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The top 10 upcoming movies of 2012 we hope don’t suck

Prometheus 

June 8

(Directed by Ridley Scott; Starring: Noomi Rapace, Michael Fassbender, Idris Elba)

Ridley Scott has been a little vague on what we can expect from this film, but it looks kinda awesome. According to Scott, the Alien franchise is just a starting point, and the film will explore the origins of the monstrous alien creatures, as well as examine the possible beginnings of the human race. If you ask 20th Century Fox, it is a prequel to Alien. The result is that no one is entirely sure what to expect. There have been a few leaks to suggest that this film is definitely a prequel to Alien, but it will have a totally unique story, and even the alien(s) will be different. The people who leaked that news all then suddenly disappeared under mysterious circumstances. Even the actors have been tight-lipped, and were all forced sign non-disclosure agreements, possibly at gunpoint. If you watch Naomi Rapace in recent interviews, you can almost see her blink out in the Morse code, “Help me, there’s a sniper watching me now, help me.”

Regardless of what track the plot takes, you can be sure that it will at least be worth a look. Scott has earned the benefit of the doubt, and the cast reads like the lineup of a benefit concert to help raise money to fight a horrible disease. There is one troubling rumor about the flick that won’t go away though: It may be released as PG-13. So far this is unconfirmed, but Fox did raise objections to Scott’s proposed $250 million budget for an R-rated film. Hopefully that was just typical negotiating where the filmmakers want a billion dollars for the budget while the studio offers $37.50 and possibly a Big Mac (but not super-sized—that would be fiscally irresponsible), then they eventually meet around $150 million or so. Supposedly, Scott is editing a PG-13 and an R-rated version to the studio. This movie would not be the same if it were PG-13. The entire film would be… you know what, to hell with it. If you have seen Alien or Aliens (you can skip the others), then you know this movie needs to be R-rated. ‘Nuff said.

Brave 

June 22

(Directed by Mark Andrews; Starring: Kelly Macdonald, Emma Thompson, Kevin McKidd)

Pixar returns with its annual offering, and thankfully it is an original tale. Concerns had risen for a while that Pixar would change its production course to churn out sequels, instead of creating new and original properties. Now, if anyone can do a good sequel, it is Pixar — just look at the Toy Story films. And although Cars 2 wasn’t exactly memorable, it wasn’t bad. But Pixar has set the bar so high for itself, that it will be disappointing if the studio can’t continue to produce the original quality content we’ve come to expect.

The downside of Pixar’s gamble on an original picture is that if it doesn’t do well, it could lead to Cars 3 and Ratatouille 2. Granted, an Incredibles sequel would rock, but it would be better to have one come naturally, and not because someone at Disney freaked out and forced Pixar to nourish the franchises.

Even if Brave is only moderately successful, it could lead to fewer totally original flicks like Wall-E and Up. Of course, that is always the risk, and so far Pixar has generally come out big. So here’s hoping that Brave doesn’t suck. Even if Brave makes a billion dollars, you can expect the next original Pixar film — whenever it’s released — to be on this list for the same reasons.

The Amazing Spider-Man 

July 3

(Directed by Marc Webb; Starring: Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, Rhys Ifans)

Let’s just go ahead and get this out of the way: It is ridiculous that Sony is rebooting a franchise that isn’t even five years gone. But to be fair, while the Sam Raimi Spider-Man trilogy had its positives, it also had a whole bunch of negatives. In fact, you can go ahead and throw the whole third film in the negative column, and no one is probably going to complain. When an alien-infected meteor happens to land in Central Park, just feet from where Spider-Man is necking with his lady, you know you can just go ahead and take some aspirin if you were hoping for a tight and engaging plot. And that wasn’t even close to the worse plot hole in that film. It was barely top five.

It also won’t be too big a loss to see the backs of Tobey Maguire and Kirsten Dunst. Neither really won over the fans, what with their apathetic attitudes and unfortunate lack of charisma and humor, so new blood may be welcome. Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone have their work cut out for them, and director Marc Webb has never undertaken anything close to this scale. Plus the new Spidey suit looks like a leotard, but hopefully it will look better in the movie. Beyond that, the people involved seemed to be treating the property with care — as they should since they could all become instant celebrities, or alternatively be auditioning for CSI: El Paso five years from now. No pressure though. Hopefully it won’t suck, but if it does, we look forward to the next reboot in 2017.

The Dark Knight Rises

July 20

(Directed by Christopher Nolan; Starring: Christian Bale, Anne Hathaway, Tom Hardy)

The odds are very good that this film won’t suck. Even if you aren’t in love with Christopher Nolan, it is hard to say that his movies are bad. He has a good eye behind the camera, has had a knack for picking actors that are primed for stardom then getting great performances out of them, and the stories he has filmed have all managed to twist conventional storytelling elements in original ways.

Oddly, the biggest concern for this film so far is the voice work of the actors. Bale’s growling Batman voice in The Dark Knight sounded like he was sucking on rock lozenges, and the trailers so far have made Bane sound like he is about to take your order at a Burger King drive-through, circa 1996. But the real reason we hope this film doesn’t suck (beyond just the fact that we just generally hope that it is Raiders-style face-meltingly awesome) is that this is the last Nolan/Bale Batman.

The studio has already said it plans to reboot the franchise in the future, so this will be the conclusion of a trilogy. A good finale will set the high water mark for all upcoming mainstream superhero flicks. It is a warning shot across the bow to the Uwe Bolls of the world and the Green Lanterns of the future. This is how it should be done, and the box office has confirmed and validated it. Also, this film may very well be the top box office hit of the year, which means most of us are going to end up seeing it either by choice or because someone else wants to see it. So call us selfish, but since we are going to see it anyway, we really hope it doesn’t suck.

{This article has been updated}

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