Monday, May 09, 2016

Blockbuster Summer Rundown 2016

Summer is drawing quickly upon us, and with that season comes the summer blockbusters or sometimes referred to as tent-pole films.  Tent-pole as a term means to financially hold up the movie studios or TV networks from ticket sales, generally a crowd pleaser, and something bank-able.  It doesn't always work, but that's sort of their intent.  It has almost become the norm though these days, as even movies that aren't released in the summer sometimes have that appeal, generally aimed to a younger crowd.  Either way, I don't think about it too much as I have as much interest in these type films as anything else really.

So just looking over some of the summer movies, what am I excited about and what might I go see?   Disclaimer:  I'll generally wait to see a few reviews first or check in with Rotten Tomatoes or sites like that before doling out the cash.  It's easy to get caught up and seduced by poster art, and a smartly designed trailer (for the most part) to get warm bodies into the cinemas.  For some movies I might have an interest in watching them, but I can wait until they come out on DVD, and that holds true even for some of the films that maybe critics didn't particularly care for very much.

Anyway these are films I'm looking forward to and if they get a fairly good review I might end up seeing at the cinema.  First up is The BFG (Big Friendly Giant).  I do like the poster art, and a giant as a companion and friend has always appealed to me.  Coming out of the Disney studios doesn't hurt the film any and also being directed by Stephen Spielberg doesn't either.  Let's face it, he could probably make a good movie by this stage of the game blindfolded, and standing on his head.

I don't know much about Star Trek Beyond other than it's the third edition of the rebooted series starring Chris Pine, Quinto, and crew.  I enjoyed the first two in the series, and I'm hoping this one is even better or at least equal to the other ones.

The plot concerns stopping off at Starbase Earhart, a remote outpost on the fringes of Federation Space, the USS Enterprise, halfway into their 5 year mission, is destroyed by a powerful, unstoppable wave of unknown aliens. With the crew stranded on a unknown planet and with no apparent means of rescue, they find themselves in conflict with a new ruthless enemy who has a well-earned hatred of the Federation and what it stands for.  Could that be Romulans or Klingons or another race?  We'll have to wait and see.  It's slated for the theaters in July some time.

Tarzan has seen any number of adaptations.  All have been a little hit and miss for me to be honest, though with the nature of special effects these days, if the story is done well enough, and hopefully they'll be fairly faithful to the book, they should be able to pull this one off or at least get it in the ballpark.  I say that as after the recent Planet of the Apes reboots, they can make digital apes pretty convincing, and there's also the recent movie, The Jungle Book, that is currently showing in theaters, which many critics liked due to the effects and have said it looks amazing.  They should have his swinging from tree to tree down too as an effect due to the Spider-Man films.  So unless they just totally botch the script, I would think they'd be able to pull it off.  A lot of people were indifferent to John Carter, which I watched last night and I still don't think that was a bad effort.  It was fairly faithful to the book except for the opening sequence, but once on Mars it got its footing.  It was light, funny in parts, and had plenty of action.  I wish it had done better at the box office as it would have been fun to watch a sequel.  So with Tarzan, we'll have to wait and see.

I'm not much a gamer.  I've played my share of Tomb Raider and some Halo, and a few other games.  But I'm pretty horrible at gaming and I'd still consider myself a novice.  So I don't know much about Warcraft, but I saw the trailer which looked pretty good.  It's a fantasy adventure directed and written by Duncan Jones, so that's a plus.  You might remember Jones directed the Sci-Fi movie Moon, and if you haven't seen Moon, check it out.  He also directed another SF film, Source Code, which I didn't quite enjoy as well as Moon, but it too is worth watching if you haven't seen it yet.  So Jones is more than competent at directing and that's good news.  Supposedly Sam Raimi was going to direct it, but I guess either turned it down or was busy.  Either way, it's a seemingly simple plot about humans against Orcs.  I hope there's more to it than that, but I assume it will contain a lot of action, fighting and so forth.

For the most part, I've enjoyed the X-Men franchise.  I think there's only one of the movies I haven't seen, which it the third one of the initial releases, X-Men, The Last Stand.  I also haven't seen The Wolverine, although I've seen parts of it broadcast on regular cable.  I also used to read the comics back in the day, so I'm somewhat familiar with most of the characters.  If I were to rank the movies in order of preference, that would be hard, but it might be:  X-Men,  X-Men Origins: Wolverine, X-Men: Days of Future Past,  X-Men 2,  X-Men: First Class, and then the rest.  That said though they've created a pretty neat niche if you're a fan of mutants.  Apocalypse is the newest bad guy in this film, and that was around the time I quit reading the series.  He teams up with Magneto, and something tells me they'll lose, but it's all in the storytelling.  It should be fun, so we'll see.

That leaves us with Independence Day: Resurgence.  Oh boy.  I wasn't a huge fan of ID4 (1996) the original film.  I was suckered into seeing it on opening day (mostly by the trailer and actors involved), which if I remember was on July the 4th of that year.  We were off work as many others were, and the theater was packed!  ID4 was fun in some respects, and I've watched it a few times since its initial release.  It's sort of one of those bad films that's watchable or on the cusps of being bad due to one character for me, and that's Randy Quaid's character of Russell Casse.  His character of an alcoholic father that saves the day, by ramming his jet (an F/A-18 Hornet, I believe)  into the mother alien ship's weapons port kamikaze-style after only learning how to fly a jet and being sober for about two days is just hilarious.  Granted his character was said to have flown in Vietnam, but still...  I think his last battle cry while taking one for the ole USA was something like, "All right, you alien assholes! In the words of my generation: Up... YOURS!"  Or something similar to that effect that probably won't make it into the history books.  It doesn't help that the whole film plays out with such stern seriousness, and then there's...Randy Quaid.  I make light of the film, but I'll probably just rent this one on DVD just in case.


At 7:30 PM, Blogger Richard Bellush said...

It’s a strange sort of business in which 80% of your products lose money – and the movie studios never know which 20% will earn all the profits. Disney lost a couple hundred million dollars on “John Carter” (which, I agree, isn’t such a bad movie) even with post-box-office DVD and cable sales. On the other hand the little film “Juno,” which cost 7.5 million to make, earned 231 million dollars. Go figure.

I’ll wait for some critics’ verdicts on this summer's blockbusters, I think, before plunking down for tickets – except maybe for Star Trek. I’m lukewarm on the reboot, but that’s a more enthusiastic adjective than “neutral.”

At 10:03 AM, Blogger El Vox said...

Hollywood is a fickle business for sure, and so is the audience. Some say John Carter lost money because they didn't use the full title John Carter of Mars, some lay blame by saying it was due to critic reviews or somewhere else. If I were in charge of the bankrolling of such pictures, I think I'd have to set a financial limit to some of those films, and say you've got X-amount of dollars to work with and make it so. But too, Disney is such a giant financial behemoth even then, they can loose that much money and make it up elsewhere (like Star Wars, Pixar, superheroes, or something). It's just a funny business to operate with such highs and lows, credits and debits.

I don't think John Carter was any better or worse than Avatar and some other SF films. That's why I'll cut some films a little slack, particularly if it's a genre I enjoy, if I read bad reviews by a bunch of critics. Sometimes I think they pile on due to what everyone else is saying. It's fickle. But yes, I think Star Trek, and that new Star Wars films at the end of the year will probably be the ones I'll see at the cinema.


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