Somehow 2011 is just about over. I know, this seems absurd, what is time? But fret not! Yes, we're all about to get one year older and the world's about to end, but we also get to see The Avengers together on the big screen for the first time, so EVERYONE CALM DOWN. It's actually a great year in many respects, and we've decided to break down what we're looking forward to the most. First up, the movies.
Honorable Mention: G.I. Joe 2: Retaliation (June)
I am one of three people who loved 2009's G.I. Joe: Rise of the Cobra and am greatly looking forward to the 2012 sequel, which sees the return of Channing Tatum and Ray Park and introduces a whole bunch of new characters and actors, including Bruce Willis, The Rock, *and* Arnold Vosloo, aka the Mummy himself. Listen, I'm telling you, sneak a six-pack of beer into the theater with you, exercise the third greatest gift on Earth (#muppetsreference), and enjoy. How can it not be brilliant?! Not to mention the trailer kind of makes the film look like the G.I. Joe movie everyone was hoping for in the first place, so who knows? This one might jump past ironic and go straight into great action movie territory.
12. Disney 3-D Re-releases Galore! (All of 2012)
A few months ago, I went to go see The Lion King 3-D with 14, yes FOURTEEN, friends of mine opening weekend. We wept, we sang, we reminisced, and perhaps the best part of the whole thing? Sitting near little kids who would ask their parents questions like "Will Simba come back?" and "Why is the birdie so mad?" It really seemed like the film was designed with 3-D in mind, and I can't wait to see how Beauty and the Beast, The Little Mermaid, and Monsters Inc. fare with the same treatment. I'm sure Finding Nemo will be beautiful as well, but the film itself doesn't carry the same nostalgic weight for me or my generation, so that one may not make the opening weekend cut.
11. Wreck It Ralph (November)
What? What is this doing here? The movie that almost stole D23 with its unexpectedly awesome presentation, I'm certain this film will surprise audiences just as much as it surprised the press in Anaheim. Wreck It Ralph tells the story of an 8 bit video game villain, Wreck It Ralph, voiced by John C. Reilly, who is sick of being the bad guy and goes on a quest to become a hero instead. The premise is smart, the voice cast fantastic, the animation creative and fun, and all in all, the film seems fantastic.
10. Prometheus (June)
The long awaited is-it-a-prequel-or-isn't-it to Alien, shot in 3-D and directed by the man himself, Ridley Scott, starring Michael Fassbender, Charlize Theron, Noomi Rapace, Patrick Wilson, Idris Elba, and the list goes on. Written by Damon Lindeloff and boasting some impressive yet elusive preview footage, this film has fans everywhere, myself included, eagerly awaiting its release.
9. Cabin in the Woods (April)
FINALLY. How long have I been waiting for this damn movie? Written by Joss Whedon, directed by the dark, tall, handsome and talented Drew Goddard and starring a collection of stellar 20-somethings, including Thor's Chris Hemsworth, Grey's Anatomy's Jesse Williams, Dollhouse's Fran Kranz, and mark my words -- breakout star Kristin Connolly. And don't forget about ringers Richard Jenkins and Bradley Whitford. I'm avoiding the trailers for this one, as I've heard it gives away a bit too much, but no matter what, I will be seeing this opening weekend. Plus, word on the street is the movie's fantastic. The countdown has begun.
8. World War Z (December)
I'm a bad fangirl. I haven't read World War Z yet. But that still doesn't stop me from being ecstatically excited to see a serious, large-scale zombie story come to the big screen. World War Z, based on the book by Max Brooks, follows the format of a UN rep interviewing people about the zombie apocalypse, aka -- you guessed it -- World War Z. The zombie comedy has been mastered, as has the zombie horror, but a full-blown zombie EPIC? Starring Brad Pitt? Bring it on.
7. Skyfall (November)
The long awaited third in the Daniel Craig Bond series will see Sam Mendes trying his hand at a large-scale action film. This installment has a bit more of a focus on M's backstory, which should be fun, and better yet, Javier Bardem will soon be adding Bond Villain to his impressive resume. While I'm not big on action movies, I am HUGE on spy action movies, and with a November release date, I wonder: could this Bond movie end up on some end-of-year best lists? I mean, Mission Impossible 4 has. Whether or not Bond has a future at the Oscars, expect him to take in huge numbers opening weekend.
6. Django Unchained (December)
Do I need to say anything other than "Tarantino"? The man responsible for a solid handful of my favorite movies returns in December 2012 with this story about an ex-slave who becomes a bounty hunter and sets out on a mission to save his wife from a villainous plantation owner. The film is speckled with folks from Tarantino's repertoire (Sam Jackson, Christoph Waltz), along with a slew of fresh faces (Leonardo DiCaprio, Joseph Gordon Levitt, Sacha Baron Cohen). I am decidedly not a fan of Jamie Foxx, but if anyone can turn me around on anything, it's Tarantino.
5. Hunger Games (March)
The first in a trilogy based on the young adult series by Suzanne Collins, if marketing picks up its game in the new year, we can only hope Hunger Games will reach Twilight levels of success. It has the love triangle AND an actual story! A compelling one! And stars an Oscar nominee! All of the ingredients seem to be coming together to create something incredible, if the trailer is any indication. There are still plenty of skeptics out there and all too many who don't even know what Hunger Games is, so what happens here will definitely be something to watch.
4. The Amazing Spider-Man (July)
The buzz out of Comic-Con was split between overwhelmingly positive in regard to Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone's portrayal of Peter and Gwen and director Marc Webb's ability to bring out their chemistry, but was negative surrounding the Lizard test that was shown. Hopefully soon, we'll get a look at how Lizard has changed since the unfortunate fan reaction, and get even more of a sense of how perfectly Peter Parker Garfield is. I'm in the camp of AHHH CAN'T WAIT for this one, and I hope the unconverted eventually get there too.
3. The Avengers (May)
The Joss Whedon-helmed superhero extravaganza impressed at New York Comic Con with fantastic and reassuring footage that showed off the detail Whedon is clearly giving to character and relationship dynamics. The cast seems like they had the time of their lives, and Tom Hiddleston is just about the best villain there could ever be anywhere for anything. I have beyond high hopes for this one, specifically for Whedon proving to all the naysayers that he has what it takes to deliver such a massive project.
2. The Dark Knight Rises (July)
I saw The Dark Knight four times in theaters. I'm so excited for the last in the Christian Bale trilogy that I refuse to watch any trailers, read any casting news, anything, other than allowing myself the six-minute Bane-arific prologue that played in front of Ghost Protocol. I know I'm seeing this and am determined to remain unspoiled, like I was with The Dark Knight. Because of this fact, I can't tell you MUCH about The Dark Knight Rises but frankly, I think that's just fine.
1. The Hobbit (December)
Few films, let alone entire film series, are as magical as the Lord of the Rings, and it was a gift from the universe that Peter Jackson ended up coming on board as director for the two installments of The Hobbit. Perhaps the film on this list that will have the widest appeal, considering the box-office and home-video success of the Lord of the Rings trilogy and the newfound mainstream embracing of fantasy, it's difficult to argue that any film on this list is being anticipated more across the board. Yes, it's been a while since the Lord of the Rings films took the globe by storm, but I'm fairly confident that the fervor is still there and will only grow over the next year. Sure, The Dark Knight Rises is the hot ticket right now, but The Hobbit trailer played three times at BNAT earlier this month, causing an explosion of positive buzz on Twitter -- and the real promotion for it hasn't even begun. Stay tuned, folks. This one's gonna be huge.