2011 is arguably the geekiest year yet. One needs only to look at the slate of movies lined up to know that the geek dollar is insanely sought after this year. The following are just the most anticipated geek movies of this year – according to my personal desire to see them. Needless to say, it was not an easy choice of course, your mileage may vary.
Opening date information are taken from IMDb as of today – subject to changes, of course.
Special Mention: Never Let Me Go – Opens Mar 17 (SG)
It was in one of my literature modules in NTU that I was introduced to the Man Booker prize nominee Never Let Me Go, by celebrated novelist Kazuo Ishiguro. I honestly didn’t expect to like it as much as I did – not being the kind to read books just because they win awards – and it was a real page-turner. So when I first saw the trailer for the movie adaptation at SDCC last year, I was amazed – I didn’t even know such a project was in production! With such a talented cast led by stars Carey Mulligan, Keira Knightley and new Spider-Man Andrew Garfield, I’ve no doubt the essence of this whimsical dystopian tale will be truly brought to life.
10) Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 – Opens July 15 (US)
There’s little that I need to say here that hasn’t already been said, but having watched almost all the Potter films in the cinema, I’m looking forward to this one. For better or worse – the reception to Part 1 wasn’t all great – it’s coming to an end in 2011.
9) The Green Hornet – Opened Jan 14 (US), opens Jan 27 (SG)
Initial reviews have not been great, but no one expected them to be. After all, when you mix director Michael Gondry, stars Seth Rogen, Christoph Waltz, Cameron Diaz and Taiwan mega-super-ultra celeb Jay Chou, you don’t really know what you’re going to get. Nonetheless, to truly enjoy a Gondry film, all you have to do is expect nothing, be surprised at everything and not think too much. You’ll find it a deeper experience that way.
8) X-Men: First Class – Opens Jun 3 (US)
The one Marvel film slated for 2011 that’s not coming out under the Marvel Films banner and also strangely enough, the only one not to get even the slightest bit of hype at last year’s SDCC – presumably because director Matthew Vaughn only signed on in May and principal photography only having begun in late August. The lack of hype has done nothing towards building any anticipation for this movie, with only Vaughn’s directing giving me any hope of this movie keeping the X-Men franchise alive.
7) Super – Opens Apr 1 (US)
I can’t tell if the April Fool’s opening date was an unintentional one for Super or a very bad joke. Starring two of my favourite actresses Ellen Page and Liv Tyler, as well as two never-going-to-be-on-my-favourite-actors-list Rainn Wilson and Kevin Bacon, this dark superhero comedy is my prediction for the dark horse (pun intended) of the geek movie year. We didn’t get a chance to catch the panel at SDCC but with cameos from the likes of Linda Cardenelli, Nathan Fillion and possibly Rob Zombie as the voice of God, I’m going to take a gamble and say this will be a sleeper hit.
6) Sucker Punch – Opens Mar 24 (SG), Mar 25 (US)
What won’t be a sleeper hit but a genuine blockbuster is the long-awaited Sucker Punch from director Zack Snyder. Described as “Alice in Wonderland with machine guns”, this action-fantasy is going to be as crazy as its protagonist, played by brilliant Australian actress Emily Browning. Though it stars an eclectic slew of young actresses, including Vanessa Hudgens and Jamie Chung, I don’t think the stunt casting will distract from this film which is almost four years in the making.
5) Paul – Opens Feb 18 (UK), Mar 18 (US)
I was fortunate enough to catch the SDCC panel for this movie written by and starring long-time collaborators Simon Pegg and Nick Frost about two British slacker geeks who go on a road trip across USA that includes, wait for it, SDCC. With a cast list that reads like the who’s who in comedy including Jason Bateman and SNL’s Kristen Wiig and Bill Hader, Paul, directed by Superbad’s Greg Mottola, is one alien you don’t want to miss.
4) Cowboys and Aliens – Opens Jul 29 (US), Aug 18 (SG)
Director and geek icon Jon Favreau gave attendees at SDCC a treat when he flew in to screen an exclusive sneak peek of his new movie, Cowboys and Aliens. Based on the graphic novel of the same name, this amalgamation of the science fiction and Western genres starring Daniel Craig and Harrison Ford blew my mind away, mostly because it’s actually a fitting tribute to the Westerns of old. Not to mention, with long-time JJ Abrams collaborators Damon Lindelof, Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman on the writing team, you know you’re in for a wild ride.
3) Green Lantern – Opens Jun 17 (US)
Okay, so the trailer has us all a little worried and a little excited at the same time. Is Ryan Reynolds really the man to play Hal Jordan? Is Blake Lively truly suited to be the beloved Carol Ferris and more importantly, will she have the necessary chemistry with Reynolds? All that being said though, the popularity of the Green Lantern is unmistakable and I couldn’t be more hopeful that a DC movie not starring Batman takes off in a big, big way.
2) The First Avenger: Captain America – Opens Jul 22 (US), Aug 4 (SG)
People who know me know I’m quite possibly the biggest Cap fan in Singapore, having started collecting comics with this title since late 1996. My fandom is so great I’ve even gone so far as to seek out and watch the terrible, terrible 1990 movie starring Matt Salinger. You can therefore guess my excitement at the knowledge that in 2011, we’ll be getting a Cap movie from Marvel Studios themselves. While my take away from the SDCC panel was a little disappointing, with director Joe Johnston hitting all the wrong notes, the numerous movie stills and cast pictures released since then have done their job in rebuilding the anticipation and August 4th can’t come quickly enough.
1) Thor – Apr 28 (SG), May 6 (US)
I won’t say I’ve been the biggest Thor fan, but as a child I grew up reading stories from various mythologies and the Norse pantheon was definitely caught my imagination. Marvel’s Thor encapsulates the heart and soul of the legends while bringing a fresh, present-day take on how people react to having a god in their midst. It is with this mentality in mind that Kenneth Branagh directs Thor, a story of two very different settings – the grandeur and pomp of Asgard and the bleak, darkness of Earth, and assembling a star-studded cast to tell the story of hope in the midst of loss and a god’s journey of redemption. With the likes of Natalie Portman, Anthony Hopkins, Tom Middleston and the rising star lead Chris Hemsworth, Thor is, without a doubt, the geek movie to watch out for in 2011.