20 For ’12: Sci-Fi TV & Film Highlights For 2012

SFX.co.uk editor Dave Golder reveals what he’s getting most excited about… and a few things that are filling him with dread…

Let’s kick off the year on an optimistic note, with 12 films and eight TV shows that I’m really looking forward to in 2012. I’m not guaranteeing the quality of any of these, and I expect by this time next year I’ll have to eat my word when it comes to a few of ’em, but for the moment these are the one I’m most hopeful about for various, esoteric and sometimes personal reasons…

FILMS

Chronicle

UK Release date: 1 Feb

Just when you’re getting to the point where you wish every found footage film could be lost in the crater of an active volcano, along comes another faux documentary film that makes you wonder if there is still some life left in the genre. Chronicle looks for all the world like the US Misfits has already been made in secret. Three newly-super-empowered high school students chronicle their attempts to learn to control their abilities… but then those powers start to corrupt. The posters have been great and the trailers promise a blackly comic experience. The script comes courtesy of John Landis’ son Max. Has the potential to become a future cult classic.

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John Carter

Release date: 9 March

John Carter could be a hard sell for Disney. Based on a series of books the mean about as much to the mass cinema-going public as À la recherche du temps perdu, and with no stars with any box office clout to shout about, John Carter’s most marketing-friendly element is that it’s directed by a guy behind two of Pixar’s biggest hits, Andrew Stanton. And even though Pixar isn’t involved with the FX in any capacity, Disney doesn’t seem to mind articles that mention the Pixar connection.

The release of the trailers last year didn’t generate much of a buzz either. Mostly the Twitterati seemed concerned about the comedy alien dog. And yeah, he does set Jar Jar Binks-style alarm bells ringing.

But I was lucky enough to go to the early screening of some of the key scenes from the movie, and, with a few reservations (that dog included, but he might be better in context), came back confident that Stanton has produced something with a bit more depth and wit than the trailers might suggest; it reminded me of the first Pirates Of The Caribbean but with a bit more heart. It certainly looks very stylish, with some eye-popping visuals, and Stanton’s direction has some virtuoso flourishes. Colour me cautiously optimistic.

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The Cabin In The Woods

Release date: 13 April

2012 should be Whedon’s year. And I’m betting the marketing team behind the much-delayed The Cabin In The Woods (it was made two years ago, but became a victim MGM’s bankruptcy) are going to make sure the Avengers connection is well to the fore in the film’s pre-publicity – Whedon wrote and produced Cabin, and it also stars Chris (Thor) Hemsworth. I doubt that the release date (so close to The Avengers’) is a mere coincidence, either.

The trailer suggests that the film will certainly deliver on its promise that it’s a horror cliché given a new twist… but what the hell is going on?

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The Avengers

Release date: 27 April

The mere concept of an Avengers movie exciting enough. The concept of an Avengers movie directed and written by Joss Whedon? That’s what the word geekgasm was invented for. So far, everything I’ve seen or heard about the film makes me confident that Whedon will deliver something quite remarkable. If there’s been any slight bum note it’s Cap A’s plastic-looking costume, but hey, I’m really straining to find anything negative to say.

The worrying likelihood is, though, that expectation is so high that anything less than utterly awesome will somehow feel like a disappointment.

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Snow White And The Huntsman

Release date: 1 June

To be honest, I wasn’t expecting much from this film. Then I saw the trailer. And suddenly I’m expecting a lot. Now that’s what you call a dark fairytale.

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Prometheus

Release date: 1 June

Ridley Scott returns to the franchise he launched over 30 years ago. How could you not be excited? Okay, in the intervening years Scott’s hit rate has been all over the shop, and there’s the nagging worry that the aliens might only play an incidental role in the whole thing. But from all the evidence so far, it looks like it’s going to be one of the most stylish-looking SF movies in a long, long while.

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More films on the next page…

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