2015 looks to be a huge year for film, in particular franchises with many of the biggest brands having releases. Whilst many lament the collapse of cinema to the mercy of multimillion franchises, some of the films coming out of the Hollywood system in 2015 actually look pretty interesting. These are seven films that I am looking forward to:
The Peanuts Movie
It’s quite easy to imagine how terrible a film adaptation of Charles M. Schulz’s iconic comic strip would be. A modern day, live-action Charlie Brown and his wacky animated CGI dog getting into all sorts of crazy adventures! A trite, boring plot for the kids, and thinly-veiled adult jokes just for the grown-ups!
But somehow The Peanuts Movie has actually managed to update the source material whilst staying to true to the charming simplicity of the comic strip and cartoon series. The art style is flat, almost like 3D versions of Schulz’s drawings, and the movement is pleasantly choppy, almost like claymation. The film is being written by Schultz’s son and grandson, Craig and Brian Schulz respectively, so hopefully this film stays true to the spirit of Peanuts. The Peanuts Movie is expected to be released 21st December.
I hope Neil Blomkamp makes science fiction movies forever. District 9 and Elysium are both creative and visually stunning utilising some of the best CGI I’ve ever seen in film. District 9 is one of the best modern additions to the canon of science fiction. Chappie sounds like it will be a mixture of District 9 and Short Circuit, which I’m totally okay with.
Chappie is an autonomous robot who is kidnapped by gangsters, played by Ninja and Yolandi from Die Antwoord, who if you haven’t heard of are amazing and spoons-for-trousers crazy South African rave group. Chappie has all the makings of an interesting movie, to say the least. Chappie is expected to be released 6th March.
Finally, The Wachowskis are making another original movie. The Wachowskis always make ambitious, visually spectacular work, and Jupiter Ascending looks to be no different. Though some may complain that nothing they’ve made since The Matrix even comes close, The Wachowskis are one of the few filmmakers who are completely original and constantly pushing boundaries with everything they do, and to see them do a straight high-concept space opera is an exciting prospect for me.
I just hope I can get over Channing Tatum with pointy elf-ears. Jupiter Ascending is expected to be released 6th February.
Mad Max: Fury Road
I’ve been waiting for this movie for years now. I love The Road Warrior more than I like most people, and the prospect of George Miller resisting movies that involve cute talking farmyard animals or penguins and making another post-apocalyptic action film is exciting (if you weren’t aware, yes, the Mad Max guy is also responsible for the Babe and Happy Feet movies). The trailer drips with a unique beauty and personality, and the bad guy, the weird old skull mummy man, is played by Hugh Keays-Byrne, who played Toecutter in the first Mad Max.
Though Mel Gibson is a tough act to follow, Tom Hardy looks great as the new Max, and as far as I know he doesn’t hate Jews, so that’s something. George Miller said that he wanted to make this a movie that was just a two hour action sequence. If anyone could pull that off, it’s George Miller. Mad Max: Fury Road is expected to be released 15th May.
Avengers: Age of Ultron
Man, the Pinocchio sample in the trailer is creepy. Joss Whedon demolished concerns about being able to balance so many characters in a single film with the first Avengers, so everyone has high hopes for this one. Whedon wanted Age of Ultron to be darker than the first in the same way The Empire Strikes Back is dark compared to the first Star Wars.
Everything we’ve seen of Age of Ultron so far shows that he wasn’t joking. David Spader completely nails it as Ultron; his voice is completely menacing, and works well with what may be the scariest design of a Marvel villain yet. Avengers: Age of Ultron is expected to be released 24th April.
For me, the biggest cinematic event of each year has always been the annual Pixar film. Like most people of my generation, I have a very soft spot for Pixar; the first film I ever saw in a cinema was A Bug’s Life, and I’ve been hooked ever since. However, after Toy Story 3, Pixar unfortunately seem to have lost their track record: Monsters University was disappointing, Brave was uneven, and Cars 2 was just bad. Hopefully Inside Out is a return to form. Everything looks promising so far; the animation is great as always, it looks funny, and interestingly its psychological complexity seems to be aimed more at adults than children. It’s directed by Pete Docter, the visionary behind Monsters, Inc. and Up, and written by Michael Arndt, who penned the screenplays for Toy Story 3 and Little Miss Sunshine. I strongly suspect this film might make me cry.Inside Out is expected to be released 24th July.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens
THE KING HAS RETURNED. Seriously, what can I say about this film that hasn’t already been said? It’s a NEW Star Wars movie. After Disney promised to us that George Lucas’s input would be limited to ‘creative consultant’, Star Wars fans permitted themselves to get tentatively excited, or at least hopeful.
After the trailer was released, for which I downloaded QuickTime and had to restart my computer just to watch, the excitement turned into full-blown hysteria. Instead of the crappy green-screen world of the prequels, the Star Wars universe again seems lived-in, almost like a real place. The Stormtroopers for the first time ever actually look cool. And who cares how impractical that red lightsaber is, it looks awesome. John Williams is returning for the score.
Lawrence Kasdan is returning for the script. J.J. Abrams has shown with the Star Trek reboot that he can do high-octane sci-fi action, which incidentally, is not suited to Star Trek, but is what Star Wars is all about. This film has everything going for it so far. So please, Jar Jar Abrams, don’t screw this one up. Star Wars: The Force Awakens is expected to be released 18th December. God that seems ages away.
What are you looking forward to seeing this year? Have your say in the comments section below.