So the world didn't end as how the Mayans predicted and we're still here. Hollywood's still on the roll, Bollywood's still dancing and our local movie industry is ever blooming, thus we find it absolutely necessary to review the year in movies and hash out the very best cinematic pieces of 2012! Rest assured that our passionate team of movie aficionados had carefully deliberated on this list and after countless weigh-ins of each of the movie's pros and cons that may or may not have resulted in several Hulk Smash outbursts in the board room, we present to you Part 1 of the Best Movies of 2012! (Hey, if "Breaking Dawn" had two parts, we can too!)
"Marvel's The Avengers"
Easily the biggest movie of 2012 thanks to the slow simmering fan build up through the "Iron Man", "Thor" and "Captain America" movies, "Marvel's The Avengers" is this year's biggest blockbuster, raking approximately US$10.9 million locally and US$1.5 billion worldwide. This superhero tour de force distributed by Walt Disney Pictures held the first spot at the local box office charts for about 4 weeks and finally gave up its reign when "Men In Black 3" made its return 15 years after its predecessor. Obviously the biggest franchise in Hollywood, "The Avengers" universe seems to have an unforeseeable end, especially with the definite yet to be dated "Avengers" sequel, "Marvel's Iron Man 3" and "Thor: The Dark World" slated for a 2013 release with "Captain America: The Winter Soldier" close behind for a 2014 release. As if that isn't enough, "Avenger's" director Joss Whedon is developing a TV series titled "Marvel's S.H.I.E.L.D" too. Oh, and all the actors have contracts that slotted them in for at least 5 Marvel movies. This franchise will never end!
Adnan Sempit 2
With one of the most popular local actors essaying the lead role, it is hardly any wonder that "Adnan Sempit 2" did as well as it did (the film exceeded RM 4.5 million in box office gross). Shaheizy Sam plays Adnan, a wannabe orphaned gangster who is raised by his aunt after the death of his father. In the original, Adnan first meets the wealthy and successful Nadia when she purposefully chooses him to be her pretend boyfriend at a party in order to avoid the embarrassment of being single, and the rest of the film depicts how the two eventually fall in love for real. "Adnan Sempit 2" picks up where the first left off, by throwing in tons of Korean drama-type clichés that follows when two people from different worlds fall in love, such as Nadia's father, Datuk Isnin, vehemently opposing their relationship, a love rival appearance, and so on. But hey, Korean dramas are popular in Malaysia, so why not "Adnan Sempit 2"?
The Hunger Games
Adapted from the best-selling book of the same name, "The Hunger Games" had generated a lot of buzz long before the movie was released. Believe it or not, it was the role of Katniss Everdeen and Gale Hawthorne that put both Jennifer Lawrence and Liam Hemsworth on the celebrity-to-look-out-for radar. The story is set in a post-apocalyptic future where it focuses on Katniss, who volunteers herself as a tribute in the Hunger Games in order to save her younger sister, Prim from the same fate. In order to emerge as the victor, 24 tributes between the age of 12-18 are thrown into the game to kill one another until only one is left. Controversy found its way to "The Hunger Games" when marketing of the film was pushed out, with a handful of people citing similarities of its premises with the Japanese film "Battle Royale". Writer Suzanne Collins had waved off any accusations of plagiarism by citing that she has never heard of the movie before.
A. R. Murugadoss' action thriller film caused a huge uproar when its release was slightly delayed in Malaysia during the festival of Diwali week. The film's huge hype sparked from its status as a Murugadoss film and the casting of stars Vijay and Kajal Aggarwal in the lead roles. However, as it goes, "Thuppakki" was not just a film with an ensemble team; it also had a praiseworthy script and cinematography to match. The film centres on Jagdish, a captain in the Indian Army, who has just returned to Mumbai from Kashmir, and is forced by his parents and younger sisters into seeing Nisha. Disliking her at first, Jagdish soon finds Nisha to be a modern female college boxer and falls for her, but Jagdish is soon caught up in a terrorist plot when he thwarts a terrorist attack.
Ah Beng The Movie: Three Wishes
When Ah Beng first appeared on cinematic screens nationwide in "Tiger Woohoo" during the Chinese New Year of 2010, no one had expected the impact he would later have on audiences. Most recognised in his security guard uniform, the character with the unique scratchy voice was played so effectively by popular MyFm Deejay Jack Lim that he spawned his own line of merchandises. Heck, even our Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak attended the premiere of the movie. It is of course only natural that Ah Beng had a movie lined up that zooms in to his comedic personality. This time, the God of Fortune, makes an appearance to offer a twist to the story, giving Ah Beng's father three wishes for being generous to others despite being poor. Of course, the gesture results in many hilarious outcomes that leave the audience in stitches while relaying a moral behind the story. Ah Beng is after all, very popular with the kids.
The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2
Listing a "Twilight" movie as one of the best of the year can only end in two ways: either we would be hailed as heroes or stoned to death by movie fans. No matter the outcome, this is a movie that can't be lightly pushed aside, taking in a local box office gross of approx. RM6 million and still going strong. There has to be a reason to the wide appeal the movie holds over millions of fans both overseas and locally. Could it be the battle scene between the Volturi and the Cullens'? Could it maybe be the appearance of Reneesme? Or it could be because this is finally farewell to the beloved Edward (Robert Pattinson) and Jacob (Taylor Lautner). No matter the answer, ultimately what fans would miss most is the romance that spanned five movies between Edward and Bella (Kristen Stewart). From their first meeting in school to Bella's transformation as a vampire, fans have loyally followed the story, swooning at Edward and Jacob while crying with Bella at her darkest moments without Edward. The guys might hate the movie to the core, but you have to admit, it's a great date movie that will earn you super extra brownie points with the girlfriend.
Who would have thought that a film about a foul-mouthed teddy bear and his fickle owner would become one of the hits of 2012? But it did, and for good reason too. Directed by Seth MacFarlane who makes his feature-length directorial debut, "Ted" tells the story of a teddy bear who comes to life when a lonely boy named John Bennett makes a wish for his stuffed friend to reciprocate his friendship. Mark Wahlberg is the perfect foil to Ted, who is voiced by MacFarlane himself, and provides a memorable and genuinely hilarious performance that sets him apart as "the guy who looks like but is not Matt Damon". Although the movie suffered several cuts thanks to our local censorship board (check out the 'Thunder Buddies' song on YouTube), thus bringing down the impact of the crude humour down a few notches, the movie still managed to catapult audiences into roaring laughter and made for one of the popular date films of this year!
There are plenty of genius moments in "Skyfall" that still leaves audience reeling from the effects. Dame Judi Dench's M who finally gets more screen time, the revamped Q (Ben Whishaw) who fits in flawlessly with the modern world of espionage, the chilling Raoul Silva played to delicious perfection by Javier Bardem and of course (spoilers ahead!), the sorely missing Moneypenny from the previous two films starring Daniel Craig. Who can forget the casual demeaning quote from Q to Bond, citing how he can "do more damage in my laptop sitting in my pyjamas before my first cup of Earl Grey than you can do in a year in the field." The latest in the James Bond franchise was released with high expectations during its 50th anniversary this year and fortunately, did not disappoint in the least. It's without a doubt a great directorial effort by Sam Mendes who also wows with great cinematic shots as well as picking up a tip or two from Christopher Nolan's "The Dark Knight Rises", adding more dimension to the ladies' man we know as James Bond.
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
The most highly anticipated epic film of the year, "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey" does not disappoint. While Peter Jackson's new trilogy has divided critics alike with his decision to film it at 48 fps, the film is still one of the best films of 2012, with its stylistic visuals, nostalgic soundtrack and exciting premise. The film tells the story of Bilbo Baggins, but wait, you mean that you still do not know the story yet? If you don't, please go watch it now somehow, or we will send Gollum after you.
This sequel to the 1991 film "Armour Of God II: Operation Condor", is the best of 2012 not because it is one of the best Chinese films, but one of the best Jackie Chan films (there is a difference). Also known as "Armour Of God III: Chinese Zodiac", "CZ12" won Jackie Chan two Guinness World Records, which were "Most Credits In One Movie" and "Most Stunts Performed By A Living Actor", the title of being Jackie Chan's last action blockbuster, and now, we bestow it with the title of "The Jackie Chan Film To Rule All Jackie Chan Films". The premise of the film is simple: Jackie Chan reprises his role as adventurer and treasure hunter Asian Hawk, who is seeking to repatriate twelve bronze heads of the animals of the Chinese zodiac that were looted from the Old Summer Palace in the Second Opium War, but jam-packed with state-of-the-art gadgets and a stellar cast, this is definitely a film that will go down in 2012 history.
Don't agree with this list? Well hold your horses then! Look out for Part 2 of "Best Movies of 2012" this 27 December 2012!