The Hottest Characters of 2012

As 2012 commenced, I had planned to do another Dogs on Film feature for the end of the year. However 2012 has been low on amazing dogs on the big screen. Instead, I decided to make a list of the top five hottest characters to appear in film this year. Enjoy!

1. ’80s Robot

Is there anything on Earth better than a robot from the 1980s? I think not. Nostalgia-fest The Muppets gave us the finest gift in the form of ’80s Robot. The manservant of Kermit, ’80s Robot offers guests Tab Cola and New Coke, speaks eighties slang and has a dial-up modem. That sound. God bless ’80s Robot for reminding us of the wonderment of the 1980s.

The Muppets is available now on DVD and Blu-Ray.

2. Mr Bobo

The virtues of Mr Bobo from The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists have been extolled on these pages before. Suffice to say, you can’t really go wrong with a monocle-wearing monkey butler. Especially one who communicates through subtitled cards.

The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists is available now on DVD and Blu-Ray.

3. Robot

It has been a good year for robots. Although Robot & Frank does not get a UK release until 2013, I saw the film this year so Robot goes on the list. Robot is a everyone’s dream; a butler who will wake you with breakfast, ensure you have activities for the day, and may just help you break the law. The morning after seeing Robot & Frank, I was so disappointed to be woken by my phone alarm and not my robot butler.

Robot & Frank is released in cinemas on 8th March 2013.

4. Mr Whiskers

Mr Whiskers narrowly beats Sparky from Frankenweenie to earn his place on the list. Mr Whiskers’ facial expression, his delivery of ‘meow’ and the fact that when he dreams about someone he poos their initial all add up to one memorable character. What occurs later in the film only adds to this.

Frankenweenie is released on DVD and Blu-Ray on 11th February 2013.

5. Ted

A teddy bear who comes to life. For this premise alone Ted should make the list. However, Ted is rather adorable-looking to boot. Granted, he is far more lewd than my pristine teddies would ever be, but he also is fun. Also, he appears most amusing when sitting on top of a dog.

Ted is available now on DVD and Blu-Ray.

Film Review: Robot & Frank

Robot & Frank is a simply charming film. With great writing, directing and performances, Jake Schreier’s film is a real treat.

In the near future, Hunter is concerned about the health and well being of his father Frank, who suffers with memory lapses. Hunter gets Frank a robot to help him around the house. Retired jewel thief Frank is reluctant to have the robot around the house, until he discovers another use for his new companion…

The main reason that Robot & Frank is such an enjoyable watch is because the film is perfectly pitched. Schreier provides the right mix of  humour, reflection and fun. The film never becomes overly schmaltzy, too maudlin or descends into ridiculous caper. Screenwriter Christopher D. Ford has produced a story that hits the right note. The premise is simple yet very effective, with engaging themes.

Robot & Frank develops a good premise into a narrative that captures the viewer’s attention. Characters in the film are believable, and relationships are quite natural. The interaction between Frank and Robot are the real highlight nevertheless. Despite a leap in technology, it is very easy to see how this relationship would be fruitful to Frank. Their scenes together are well written and strike the right balance between being pensive and amusing.

The film features a great central performance by Frank Langella. Strong support is provided by Susan Sarandon, Liv Tyler and James Marsden. Peter Sarsgaard was a great choice to voice Robot.

Like many great science fiction films, Robot & Frank is not really about the technology. It may, however, have viewers wishing they had a robot of their own. Highly recommended viewing.

Robot & Frank is being screened at the London Film Festival in October 2012.