Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Retrospective: A Quick Look at Summer 2009 (Part One)

Summer starts a little bit earlier in Hollywoodland. Once May gets a blockbuster it's Summer this and Summer that. The Summer solstice doesn't start until June 21st, people. Respect the Gregorian calendar. What I'm saying is segue into a post about the year's Summer movies, starting with super hero movies. 

As far back as I can remember, which is nine years, Summers have been a playground for caped crusaders being badass. X-Men reminded people that comic book characters weren't just for kids, they were for everybody, especially kids. What followed was a revival in anyone giving a damn about superheroes, with a string of great movies (Spider-Man, X2, Spider-Man 2, Batman Begins, and The Dark Knight) and awful movies (Daredevil, X-Men: The Last Stand, Spider-Man 3, Ghost Rider, Elektra, Fantastic Four, Catwoman, Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer, and then some). The bad was pretty bad, but at least it came with a side of good. What caliber of fantastic heroes did we receive this time around?

March, a pre-Summer month, had Watchmen, a near totally faithful adaptation of the graphic novel by Zack Snyder. It was quite a high to come off of, seeing the best anyone could hope for in a book-to-movie translation. A Little Children reunion for the cast, inventive and artful visuals and no giant squids exploding. If this were a true harbinger for the quality of the upcoming hero and heroin movies the world was truly in for a treat. Instead the world got X-Men Origins: Wolverine.

Bryan Singer's second X-Men film was incredible. It was one of the first films I can remember getting giddy for months ahead of the release, and I had my dad drive me to the first showing opening day immediately after school. The Dark Knight is the only comic book movie to have surpassed that films greatness for me, and to find out that Wolverine was the most poorly reviewed in the X-Men series, after what I hear was a lazy to dumb third installment by enemy of the blog Brett Ratner, to hear the once revered name of X-Men has been tarnished twice over and worse so every time almost wrenches my heart. My sources express that Wolverine throws out story lines established in earlier films, and even remade some of X-Men and X2. I'm appalled. There wasn't even another superhero movie afterwards to help cushion the blow, only bad action movies to act as salt on our wounds.

I don't want to name names or pick on undeservers but McG and Michael Bay were the worst thing to happen to blockbusters this year. I'd say Steven Spielberg should have given us a new Jaws, or anything better than Transformers 2, like I trust he would have in the old days but I can't because Spielberg actually produced the new Transformers. As for Terminator Salvation it appears McG made a lot of promises he couldn't keep, and who were we to not trust the director of the classic Charlie's Angels 2: Full Throttle? Along with these train wrecks of sequels was Angels and Demons, reported to be more boring and worse scripted than The DaVinci Code, which took the cake in cinematic laziness. 

The one good to come out of the action genre was J. J. Abrams' Star Trek. It was exciting. Fun. The action was staged well. The acting was earnest. How hard was it for the other action directors to conceive interesting and explosion-packed films? Judging from the aforementioned, and the trailer for G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra it was so hard they didn't even try.

This concludes part one of A Quick Look at Summer 2009. Next time I'll cover comedies, or what passed for comedy this year, and dramas. Oooo. Dramas.

 - Eric T. Voigt, XOXO

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