Looking back across the cinematic pasture that was the last year with the precision of a hawk-man hybrid, it’s apparent that where 2012 is concerned, we have a lot to be thankful for. Here emerged, after all, some genuinely spellbinding films which deserve to be embraced and celebrated and watched over and over again until, hey, why did I like this again? But mostly embraced and celebrated.
Yes, 2012 has bestowed movie-goers with great performances, technical achievements and a whole lot of revelations about the industry itself. And with each passing year, new-fangled cinematic trends emerge to temp audiences out of their bedrooms, off of their iPads and into the theatres – some of which succeed in innovating the future of movies forever, whilst others flop and die quietly.
So what did we learn from 2012 as a year of cinematic endeavor? Which lessons can we take home? Which surprises did this year have to offer up audiences all over the globe? Here’s our pick of 10 lessons we took home from the movies in 2012. The question is: how will the future of cinema change as a result?Next
1. 3D Isn’t Dead Yet (And Probably Won’t Be For A While)
3D has a habit of going in and out of style on a whim, though it doesn’t look as though the latest incarnation of the nausea-induing craze is set to disappear just yet. Yes, 2012 saw the release of almost every large-scale blockbuster in the 3D format, a format which means you have to pay even more money to watch a movie, albeit a version that reduces the footage to a dark blur and will more than likely make your eyes hurt and your head ache.
Granted, some films have invested maximum time and effort into making sure the 3D effect is as clear and crisp as possible, but does it really ever do more than prompt you to acknowledge the fact that, wow, you’re watching a movie? Don’t forget, of course, that six classic blockbusters – including Monsters Inc. & Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace – were re-released in 3D this year, just ’cause. And that’s all the rationale you need when you’re a Hollywood executive.Previous Next
2. Movies Are Definitely Getting Dumberer
Snow White & The Huntsman. Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. Battleship. What do these movies have in common, except for their godawful titles? They sucked, that’s what, and we all knew they were going to suck, because look at them. I mean, one of these movies is based on a board game. A board game. And not even a board game with actual characters or the inklings of narrative structure like, say, Cluedo, but one that literally has its players saying letter/number combinations over and over again until they have to imagine up what an exploding ship might look like in their heads.
Yes, Hollywood has continued to mine the most unlikely sources for blockbuster transformation, seemingly tricking themselves into thinking that somebody like Rihanna could get away with using a gun like that. This year is potentially the most explosion-orientated blockbuster extravaganza of them all, meaning that, yes, blockbusters aren’t only getting louder and increasingly CGI-reliant, but dumber. Or do I mean dumberer? I blame the movies. All that’s to be said is that a year after Transformers 3 bombed into cinemas with a whopping 283 explosions, we’re still piling on the pyrotechnics like they’re going out of style. If only.
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3. Yes, Reboots/Remakes/Re-Imaginings Are Here To Stay
Total Recall. Red Dawn. Dark Shadows. Silent House. Sparkle. Pusher. Contraband. All of these movies were released over the course of this year, and every one of them was either a sequel, a reboot, a remake or a re-imagining of something else that existed once in another (probably better) form. Every one of these also happened to suck, because of course they did. This kind of thing has been going on forever now, that’s true, but 2012 definitely ranks near the top when it comes to Hollywood failing to fire up the creative cylinders: instead, it’s all been incredibly lazy.
Saying that, we’re the ones who keep going to see these movies. Then we find ourselves complaining that Hollywood “doesn’t have an inch of originality in its big dumb head,” when they’re just taking advantage of our own stupidity like any business would. What we can rejoice in as a community, however, is that Red Dawn didn’t make back it its budget, assuring that the human race isn’t quite at its lowest ebb just yet. Phew.Previous Next
4. People Like Superhero Movies… A Lot
Superhero movies are officially the dominating genre in cinema today, and none more than in 2012. Forget whether or not that’s an established technical fact or I’ve just used the word officially to trick you into siding with my argument, it just feels true, doesn’t it? And in a year where both The Avengers and The Dark Knight Rises ruled the cineplexes and made over a billion dollars each in box office receipts, the superhero movie has never been more popular (and/or relevant). The world has gone full-out superhero cwazy!
Of course, the studios know just how true that is, and have decided to milk the superhero cow until the poor thing’s udders pop off and milk just, like, goes everywhere. But they’ve tapped into something amazing, you see, and that’s in their discovery that geeks love “cinematic universes,” universes in which characters can pop up and say things in one movie, despite the fact that, wait, this isn’t their movie! Great! People like this a lot. It pleases them. It pleases Marvel too.
So as a result of this year’s massive success with superhero flicks and all its associations, there are a further five Marvel-based sequels in the works, a Superman spin-off coming next year, plans for a Justin League movie (and individual installment movies to build up the team, we gather), and countless other attempts to make other less-popular superheros popular. Good luck, Ant-Man.Previous Next
5. People Also Like Movies Dealing With Real Issues Now, Apparently
Even though we’re now super-obsessed with getting as far away from reality as possible with all those superhero flicks, we’re also super-interested in movies that are super-serious and super-realistic, too. That’s going by the last quarter of the year’s haul of “real issue” movies alone, which includes slavery “epic” Lincoln, its bizarro-world buddy Django Unchained, the Osama Bin Laden manhunt flick Zero Dark Thirty, and Ben Affleck’s CIA thriller Argo, all of which have proven successful (or will undoubtably prove successful once they hit theatres) at the box-office. There’s hope for mankind yet, and it’s all because of you.Previous Next
6. The Actor Matthew McConaughey Can Actually, Like, Act
Talk about re-invention. Around a year ago Matthew McConaughey was a kind of laughing stock, a poor man’s Nicolas Cage with absolutely none of the irony. And then, wow, something happened – this guy can act? Whether it’s because McConaughey has made a conscious effort to seek out better, more interesting roles, 2012 is officially the year of the McConaughey, what with equally brilliant turns in Magic Mike and Killer Joe that absolutely nobody was expecting.
It’s a re-invention that’ll give the biggest naysayers and cynics hope, and one that Matthew McConaughey should be pleased with… especially since his willingness to, like, act now, has landed him a role in upcoming Martin Scorsese flick The Wolf of Wall Street where he’ll star alongside Leonard DiCaprio. Yes, Matthew McConaughey, you’ve officially Ben Afflecked. Now don’t mess this up, okay?Previous Next
7. 2012 Was Painfully Unfunny
Ted. Is Ted seriously being helmed as the funniest movie of the year? You might be wondering the same thing right about now, perhaps after seeing it atop various best of 2012 comedy lists. Not only is Ted nowhere near as funny as 21 Jump Street (probably the funniest comedy to emerge this year), it comes over like a first draft - lackluster, under-baked, reeking of a TV movie. And actually, there was barely a decent laugh in it.
Ted‘s adoration tells us a lot about 2012 and its relation to comedy on the whole: there were barely any great comedy films to emerge this year. Among the goodies (and we’re not counting dramadies or comedramas or any hybrid thereof), I count 21 Jump Street, This Is 40… maybe The Campaign? And even those films aren’t likely destined to become fully-fledged classics. Which means that, yes, 2012 was only mildly amusing as far as the laughs went. For shame!Previous Next
8. Christopher Nolan Is King
Christopher Nolan has gone and influenced up the place, hasn’t he? And in doing so, he’s apparently awakened the world’s taste for “darker” meditations on existing material, because we all want things to be more cynical and tough, don’t we? Yeah, something to match the harsh realities of today’s world. Christopher Nolan knows that, hence what he did with the Batman movies for you – and now everybody wants in on that trademark Nolan style, because why have your own original style when you can just, like, mimic somebody else’s?
Yes, Christopher Nolan’s influence has extended into franchises that he’s not even associated with over the course of 2012, as mentioned by Skyfall director Sam Mendes, who said that the latest Bond incarnation was entirely possible because one day Christopher Nolan was born and grew up to be a filmmaker. And next year promises to be even more Nolan-esque, what with the release of Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel, a film made purely to attempt Dark Knight-styled edginess with another, somewhat similar franchise. Except super.Previous Next
9. George Lucas Doesn’t Like Star Wars As Much As We Do
One of the most shocking moments to hit the cinesphere this year was the announcement that George Lucas had decide to sell LucasFilm to Disney for a gazillion dollars, something that seemed utterly incomprehensible , given that Lucas has always displayed a terrifying protectiveness over the franchise that gave him the money to buy all those flannel shirts. But the lesson we’ve learned here is that maybe George Lucas isn’t as in to Star Wars as the rest of us, and he’s probably had enough of the damn thing.
You see, the way Lucas has abused the franchise and its characters over the past twenty years with all those changes and tweaks and Jar Jar Binks proves something that we all should have realised long ago: George Lucas doesn’t actually understand why people like Star Wars, something proven by his ill-judged attempts to make “prequel movies.” Now that Lucas has relinquished his grip over an entity that means so much more to everyone else than it does to him, there’s actually a chance that Disney can bring balance to the force (or other nerdy Star Wars reference of you choice).Previous Next
10. The People vs. 48FPS vs. Peter Jackson
Peter Jackson’s latest trip to Middle-Earth, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, was unveiled last week to mostly middling reviews, though I’m pretty sure a lot of the negative criticism comes from the fact that the director chose to shoot the thing in 48FPS (double the frame rate, basically) and critics are having a hard time getting “involved” as a result. Almost every critic who came out and said that the magic was lost based a large portion of their reviews on that 48FPS issue, meaning that the film might be getting panned as a result of the frame-rate instead of, say, the story.
Peter Jackson wants 48FPS to be the next big thing, but almost nobody agrees that making cinema hyperealistic is a good thing, (especially if your film is set in a fictional world of elves and dwarves and hairy prosthetic feet). Then there’s the fact that people have reported feeling sick whilst their eyes are trying to adjust to something they don’t even want to see. So the response has basically been, “No thanks Peter Jackson,” something that James Cameron should consider when mounting Avatars 2-10.
At its core, the decision to shoot in 48FPS should be based on whether or not it immerses the viewer and enhances the cinematic experience. The verdict is that it does not. Let 2012 mark the death of it, then.
Agree or disagree with our choices? Which lessons did you learn from 2012 in cinema? Let us know in the comments section below.Previous