The year 2011 is slowly coming to its end. Retailers have started to bombard us with their Christmas offers. Streets are being lit and covered in colors by all kind of bright gadgets while white-bearded people in red suits have begun to cross the streets under the gentle sounds of bells. The Christmas spirit is here again.
At this time of the year many people unwillingly start to look back at the recent past and review the events that have had some meaning for their lives. Pursuing their goal for better future, everyone is trying to take their lessons and come up with ideas how to make the next year better and more successful.
May be it is time for us as a fans of the coming of age genre, to also recall what we saw for the past one year and to what extent it affected us and left some marks in our memory. Which will be the names and titles to associate the year that is running out and will soon remain in the history with?
Last year when theSkyKid.Com initiated a campaign to nominate names and titles for its annual awards it got me truly puzzled. I needed the assistance of various web resources to assemble a list of movies’ titles and actors’ names. Regrettably they were few but also none of them were really memorable in one way or another. The year 2011 fortunately seems not to be the same case.
Here is the moment to make it clear that one (that includes me) can not possible see all the coming of age movies that are produced and released across the world. This is because many of them hardly get an on time attention outside their home countries and if they do get noticed it normally happens years after their first release. Another problem is that many fans do not get chances to see them for long time due to distribution problems not to mention that some titles remain known only to truly dedicated connoisseurs. This is why I will discuss those titles that most of the readers have had equal chances to see in the same year when they were released and presented with proper translation that would make them understandable. These are the titles that have also become object of countless of discussions; on-line and off-line. I believe most of the readers have already figured out that I will consider only the big scale productions of this year and if this brings some element of anger and disappointment, I would understand.
Let’s have a look at the titles in question, shall we?
I believe the first title that shall be mention in this article is Super 8. It is a Sci-Fi which in its crew had several names known to the fans of this genre. In my opinion the movie itself was nothing special and was far away to be classified as a masterpiece of some kind, nor it presented some original plot. However, judging by all the discussions and comments that I came across on many web resources, it seems to have managed to bring a simple enjoyment to many that went to see it.
If not else it was made in a way that reminded to Sci-Fi fans like me how movies of this genre used to be made once. With all kinds of fancy 3D action flicks made in a style to look more like computer games, I had almost forgotten that once those films would tell some stories. There was a time indeed when the plot of such movie was the on the focus and all the visual effects was nothing more like a necessary background. It did brought enjoyment to me because of this but also because it called some memories for the times when I was at the age of the main protagonists and how I used to be fascinated by such adventures.
Speaking of the main protagonists, I believe this is the element that would most likely make the movie memorable for the fans of the Coming-of-age genre. It presented some new and obviously talented actors. Joel Courtney who played the title character in my opinion delivered a really emotional and touching performance. I was pleased to find out that he will soon be seen in the new screen adaptation of Tom Sawyer’s story. As mentioned in another article recently posted on theSkyKid.com , the director chose to make the movie with actors that had no previous experience. I shall say here, that the risk was worth it. We shall also not skip the other young actors in the cast like Riley Griffiths, Ryan Lee, Gabriel Basso, Zach Mills and Elle Fanning who also did a great job.
I will confess that the first time when I found out about this movie, which was from a huge poster somewhere in the downtown, the thing that went through my mind was that this was the next action flick that presents nothing else but intense stimulation of one’s optic nerve and ear drums. Seeing a trailer in YouTube had me convinced that it was the next computer game-like movie showing nothing else but spectacular fights about robots. Then I started coming across discussions in a places where I least expected to see. I thought that all this can not be a coincidence. Then it took me another few weeks to overcome my stubbornness and I went in the cinema with the expectation that I would waste my money.
I was pleasantly surprised from what I saw. The movie itself is not something really special. Although the story seems to be in some way original, the script writers obviously preferred (or were made to) to use the safe and many times tested formula applying some standard approaches in order to present the plot. As result one could easily predict its development. Nevertheless, it could not eclipse the brightness of one emotionally touching story about father and son getting to know and love each other while the robot fighting element is more or less a background. The story itself perfectly meets all requirements to be classified as coming of age.
It is not an accidence that I have used the Japanese poster of this movie in the present article. This is because I believe it is more accurate and shows what actually this movie is about. I encountered comments of many people stating that they had been disappointed by the movie and been fooled by all the adverts and promotional campaign expecting to see real fighting movie. Seeing all this, one can draw their own conclusions about the moral values of the western societies.
What makes for the impact of this movie is the young Dakota Goyo.
Playing the son of Hugh Jackman he perfectly portrayed the emotions of a young boy meeting his father who was not around him while he was growing up. There seems to be an actual chemistry between the two actors which definitely was in favor of the story’s impact. I am sure that we will soon see more from Dakota Goyo. He says for himself that the hardest thing about acting is when he is not acting (source IMDB).
On a personal side I made a bet with a friend of mine that in the next two or three years we will see a sequel of Real Steal.
Dolphin Tale is an emotional story starring the well known actor Nathan Gamble with the legendary Morgan Freeman beside him. The story itself is not something original as we have seen the boy and pet tale many times. Dolphin Tale does not go too far away from similar flicks such as Free Willy and Flipper.
I can not say more, though. This is simply because I have had not chance to see the film yet and what I wrote above is based on what was told to me and what I read on-line.
Nevertheless, it did make an impact and I believe that it will be remembered.
HUGO & EXTREMELY LOUD AND INCREDIBLY CLOSE
However, Hugo has already made an impact because of the appearance of the well known Asa Butterfield and because it is directed by Martin Scorsese. We shall also not ignore the campaign run by the distribution companies through the medias and the fact that it is made in 3D. Those features are enough to secure a movie which will be remembered in some way; no matter if the story turns out good or bad.
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close is an upcoming movie telling the story of a young boy who lost his father in 9/11 attacks on the WWC. It will be widely released in January 2012 but will have limited release before new year. This is a standard trick for the Hollywood managers, so the movie is eligible for various nominations which will serve as promotion for the movie.
It will present another newcomer for this year; the young actor Thomas Horn who will play the main protagonist. Despite the film is not released yet, I am quite sure that it will make its impact and will remain remembered. If not else one can clearly see that the movie is already steered to the way of nominations, popular festivals and awards and is approaching to that path. Obviously that is all from 2011. Not all of course! I am sure that there is many more titles from around the world for which we will be finding out in the future.
The Russians have a proverb which says “we shall live and we shall see”. The year 2011 brought a memorable titles and names to our attention. We shall now look ahead and wait to see what 2012 will bring us apart from another end of the world.