Tuesday, February 1, 2011

9 Most Anticipated of '11

I was pretty reluctant to write another one of these lists. Past experiences have taught me these lists aren't perfect indicators of what I'll eventually like or even what I'll watch. I still haven't seen everything on my 2009 list. And then there's my 2010 list. Not only have I not watched everything on it, there's one movie that is supposed to be legendarily bad.

The problem is I write these lists before there are any solid details, so it becomes a guessing game. There are several months left before the movies are released giving me plenty of time to change my mind, or discover other movies I find even more interesting. I usually go with sequels or adaptations, not anticipating good original movies. Still I've decided to give it another go. So here are my nine most anticipated movies of the year, as they currently stand.

9. Kung Fu Panda 2

The only Dreamworks animated film I like is Kung Fu Panda. I remember enjoying the first Shrek but the sequels have made it hard to look back on the original with any fondness. I am looking forward to Kung Fu Panda 2, but it's possible Dreamworks will end up bungling it. Here's hoping I'll at least be to still watch the first one without cringing.

8. X-Men: First Class

I really, really like the idea of a superhero movie set in the 1960's. But I don't know about the X-Men running around during the Kennedy administration. Sure the comic was created in the '60s but it didn't take off until much later. And First Class features very few of those original X-Men characters. Instead it stars a very odd collection of obscure mutants from the comics. It might be good. Matthew Vaughn impressed me with Kick-Ass and he could impress me with this.

7. Green Lantern

Green Lantern would have ranked higher on this list but after a pretty weak trailer my enthusiasm for the movie has cooled off. I was never a Hal Jordan fan and Ryan Reynolds seems miscast simply by the virtue of having a personality. The one line of dialogue spoken by Blake Lively does not bode well for her acting ability. And we're stuck with giant headed Peter Sarsgaard and Geoff John's living retcon as antagonists for the first movie, I assume because they're saving the more popular villains for the sequels. How about Manhunters? Couldn't they have used Manhunters?

6.The Thing

I don't know if I'm anticipating The Thing or dreading it. I love John Carpenter's 1982 movie. The new film, despite the title, is not a remake but a prequel to the '82 film. I'm not sure if that makes the new Thing more or less exciting. On the one hand it shows a lot of respect to the previous movie to make a prequel nearly 30 years after the fact. On the other hand if the 2011 Thing is bad it will be harder to disavow it since it's set in the same continuity. Will it take away from the mystery of the '82 Thing once we learn the events that occurred at the Norwegian base? The '82 Thing was a remake itself, so no one can claim a remake would have been destined to be bad.

5. Cars 2

Cars is the perfect movie for a sequel. The original is a lot of fun, could have been better, and is in the hands of people with an impeccable record. The plot for Cars 2 involves Lightning McQueen and Tow Mater taking a world trip. That sounds promising to me. By comparison next year's Monsters Inc. 2 strikes me as a bad idea because it's continuing a story that ended on a perfect note.

4. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows Part II

I liked Deathly Hollows Part I but I didn't love it. It is only half a movie, so I'll cut it some slack. I am expecting Part II to be excellent. It's the culmination of ten years and eight films. I'm looking forward to a climatic resolution and ideally not a lot of sulking in the forest.

3. Transformers: Dark of the Moon

I'm feeling pretty positive about Dark of the Moon. No really. It's got Shockwave, the Wreckers as stock cars, Optimus Prime with a trailer, Megatron with a decent altmode, Sentinel Prime (or so I think), and a plot that may or may not involve space and/or time travel. How can it not be good? I am not in denial.

2. Thor

It was a close call between my top two choices. Thor ended up in the second slot, mainly just because I don't have the greatest familiarity with the character. Kenneth Branagh is a fascinating choice for the director of this movie. I'm looking forward to seeing what he does with it. The trailer and images have all been encouraging so far.

1. Captain America: The First Avenger

So I went with Captain America for number one. It's a risky move since there's not even a trailer released yet. But I like the character. I like the idea of a superhero movie set during World War II, as much as I like the idea of one set in the '60s. I like Joe Johnston as the director. I like Hugo Weaving as the Red Skull. And I like Chris Evans, but Steve Rogers is pretty far removed from Johnny Storm. Will it all work out? Time will tell.

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