2012: A Year at the Movies

With 2013 promising to be an exciting year for cinema, we round-up 2012 by taking a look at the highs and lows of a memorable 12 months at the movies...

2013 promises to be a fantastic year at the cinema, but as a way to soften the edges of anticipation, we remember what was so great about 2012.

Given that the year marked the 100th anniversary of both Universal and Paramount Pictures, 2012 was always going to be a booming year for cinema. Disney’s Beauty and the Beast saw a successful reprisal on the big screen, we re-visited the dark side with our light-sabers drawn with Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace and the Titanic sunk all over again, this time in 3D.

Although these releases, along with many others, helped to make the year so memorable, it’s not quite enough to warrant the “keep safe” note that we’ve all got plastered across our 2012 movie calendar. With its re-releases reminding us of previous landmarks in film history, these twelve months at the movies created a few more landmarks of its own.

Disney used the force to swallow up Lucas Film and introduced their plans to reignite the Jedi flame, causing many Star Wars maniacs to almost pee themselves with excitement. Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey not only woke us Lord of the Rings fans from cryogenic sleep, but also left an asteroid-sized dent in the history of cinema by introducing the very first example of the use of a higher frame rate in cinema. As if that isn’t enough, 2012 was also the year where the entire world learned that when Arnie said he’d be back, he wasn’t joking.

As we peer down our cinemascope to take a look at the box-office itself, there seems to be a clumsy green thing hogging our lens. We are of course referring to Joss Whedon’s Avengers Assemble, which Hulk-smashed its way to record-breaking highs. Marvel’s fusion of superheroes grossed a behemoth $1.511 billion, ranking third highest grossing film of all time behind James Cameron’s non-movers, Titanic and Avatar.

2012 was as equally emotional as it was invigorating. Many of us were sad to see the back of Gotham’s finest, but no one can deny that Christopher Nolan and Christian Bale together gave us a knight to remember. On a similar note, but without as much sentiment, (unless you’re a thirteen year old girl, who’s in love with R-Pattz), 2012 marked the end of the Twilight Saga. The vampire franchise has endured with its “epic finale”, as they say, joining the Harry Potter club.

Just when you were beginning to think we had forgot, 007 sky-falls into discussion. Darker and more primitive than ever before, Sam Mendes’s Skyfall took our beloved British patriot to ruthless depths, and showcased performances that are unlikely to leave our nightmares, let alone our memories.

Of course, with the highs also comes the lows. 2012 was home to certain movies, which promised big things but, in the end, failed to deliver. Included in this category are (to name but a few) Battleship, Wrath of the Titans and Taken 2, coincidentally all starring our favourite Irishman, Liam Neeson… worrying? What is there to say about Prometheus? The recipe certainly reads for a tasty dish but our bellies were left very much empty, as Ridley Scott’s latest sci-fi nosedived into a pit of mainstream disappointment. Perhaps we’ve been too harsh on the Gladiator director by expecting Prometheus to be another Alien?

Another film, which similarly failed to fulfill its potential, was Snow White and the Huntsman. Born during the influx of fairytale adaptations, and sparking further folk story adaptation such as Hansel and Gretel, Rupert Sanders’ fantasy flick reeled in audiences with its premise and A-list cast, but flopped in its attempt to do anything real with the age-old tale.

That’s a wrap! There’s certainly enough movie-meat to get your teeth into whilst we wait for studio engines to build up speed. But to see us out, here are twenty titles that 2012 got right:

  • The Hunger Games
  • Looper
  • The Amazing Spiderman
  • Great Expectations
  • Lawless
  • Ted
  • 21 Jump Street
  • The Raid
  • Margin Call
  • Killing Them Softly
  • Frankenweenie
  • Silver-Linings Playbook
  • Argo
  • Life of Pi
  • Skyfall
  • The Master
  • Avengers Assemble
  • Shame
  • The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
  • Dark Knight Rises
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