Sunday, November 07, 2010

Can Anything Save 2010 From Being the Worst Year in Movies Ever?

In January of this year I posted a list of movies I was looking forward to in the 2010 line-up. "Iron Man 2" had to top the list, but "Inception" was way up there too. Even "The A-Team" had my nostalgia kicking in and ready for some mindless entertainment. On paper the list looked pretty good. You had "Daybreakers," "Alice in Wonderland," "Clash of the Titans" and "The Wolfman," and that seemed like a pretty good list for a fantasy-lovin' fool like myself.

But 2010 seemed to be the year of the lackluster film. "Inception" seemed to live up to expectations, thanks to the ever inventive Christopher Nolan, but "Iron Man 2" didn't have the 'wow' factor of the original and seemed to waste a stellar cast. Retreads like "The A-Team" and "Clash of the Titans" have proven that we really need to stop trying to relive the 80's. The rest of the line-up is just kind of there. "The Sorcerer's Apprentice," "The Prince of Persia...." So far the only movies released this year that I have purchased are "How to Train Your Dragon" and "Toy Story 3" (though my husband did buy me a copy of "Iron Man 2" for my birthday).

So it's fair to say that I am not hugely optimistic about the remainder of this year in movie releases. The only really notable releases left are sequels, though Disney has one original movie that is probably the one sure-fire hit we're likely to see in what little time we have left.

So the question is-- can anything redeem this year in movies?

Here's some of what we have left.

Skyline (Starring Eric Balfour, Scottie Thompson, and Donald Faison) November 12th

After a night of partying, a group of friends are distracted when beams of light awaken everyone in Los Angeles, that then attract every person like a moth to a flame. As the night progresses, they soon discover that once exposed to the light, they vanish into thin air, caused by extraterrestrial forces that later threaten to swallow the entire human species.

Unstoppable (Starring Denzel Washington and Chris Pine) November 12th

A railroad company frantically works to prevent an unmanned, half-mile-long freight train carrying combustible liquids and poisonous gas from wiping out a city. A veteran locomotive engineer (Denzel Washington) and a young train conductor (Chris Pine) chase the runaway train in a different locomotive in order to bring the runaway under control before it is too late.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part I (Starring Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint and Emma Watson) November 19th

Voldemort's power is growing stronger. He now has control over the Ministry of Magic and Hogwarts. Harry, Ron, and Hermione decide to finish Dumbledore's work and find the rest of the Horcruxes to defeat the Dark Lord. But little hope remains for the Trio, and the rest of the Wizarding World, so everything they do must go as planned.

Faster (Starring Duane Johnson and Billy Bob Thornton) November 24th

After 10 years in prison, Driver (Dwayne Johnson) has a singular focus - to avenge the murder of his brother during the botched bank robbery that led to his imprisonment. Now a free man with a deadly to-do list in hand, he's finally on his mission...but with two men on his trail - a veteran cop (Billy Bob Thornton) just days from retirement, and a young egocentric hitman (Oliver Jackson-Cohen) with a flair for the art of killing and a newfound worthy opponent. The hunter is also the hunted. It's a do or die race to the list's finish as the mystery surrounding his brother's murder deepens, and new details emerge along the way hinting that Driver's list may be incomplete.

Tangled (Starring Zachari Levi and Mandy Moore) November 24th

Walt Disney Pictures presents Tangled, one of the most hilarious, hair-raising tales ever told. When the kingdom’s most wanted—and most charming—bandit Flynn Rider (voice of Zachary Levi) hides out in a mysterious tower, he’s taken hostage by Rapunzel (voice of Mandy Moore), a beautiful and feisty tower-bound teen with 70 feet of magical, golden hair. Flynn’s curious captor, who’s looking for her ticket out of the tower where she’s been locked away for years, strikes a deal with the handsome thief and the unlikely duo sets off on an action-packed escapade, complete with a super-cop horse, an over-protective chameleon and a gruff gang of pub thugs. In theaters this holiday season in Disney Digital 3D, is a story of adventure, heart, humor and hair—lots of hair.

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader (Starring Georgie Henley, Skandar Keynes, Will Poulter, Ben Barnes, Liam Neeson and Simon Peg) December 10th

This time around – Edmund and Lucy Pevensie, along with their pesky cousin Eustace Scrubb – find themselves swallowed into a painting and on to a fantastic Narnian ship headed for the very edges of the world. Joining forces once again with their royal friend Prince Caspian and the warrior mouse Reepicheep, they are whisked away on a mysterious mission to the Lone Islands, and beyond. On this bewitching voyage that will test their hearts and spirits, the trio will face magical Dufflepuds, sinister slave traders, roaring dragons and enchanted merfolk. Only an entirely uncharted journey to Aslan’s Country – a voyage of destiny and transformation for each of those aboard the Dawn Treader – can save Narnia, and all the astonishing creatures in it, from an unfathomable fate.

Tron Legacy (Starring Jeff Bridges, Michael Sheen, Olivia Wilde and Garrett Hedlund) December 17th

Sam Flynn (Garrett Hedlund), a rebellious 27-year-old, is haunted by the mysterious disappearance of his father Kevin Flynn (Jeff Bridges), a man once known as the world's leading video-game developer. When Sam investigates a strange signal sent from the abandoned Flynn's Arcade—that could have only come from his father—he finds himself pulled into a world where Kevin has been trapped for 20 years. With the help of the fearless warrior Quorra (Olivia Wilde), father and son embark on a life-or-death journey across a visually-stunning digital universe—created by Kevin himself—which has become far more advanced with never-before-imagined vehicles, weapons, and landscapes and a ruthless villain who will stop at nothing to prevent their escape

Hmmm. I'm going to go ahead and say it-- nothing here is blowing me away. Harry Potter has been pretty consistent all along, but I don't know if "The Deathly Hallows" is the kind of movie that has the potential to make everyone remember 2010. And while I liked "The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe," "Prince Caspian" left me cold-- so prospects for "The Dawn Treader" are lukewarm. "Tron Legacy" probably has the best chance of being a standout, but the only people who seem interested are confirmed "Tron" fans, so I'm not placing any bets on that one either.

I included "Faster" and "Unstoppable" because action films are always great audience grabbers, but I can't begin to predict that they'll be monster hits either. I like Duane Johnson, but he hasn't had the track record of being a huge box office performer in the grown-up arena. I hope "Faster" does well but since it hasn't had any early buzz, I'll be keeping my expectations low. Same goes for "Unstoppable."

Truthfully the only movie on this list that might get me to the theater-- as opposed to waiting for the Blu-ray-- is "Tangled" and that's only because my kids want to see it.

I hate to say it, but I think 2010 is going to go out with a whimper and not a bang. What say you?


Wilson said...

If you're going with "2010 didn't have enough great movies to tally up to an impressive number" then yes.

But I for one am super glad that this year is the year that I got to see INCEPTION; depressing list of other movies be damned :P

SQT said...

Wilson-- I liked "Inception." But I can't lie-- I liked "Dark Knight" better.

Anonymous said...

I loved Despicable me...very underrated movie, maybe not the most original of movies, but it had heart and fun...

Sci-Fi Gene said...

I take your point that 2010 hasn't had as many amazing films as previous years (by the way, have you seen Moon yet?) but it's a long way from the worst year ever.

Of your choices, I loved Inception although Nolan has made better films (personally The Prestige is my favourite Nolan) Inception certainly has the strongest ideas and the best visuals I've seen this year. I also thought How To Train Your Dragon was exceptional. I've just seen The Social Network which has a cracking script, and while I'm starting to get bored of films that "re-invent the superhero mythos" I have to say I thought Kick-Ass was daring and brilliant.

If you're not put off by subtitles there are a few non-English gems: the Millenium trilogy (Swedish) and, for something totally different, Endhiran (The Robot) (Tamil).

Personally I'm disappointed I didn't manage to catch Monsters (by Sci-Fi London winner Gareth Edwards) in the cinema - I've heard very good things about it.

Carrie said...

Second the vote for Despicable Me. We got to see it a few weeks ago, and I loved it. It was adorable AND funny.

As for the rest of the year, I am excited about Harry Potter and the Dawn Treader. (To be honest, Prince Caspian didn't have a lot to work with, that book is one of the slower ones in the series, imo).

I could take or leave Tron (it was awesome as it was, I don't think it needed reinventing), and I'm cautiously optimistic about Tangled. It could be cute, it could be stupid, I'll have to wait and see.

Budd said...

Disney is kind of piling it on at the end aren't they. If you see a movie on Christmas, it will likely be Disney.

SQT said...

Gene-- I have to give you "Kick Ass," that was a great movie. And I did love "How to Train Your Dragon."

I guess what I'm talking about is the cumulative movie releases. The year "Dark Knight" came out, you also had the first "Iron Man." Those were the big tent-pole movies that year. I also remember when I was younger and worked at a movie theater and the year I worked there we had "Big," "Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade," "Midnight Run," "Dirty Dancing," "Batman" and one of the "Rambo" movies (I forget which one). They weren't all Oscar winning types, but they were good. I feel like cinema has gone down since then and we have work to find the good ones.

M. McGriff said...

Yes, Inception actually surpassed my expectations and I really enjoyed that movie. Robin Hood was another one that I enjoyed, though I saw that one on DVD so I'm not sure if that counts! LOL Other than that, nothing really stood out for me this year and the end of the year doesn't look too promising either.

Skyline is a "DVD" movie for me. I've have a huge feeling it's not going to do well. Harry Potter may be good (and I'm taking my sister to see that) but it's Part 1 of 2 so it may not get to the really good part until the second part.

So I'm with you, this wasn't the best year for movies. I'll save my excitement for next year! :)

M. McGriff

Charles Gramlich said...

I know. The year has been very blah in movies for me.

Okie said...

Generally speaking I've felt like the movie industry has really been going down over the past few years (decades)?

I don't know that I'd call 2010 the worst year ever, but then I'm not enough of a film buff to rebut.

Still, I agree that there has definitely been an influx of movies I just don't care about. Generally speaking, I really have enjoyed the films I have gone to see this year. So at least it hasn't been a total wash. But at the same time, I'm fairly certain that whatever this year's "top films" are, they'll be generally "mediocre" in the grander scheme of things.

AvDB said...

I also enjoyed Inception. Alice in Wonderland, though, made me very, very sad. I had been waiting for that for so long, and then--pfltt (that's my expectations hitting the greasy theatre floor). Don't even get me started on Prince of Persia.

The Harry Potter movies always let me down, and I'm not a big fan of the Narnia franchise. So, I say we should just wrap the year early and move on.

SQT said...

Okie-- I should mention that saying it was the "worst" year is total hyperbole on my part. But it makes for a much better post title.

M. McGriff- "Inception" is the one movie, other than maybe "How to Train Your Dragon" that most people can agree was worth watching. Other than that though...

Charles-- Not much to recommend it is there?

Avery- "Alice" was a huge disappointment. I think I am officially tired of Johnny Depp dressing up in costume and adopting strange speech patterns. I won't say I hated it, but in the end it seems more about Tim Burton slapping something up that he could brand as his "style" rather than developing the story.

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

I've only gone to see a few movies at the theater. Though I love the big screen, if I wait a few months I can watch them on-demand for a small price and multiple viewings with healthy snacks.
Ironman 2 was disappointing and I might go see Harry.

Lightning Bug's Butt said...

Hello, SQT!

I don't go to many movies. I saw Prince of Persia and I thought it was tedious. Despicable Me has my interest piqued.

Stewart Sternberg said...

If I may answer the ultimate question posed by the

Carl V. said...

I think you are right on with how very weak this year's slate of movies was. Now Inception was top notch, a movie that would stand out in even a phenomenal movie year. And the A-Team was just what I wanted it to be, a fun reliving of the old series without trying to be something more. So I was happy with it but it wasn't a "great" film, not at all. Just something entertaining to see. I'm looking forward to Tron, but don't have high expectations for it at all. This year sucked. On the positive side, I saved a lot of money that would have been spent on movie tickets. I do hope for something better next year.

The Fantasizer said...

Notion Seconded!