2009 was considered a disappointment at the movies overall… with the glowing exception of the sci-fi and animation genres, which produced a bumper crop of superior efforts. Fanboys across the globe are crossing their fingers that 2010 will be just as good, and all signs suggest that it will. Even the normally dreadful January slate has a few intriguing titles such asLegion and The Book of Eli. Let's have a look at the 10 most anticipated films for the first half of 2010, and revel in the potential before cold, hard reality dashes our dreams to bits.
Superhero movies are about due for a proper pasting--1999's deeply underrated Mystery Men was too far ahead of its time--and Lionsgate looks to deliver with their tale of a rag-tag gang of heroes who don't let a lack of powers stop them from donning capes and spandex. Its comparatively low-key approach and lack of huge star wattage (Nick Cage is on probation) may translate into a pleasant surprise that keeps everyone smiling into summer.
9. The Wolf Man
Horror buffs cherish the 1941 classic starring Lon Chaney, Jr. as the titular werewolf, and the new version certainly has a lengthy moonlit shadow to outrun. But copious delays seem to have only heightened interest among fans, while the trailer reeks of gorgeous gothic atmosphere. With the vampire craze headed towards inevitable repetition, The Wolf Man may provide a different type of monster for everyone to swoon over.
8. The Losers
Vertigo's band of betrayed secret agents gets the big screen treatment, headed by Jeffrey Dean Morgan (whose stock is fairly high with comic book fans after his turn as The Comedian in Watchmen). Chris Evans' stock is slightly less high, but he seems well suited to the motormouthed Jenson, while Zoe Saldana gets a chance to further cement her status in the fanboy pantheon as the sociopathic Aisha.
7. Clash of the Titans
Those of us with fond memories of the Ray Harryhausen original are apt to cry sacrilege at the new CGI remake… but with a little creativity pumped into the creature design and the likes of Ralph Fiennes and Liam Neeson playing squabbling Greek gods, the “tingle factor” goes up by a considerable amount.
6. A Nightmare on Elm Street
Speaking of sacrilegious remakes, how dare they undertake a project of this sort without letting Robert Englund play Freddy Krueger! He's indispensable! The last word on the character! Nobody could possibly fill those shoes in a million years! It's enough to make you… they got who? Really?
5. Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time
People may not yet be willing to embrace former Bubble Boy Jake Gyllenhaal as an action star. But with gorgeous landscapes, impressive choreography and a storyline which promises plenty of good old fashioned buckled swashes, this may end up being one hell of an exception to the "video game adaptations suck" rule.
4. Robin Hood
With 18 years between us and the last big Robin Hood movie (and while I kind of dig the Kevin Costner version, I realize I stand alone on that front), Ridley Scott decided that it was time to hit us with another. A different filmmaker may have elicited nothing more than a few shrugs, but this one has pedigree. The thought of him applying his meticulous vision to the tale of Sherwood's most famous inhabitant--with Russell Crowe and Cate Blanchett along for the ride--is apt to fill even the most skeptical fanboy with shudders of glee.
3. Toy Story 3
Having proven that no mortal man can stop them, Pixar now attempts the impossible: making a third installment that doesn't suck. The odds are long, but with their oldest and best franchise rising to the challenge--including a gaggle of beloved characters and a script which presumably meets John Lasseter's seal of approval--it's awfully damn hard to bet against them.
2. Alice In Wonderland
If ever a story begged for the Tim Burton treatment, it's Lewis Carroll's surreal classic. It renders his shortcomings irrelevant (No plot? No problem!) while providing a singular canvas on which to let him stretch his visionary imagination. All that and Johnny Depp too? Somebody save me a place in line!
1. Iron Man 2
Iron Man 2 shows all the signs of "superior sequel" syndrome: The same director and cast members returning, a few intriguing new elements added to the mix, and a commitment to the spirit of the original without being bound by its constraints. Robert Downey, Jr. continues to fit the title role like a glove and the appearance of fellow comeback kid Mickey Rourke as the villain Whiplash promises to do exactly what the first film did--elevate a second-tier character to marquee status. If there's a more anticipated film this year, we've yet to find it.
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