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Summer Movie Preview

By Bert Ehrmann

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Fort Wayne Reader

2008-02-04


If summer 2007 at the box-office was the year of the sequel, then next summer will surly be remembered as the year of the comic book movie. By my estimate, there are no fewer than half-a-dozen films either directly based on comic books, or at least inspired by them, due out from May to August. The first of these comic book movies out May 2 is Iron Man.

In Iron Man, billionaire industrialist Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) creates a high-tech suit of amour to go after the bad-guys of the world because that’s what billionaire industrialists apparently do. Which makes me wonder what Bill Gates is up to in his spare time?

The 1960s Japanese cartoon Speed Racer gets the big screen treatment May 9. Written and directed by Andy and Larry Wachowski (The Matrix), Speed Racer stars Emile Hirsch the title character looking to win races in his powerful Mach 5.

I haven’t been able to decide if I’m really looking forward to Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, out May 22, or if I’m dreading it. Another Indiana Jones movie sure sounds interesting, but it’s been nearly 20 years since the last one, and at this point Harrison Ford is seven years older than Sean Connery was when he portrayed the elderly Henry Jones back in 1989.

What we know for sure about the fourth film is that it takes place in the 1950s, features the Ruskies as the bad guys and co-stars teen “it-guy” Shia LaBeouf as the character I won’t be surprised at all if he turns out to be Indy’s son.

Out June 13 is the next M. Night Shyamalan (The Sixth Sense) film The Happening. Following the disappointing Lady in the Water (2006), The Happening stars Mark Wahlberg as a guy trying to stay one step ahead of a natural disaster that suddenly causes people to loose free will and commit suicide. I’ve read an early draft of the script to The Happening and I can’t say I was that impressed by the story. The version I read dealt extensively with toxic pollen, which is about as visually threatening as a gang of teddy bears.

Also out June 13 is the sequel to The Hulk (2003) entitled The Incredible Hulk. I was only slightly interested in this movie until Edward Norton stepped into the role of Bruce Banner. Here’s hoping that there will be a lot more “HULK SMASH!!!” in The Incredible Hulk and less Nick Nolte turning into a giant jelly fish like the previous.

Out June 27 is the next Pixar film Wall•E and the ultra-violent Wanted – the perfect combination of movies. In Wall•E, it’s the future and Wall•E is a lone robot left behind to clean up the Earth and discovers his true mission in life after everyone else has left. Wanted follows James McAvoy (State of Play) and Angelina Jolie as good-guy assassins looking to gun-down the bad-guys of the world. Which is a bit odd since the comic book the movie is based on dealt with super-villains, including the McAvoy and Jolie characters, who secretly rule the world after having eliminated all the super-heroes.

July 18 The Dark Knight, sequel to Batman Begins, leaps into theaters. This time Batman (Christian Bale) does battle with downright evil Joker (Heath Ledger) looking to rob banks and generally bring down the quality of life in Gotham.

Just as odd as the new Indiana Jones movie seems, even odder is The X-Files 2. Here’s a quick recap on timeline of The X-Files: the television series premiered in 1993, continued as a theatrical film in 1998, went back to television that same year, spun-off a few other series and finally ended its run in 2002. And here, some six years after the end of the TV series and a full decade after the film, The X-Files 2 hits theaters July 25.

Next to nothing is known about this sequel other than Scully and Mulder are back and the movie’s supposed to be a stand alone piece that anyone can enjoy, even those not intimately familiar with the 200 hours of back story with the television show like me.

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