The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
Release Date: December 14th, 2012
Directed by Peter Jackson: Starring Martin Freeman, Ian McKellan, Richard Armitage, Andy Serkis, Hugo Weaving, Elijah Wood, and Ian Holm
Here it is. Not just my most anticipated film of this year, but a film more exciting to me than any released so far this decade. Jackson’s Lord of the Rings trilogy has long been my favorite film of all time, and the prospect of returning to his vision of Middle Earth is, in and of itself, unbelievably exhilarating. But to do so for The Hobbit, a story that is arguably superior to Tolkien’s classic trilogy, with Martin Freeman, the perfect Bilbo Baggins, in the lead role is a prospect so incredibly cool that I can barely function when I consider this film is on the horizon.
And what I have mentioned so far is only the tip of the iceberg. Ian McKellan reprises my single favorite performance of all time as Gandalf the Grey; all thirteen dwarfs are present and accounted for, with incredible make-up and costuming to distinguish them; Howard Shore returns to build on cinema’s single greatest musical score; Andrew Lesnie, brilliant cinematographer of the trilogy, will expand upon his earlier work by shooting in 3D at 48 frames-per-second, something that has never been done before; etc.
I see no earthly reason not to be excited for The Hobbit. I know some people are wary, to put it lightly, of Jackson’s decision to split the story into an entire new trilogy. To them, I say shut the f*** up and wait for the damn movies. There is NO reason to worry until the films are actually out, and we see what path Jackson takes. If he has included forty-minute scenes of Bilbo napping to pad out the length, go ahead and complain. I will too. But for now, the facts are that Jackson is a talented and trusted filmmaker, and that there is more than enough material in Tolkien’s expanded universe for a whole trilogy.
So let’s wait and see if Jackson can recapture the magic before jumping to conclusions. So far, every single sign points to an enthusiastic yes, and I can barely wait.
Release Date: December 14th
Directed by Tom Hooper; Starring Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe, Anne Hathaway, Amanda Seyfried, Eddie Redmayne, Sacha Baron Cohen, and Helena Bonham Carter
Based on one of the greatest stage musicals of all time, Les Miserables is a guaranteed Oscar contender, likely to garner nominations in all major categories and several technical ones as well. Until I watched the spectacular teaser trailer embedded below, though, I was unsure if the film itself would live up to the inevitable accolades. I did not like Hooper’s last film, The King’s Speech, and I worried that the stuffy, uninspired direction that pervaded that film could bring this one down. A stage musical needs a serious cinematic vision to play like a real movie, and I felt unsure whether Hooper is the man to pull it off.
But as I said, I then watched the trailer, and damn…those 90 seconds of footage are more compelling than two whole hours of The King’s Speech by a wide, wide margin. The visuals, the performances, the pure, raw emotion translated through just a couple snippets of footage…this movie looks incredible. The cast, of course, is terrific. It’s absolutely ludicrous that Jackman and Hathaway haven’t starred in film musicals before, given their truly remarkable singing talent, and as the trailer indicates, Miserables will resolve that universal oversight in dramatic fashion. I am truly eager to see this one. At its best, it could very well be one of the highlights of 2012.
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