Summer 2008 movies excite-o-meter preview
OK, it's getting all cold and damp down here in the antipodes but in theory it's nearly summer in some parts of the world, which means summer movie season! The time of year when it's all about the bang-bang, boom-boom and cool one-liners. Of course, in my preview I'm probably missing several movies including the ones I'll actually like the most at year's end, but what the heck. Here's a quick look at the main "blockbuster" movies of the season and how excited I am about them myself on a scale of 1 to 10:
This checks all my latent 13-year-old comics fanboy buttons – based on a comic I used to love reading, a nifty man-in-armor concept, absolutely fantastic casting (Robert Downey Jr, genius!) and very fun trailers so far. I expect this one to be a massive hit and hope it's of "Spider-Man" level quality as well.
Hey, it's Pixar, it's about robots in space, and eventually Peter will want the DVD and watch it until it falls apart. It'll be fun, I'm sure.
The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian
Funny thing is I grew up loving the Narnia books, but the first movie was just OK to me. I will see this eventually, but I hope it's got a more engaging feeling than the rather staid and uninspired first one. More excited for the eventual "Voyage of the Dawn Treader" movie, though, as that's easily my favorite of the book series.
Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull
Shoot, it's Indiana Jones. It's hard to imagine how they can screw this up, but then I think "Phantom Menace" and know it's theoretically possible. Crossed fingers that it'll be a retro thrill-ride blast, though. Extra points for Cate Blanchett as an evil Russian vixen villain. Ay chihuahua!
Yow, another comics-based movie? Apparently this bears almost no resemblance to Mark Millar's notorious comic book about a man who becomes a supervillain assassin, which frankly was more shock than substance anyway. Sure, Angelina Jolie in tight clothing is always interesting, but generally this one screams "rental" to me.
Sex And The City: The Movie
Um, not in the demographic for this one. And aren't they all getting a bit old?
The Incredible Hulk
Well-publicized troubles surrounding the production, the stench of the first movie just five years ago, and a trailer that left me going "meh." Replacing the entire cast of the 2003 movie is interesting, but frankly Edward Norton doesn't seem like Bruce Banner to me. I'm geek enough that I usually see most comic book movies in the theater, but frankly, I'm probably waiting for DVD unless the word of mouth is far better than the advance press.
Will Smith superhero comedy (not based on a comic book, believe it or not). Amusing, I imagine, but probably a rental.
Ah, I liked the TV show reruns as a kid and Steve Carell's always fun, but probably not going to make a special trip to a theater to see this.
Hellboy II: The Golden Army
I love the comics and the underrated original movie is great fun. The trailer for this offers bigger bang for the buck than the first. It's interesting that director Guillermo Del Toro followed up his Oscar-nominated "Pan's Labyrinth" with the sequel to an earlier genre picture he directed. Nobody evokes magic and mystery quite like Del Toro. Ron Perlman was friggin' great as Hellboy in the first one, and I expect more demon-punching, cigar-chewing action in the second.
Not a fan of the cartoon, and this incredibly gaudy quasi-animated trailer is the ugliest thing I've seen in years. For hyperactive video game addicts only, I suspect. Pass.
Hmmm, I think the zeitgeist has passed. Mild fan of the TV show, so I will catch on DVD eventually.
The Mummy 3: Return Of the Golden Orangutan or something like that
First one was amusing retro sub-Indiana Jones fun, second one a boring slog with the worst CGI effects I've seen; third one, no Rachel Weisz, and I pass.
Batman: The Dark Knight
So, anybody heard anything about this one? All the cast and crew from the first movie are back, except the bland Katie Dawson, so it's likely to be very good. Frankly, the only thing that turns me off is a bit of self-generated backlash to the excessive amount of fanboy slobbering about it online ("will Heath Ledger win an Oscar?" "Best superhero movie ever?"), and worries they're pushing the Joker too far into R-rated serial killer mode. The first was very solid entertainment and the first half or so definitely the best Batman movie yet, though, and I expect this one will be a great, dark ride.
Star Wars: The Clone Wars
In theory, "Star Wars 2.5" or somesuch, but sorry if I consider it a cynical cash in on a fading franchise – creepy-looking computer-generated cartoon filling in gaps between sequels, with none of the original cast doing voices – meh, says this 30-years "Star Wars" fan. I'm out of goodwill.