Looking Forward… Summer ’09

The Oscars are over. We can move on and leave 2008 behind. For those who didn’t watch, know that “Slumdog Millionaire” swept the whole thing, and Heath Ledger did indeed get his Oscar.

But enough of that. Personally, I’m ready for 2009. Ten years ago, we were watching “The Matrix” and “Star Wars: The Phantom Menace” like crazy, amazed at how far films have come. Now, it’s the turn of the decade, people will no longer call the year “Two thousand eight” or “Two thousand nine.” It’s about time for “Twenty-ten” to come around. But first, let’s stop and look at what’s in store for us in the mean time.

The summer is my favorite time for movies. Although the winter, with all of its Oscar-winners and such, usually has intense films with plenty of depth, spring and summer films are loud, raucous, and dazzling to the eyes. “Independence Day,” “Armageddon,” “Spider-Man,” “The Fast and the Furious…” all big spring and summer films. It’s the time of year that reminds us why we love to see movies. We want to be entertained. This year’s big season looks very entertaining.

On May 1, the first day of the season, we’re introduced to a new, alien world in the animated sci-fi film “Battle for Terra.”

The film’s director, Aristomenis Tsirbas, is an expert in visual effects and trailers of the film so far look very fascinating. However, because of the cutesy-kid aspect of it, older audiences may not be interested. Then again, look at “Wall-E.”

Released that day as well is “X-Men Origins: Wolverine.” This film will dominate that week. The story revolves around the past of Logan aka Wolverine, who we all know from the “X-Men” comic-books, animated series, and record-breaking movies. Hugh Jackman will reprise the role of the anti-hero mutant, and we should see some interesting cameos from various other Marvel Comics characters… did anyone say Gambit and Deadpool?

“Star Trek” opens the week after. I have no doubt this will be big. Why, you may ask, do I think this when the past two “Star Trek” films have tanked in the box office and been met with critical scorn? Simple: a new cast, a fresh look, and “Lost’s” JJ Abrams behind the wheel. There’s more appeal for this “Star Trek” than any other film in the franchise. If done right, without all the techno-babble and cheap effects, this film could spark a whole new side to “Star Trek” that we’ve never seen. And you know they’re already thinking sequel.

“Angels and Demons” is released mid-May. It’s the prequel to the very dull “The DaVinci Code.” Ron Howard and Tom Hanks, who shouldn’t be wasting their time, return to their roles and I’m willing to bet this one’s not worth the time.

May follows up its power-house lineup with one of the highest anticipated films of the year, “Terminator: Salvation,” the fourth installment of the very successful “Terminator” series about John Connor (Christian Bale) leading the human resistance against the cybernetic machines called Terminators. The film is getting a lot of hype, both positive and negative. While everyone wants to see another “Terminator” film, many fans have been quick to protest the choice of McG as the director. The “Charlie’s Angels” director insists this is a completely different film, and in my opinion it probably will be. Any action film with Christian Bale is bound to be better than “Charlie’s Angels.”

Released that same day (for the kiddies) is “Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian.” Need somewhere to take the little guys while the older siblings go to “T4?” This one looks perfect. Laughs, big stars, and plenty of good special effects should fuel this family comedy.

Moving on to June, the effects-driven family film “Land of the Lost” comes out June 5 and it looks like fun. Fans of the old TV show should enjoy it, and hopefully it won’t be too scary for kids.

Opening June 12 is what I think will be the non-series action flick of the year, “The Taking of Pelham 1, 2, 3,” a remake of the classic 1970s film. This version is directed by Tony Scott, son of Ridley Scott. He’s a solid, dependable director and he has two solid, dependable stars in Denzel Washington and John Travolta, who are on opposite sides of a hostage situation involving a subway full of innocent passengers. Sounds like fun!

Two weeks later we get Michael Bay’s latest epic, “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen,” in which the evil Decepticon robots return to Earth to do battle with the Autobots and the kid who beat them the first time (Shia LaBeouf). I was a casual viewer of the “Transformers” cartoon series when I was a kid, but man was I excited about the first live-action “Transformers” film. It was a slice of Hollywood heaven. This one should also be great, at least for a sequel.

Jumping into summer, July 3 is time once again for those prehistoric wisecrackers in “Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs). There’s problems with this one. For one thing, “Ice Age: The Meltdown” wasn’t much of a hit. For another, dinosaurs came before the ice age, not after. This is sure to confuse kids and frustrate elementary school history teachers to the Nth degree. I suppose the kids will like it, but something tells me this one’s bound to be a dud.

On July 17, the wait is over. “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince” is finally released. After over a year and a half of anticipation and hype, the sixth (SIXTH!) “Harry Potter” film is hitting theaters. Personally, I’m excited. I’ve seen all but number five, and I think this one looks excellent. And this is coming from someone who never read the books. This one will probably be the highest-grossing film of the year. Look for some broken records too.

Moving toward the end of the blockbuster season, on August 7 we have “GI Joe: Rise of Cobra,” a remake of “Transformers” rival “GI Joe.” I’ll see this one for sure. It should be good. But it won’t be the year’s biggest or best. It has a good cast, but can it succeed the same way as “Transformers” has?

“Inglorious Basterds” hits theaters in August and will no doubt get its audience. The film is directed by movie-genius Quentin Tarantino, who in case you don’t know did “Pulp Fiction,” “Resevoir Dogs,” and “Kill Bill.” His last film, “Death Proof,” was a dud. Can he make up for it in this unconventional World War II actioner?

Concluding our summer will be the slasher-horror movie remake “Halloween 2,” directed by Rob Zombie. The first in the remake series was decent, but horror sequels seldom live up to expectations (try the original “Halloween 2”). Don’t bet on this one.

Soon, fall will roll around and we’ll get more horror, more drama, and eventually plenty of awards.

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