05. Cloud Atlas, dir. Tom Tykwer, Andy Wachowski, Lana Wachowski
Cloud Atlas is visually astonishing; make up just brilliant; the way the story is told very interesting but apart from that everything else came short. One of the most anticipating films of the year is far too long, way too sweet and overly repetitive for my taste. The knowledge gained in the first half an hour of the film keeps on repeating throughout the next two hours with nothing new, nothing worthwhile telling. Characters came out as flat and boring with two exceptions: Jim Boradbent who dominates the screen and Tom Hanks as Dermott Hoggins, which I regard as the single best moment of the Cloud Atlas. The worst moment is without a doubt the 70s story (directed by Tykwer), which could’ve been just left on the editing floor as far as I am concerned.
04. Looper, dir. Rian Johnson
The ending is half of the film. The ending of Looper ruined something that had the potential of being great.
03. The Avengers, dir. Josh Whedon
Biggest and one of the most expensive blockbusters of 2012 with no narrative and plenty of underdeveloped characters lacking a plot. Is there a need to go on?
02. Zero Dark Thirty, dir. Katherine Bigelow
I do not even know where to begin so I will start with the words of The Guardian’s Glen Greenwald: “This film has only one perspective of the world – the CIA’s – and it uncritically presents it for its entire 2 1/2 hour duration.” This perspective goes on clearly propagating the idea that torturing (the Arabs) is in fact a justifiable act, one that stands for obviously the only possible way for the Americans to protect their country from their infamous enemies. And with this it bares the threat of feeding the great deal of Americans (not everyone of course) with the idea of greatness in a sense that they were the ones who have stopped the no. 1 terrorist in the world (through the means of torture) neglecting the fact that torture is the act of war crime almost equated with that of the killing. Furthermore, people conducting the torture, as portrayed in this movie, are lead by a beautiful, gentle, pale heroine who sacrificed her life in order to catch the bad guy so she would protect her country, meaning – the torture itself becomes a justifiable act of heroism for which not that no one answers but instead, for which one becomes a hero. This then can lead to the other half – of non-Americans and Americans who have problem with this – that can easily become outraged by the message Bigelow is conveying here. Bigelow should’ve been more careful with the material she had at her disposal.
The obvious question that arises here is how can you raise one crime above the other, how can you decide which crime is less of a crime or better yet, which crime ceases to be a crime in the process of re-inventing itself as the act of heroism?
Greenwald wrote: “One CIA official dramatically reminds us: “They attacked us on land in ’98, by sea in 2000, and by air in 2001. They murdered 3000 of our citizens in cold blood.” Nobody is ever heard talking about the civilian-destroying violence brought to the world by the US.” One can ask the question if the war in Bosnia took place on the US soil between Americans and Arabs would anyone be held responsible? Or would that be the act of heroism too? Judging from this film, yes, killing unarmed Arabs in the name of the God and America is a justifiable act and the one of heroism…And I personally have a huge problem with this.
Torture aside, Zero Dark Thirty is the work of propaganda that portrays flat and two-dimensional characters, lacks narrative and in the words of Robert Ebert: “There isn’t a whole lot of plot — basically, just that Maya thinks she is right, and she is.”
With all this being said, I believe Zero Dark Thirty is the most overrated film of 2012.
01. The Dark Knight Rises, dir. Chris Nolan
If we have never got the opportunity to see Batman Begins (2005) and The Dark Knight (2008) then The Dark Knight Rises (2012) probably wouldn’t even end up on this list.
But we did. We did (on multiple occasions) and we loved what we saw. Furthermore, it took us by surprise. Batman Begins came after Schumacher’s I-don’t-even-have-the-right-word-for-it with Nolan introducing a familiar Batman, yet a brand new one. Story we already knew took a whole new level for the way it was told – the film was not a realistic one (and how could it be, its main protagonist is a bat-man) but it acted as it is. Esteemed film critic Robert Ebert said: “this is the Batman movie I’ve been waiting for; more correctly, this is the movie I did not realize I was waiting for, because I didn’t realize that more emphasis on story and character and less emphasis on high-tech action was just what was needed.” This is what Nolan did; he breathed a new life into Batman, the one that exists beyond silly characters and gimmicks. This one became a full head-on Batman for adults. But then The Dark Knight came out and with it the towering performance of Heath Ledger in the role of Joker. Forget the great things you’ve heard about The Dark Knight. No matter how lavish the praise or how determined the hyperbole, it’s all an understatement. The Dark Knight is not just the best superhero movie ever made, it’s one of the best films ever to show up in a theater and to compare it with movies like Spider-Man, Superman, X-Men, Avengers, Hulk, Captain America or Iron Man is laughable. But being a prequel to The Dark Knight Rises, well that is a whole new story. And let me just tell you, this time I don’t hear anyone laughing. What had happened in the course of only four years time will forever remain a mystery to me. And I keep thinking, if only it was made by some other team of people, if only it didn’t built itself as something worth the four year wait, if only it didn’t have The Dark Knight to live up to, if only…At the end, a film that was supposed to be my ultimate summer fling ended up breaking my heart. And naturally, for a girl with a broken heart, it remains no. 01 on my list of biggest disappointments of 2012.
Honorable mentions: Bourne Legacy, Five-year-long engagement, Savages, Total Recall, This Means War