Maybe this post should be entitled “Summer of Sci-Fi”, but if there’s one thing I learned in Vanderbilt’s Political Propaganda class, it’s that “if it bleeds, it leads”. Well, I’m a little off–deathrays mostly fry. Welcome to my personal post of summer’s 5 top movies of interest, in order of their release date, with my synopsis and speculation. Would’ve added a trailer each, but either Youtube or WordPress doesn’t approve of multiple movies in a single post. I know, you still love me. You really, really love me!
1. Star Trek (May 8th)
Brought to you by JJ Abrams (responsible for Lost and Cloverfield), the casting seems solid, and the trailer epic. There’s something I find endlessly appealing about the confrontation with evil, and the nobility of laying down life–if need be–in defense of one’s family, nation, world, etc. No surrender, no spineless attempts at “appeasement”. The big question is whether the movie will avoid action cliches and retain the feel of the trailer (a task the movie 300 failed to achieve).
Karl Urban is a solid actor (McCoy), and Heroes’ star Zachary Quinto (Sylar)as the cold Spock is a bull’s-eye.
2. Terminator: Salvation (May 21st)
Christian Bale is brooding hero John Connor, engaged in the opening battles of the future machine war. Salvation is the first in a trilogy set in a post-robapocalyptic future.
3. Transformers 2: Revenge of the Fallen (June 26th)
“Fate rarely calls on us at a moment of our choosing.” –Optimus Prime
First one was good, but could’ve been better. Some campy dialogue and a completely unnecessary subplot with the hackers was redeemed by an excellent score (Steve Jablonsky), special effects, some decent comedy, and a passable plotline. Michael Bay excels at good action and stunning visuals, but often at the expense of elegant narrative flow and pacing.
Optimus is the John Wayne of robots, and we can only hope the writers kept his dialogue to the few outpourings of wisdom and gravity childhood fans remember from the first animated movie (from which much of his dialogue in the 2007 version was boosted).
4. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (July 17th)
Every one of these to date has been good. ‘Nuff said.
5. Public Enemies (July 1st)
Normally I’d say that when Johnny Depp and Christian Bale choose to join a production, the movie is good as gold. However, this is being directed by Michael Mann (Heat and Collateral), who seems adept at taking an all-star cast and producing a substandard movie with them. One can only hope his earlier flicks have taught him something about the need for proper pacing, good editing, and leaving the unnecessary on the cutting room floor. Guillermo del Toro, where are you when we need you!
While this may not fit with the theme of science fiction, Public Enemies made the list because I am a fan of the old film noir/(classical) gangster flick, even if it is shamelessly exploiting populist rage over the economic crisis.