Summer Smashes & Strike-Outs

10-Mar-08 2:06 PM by
Filed under Films; 2 comments.

There's not been much blogging going on around here lately because there's not been much to blog about. Between rehearsing for both Brigadoon and StrawHat auditions, my nights don't leave me much time for movies.

Fortunately, I don't think I'm missing much, as the current fare doesn't offer anything that interests me. But that won't always be the case, and this month marks the beginning of spring — so let's take a look at what will constitute the highlights of this year's summer blockbuster season:

Superhero Movie (March 28): Though I'm not usually a fan of the [Fill in the blank] Movie spoofs, this one looks halfway decent. Unfortunately, it also appears to be a scene-for-scene parody of a movie that came out six years ago. Had this come out in 2003, I wouldn't've missed it in theaters. Now, I'm not sure I care.

Iron Man (May 2): Robert Downey Jr. is a great actor, from Heart and Souls to more recent sleeper hits such as Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang (also based on a comic book). Casting him as Tony Stark is a stroke of genius. Though Marvel's past movie adaptations have been hit-or-miss, and Iron Man looks like it could be a bit goofy, I'm hoping it'll hit its mark.

Speed Racer (May 9): I've never watched the anime on which this film is based, and the live-action version looks to have a bit too much CGI for my tastes. Still, I like rooting for the underdog, and Speed's character definitely seems to be that. Plus he has one line that always gives me chills: "It's all I know how to do, and I have to do something." Must be nice to have such conviction…

Prince Caspian (May 16): The second installment in the Chronicles of Narnia is sure to be a hit. Though I recall Prince Caspian being a rather mundane entry in the literary series, I expect the film version will be sufficiently jazzed up.

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (May 16): The Eighties seem to be back with a vengeance: not just with franchises like Aliens vs. Predator and Transformers, but also actors reprising popular roles, like Rocky, Rambo, Die Hard, and now Indiana Jones. Were these actors one-hit wonders, I'd be more skeptical of their clinging to the past, but their versatility and staying power justifies a look at these returns. I'm hesitant about Shia LeBeouf's role in Indiana Jones — he contributed to what I considered the worst film of 2007 — but for Harrison Ford's sake, I'll reserve judgment.

The Incredible Hulk (June 13): The 2003 take on this popular Marvel comic book character was a mess: phony CGI, awkward script, superfluous characters. This sequel, which exchanges Eric Bana for Edward Norton as Dr. Banner, may be more of a reboot than a continuation. If so, I'm all for it. Please let it be as good as the Bill Bixby series!

Get Smart (June 20): Don Adams, Barbara Feldon, and Ed Platt, all under the supervision of Mel Brooks, made this superspy spoof one of the best television shows of all time. I have no interest in seeing a remake that brings back none of that talent. (The omission of Mr. Brooks as a consultant is especially foreboding.)

The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor (August 1): I actually like this series, with its rock-em sock-em action and evocative cinematography; I always walk out of the theater wanting to go back to school for Egyptology. Brendan Fraser (who cleverly referenced this series in Looney Tunes: Back in Action) was absent from the last entry, 2002's The Scorpion King (which I found wonderfully reminiscent of Kevin Sorbo's Hercules), so I'm looking forward to his return to the franchise this summer.

This summer's charts will be torn up by plenty of other films, such as The Happening, Wall-E, and The Dark Knight — but I don't know enough about these titles to offer judgment at this time.

Of the eleven films I've mentioned, only two are original, not based on existing properties or licenses (three if you count Superhero Movie). Is that a good ratio? It may not matter, as both history and my write-ups above indicate that a known property is no guarantee of success. Regardless of their origin, what films are you looking forward to this summer?

[All release dates are courtesy]

2 Responses to “Summer Smashes & Strike-Outs”

  1. GeneD adds:

    Ken, of the films you mentioned, I'm most interested in Iron Man, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, Prince Caspian, Dark Knight, Incredible Hulk, and Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor, in that order.

    I'm not as big a fan of parodies, but I'm more likely to see Get Smart than Superhero Movie. There are other anime productions I'd be more interested in screening than Speed Racer, but the hyper-realistic visuals do look cool. I hope we can see some of these movies together!

  2. Ken Gagne adds:

    Oops! I forgot one summer film I'll definitely be seeing: Star Wars: The Clone Wars, due on August 15th!