People Tell Me I Look Like Han Solo.
Friday, May 1, 2009
  Summer Movie Preview: Part 1
X-Men Origins: Wolverine opens today, which officially kicks off the summer blockbuster season. At the beginning of each month from now through August, I’ll be going over that month’s big releases, weighing in with my (admittedly uninformed, as I will not have seen them yet) opinions on each. Some of these movies really aren’t my thing – I’ve never really seen any of the Harry Potter movies, and I don’t plan to start with the newest one – so take my words with the requisite amount of salt (something longtime readers probably already do).

Okay, let’s do this thing.


X-Men Origins: Wolverine (May 1)
I mentioned a few weeks ago here that I thought X-Men Origins: Wolverine looked kind of weak. (And I say that as a comic geek who really loves the X-Men.) Reviews I’ve read today suggest I was right, but I know I’ll be going to see it anyway. Bryan Singer’s X2: X-Men United remains easily the best movie in the franchise by a country mile, and I personally still consider it one of the best comic book adaptations ever made. (Maybe it’s just the X-Men fan in me, but I’ll take X2 over any of the Spider-Man flicks any day of the week.) Still, Wolverine is the first big summer release, so people will flock to it just out of excitement that the summer movie season is now underway. I really like Hugh Jackman though, and Liev Schreiber (who plays the villain who may or may not become Sabertooth, who’s played by a different actor in the first X-Men movie) is a great actor, so at the very least I’m sure they’ll do good work. And Jackman’s never been more famous than he is right now, so this thing will make tons of money, Internet piracy or no.

Star Trek (May 8)
Star Trek and Star Wars are sort of like the Beatles and Rolling Stones of sci-fi geekdom; people tend to really like one and can usually take or leave the other. Me, I’m a Star Wars guy (though I did enjoy Star Trek: The Next Generation when I was a kid). But I have no nostalgic connection to the original ‘60s series, and, apparently, neither did director J.J. Abrams, who’s gone on record as preferring Star Wars as well (at least he was going into this project). And that seems to makes sense, as the trailers for his new Star Trek movie – which apparently reboots the franchise with some sort of time-travel/alternate universe chicanery – are all filled with laser-shooting spaceships and explosions and all the swashbuckling adventure that made me fall in love with Star Wars, as opposed to the clinical, more scientific and philosophical approach the Star Trek franchise took on after the original show. Will it work? I have no idea what hardcore Trekkers will make of this movie, but it looks like a good old fashioned popcorn blockbuster. All I'm looking for out of Star Trek is a good time at the movies, and it looks like it may deliver precisely that.

Angels & Demons (May 15)
At the risk of invoking the ire of Dan Brown/Da Vinci Code fans, I couldn’t be less interested in the prequel/sequel/whatever to the 2006 box office smash. It looks as stupid to me as The Da Vinci Code (which I’ve never seen, and have zero interest in) looked three years ago. But clearly I’m in the minority. This will make disgusting amounts of money, and probably a lot of people will really like it. None of them will be me.

Terminator: Salvation (May 21)
The first two Terminator movies are awesome, albeit for fairly different reasons. I love the original because director James Cameron manages to tell a cool, scary little sci-fi story (that hints at a larger, more epic one thanks to the time-travel conceit), and, and Terminator 2 is, hands-down, one of the greatest action movies ever made. But I really didn’t like Terminator 3 for a bunch of reasons I won’t bother going into detail about here (liquid metal over a solid-metal skeleton would NOT allow the “T-X” to shape-shift like the T-1000 in T2; you don’t have to be a physicist to figure that out), but overall I just thought it was a retread of T2 with better computer effects but with a far, far crappier story. So why am I so exited about Terminator: Salvation? Because I’ve always been far more interested in the crazy futuristic war just barely glimpsed in Cameron’s films, and now we’re getting a full movie of that. And it’s my firm belief that the inclusion of giant robots makes just about any movie better.

Drag Me To Hell (May 29)
Director Sam Raimi is obviously most famous for his three Spider-Man movies, but any movie geek worth his or her salt knows he got his start with the Evil Dead trilogy, the latter two of which I love dearly. But the reason that the geek community is so excited about Raimi’s return to, as the trailer says, “true horror,” is also the reason I’m sort of lukewarm about Drag Me To Hell, the story of a young woman cursed by a gypsy (or something) to be haunted by a demon that will eventually, as the title suggests, drag her to hell; the reason I love Evil Dead 2 and its sequel, Army of Darkness, is that they’re funny as hell (the original Evil Dead plays things pretty straight, which is why I’m not a big fan). And Drag Me To Hell looks like it covers all the vintage Sam Raimi bases – crazy-looking monster makeup, portals spouting demons, creepy imagery – without the humour that makes Evil Dead 2 and Army of Darkness so brilliant. I’m sure I’ll end up seeing this, but there’s probably no movie blogger on the Internet as skeptical about Drag Me To Hell as I am. We’ll see.

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