The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey is a massive hit – as everyone expected – and while it constitutes a bit of a letdown from The Lord of the Rings, it remains an honorable piece of entertainment. And, like its Oscar-winning predecessors, it leaves us on a cliffhanger… with a year to wait before the next part of the story. What’s an earnest fantasy fan to do?
Luckily, our benevolent corporate overlords aren’t about to leave us hanging. And despite the glut of inferior and less-than-profitable fantasy movies that followed The Lord of the Rings, Hollywood has found some new ways to repackage the basic brand. Here are five fantasy movies coming out in 2013 to sate your appetite until The Desolation of Smaug arrives next December.
Bryan Singer attempts a not-for-the-kiddies version of the hallowed fairy tale, focusing on a war between giants and men and a young farmer who leads a daring rescue attempt in the giants’ realm. Singer has a mixed record of late, and the film has been kicking around a few years, which is cause for concern. As it turns out, the wait may be shrewd, since The Hobbit has presumably renewed interest in the genre… as well as letting Warners stick some sexy trailers for Jack in front of it. Nicholas Hoult, who previously wowed us as The Beast in X-Men: First Class, stars in the film, which gives us further hope that this could be solid.
Disney is rolling the dice a little more here than Warners is with Jack. Jack doesn’t have the most beloved movie of all time to live up to, after all, nor does it have a complicated canon of source books to maintain. And while James Franco might do quite well as the wonderful Wizard in his early days, it might also turn into a disaster. But the scenery looks lush, Sam Raimi usually knows what he’s doing and Rachel Weisz as a wicked witch? Sign me up for some of that!
The trailer for Guillermo del Toro’s new giant monster mash-up caused quite a stir when it appeared a few weeks ago. It’s also the only film on our list with a formal connection to The Hobbit, since del Toro eventually left that project for this one. The director’s currency is about as high as it can be these days, and early buzz on his effort is good. (It’s also nice to see something that at least pays lip services to original content, instead of just adapting a book or superhero comic.) Bring on the rampaging beasts!
This is an odd one because, while the original film did decently enough at the box office, we haven’t felt the kind of clamor and excitement for it that, say, Harry Potter generated. Nevertheless, it’s reasonably popular and reasonably well-regarded… which is reason enough to plow forward with a sequel. Sadly, it doesn’t look like Sean Bean will be returning (a pity since he actually survived to the end of Percy Jackson and the Olympians), but we’re still getting Nathan Fillion, Stanley Tucci and Mark Hamill, as well as Logan Lerman as Percy.
Here’s a cunning way to disguise your fantasy epic: make it a superhero epic! The original Thor already borrowed heavily from the fantasy genre. This looks to push that equation even farther, as Thor (Chris Hemsworth) battles dark elves with the aid of old friends and new. Speculation runs rampant, but it’s a good bet that significant parts of the film will take place in worlds other than Earth. They’ll have one month to keep us occupied before The Desolation of Smaug finally lands.