AUSSIES LOVE HE­ROES

BUT DIS­NEY’S BEAUTY NAMED BELLE AND HER BEAST THE MOST POP­U­LAR

Life & Style Weekend - - SCREENLIFE - WORDS: SEANNA CRONIN

The cin­ema is a chance to es­cape the real world for a few hours and get lost in the dra­matic, weird and won­der­ful. In 2017, Aus­tralians, like much of the rest of the world, couldn’t get enough of su­per­heroes and their larger-than-life ad­ven­tures. From the tongue-in-cheek of Mar­vel’s Guardians of the Galaxy and Thor: Rag­narok to the ori­gins of Won­der Wo­man, many of this year’s high­est-gross­ing films were ripped from the pages of comic books.

The most pop­u­lar movie of the year, though, was Dis­ney’s live-ac­tion re­make of Beauty and the Beast star­ring Emma Wat­son as Belle and Dan Stevens, via the won­ders of mo­tion-cap­ture an­i­ma­tion, as Beast.

Aus­tralian drama Lion brought a re­mark­able real-life story to the big screen and gar­nered plenty of awards at­ten­tion, re­cently sweep­ing the AACTAs in Syd­ney.

Here are films we flocked to see in 2017:

BEAUTY AND THE BEAST

In her big­gest role since the Harry Pot­ter films, Emma Wat­son brought a tenac­ity to the role of book-smart hero­ine Belle, who es­caped her mun­dane ex­is­tence in pro­vin­cial France when she stum­bled upon a mag­i­cal cas­tle and its mon­strous-look­ing prince.

THOR: RAG­NAROK

Kiwi di­rec­tor Taika Waititi es­sen­tially re­booted Mar­vel’s Thor fran­chise, to much crit­i­cal ac­claim. Filmed at Movie World on the Gold Coast, Thor: Rag­narok was a buddy film of sorts for the God of Thun­der and The Hulk, both of whom were cap­tured by the quirky Grand­mas­ter as Thor’s long-lost older sis­ter Hela rav­aged Asgard.

A spir­i­tual cousin to Guardians of the Galaxy, Rag­narok was an en­joy­able de­tour to Mar­vel’s cen­tral Avengers sto­ry­line.

DE­SPI­CA­BLE ME 3

The only an­i­mated film in the top 10, De­spi­ca­ble Me 3 fol­lowed fa­ther and hus­band Gru as he met his long-lost brother Dru. Op­po­sites in ev­ery way, they join forces to de­feat ‘80s-child-star-turned-vil­lain Balt­hazar Bratt. What keeps fans com­ing back to this fran­chise is the zany, colour­ful hu­mour propped up by the Min­ions.

GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL. 2

Af­ter sav­ing the uni­verse in their mu­sic-fu­elled de­but, the rag­tag Guardians faced an even more pow­er­ful ad­ver­sary: Peter’s dad, the planet-builder Ego. While packed full of ac­tion, ir­rev­er­ence and stun­ning visu­als, this se­quel couldn’t repli­cate the fresh­ness of its pre­de­ces­sor. WON­DER WO­MAN

The high­est gross­ing su­per­hero ori­gin film, Won­der Wo­man struck a chord with young fe­male view­ers who fi­nally had their own butt-kick­ing hero to look up to.

Much of the film’s suc­cess can be put down to Gal Gadot’s earnest and charis­matic per­for­mance as Diana Prince, an Ama­zon princess who fi­nally dis­cov­ers her place in the wider world.

LION

The mov­ing story of Aus­tralian univer­sity stu­dent Sa­roo’s mis­sion to find his long-lost fam­ily in India tugged at heart­strings around the world. As well as fea­tur­ing an all-star cast, in­clud­ing Ni­cole Kid­man and Dev Pa­tel, Lion un­earthed the raw tal­ent of then six-year-old Sunny Pawar.

THE FATE OF THE FU­RI­OUS

Ac­tion stars Dwayne John­son and Vin Diesel squared off in the eighth in­stal­ment of the car-fu­elled fran­chise, which opened a new chap­ter fol­low­ing the un­timely death of star Paul Walker in 2013.

De­spite its over-the-top sto­ry­lines, the fran­chise con­tin­ues to have an en­dur­ing ap­peal.

SPI­DER-MAN: HOME­COM­ING

Af­ter a brief, but hi­lar­i­ous in­tro­duc­tion in Cap­tain Amer­ica: Civil War, Tom Hol­land got his own ori­gin movie as the lov­able web-slinger Spi­der-Man/Peter Parker.

Thrilled by his ex­pe­ri­ence with the Avengers, Peter re­turns home un­der the watch­ful eye of his new men­tor Tony Stark.

IT

Fol­low­ing a string of un­der­whelm­ing Stephen King adap­ta­tions, de­liv­ered thrills and scares in spades. Bill Skars­gard’s creepy clown was the stuff of night­mares, evok­ing the hor­rors of its source ma­te­rial.

DUNKIRK

Di­rec­tor Christo­pher Nolan’s World War II epic was a tech­ni­cal mas­ter­piece.

Fol­low­ing a tal­ented ensem­ble cast, view­ers were im­mersed in the messy ac­tion of the Al­lied evac­u­a­tion from Dunkirk. Above all, the film cel­e­brated the will to sur­vive.

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