July 28, 2009
Summer Movie Blockbusters (about which I have something to say)
We’re in the middle of summer, and have yet to discuss summer movies. So far, this has been a record-breaking season at the box office with staggering sales numbers and grosses. Even movies that have underperformed (from what was predicted) have been making insane amounts of money. People are looking to be thoroughly entertained this summer, I guess. Although actually, the quality of the summer blockbuster has improved considerably since last summer, too. Except for actual great movies like The Dark Knight or Iron Man, there were “gems” like Hancock, Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa, etc.
I’ve seen a few movies myself this summer! Some have been great, others have been disastrous. Since it’s already July it seems pointless to do a full recap…but maybe for just some of the important ones!
Star Trek (May 8th)
I have to admit it right now. Before seeing this movie, all I had actually seen of any of the Star Trek series was a few scattered episodes when there was nothing else on UPN when I was a kid. I couldn’t tell you the plot of the episodes if you paid me, but there it is. And obviously, I knew the iconic points of the series. I knew who the original actors were, some key phrases (“May the force be with you”…..just kidding), the Vulcan hand gestures, the voiceovers, etc. Basically I knew my pop culture references. I wasn’t expecting anything out of the movie at all. I’m going to be honest; I hadn’t even planned on seeing it.
However, I really admire J.J. Abrams. I watched Alias, Lost, Cloverfield, and Fringe. Clearly, I’m a fan. Also, I had been hearing really great things about the film, so I thought, why not? I ended up really liking the movie. The plot was simple but everything was so well done, it just worked. No wonder it has made over $250 million at the box office and is one of the best reviewed films of 2009 so far. At 95% on Rotten Tomatoes, it’s a must-see! If you haven’t seen it already, you’re missing out.
Up (May 29th)
People keep wondering whether Pixar can keep making hit after hit. Critics and viewers alike fall in love with every single movie that Disney and Pixar create. Starting with Toy Story, the partnership has produced nonstop success at the box office. (P.S. How excited are you for Toy Story 3?)
Their most recent creation, Up, follows an old man called Carl (voice of Edward Asner) who is on a mission to get to South America, where he had planned to live with his wife. He uses his house as transportation by strapping thousands of balloons to the building. Along the way he finds that he has company, including a young wilderness explorer called Russell (voice of Jordan Nagai), and a dog called Dug.
The movie is entertaining for both kids and adults, and is actually quite touching. There are subtleties in the film that leads me to believe it is really a thoughtful drama disguised as a children’s movie. Though I enjoyed Wall-E (2008), I think it lacks the quiet confidence that Up has with itself. With Wall-E the audience is kind of bashed over the head with its message. Up isn’t like that.
The Hangover (June 5th)
I’m not sure if you can get as different from Up than The Hangover (except maybe Brüno). This movie was one of the surprises of 2009. Personally, I was shocked by its success. I saw the trailers and didn’t really think anything of it. Then it was released, and there was constant discussion and quotation of the film. I thought, well, okay, now I have to go see it.
The Hangover was released on June 5 and it is still in the IMDb top 250, at #161. I mean, that’s a little high up on the list in my opinion, but I can appreciate the movie. It’s something new and unique. There are elements of the classic slapstick comedy, sure, but for the most part it stands alone. Four guys go to Las Vegas to have one last night of shenanigans before one of them gets married, and end up needing to retrace their steps in order to find the groom-to-be.
The movie stars Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms, Zach Galifianakis and Justin Bartha as the groomsmen. In my opinion, it is Ed Helms who makes the movie as great as it is. He keeps the rest of the cast from seeming overly obnoxious just by being there. It is the same phenomenon that occurs when he sings as Andy on The Office. He makes everything better and funnier by just sitting at a piano and singing something random.
It’s really a surprise hit of the summer but it has grossed over $230 million in the United States alone. Get ready, because there is already a sequel in the works (and yes, all of the actors are returning).
Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (June 24th)
Though this may make me unpopular, I refused to see this movie in theaters. I fully understand that guys think Megan Fox is the hottest thing on the planet, and that is reason alone to go watch a movie. Great, I get it. I also completely understand that explosions are amazing. Fine. The issue I have with the Transformers franchise is that it dumbs you down when it doesn’t have to.
Action films can have explosions and hot people in them without compromising our intelligence. Star Trek had plenty of action-packed scenes. Still upset that there were no clothes-less people, though? Okay I’ll give you another example. How about Die Hard (1988)? There’s a girl in a shower at one point. Or even the Kill Bill movies, especially the first one; it is basically all action, and Uma Thurman looks great doing it! But those movies are full of the things that people look for in an action movie without insulting their intelligence. That’s what I don’t like about Transformers.
Ice Age 3: Dawn of the Dinosaurs (July 1st)
I did see this movie, and by choice. The way t-rex arms look make me laugh every time, so I thought, these graphics will be great and I’ll just be laughing at the t-rex’s arms even if nothing else is funny. Right? Wrong. There was one t-rex that was pretty cool I guess, but she was serious. The male was the villain but I couldn’t even tell if it was even a t-rex. It confused me. Plus the color of it was kind of weird; it looked like chalk, or like a snake that had just shed it’s skin. Actually, no. It looked like the skin that the snake had just shed.
Simon Pegg lent his voice to a new character, Buck, a Rambo-inspired weasel who helps the Ice Age herd through the jungle to rescue a friend. But the plot was too thin, too. Though it was only about a 90-minute movie, it seemed much longer. It seems hard for me to believe that even little kids would enjoy it that much. The first movie was actually pretty amusing, but it has gone downhill since then. As long as the franchise keeps making money, though, more will be made. Why do you think there have been about 45 Halloween movies?
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (July 15th)
I was one of those people who went to the midnight showing of this movie. Ever since the fourth installment, actually, I have been going to the midnight shows. I was a little sleepy, so I will probably have to see it again for the full effect to sink in, but it was still thoroughly enjoyable. The kids are getting older, and so are the movies. Although it does irk me that it was rated PG. I’m not for censorship but this movie has no business being PG at all. The second a character gets possessed, or is attacked by a dead army, it should be PG-13.
Anyway, Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince raked in a cool $394 million worldwide opening, making it the biggest box office opening of all time. On its first day of release in the United States alone, it brought in over $58 million (just behind Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen and The Dark Knight). Seeing this movie after such a long wait just made me wish the next two installments were out right now. But, alas, we have to wait another year and a half (almost) for Part I of The Deathly Hallows to come out.
G-Force (July 24th)
This is another movie I won’t see, and I can’t imagine that kids are going to enjoy it that much, either. Maybe I’m just too far gone from the kid-world now, but spy guinea pigs? Really? And the cast is just amazing, too. Bill Nighy, Will Arnett, Zach Galifianakis (from The Hangover), Nicolas Cage, Sam Rockwell, Jon Favreau, Penelope Cruz, Steve Buscemi, Tracy Morgan…it really pays to be a movie produced by Jerry Bruckheimer. Crowds will be drawn into this movie based on the cast alone (though Nic Cage is…well…at least he’s only in it by voice).
Even though the end of July is approaching, there are still summer movies to look forward to! Personally, I’m excited to see Quentin Tarantino’s new movie, Inglorious Basterds (August 21st), starring Brad Pitt. It looks gruesome and hilarious. Tarantino hasn’t made too many films, but the ones he has made have all been iconic. Also coming up:
Funny People (July 31st)
G.I. Joe: Rise of Cobra (August 7th)
Julie and Julia (August 7th)
There are, of course, other movies opening as well, and maybe we’ll see a few more box office surprises along the way! Enjoy a great summer of movies!
Posted by Shaane at 11:11 am