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2012 predictions

Tuesday 17 January 2012 - Filed under Horrorthon Posts

I’m just curious what everyone thinks. Here’s my take:

Sherlock (Season 2)
Already seen it (all three episodes): it’s fantastic!
Star Wars Episode I The Phantom Menace 3D
I’m more partial to the prequel trilogy than probably anyone else here on Horrorthon. I’d even go so far as to say that The Phantom Menace is kind of comparable to the first few chapters of The Fellowship of the Ring: very little happens, the storytelling isn’t up to par yet, the setting is idyllic, and you’ve got absolutely no idea of the violent, dark wonders to come. (And if Book I of Lord of the Rings had been written/published years after The Return of the King, everybody would be going, “Tom Bombadil? A shortcut to mushrooms? What the hell is this?”) Anyway, as I’ve remarked elsewhere the 3D looks unbelievable, so I’m in.
Mad Men (Season 5)
I think this will be awesome. Season 4 was the best yet, and it left us at a wondrous stopping point. (SPOILER WARNING for Octo, Julie and others who aren’t caught up. NOBODY SAY ANYTHING!)
Titanic 3D
I’m not the biggest fan of this movie to begin with (although I was at the time), but, again, the 3D looks unbelievable (at least in the preview I saw).
The Avengers
I think this will be pretty good but not great. Like, you have a blast and pump your fist during the first hour, but by the next day you kind of forget you saw it, you know? It probably won’t have the surprising emotional depth of Thor.
I have no idea. It could be brilliant and it could be embarassing crap. Ridley Scott is like that.
The Amazing Spider-Man
I think this looks (no pun intended) totally amazing, but I realize that nobody here is going to agree with me, since it’s got two Horrorthon strikes against it: nobody likes reboots (except me) and nobody likes origin stories (except me). But I just saw The Social Network and I think Andrew Garfield is great, and, come on: Emma Stone! Martin Sheen and Sally Field as Uncle Ben and Aunt May!
The Dark Knight Rises
I actually think this is going to be bad. I mean, enough already. I thought Inception was way overrated. I’m tired of Christopher Nolan and what a big deal everything is. Why so serious?
This will kick ass.
The Hobbit
I think this will be the one movie to rule them all, this year.


2012-01-17  »  Jordan

Talkback x 21

  1. JPX
    17 January 2012 @ 4:39 am

    This is an interesting list. I too predict disappointment with The Avengers. The plot synopsis I read was very convoluted and I’m certain that we won’t get to see the team in action as ‘The Avengers’ until the end of the film. I disagree about The Dark Knight Rises. The Dark Knight is easily my favorite superhero movie and I love all of Nolan’s stuff to date. The Dark Knight Rises is easily the film I’m most looking forward to this year. I won’t ever watch The Phantom Menace again but I have no problem with Clones and Sith, which I will watch in 3D. I can’t wait for Skyfall. I’m in the minority here but I have no interest in The Hobbit. The enjoyed the original Rings trilogy but I have no desire to ever watch them again. The trailer for The Hobbit looks boring. Prometheus looks terrific so far and Spider-Man will be fun. I have yet to watch Mad Men but everyone assures me that I’d love it (I love that era) and I’ve never heard of Sherlock. I liked Titanic at the time but I don’t think it has aged well.

    Star Trek 2 started filming yesterday!

  2. Jordan
    17 January 2012 @ 7:40 am

    JPX, have you read the Tolkien books?

  3. Johnny Sweatpants
    17 January 2012 @ 7:40 am

    I’m looking forward to The Avengers but as JPX said they probably won’t band together until the very end. If it were me the very first line of the movie would be along the lines of “Meanwhile at the (Marvel equvalent of) Hall of Justice….”

    Jordan I’m surprised you feel that way about Dark Knight/Christopher Nolan. I thought gravitas was you thang.

    You nailed my thoughts on Spiderman. Not only do I hate reboots and origin stories, I’m so very tired of Spiderman’s origin story in particular.

  4. Jordan
    17 January 2012 @ 8:13 am

    Yes, gravitas is my thang. Good point. And I loved, loved, loved both Batman Begins and The Dark Knight (especially after having to endure everyone’s mysterious reverence for the vomitous Tim Burton movies).

    I wouldn’t be reacting this way if it wasn’t for Inception, which was, well, hubristic. Even the best filmmakers hit that saturation point where suddenly it’s all too much. Some hit it sooner, some later (and some, like Kubrick or Spielberg or Hitchcock or the Coen Brothers or Soderbergh, never seem to hit it). Coppola got there about five minutes after Apocalypse Now came out. Michael Cimino made The Deer Hunter and then instantly collided with that wall and made Heaven’s Gate. M. Night Shyamalan made the excellent The Sixth Sense and then immediately lost it and has been swirling down the drain ever since. I actually think it’s a character question: the more strong willed and level headed you are, the longer you can stave it off. But something about the Dark Knight Rises trailer (after Inception) makes me suspect that Nolan’s arrived there.

    I hope I’m wrong. Obviously the gravitas itself is like sweet music to my ears. But even the best artists can hit that point of too much.

  5. Octopunk
    17 January 2012 @ 8:39 am

    I can’t go on at length because I really need to pants on this pantsless kid next to me and get him to school, but:

    My Ep 1 scorn is on record, but I’ll probably check it out anyway because I’m curious. I think the Fellowship comparison would earn you many punches from die-hard Tolkien fans, but as they’re all nerds you wouldn’t even feel them.

    Despite my earlier bitching I think Spider-Man might actually be really cool. It’s just… fucking Uncle Ben.

    I really want the Avengers movie to kick ass, but…

    I want Dark Knight Rises to rock, too, but I have similar misgivings. I never got around to writing about it, but aside from Heath Ledger’s spot-on performance I’ve always thought Dark Knight had some serious problems.


  6. Octopunk
    17 January 2012 @ 9:17 am

    PUT pants. I need to put pants on this pantsless kid. Who is now in my lap.

  7. Jordan
    17 January 2012 @ 9:17 am

    I like the first way you said it much more. “Pants on!” (like the Human Torch, except rather than bursting into flame he just puts his pants on — or some much larger person does it for him and he kind of struggles.)

  8. JPX
    17 January 2012 @ 11:50 am

    I’m just glad it’s your kid you’re putting pants on, otherwise I’d worry about you.

    Jordan, I’m embarrassed to say that I’ve never read the books. I always felt overwhelmed by the task after being repeatedly told that it’s a long, complicated story that requires its own dictionary to understand it. It almost felt like a school assignment (I know I’m a dope for saying that). My father loves the books and the films. He always recounts how he read all the books in graduate school while conducting animal experiments.

  9. Jordan
    17 January 2012 @ 1:05 pm

    No need for embarrassment. I just wanted to know if my assumption was correct. Pretty much everyone I know who’s a fan of the movies has read the books, which means that I didn’t think I had any friends (online or otherwise) to illustrate what it would be like for somebody to come at the movies “cold.” But it turns out I do. Anyway I asked because your comment above had me guessing that you hadn’t read the books.

    Viz. the The Hobbit trailer (you will notice that I refuse to omit the leading “The“), it’s pretty much aimed at people who know the books (and your reaction kind of confirms this).

    What’s interesting (and what you may not know) is that The Hobbit is actually a more difficult cinematic project than The Lord of the Rings (in my opinion), for a couple of interesting reasons. Tolkien wrote The Hobbit in the 1930s as a series of letters to his young son Christopher while he was stationed overseas. It’s very much a children’s story, is my point. It was also self-contained, taking place in a conventional, almost “Disney-esque” (don’t tell anyone I said that) Children’s story world (with talking animals and elves and dwarves) that is never even identified as “Middle Earth.”

    Meanwhile, as a separate project, Tolkien was engaged in an epic linguistic project called The Silmarillion, which is maybe best described as a completely original old-testament-style mythos created from scratch, starting with the creation of the world and carrying forward into a canon of legends. (All totally made up; that’s how he rolled.)

    When The Hobbit was published in 1936 (as a children’s story) it was an unexpected best-seller, and his publisher asked for a sequel. When he showed them The Silmarillion, they politely explained that although they understood that it was his “real work” (as such), it just wasn’t readable, and anyway his fans wanted “more about Hobbits.”

  10. Jordan
    17 January 2012 @ 1:05 pm

    So Tolkien began writing a “sequel” to The Hobbit, but, as his mind was really more concerned with the universe of The Silmarillion, something unexpected happened: the two fictional worlds (“Middle Earth” from The Silmarillion and the Hobbit world) became connected together, and the “Hobbit sequel” grew into an enormous thousand-page epic that begins with Hobbits in the Shire but ends up concluding the story of The Silmarillion!

    Hints of this fusion can be found in the original Hobbit, where characters from the other world like Elrond have cameos, just because he figured “What the hell; nobody’s ever going to read The Silmarillion.” But the breakthrough fusion occurred as Tolkien looked at the innocuous “magic ring” Bilbo Baggins acquires in The Hobbit and retroactively decided (“retconed”) that it was nothing less than the Dark Lord’s “One Ring” of ultimate power.

    So the challenge for Peter Jackson is to take what’s essentially a “Winnie the Pooh”-style children’s story (I’m exaggerating, but not much) that was retroactively grafted into a Beowulf-style epic, and film it in a way that’s stylistically consistent with his existing movies, even though the two books are completely different in style, tone and content.

    For example, The Hobbit is filled with songs, because it’s a children’s book (in which characters routinely burst into song, like in Mary Poppins) and, to be faithful to that, Jackson’s got to do the same thing. Hence the trailer you saw. I think it looked “boring” to you for these reasons: he’s turning a little book into a massive two-movie epic, while retro-fitting it into another book (and another set of movies) in a way that wasn’t even on the radar when Tolkien started writing and may not even be conceptually possible.

  11. JPX
    18 January 2012 @ 10:00 am

    I’m sorry I didn’t respond to this sooner but I hadn’t had a chance to really read your comments until now. Thank you for the thoroughly interesting back-story to these books, it really is fascinating stuff! I never knew anything about The Hobbit and now I’m very curious to see what Jackson does with it. I know there is a Hobbit cartoon out there somewhere but I’ve never seen it. Cool stuff, thank you for the (entertaining) history lesson!

  12. Jordan
    18 January 2012 @ 10:25 am

    You are (as they say in Middle Earth) most welcome!

    The existence of another world “behind” Middle Earth, so deep in the past that the The Lord of the Rings characters use the word “ancient,” is a result of the above-described literary development, and it’s yet another element that makes Tolkien’s world so amazing. Remember in the Jackson movies, how we keep running across really, really old decrepit fallen statues and buildings covered with vines and moss? My favorite being The Argonath, those two gigantic statues (of the “ancient” Numenorian kings) that flank the Anduin river (which is like Middle Earth’s Mississippi River).

    Just like The Matrix: the best fantasy worlds have two fantasy worlds for the price of one.

  13. JPX
    18 January 2012 @ 11:28 am

    I just looked up The Argonath and you’re right, that’s supremely cool.

    “Just like The Matrix: the best fantasy worlds have two fantasy worlds for the price of one.”

    Great line.

  14. Jordan
    18 January 2012 @ 11:45 am

    JPX, here’s the Argonath in Jackson’s The Fellowship of the Ring:

    I’m sure you can imagine how unbelievably happy this made me the first time I saw the movie (especially since it does nothing for the plot; you can totally take it out and it doesn’t make the slightest bit of difference. They spent all that money and took the time to do that just to get Tolkien right.

  15. JPX
    18 January 2012 @ 12:00 pm

    Thanks for linking that, it’s really quite cool! I haven’t really watched these films again since they originally came out and I had forgotten how epic they are.

    I must also confess that I have never seen any of the special editions.

  16. Jordan
    18 January 2012 @ 12:24 pm

    They’re much longer:

    The Fellowship of the Ring

    Theatrical cut = 178m = 2:58
    Extended Edition = 208m = 3:28 (30m longer)

    The Two Towers

    Theatrical cut = 179m = 2:59
    Extended Edition = 223m = 3:43 (44m longer)

    The Return of the King

    Theatrical cut = 201m = 3:21
    Extended Edition = 251m = 4:11 (50m longer)



    Theatrical cut = 558m = 9:18
    Extended Edition = 682m = 11:22

  17. JPX
    18 January 2012 @ 3:06 pm

    It sounds like an upcoming weekend marathon is in order…

    Are the extra scenes worth seeing?

  18. Jordan
    18 January 2012 @ 4:14 pm

    Oh, indeed.

    Most fans think that the theatrical version isn’t even worth watching compared to the extended version. (Some people have actually complained on Amazon after buying the theatrical Blu-ray set: they just assumed they’d be getting the Extended Cut.) I actually don’t agree with this: I think the Theatrical Cuts are excellent, and probably best for people who are coming at the whole thing for the first time. But if you really want to see Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings in its full majesty, then it’s got to be The Extended Cut.

    (As just one example, Sean Bean and John Noble aren’t in theatrical The Two Towers, and Christopher Lee isn’t in theatrical The Return of the King (much to his public chagrin), but that’s all fixed in the extended cuts.

    And this isn’t some George Lucas retro-tampering, either: they knew what they were doing from the very beginning, consciously shooting the movies with the intention of making short- and long-form versions. Many, many details from the books (including clever references to The Hobbit) that literary fans complained were cut out…actually weren’t cut out, and you can see them in the Extended Cuts.

    The main essential thing you have to realize about Tolkien is this: unlike any other fantasy/sci-fi world I can think of, Middle Earth is complete. What you read is just the tip of the iceberg: there’s an entire world of detail that’s all been created, just below the surface. When George Lucas is all “Count Dooku” and “Grand Moff” and “thousands of star systems” and “The Kessel Run,” it’s just words…just language. He doesn’t actually know what any of that stuff is. It’s theatrical detail. (He doesn’t know how the engines work or what “blasters” are, either: it’s just atmosphere.) But Tolkien knows everything. Middle Earth is a real invention, full of vast detail and history, and that makes all the difference in the world.

  19. Jordan
    18 January 2012 @ 4:36 pm

    And it goes without saying: if you can do it in HD / Blu-ray, then do that!

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