic fans and Joseph Gordon-Levitt fans alike. All in all this film was brilliant, a worthy summer blockbuster.

The Hunger Games (Ross, Mar 2012)

Set in a dystopian future, where two children from each of the twelve districts are picked at random and are televised killing each other for the entertainment of the Capitol, it is no wonder that this film was such a hit. Released in March, the film quickly prompted book sales of the trilogy to skyrocket. Although written as a teen fiction novel falling into place with books such as The Twilight Saga, this film should not be taken at all in the same way. Audiences consisted of a wide variety of people; young, old, men, women, demonstrating how a book can be manipulated to suit a larger cinematic audience. Having watched the film, I have to confess that I did buy the books and thoroughly enjoyed them. The film portrays two children who defy the Capitol by refusing to kill each other and have one standalone victor which then prompts an even bigger rebellion that these children, Katniss and Peeta, inadvertently become the faces of. Again, there is another long wait for the next installment, plenty of time to go out and read the books and finds out what all the fuss is about.

Marvel’s Avengers Assemble (Whedon, Apr 2012)

Throw in a mix of Marvel superheroes and add in Joss Whedon as a director and what do you get? The spectacular Avengers- all of our favourite superheroes on one screen. With their mission to save Earth from Thor’s evil brother Loci, the Avengers are brought together by Nick Fury to work alongside each other to defeat this evil. Each superhero brings their own tricks and ways of working, and the Avengers have to set their past differences aside and work as a team. With the live wire The Hulk in the mix, played by Mark Ruffalo, anything could happen. Just like most superhero films, just when it looks like they have lost all hope of defeating the bad guy, something changes and suddenly the good guys win, not without though the almost death of a major character. This film is amazing and if you haven’t seen it yet, rectify that now. What’s not to like- an interesting plot line, some fantastic actors, and an epic final battle!

Brave (Andrews, Chapman and Purcell 2012)

2012 saw Pixar return with their latest animation, Brave, a full on Scottish adventure complete with gifted archer Merida (voiced by Kelly Macdonald) and a host of Scottish accents from Billy Connolly to Robbie Coltrane. Brave originally seems like a new Disney Princess fairy-tale to be targeted at the female market and full of soppy love songs but that is not the case. Feisty Merida makes it clear from the very start she would be no ordinary Disney Princess as she sets out to avoid marrying any of the suitors placed before her and defy her parents in order to gain her independence.
Brave becomes a story about the bond between Mother and Daughter but provides some comedy highlights from Merida’s three younger brothers. The ultimate highlight of the film is the Celtic inspired music alongside the beautiful scenic animation that shows off the Scottish Highlands wonderfully.
Although Brave does not equal the success of Up in terms of story, characters and overall feel of a film, it does show that Pixar have some original stories left to work with and there is potential. It is a great deal better than Cars and certainly worth a watch!

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