Happy New Year! It’s hard to believe 2016 is already behind us and it’s time to start looking ahead to 2017. It’s always fun to put together a list of “most anticipated” films for the coming year and then to look back and see how many of my most anticipated actually end up on my annual “best of the year” post. Four out of the five movies I said I was most looking forward to in 2016 ended up on my best of the year list, although only one movie from 2015’s most anticipated ranked in my top 5 for the year, so my average isn’t that great. 😉
It was tough to nail down my list for 2017 to just five films, but here goes!
5. Dunkirk (July 21)
Christopher Nolan has a distinctive and unique filmography, covering magicians bent on revenge, secret agents who control peoples’ dreams, astronauts who venture to the stars to save humanity, and, of course, a certain famous caped crusader. The announcement of Nolan’s newest film, a World War II action thriller called “Dunkirk,” surprised me a little because it didn’t seem like a topic he’d normally select. However, as a director I think Nolan is drawn to projects that challenge him and push him in a new direction, and I’m excited to see how he adapts this true story of a daring rescue of Allied troops trapped during a World War II battle.
4. Beauty and the Beast (March 17)
I loved Disney’s 2015 live action adaptation of “Cinderella” and I’m looking forward to watching them bring a live-action version of “Beauty and the Beast” to the big screen. “Beauty and the Beast” is one of my favorite animated Disney films and it will be interesting to see how they handle the story’s magical elements, like talking (and singing!) household objects. Plus, this film has a great cast, including Emma Watson, Ewan McGregor, Emma Thompson, and Ian McKellen.
3. Wonder Woman (June 2)
Wonder Woman stole the show in last year’s “Batman v. Superman,” so it’s fitting that she (finally!) gets a solo film this summer. DC has struggled a bit with their new cinematic universe, trying to capture the feel of the Dark Knight trilogy while also borrowing a bit from Marvel’s playbook. That vision hasn’t fully coalesced, and it may be too late to fully save “Justice League” (Nov. 17). However, I have really, really high hopes for “Wonder Woman,” and the trailer shows a lot of promise.
2. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (May 5)
The original “Guardians of the Galaxy” was a delightful late summer surprise in 2014, with its band of dysfunctional heroes, colorful visuals, and awesome soundtrack. While there may have been plenty of funny moments to laugh at, at the film’s heart was a surprisingly touching message about family and “losers” (i.e. people who have lost stuff) banding together when the rest of the galaxy rejected them. Even though sometimes it’s difficult to capture the same magic in a sequel, Marvel has had very few missteps in its cinematic universe and the trailers so far for “Vol. 2” have made me smile as much as the original movie did. I’m also looking forward to the other Marvel films in 2017: “Thor: Ragnarok” (Nov. 3), “Spider-Man: Homecoming” (July 7), and “Logan” (March 3).
1. Star Wars: Episode VIII (Dec. 15)
“Episode VII: The Force Awakens” hit all the right buttons for me. It felt like a return to classic Star Wars and brought back some beloved characters — Han, Leia, Luke, and Chewy — while also introducing some new ones. I loved it (as I’m sure you know from my way-too-many posts about it last year). 😉 Although “The Force Awakens” didn’t feel like a mere rehash of “A New Hope” to me, I do agree it was a fairly safe movie. With Episode VIII, I think the film makers will be able to veer in a new direction and take more chances with the story.
Who is Rey and where did she come from? I’m feeling less confident in my original theory that she’s Luke’s daughter. Is Kylo Ren going to be the series’ main bad guy after all? I’d love to see him as a complicated character who continues to be torn between the dark and the light. It would be even more fascinating if he turned to the light and Rey went dark (read some excellent pieces on this topic from blogger J.Q. Ronan). Who is Benicio Del Toro playing, and now apparently Tom Hardy is in the movie too? (I just noticed this on IMDB.) And I’m also curious to see what post-“Return of the Jedi” Luke has been up to and how he will train Rey. Regardless of what happens, Episode VIII will be bittersweet due to the recent loss of Carrie Fisher. I am glad we’ll get to see her one last time, but I’m saddened that she won’t be involved in the franchise going forward. 😦
So, what do you think? What movies are you most excited for in 2017?