It’s finally here. After months of secrecy, speculation and salivation (not to mention alliteration), the saviour of the summer blockbuster is finally upon us. And anticipation in my head is reaching levels not seen since the release of Star Wars Episode I: The Phanton Menace, when, despite having a ticket, I queued for an hour outside the screening to get the best possible seat. (Despite the movie being satisfactory rather than spectacular, my flatmate and I still bought lightsabers and fought with them until the early hours. I was 25 at the time.)
The risk here is that I have built this movie (and Toy Story 3 to a lesser extent) up in my mind to such an extent that it can never deliver on that expectation. Christopher Nolan has succeeded in pulling together possibly the best cast for a major Hollywood release known to man (and the best ensemble I can think of since Heat), filmed in seven countries on four continents, spent a huge amount of money on realistic stunts that avoid too much CGI, but has one thing which makes it stand out above pretty much anything else I’m likely to see this year – Christopher Nolan.
There are a few directors whose movies I would go and see if I had been kept in a hermetically sealed bubble until the day of release and knew nothing of the movie itself; they include David Fincher, the Coen brothers, Michael Haneke, Brad Bird and David Cronenberg. But if every other rational human being had dismissed his latest opus, I would still give Nolan a chance.
I could sit and write a lengthy dissertation for this (because, being a blogger, I love nothing more than the sound of my own voice reading my own posts back in my head). It occurred to me, though, that it might be easier just to share with you, my readers (hello, both of you), my top 50 movies of the previous decade. I originally wrote this for my Facebook at the back end of last year, as a summary of my movie-going obsession of that decade; reading it through gives some clear indication of my Nolan-love and why my expectations are vertigo-inducingly high for this one.
I like to practice what I preach, so my movie philosophy is not only to encourage others into the cinema, but for me to spend as much time there as possible. Two years ago, I set a target of seeing 100 films in a year, which I hit in mid-December that year, but since then I’ve tried to be more sensible. As with any addict, that can only last so long before temptation sets in, so this year I’ve been swallowing up films again like they’re going out of fashion – as of yesterday, I’ve seen as many this year as I saw all of last year.
But what I’ve been looking to do this year is to enhance that movie-going experience. I’ve already had one trip to the IMAX (for Journey to Mecca), and have a double bill of Inception and Toy Story 3 coming up later this month. Every time I think about that, I can already hear Gary Barlow striking up Greatest Day in my head. So how to top it? Well, I’ve booked a week off work so I can do my local thing, the Cambridge Film Festival, but there still felt like more opportunities.