AUSSIES LOVE HEROES
BUT DISNEY’S BEAUTY NAMED BELLE AND HER BEAST THE MOST POPULAR
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.