Special Features – The Big Questions of 2013

Anghus Houvouras tackles the big questions of 2013…

2013 is almost upon us, and there’s a lot to look forward to.  It’s going to be hard to top 2012, a year that gave film geeks so much to be thankful for.  The Avengers, The Dark Knight Rises, Dredd, Skyfall, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey and The Amazing Spider-Man among others… it was a landmark year for geek cinema.  As we close out this wild and wonderful year, I think it’s a good time to ask a few looming questions about the cinematic landscape that is 2013…

1.  Are we finally going to get a good Superman movie?

This one’s been a long time coming.  After the long wait for a modern era Superman film, audiences were punished with the Bryan Singer directed exploits of an emo, absentee parent Superman and an anorexic Lois Lane.  We were all very forgiving at the time because the film was so reverent to the Richard Donner original.  But let’s face the facts: Superman Returns was a disappointing wreck.  I was more than nervous when I heard the words ‘A Superman film directed by Zack Snyder’, a director who has gotten progressively worse with each subsequent film.  However, under the watchful eye of Christopher Nolan, there’s hope that we may finally get a Superman movie that’s worth the price of admission.

2. Just who the hell is Benedict Cumberbatch playing in Star Trek Into Darkness?

This one may get answered before 2013 with the first nine minutes of Star Trek Into Darkness screening in a few weeks.  There’s been rampant speculation on which villain he’s playing.  Some people claim he’s taking on a reworked version of Khan.  Others are speculating he’s playing a reworked villain from the original series, Gary Mitchell.  For the record, Gary Mitchell may be the least menacing villain name in the history of film.  “BOW BEFORE THE POWER OF GARY MITCHELL!”  Not exactly a fear inducing moniker.  Whoever he’s playing, J.J. Abrams has done a masterful job of keeping this one under wraps and keeping the film sites rife with debate. 

3. Is M. Night Shyamalan capable of making another good movie?

Few directors have achieved the dizzying heights and the fiery descents of M. Night Shyamalan.  Once a filmmaker of such promise, his recent output has gone from the laughable (The Happening) to the misguided (Lady in the Water) to the almost unwatchable (The Last Airbender).  2013 sees the release of After Earth and what might be Mr. Twists’ last chance at mainstream redemption. 

4. Was 9 months enough to save G.I. Joe: Retaliation?

Never have I seen a film yanked from the release schedule with such reckless abandon.  Mere weeks before launch, the G.I. Joe sequel no one was clammoring for was pulled and sent back in for some ‘reworking’.  The blame was laid on needing time for a 3D conversion.  Though there were many reports that test screenings were toxic and that Channing Tatum’s early departure was a bad choice given his current career trajectory.  Now, with nine moths of tinkering and reshoots, we’ll finally get to see if this franchise has any ammunition left in the chamber.

5. Does the world really need a third Hangover and a sixth Fast and the Furious?

Franchise milking is nothing new.  I liked the second Hangover and the fifth Fast and Furious just fine.  But at some point you have to start wonder if creatively were starting to enact the law of diminishing returns. 

6. Is World War Z salvageable?

The most trouble production of 2011 became the most reworked production of 2012.  Thanks to massive rewrites and reshoots, no one knows exactly what we’ll be seeing next June other than Brad Pitt running from super fast zombies.  Once again the theory will be tested: can deep pockets save a wayward production?  I’m guessing no.  This one might be the bullet to the head of the current zombie fad.

7. Is Marvel’s Phase Two ready for launch?

After the massive success of The Avengers, all the pressure is on Marvel to continue an extremely impressive track record.  In May, we get Shane Black’s Iron Man 3.  The trailer is impressive, but it cribs a lot from The Dark Knight Rises.  Mandarin looks and sounds like a more laid back version of Bane.  And the whole ‘let’s break the hero’ premise isn’t exactly minty fresh.  Still, it’s Shane Black and Robert Downey Jr., so nothing less than genius will do.  Which is kind of needed after the stale pile of garbage that was Iron Man 2.  Meanwhile, November gives us a second Thor film which looks extremely promising.  Marvel’s entire Phase Two lineup is set.  There’s no going back.  Hopefully these new crop of comic book adaptations will be able to keep up the manic level of enthusiasm generated by The Avengers.  It’s not that I have any real concern about the continued success of these films, but I am starting to wonder if two films a year isn’t going to eventually cause some burn out.

8. Will the One Direction movie make me want to kill myself?

Yes. 

9. Is there a market for big budget kaiju?

This is one of those questions I’ve been pondering for awhile.  Guillermo del Toro’s next feature Pacific Rim features giant robots and irradiated monsters.  There’s a lot of curiosity surrounding this project and interest from the online film community.  But is the city stomping monster movie poised to out asses in seats?  Del Toro is well loved by the online media but is still an unknown quantity to mainstream audiences.  After a string of minor hits and artistic successes, 2013 may finally be the year we find out if Del Toro is capable of generating a crowd pleasing original property and has the kind of massive financial success required to be a major player in the studio system. 

Well there you have it.  Nine big questions for 2013.  What big questions do you have?

Anghus Houvouras