2013 was another big year for movies. As with 2012, there was a number of sequels and reboots but this trend does seem to be dying down a little. There was also the usual round of book adaptations, comic book adaptations and some fine original storytelling too. There was also one very impressive biopic released during the summer.
1. The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
The second part of Suzanne Collin’s Hunger Games trilogy was released in November. Jennifer Lawrence reprised her role as the iconic Katniss Everdeen who embarrassed the Capitol government in the first film. It is the 75th annual Hunger Games and as with every 25th year, there is a gimmick. This time, the pool would be chosen from amongst winners of previous events. The country of Panem is falling apart and uprisings are happening against the backdrop of the national blood sport. Woody Harrelson stars as mentor Haymitch ‘ a previous District 12 victor
2. The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
Another second part, released just before Christmas this continues the saga of Bilbo Baggins’ (played by Martin Freeman) journey to the land of the dwarves and to assist Thorin (played by Richard Armitage) to reclaim the kingdom of Erebor. On the way, they encounter the talking dragon Smaug who is inside a great chamber full of the unimaginable gold riches that he had taken from the dwarves. It finishes on a cliff hanger with the dragon about to attack the city ‘ final part to arrive in cinemas December 2014. Ian McKellen, James Nesbitt and Evangeline Lilly from Lost also star.
3. 12 Years a Slave
Noted as a possible winner for Best Picture at the 2014 Academy Awards, this too was released at the end of the year. Based on a book, it tells the true story of Solomon Northup, a freed black man who is abducted and sold into slavery. It is a harrowing and brutal account of some of the worst excesses of slave-era USA. The two main characters are played by Brits ‘ the ever diverse Chiwetel Ejiofor as Solomon and the adaptable Michael Fassbender as a slave owner. His ordeal would come to an end after 12 years when he meets an abolitionist played by Brad Pitt
14. Insidious Part 2
A sequel was on the cards long before this horror smash hit had finished recording ‘ a twist ending left on a cliff-hanger meant that Patrick Wilson and Rose Byrne would return to uncover the mystery of the old woman that has haunted Josh (Wilson) all his life. A few curious twists and a surprise introduction to Elise when Josh was a child saw this film take an interesting change of pace and towards a much-anticipated concluding third part in a trilogy.
5. Man of Steel
The next Superman film had been in development hell for years. Nic Cage was touted for the role many years ago and in the end they went for Henry Cavill who managed to capture many elements of the character. Where Superman Returns followed on from Reeve’s Superman 2, this was a reboot and it concerned Superman fighting again General Zod and his crew having been released from the Phantom Zone after the destruction of Planet Krypton. Amy Adams plays Lois Lane and Russell Crowe plays Superman’s father Jor-El
6. Warm Bodies
Zombie films took a new twist in 2013. Though based on a book, it added a certain new dimension not previously seen from the eternally damned undead. Nicholas Hoult plays ‘Rrrr’ who, after eating Julie’s boyfriend’s brain, somehow seems to absorb his affection and falls in love with her. He abducts her and takes her back to an aircraft that has become his home, promising to protect her. All the while it seems there is a cure for the undead ‘ love is bringing people back to life. It is a silly take on the age-old tale of Romeo and Juliet
7. Star Trek: Into Darkness
The smash-hit reboot of the 1960s favourite sci-fi show continued in 2013 and it took a darker and more sinister turn. A mysterious stranger played by Benedict Cumberbatch offers a man in London a cure for his daughter’s illness on condition that he detonates a bomb at a Starfleet data centre. He uses that as a diversionary tactic in order to attempt to kill some of the top brass. They pursue him to the Klingon home world and apprehend him. It is revealed that he is one of over 70 people revived after 200 years in cryosleep. Cumberbatch is the infamous Trek enemy known as Khan
8. The World’s End
Farewell to the Cornetto Trilogy: a series of comedy spoof films starring Simon Pegg and Nic Frost. The first was Shaun of the Dead, the world’s first zom-rom-com (zombie romantic comedy), the second was crime and shoot out spoof Hot Fuzz. This concluding part centres on a pub crawl by a group of friends against the backdrop of an alien invasion in their town. They go from pub to pub, bonding on a lad’s night out not realising that a body-snatchers type scenario is going on all around them
Biopics usually centre on famous political figures. Sometimes they will sum up sport superstars. Formula 1 ‘ and motor racing of any flavour for that matter – has rarely made for good movie fodder. That was until this biopic of the relationship between playboy James Hunt and the straight-laced Nikki Lauda hit the big screen in 2013. It featured some of the most amazing racing scenes ever featured in a movie, even if the story itself was largely fictionalised and their ‘sour’ relationship was overstated.
10. World War Z
The age of the zombie is showing no signs of returning to the grave and the year’s biggest budget movie was this Brad Pitt film based loosely on the book by Max Brooks. Where the book was a record of events, transcripts and interviews from around the world, the movie saw the heroic Pitt travelling the world in search of a cure for the zombie plague. He visits Jerusalem, Cardiff in Wales, South Korea and other countries to see how they are coping.
A number of movies have been left off of this list but other examples are: Gravity, Captain Phillips, The Conjouring and a number of foreign language films that have shot to worldwide fame. It seems that the trend of the eternal reboot, rehash and sequel is not dead even if it does appear to be diminishing.
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