As this year in cinema draws to a close, FemaleFirst takes a look back over the years films. This time out, it’s the turn of blockbusters.
This summer saw the launch of more blockbusters than ever seen before, filling the summer months with gorgeous touch guys, mind blowing special effects and more explosions than you can shake a stick at. And they say we’re in a recession….
Not all those films lived up to their promise, with trailers deceiving and letting us down with the final product.
As the winter nights close in, FemaleFirst takes a look back and judges what were the best blockbusters of the year.
Number 1 – Star Trek
The first of the real blockbusters on this list, Star Trek radically moved on a franchise that had become stale since the good people of Star Fleet were last in the cinema.
Star Trek charts the initial adventure of the USS Enterprise and the rise of its captain, James Kirk.
While battling both the establishment and those around him for control of the ship, he has to fight Nero, a time travelling Romulan (one of the more, troubled, races of alien in the universe) who’s just seen his planet blown apart is on the path for revenge.
The film is by far and away the best of the traditional blockbusters, with believable and, more importantly likeable characters to a compelling story.
These are brought to life by a great ensemble cast of largely unknowns. Chris Pine (Carriers) delivers as Kirk, as do Simon Pegg (Hot Fuzz) as Scotty and Zoe Saldana (Avatar) as Uhura, who brings a real spark to the character not seen before.
The real highlights are Karl Urban (Lord of the Rings) as the sarcastic doctor ‘Bones’ and in particular Zachary Quinto (TV’s Heroes) as the iconic Spock. Quinto really proves himself to have a future on the big screen, dominating most of the scenes he steps in to.
Bringing in Lost producer J.J. Abrams to direct this reboot (who’s only previous experience was the highly underrated Mission Impossible 3) was a masterstroke as he brings a sense of pace and excitement to the party that no-one else had for years with the crew of the Enterprise.
With a sequel mooted and perhaps this franchise could go to the final frontier.
Just don’t hurt your head by thinking too much about time travel too much.
Number 2 – Public Enemies
Still considered by some as not a true blockbuster, with its level of dialogue wasn’t levelled by the amount of TNT used on set, Public Enemies proved a real hit with audiences this year.
Visionary director Michael Mann’s biopic picture about 1930’s bank robber John Dillinger and his attempts to escape the clutches of the newly formed FBI gripped audiences in the summer and gave most other blockbusters a run for their money when it came to action, but outclassed all when it came to the characters.
Johnny Depp (Pirates of the Caribbean) excels as Dillinger, while Christian Bale (The Dark Knight) gives his first best performance for years as Agent Purvis, the agent tasked to hunt him down.
These two fight like gladiators throughout, with Chicago as their arena and use Tommy Guns instead of swords.
The real ace in the hole though is Marion Cotillard. The French actress who won an Oscar for her portrayal of singer Edith Piaf in the French film La Vie En Rose puts her name squarely into the ring for another with a stunning performance.
Playing Dillinger’s sweet heart Billie, she light up every scene she sets foot in, bringing charm, strength and still vulnerability to make her the star attraction.
The dialogue pops and the gun shots boom in this thriller, and was defiantly the thinking person’s blockbusters and one that shouldn’t be missed by any fan of a night at the movies.
Number 3 – New Moon
Dubbed by many as this generations great love story, and possibly solely responsible for recent the rise of vampires, the Twilight Saga of novels by Stephanie Meyer have struck a chord with both men and women around the world with the epic romance between vampire Edward Cullen and Bella, an average girl.
The second in the hugely popular book series, New Moon has Edward (Robert Pattinson) leave Bella (Kristen Stewart), feeling that she is too much danger when he’s around her.
Falling into a huge depression, she puts herself in constant danger in order to see vision of him in her head.
After getting caught in a love triangle with friendly werewolf Jacob, played by a hugely buffed up Taylor Lautner, she flies to Italy to save Edward from being killed by Vampire Royalty the Volturi’s, after he believes she died ‘recreationally cliff diving’.
After 2007’s Twilight shot both Pattinson and Stewart to stars faster than the space shuttle, New Moon’s colossal success, it broke all previous first day and first week box office records, defiantly made it one of this years great successes.
With both Pattinson and Lautner smouldering on screen, it was easy to see why the film was such a hit, and with the third film Eclipse scheduled for summer next year, only six months after New Moons release, it’s sure to be a great year for the millions out there cynically dubbed ‘Twihards’.
Number 4 –Terminator Salvation
Some film series should have been laid to rest some years ago. Unfortunately, the Terminator films are defiantly one of those.
Ever since James Cameron’s classic duo of films nearly twenty years ago, studios have been trying to breath life back into everyone’s favourite films about time travelling cyborg killers.
Terminator Salvation sees the third time of trying to revitalise the franchise, after the poor sequel Rise of The Machines in 2003 and the ill-fated but exceptionally good television series The Sarah Connor Chronicles.
The strangely named McG took the reigns for the project, a decision that was hated by the fans, furious that the man behind the two abysmal Charlie’s Angels movies was directing their baby.
Set after the nuclear war between man and machine which destroyed most of the world, causing humans to live as rebels against their evil machine hunters, Terminator Salvation tried to show a grown up, angry John Connor (Christian Bale), a man fated to lead humanity to victory.
We also see the story of Marcus (Sam Worthington), a man on death row in the past, who wakes up to find the world destroyed around him, and tries to find help.
Easily the part of the movie is Worthington and the character of Marcus. Infinitely more interesting than Connor, Marcus is easily who you’ll care about when the film reaches its explosive finale. A lot of this is down to Worthington, who puts forward a performance of real warmth and
Number 5 – Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen
The first Transformers film was possibly the best of 2007 flock, with Michael Bay bringing the 1980’s toy phenomenon to the big screen and the morphing metal monsters to life with great style, propelling stars Shia LaBeouf and Megan Fox to stardom.
Revenge of The Fallen sees the original’s protagonist Sam Witwicky (Shia LaBeouf) going off to university only to realise that yet again the giant robots from space of the title (now working with the US military) need him to help them save the world yet again from the evil Megatron.
The real problem is that Revenge of The Fallen manages to take a ridiculously simple idea and make it so complicated that only Michael Bay can really understand it.
Some of the action sequences are great though, especially the opening chase through Shanghai and the woodland battle, but the hugely overlong and silly climax doesn’t help an already too long film.
Not helped by every stupid gag falling flat, with unfortunately racist robots and way too many crotch gags that only 12 year old boys will laugh at, Transformers: Revenge of The Fallen is no way near the guilty fun of the original of two years ago.
Revenge of the Fallen is by no means a terrible film; it’s just a shame that it really struggles when compared to its predecessor. It feels more like a balloon; great fun to start with but deflates over time and just ends up being flat and rubbery.
Despite all this, Transformers is still the years most successful film, making sure that a third film in the series is all but on its way.
Overall though, this year struggled to match up to last year’s crop of cinema cloggers, with nothing matching the fun of Iron Man, the surreal nature of Hellboy 2 or the sheer brilliance of The Dark Knight.
Hopefully next year’s batch, which sees the return of Robert Downey Jr in Iron Man 2 amongst others, will be able to carry on the torch and make it a better year for the big budget blockbuster.