Summer films aim for family fun or epic action
A rundown of Hollywood's summertime selections
By: Scott Hayes
| Posted: Wednesday, Jul 11, 2012 06:00 am
Itís been a big season for blockbuster movies so far Ė especially in the area of superhero flicks Ė but summer has only just begun and it looks like there will still be plenty of action at the box office.
It has been more than two months since The Avengers premiered and, fantastically, it is still on the Top 10 list. The long-anticipated movie about a team of multiple superheroes (Captain America, Thor, Iron Man, The Hulk, Hawkeye and Black Widow) might have cost approximately $220 million to make but it has already pulled in $1.5 billion around the world.
Joining that movie on the Top 10 list with more than $100 million in the bank each are the previously released Prometheus, Madagascar 3, Snow White and the Huntsman, and Brave.
The Amazing Spider-Man just came out last Tuesday and already pulled in more than $150 million in its first week. It just goes to show that itís a much safer gamble for studios to produce family-friendly fare. That way, people have to buy multiple tickets in order to join their children for the fun.
Apparently, it doesnít even matter that this new take on the urban webslinger is a reboot of the decade-old franchise trilogy that only ended in 2007. Before it was released, many film fans wondered whether it was too soon but somehow they still bought tickets.
As one looks to the weeks ahead, there are still many interesting and exciting movies to come. The one that is almost certainly the biggest and most eagerly anticipated is right around the corner.
The Dark Knight Rises is intended as the final instalment of director Christopher Nolanís trilogy on the new incarnation of Batman, as played by Christian Bale. It will certainly be a tough act to follow, especially considering Heath Ledger won an Oscar posthumously for his portrayal of the Joker in the last edition. Here, the Caped Crusader faces Bane, a terrorist hell-bent on taking out Gothamís fallen hero on a permanent basis.
Audiences should think twice about getting large beverages for this film, as it will clock in at 164 minutes. It comes out on July 20.
Those looking for something more appropriate for small children should consider this Fridayís Ice Age: Continental Drift, the fourth in the frosty series about a family of unlikely brothers. This includes Manny the Mammoth, Diego the sabre-toothed tiger, and Sid the Sloth. Itís equally hard to resist the side story of Scrat, the squirrel with the worst luck in the prehistoric world.
When August rolls around, the big movies are all about macho action. First up is director Len Wisemanís remake of Total Recall, arriving just before the long weekend. This time Colin Farrell plays Doug Quaid, the factory worker who visits a memory implant clinic to have a nice vacation but leaves a superspy on the run.
Devotees of Paul Verhoevenís campy 1990 version with Arnold Schwarzenegger will likely point out all the inconsistencies, but it might just be the people who care more about Philip K. Dickís source short story We Can Remember It For You Wholesale who will win out in the end.
On the following Friday, The Bourne Legacy picks up where Matt Damon left it. New action star Jeremy Renner plays Aaron Cross, another CIA operative in the enigmatic Treadstone program. If Tony Gilroyís record as director of the first three can vouch for anything then there will undoubtedly be many gunfights, more martial arts manoeuvres and car chases through picturesque locations.
If that wasnít enough, then August 17 should provide the be-all, end-all of tough-guy flicks, hopefully for at least a while.
The Expendables 2 has a list of action stars past and present the likes of which havenít been seen before: Sylvester Stallone, Liam Hemsworth, Randy Couture, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Bruce Willis, Jason Statham, Jet Li, Chuck Norris, Dolph Lundgren, and Terry Crews all join Arnold Schwarzenegger in his first post-gubernatorial screen role. Director Simon West is not known for his subtlety so attendees should not expect much character development or sparkling dialogue from this one.
And there it is, a breakdown of the big blockbusters to come over the next nine weeks. The autumn will certainly bring with it more introspective, tender films about the human condition than this. Until then, there will be little else but playful and mindless actioners.