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Summer Movie Preview

By Bert Ehrmann

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Fort Wayne Reader


As I began to write this column on movies due out next summer, I had no idea that just about every major film I was about to preview would be a sequel to a previous one. I can understand the tendency of movie studios to release sequels – they usually represent a guaranteed payday – but are TEN sequels in one summer too many? In 2007, have the movie studios gone” a sequel too far?”

This year, the summer movie season swings into theaters on May 4 with the release of Spider-Man 3. Playing on the title of the film, Spider-Man 3 just happens to have THREE TERRIBLE baddies all vying for Spider-Man’s head. This time, Spider-Man must face the villainous Sandman (Thomas Haden Church), the diabolical rebirth of the Green Goblin (James Franco) and the toothy stylings of the anti-Spider-Man bad-guy called Venom (Topher Grace).

On May 11, 28 Weeks Later will try to prove that a sequel really is needed for the zombie flick 28 Days Later that didn't seem to need one, while a third animated Shrek film, Shrek the Third, will try to milk the animated franchise for one more go on May 18.

At the end of May "it" happens – that "it" is the release of the third (and final?) Pirates of the Caribbean movie entitled Pirates of the Caribbean: At Worlds End on May 25. All the usual suspects are back for this guaranteed blockbuster and rocker Keith Richards is set to play Jack Sparrow's father Teague Sparrow.

The one movie I really question the need for next summer is the third Ocean’s movie, Ocean’s Thirteen. In this movie, former bad-guy Terry Benedict (Andy Garcia) teams up with Danny Ocean (George Clooney) and his team to fight current bad-guy Willie Banks (Al Pacino). Somehow, I don't see the public clamoring for another Ocean's movie after the relatively dull Ocean's Twelve.

On June 15 the Fantastic Four must do battle with the chrome-plated Silver Surfer when Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer rides the wild surf into cinemas. Here, the intergalactic Surfer arrives on the Earth and begins blowing things up, and it's up to the Fantastic Four to stop him because blowing things up is unacceptable without a U.N. proclamation.

Steve Carell takes the lead in Evan Almighty, the sequel to Bruce Almighty, on June 22. In Evan Almighty, God (Morgan Freeman) calls on Evan to build an ark and also (apparently) for Carell to continue to take roles from Jim Carrey. On June 29 Live Free or Die Hard (aka Die Hard 4) blasts into theaters nearly 20 years after the original. If we're following the usual Hollywood axiom, isn't it time to REMAKE the original Die Hard rather than release a sequel?

Also out on June 29 is the next Pixar film entitled Ratatouille that follows an animated rat living in Paris who wants to become a chef. July 4 will be "more than meets the eye" with the big screen adaptation of Transformers. This live-action movie follows the robotic, transformable Autobots and Decepticons whose arrival on the Earth places the fate of humanity in jeopardy. Or, Armageddon + E.T. = Transformers. Am I the only one disappointed that the transforming sound from the cartoons will be missing from the film?

On July 13 Harry Potter returns in the fifth film of the franchise Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. A few weeks later on July 27, the big screen version of the animated classic The Simpsons Movie is released. Hopefully, The Simpsons Movie will be the period at the end of the 18-year old bloated "should've been canceled a decade ago" The Simpsons franchise.

The third Bourne spy-movie entitled The Bourne Ultimatum is due out August 3. Much like in the previous two (very good) films, Jason Bourne (Matt Damon) treks the globe in search of his amnesiac past while agents of various governments try to track him down. And let's not forget about the live action version of the cartoon Underdog, also out August 3. Somehow, I think there's no need to fear that Jason Bourne will win the battle of ticket-sales with Underdog at the box-office.

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