This year saw some the release of some long-awaited and hugely anticipated films. In  our last issue of the year, Cherwell Film sums up the good, the bad and the ugly of 2011’s highest grossing projects.

 1 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2 $1,328,071,855

The one we were all waiting for, Harry Potter concluded in magnificent style with Voldemort roundly beaten and future Ron sporting an incredible paunch. Unsurprising that it has claimed the top spot, but a worthy winner.

 2 Transformers: Dark of the Moon $1,123,196,189

Another sequel, this third film in the trilogy can’t beat the exhilaration of the first movie, yet is much  more exciting and more fulfilling than the second. As long as all attempts at comedy are ignored this film is good, culminating in a climatic scene of utter destruction and robot decimation as skyscrapers fall and metal flies.

 3 Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides $1,043,871,802

A hunt for the fountain of youth seems apt for this sequel, which sadly appears like the aging uncle of the previously sprightly Pirates films. Johnny Depp’s incredible facial expressions were brilliant, but Jack Sparrow seemed strangely out of place in London and Penelope Cruz achieves little but feistiness.

 4 Kung Fu Panda 2 $663,024,542

With Jack Black voicing the eponymous, ever rotund panda, this film deserves its spot at fourth for amusement alone. It seems to have less depth than its predecessor, but anyone looking for slapstick humour and beautiful 3D animation won’t be disappointed.

 5 Fast Five $626,137,675

Featuring the traditional combination of toned guys driving fast cars watched by girls in hot pants, this film is very similar in tone to its predecessors. Fast Five is race-paced and action packed with some comic moments thrown in, not to mention a wanton disregard for the architectural survival of downtown Rio.

 6 The Hangover Part II $581,464,305

Funny and at times shockingly outrageous, with a flashback structure that fits the ability of the characters to maintain a shaky grasp on reality at best. However, this film does rely too much on its hugely successful first movie for inspiration;  what was once hilariously innovative now seems rather formulaic.

 7 The Smurfs $559,615,167  

The first non-sequel on our list, this adorably cute film has a conventional plot where our tiny heroes turn up in modern New York  to be pursued by an evil wizard and hopeless sidekick. The best thing about this film is Neil Patrick Harris. The worst thing is the repeated use of the word “smurf” in the place of a swear word. Just why?

 8 Cars 2 $551,734,428

 Another animated attempt to capture the brilliance of the Toy Story sequels, Cars 2, whilst engaging for small children, sadly fails to match up to expectations.  Whether it is the forced inclusion of a new brand of eco friendly fuel or the feeling that this film generates new characters simply to sell merchandise, it is hard to argue that this film deserves eigth place. 

 9 Rio $483,866,518

A lovely family film which leaves you with a fuzzy feeling inside as you watch the romance blossom between parakeets Blu and Jewel. Sweet and funny, although it does present a rather sanitised Rio.

 10 Rise of the Planet of the Apes $476,459,875

A prequel this time, this reboot of the 1960s Planet of the Apes series combines suspense-filled science fiction with unexpected tenderness as you watch Caesar growing up and realising his destiny. Digital FX technology brings these super intelligent apes to life in glorious detail.