The quality of Scottish snow has been declining for some time now.
Until the 13th of December I would have said that “The Dark Knight Rises” was my biggest disappointment of my year. Dark Knight Rises was disappointing because Batman Begins and The Dark Knight had been really excellent blockbusters, Dark Knight Rises in comparison was flabby and slow. Before the 13th of December I was naive, I didn”t know what flabby and slow was. On the 13th of December I watched “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” Peter Jacksons masterpiece of time theft. In a shameless bid to make maximum profit Jackson has stretched Tolkiens shortest book into three films, although he is also using the appendix to the Return of the King so its not all bad! (Sarcastic exclamation mark). I enjoyed Lord of The Rings, I am not a rabid fan but I liked them when I saw them, The Hobbit in comparison is nothing short of crushing disappointment. It is just shy of three hours and Jacksons greatest trick is to have essentially nothing happen in that time. We don”t even see the dragon it takes around half an hour (conservative estimate) to escape the shire. If like me you were disappointed by the Dark Knight Rises go and see the Hobbit then you will learn what real disappointment is.
I love Grease. I love the costumes, I love the friendship and romance, and most of all, I love slots the music. I love Grease so much that I even love Grease 2. Therefore, without a doubt, the biggest disappointment of 2012 for me has to be John Travolta and Olivia Newton John’s Christmas album, This Christmas. It should never have been allowed to happen.
The production is overdone within an inch of its autotuned life. Newton-John can still carry a decent tune, and perhaps a solo Sandy Christmas album would have sold less but sounded much better. On the other hand, Travolta’s voice sounds bizarre, which worked in Hairspray but here sounds creepy. The only track that isn’t a Christmas cover is ‘I Think You Might Like It’. It’s a hoedown country Christmas, accompanied by a video with a dance not half as catchy as that of 2012 smash hit ‘Gangnam Style’. A modicum of respectability comes from their gender role-reversal rendition of ‘Baby It’s Cold Outside’, verging on a guilty pleasure: however, it just goes a bit too far. In fact, that summarises the entire album: an idea that should have been left at the drawing board, taken way, way too far.
When it comes to comic book super-heroes disappointment is an almost weekly endeavor. Series get cancelled, creative teams change and characters die. This is all just a part of following 50 year old characters in continuity that is complicated at best and convoluted at worst. It was this somewhat problematic continuity that both DC and Marvel tried to address with The New 52 and Marvel NOW respectively. DC started things off in 2011 with The New 52, an initiative that saw every book in the DC Universe relaunched at issue 1 and the history all but forgotten about as the 75 year history of these characters was replaced with a new 5 year history. This started off well enough and for the first 6 months I enjoyed the few books that I read in the line, but very quickly if the quality of a book started to dip there just wasn”t any drive to keep going. So after years of reading DC books I now only read a handful, but if I ever get bored of Wonder Woman, Swamp Thing, Animal Man or even Batman I would sadly have no problem in dropping those books as well. Marvel”s own relaunch similarly reset a number of titles at issue 1 but kept the continuity. My biggest let down of 2012 is with DC Comics, but there is one saving grace and that quality is now all important and the days of reading a Batman comic just because it has batman on the cover are gone.
My biggest let down of the year has to be 50 Shades of Grey being named the best selling book in Britain…ever. I think I weeped when I saw the headline. In August, Random House Publishers announced that the erotic fiction novel had sold in excess of 5.3 million copies in both print and ebook. The latter has revolutionised the way we read: now nobody will know whether its Dickens or E.L James that’s causing you to smirk at your kindle on the train. If anyone did smirk at Dickens, that is. This being my biggest letdown of 2012 is probably just me being a pretentious English Literature student. Still, it is pretty depressing.