Just when you think nothing can top the previous year in film, the end of 2012 has us looking back at a year, that not only wowed us with spectacular blockbusters and broke records at the box office, but seen a resurgence in works of art house sensibilities and documentary film making. So here at Inside Media Track, we’ve trawled through the last 12 months of cinema to pick out some of more memorable moments and revive our great, and not so good, cinema experiences.
Way back at the start of the year, Steven Spielberg’s adaptation of War Horse finally made it from stage to screen, with the theatre-feel story of a young farmer’s horse journeying through the second world war that tugged at the heart-strings of many. We’ve seen the face of Harry Potter himself, Daniel Radcliffe, putting the wizard behind him to star in the eerily scary adaptation of The Woman In Black. Perfectly targeted to the young Potter audiences and had the feel of old school chilling horror; Best Exotic Marigold Hotel became a crowd pleaser, despite some viewers labelling it as a self-indulgent take of Brits abroad.
Elsewhere, The Artist and Hugo were the big winners at the Oscars and the BAFTA’s, with the former displaying that a silent black and white film can still entertain as much as your usual all singing all dancing loud action blockbuster. Meanwhile, W.E. became a misjudged torrid mess of an already well-known story. And John Carter, a $250 million Disney sci-fi adventure, bombed at the box office, epitomises everything that’s wrong with modern-day focus grouped films.
March saw plenty of action thrillers to enjoy, in the form of Safe House, Lockout, The Raid, Contraband and a revival in the cop comedy genre with 21 Jump Street. The Pirates: In Adventure With Scientists, about a band of pirates hoping to become rich off theory rather than treasure, became the absolute treat of the year, showcasing yet again that Aardman studios can match the giants of Pixar and Dreamworks. Then came The Hunger Games, based on the Suzanne Collins novel, Jennifer Lawrence became the modern-day heroin in a fantastic yet shocking dystopian tale of a teenager forced to fight to the death for the entertainment of the rich and powerful – playing perfectly to the fans of the book. Whilst mid-Spring saw Avengers Assemble become one of the highest grossing films of all time, showcasing a movie made by a fan, for the fans, that paid off well.
Early Summer saw Snow White and The Huntsman get a thumbs up. Wes Anderson returned with Moonrise Kingdom, whilst the long-awaited Alien sequel Prometheus, from Ridley Scott, split audiences despite its brave attempt to answer big themes.
Whilst Cosmopolis became an underrated dark but brilliant depiction of western life and analysis of what money and power can do to a human. Killer Joe, a dark crime thriller seen Matthew McConaughey brilliant return to top-level acting. Whilst The Imposter, a documentary about a man convincing an American family he was their long-lost son, became a huge success with audiences that were dumfounded by the nature of this true story.
Summer saw The Dark Knight Rises; the final showpiece in Christopher Nolan‘s Batman trilogy, stunned the world with its depiction of corruption and revolution whilst culminating elements from the first two movies. Andrew Garfield became the new Peter Parker as Spider-Man got itself rebooted in The Amazing Spider-Man. Meanwhile, Bourne Legacy starring Jeremy Renner, failed to live up to the quality that the Matt Damon and Paul Greengrass partnership had brought to the series, whilst the remake of Total Recall failed to take off in the way the original had.
September brought us director Rian Johnson‘s head scrambling take on time travel in Looper with Joseph Gordon Levitt, carrying forward the torch for intelligent mainstream cinema. Director Joe Wright went back to the costume drama genre with his adaptation of Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina. Whilst The Sweeney had the feeling of a highly stylised empty take on a British classic TV series. Beasts Of The Southern Wild became an unbelievable story of a young girl’s vision of her depleted American disaster-hit town; a small indie film that was just incredible. Autumn saw Daniel Craig return in fantastic fashion as James Bond in Skyfall, celebrating its 50th anniversary in a movie that mingled the modern world threat with the story of Bond’s past brilliantly. Whilst Paul Thomas Anderson returned with his much praised essay on entrepreneurial religion in fantastically acted The Master.
Breaking Dawn: Part 2 saw the conclusion to the Twilight Saga, while Ben Affleck returned to direct and star in Argo, a great edge of the seat thriller about the true story of rescuing six embassy workers from diplomatic tensions in Iran. A heartbreaking tale of old life stunned audiences in Amour, with Silver Linings Playbook becoming an awards favourite with its heart felt tale on mental illness and love. Peter Jackson‘s return to Middle-earth came as a roller coaster end to the year once again with The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey while Ang Lee‘s adaptation of Life Of Pi set the world alight with his vision of an already difficult-to-film book.
It’s no doubt that 2012 has been a big success for film. Hopefully, 2013 will look to be raising the bar and providing cinema with intelligent tales and even more spectacle.