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Summer Movies ’11: The Geek Edition

May 1, 2011 1 comment

So apparently Fast Five has officially kicked off the summer movie blockbuster rush (although I really think they just need to stop with that series already. Enough is enough). As per usual, the summer is going to be full of geek movies geared to me and my kin, a.k.a. comic book, superhero and sci-fi thrillers. So I figured I would take the time to go through the big box office movies that interest me and that I think nerds nationwide will pay attention to and give my opinion and hype factor on them.

The movies that I’m going to talk about are as follows (in order of release): Thor, Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, X-Men: First Class, Super 8, Green Lantern, Transformers: Dark of the Moon, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2, Captain America: The First Avenger, Cowboys & Aliens, and Rise of Planet of the Apes. As you can see, this summer is going to be packed with movies that are catered to the nerds of the world (and I’m pretty excited). So, without further adieu, let’s begin.

*Before I start, I would like to mention that these are my opinions on these movies and how much I believe they will either live up to their hype or please the geek crowd.

Thor (May 6th) 

(Directed by Kenneth Branagh; Starring Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, and Anthony Hopkins)

What’s It About?: Thor (Hemsworth) is the third Avenger to make his movie debut (Iron Man and The Incredible Hulk being his predecessors). Thor is the God of Thunder who lives in the city of Asgard. He is extremely arrogant and violent and ends up reigniting a long forgotten war. As punishment, he is sent down to Earth to live with the humans. After befriending Jane Foster (Portman), Thor learns from his mistake and helps defend Earth from enemies sent from Asgard to cause havoc on the humans.

What Do I Think?: The first thing I notice when I see the information about this movie is, no joke, the director. Kenneth Branagh (Gilderoy Lockhart in the Harry Potter series, director and star of Hamlet) is one of my favorite people in the movie industry. I just love a lot of the work that he does, and I especially loved his version of Hamlet. Besides the director, I very pumped for this movie. It’s something we haven’t seen yet in the super hero movie industry: a God. I am extremely excited to see how well Chris Hemsworth pulls off the role. If you don’t count his short appearance as George Kirk in the 2009 Star Trek, this is Chris’ first big time role on the silver screen. Hopefully Thor will be for Chris as The Hurt Locker was for Jeremy Renner. He looks promising and I honestly can not wait to see this movie.

Hype Factor: 9/10

EDIT: Go see this movie. I saw it about a week ago and it is an amazing Marvel film. It lives up to the Hype Factor.

Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides (May 20th) 

(Directed by Rob Marshall; Starring Johnny Depp, Penelope Cruz, Ian McShane, and Geoffrey Rush)

What’s It About?: In the fourth Pirates movie, Captain Jack Sparrow (Depp) finds himself running into a woman from his past on his way to find the Fountain of Youth. Entranced by what he thinks may be love, Sparrow is brought onto the ship of the most feared pirate in history: Blackbeard (McShane). The race goes on to beat Blackbeard to the Fountain and possible discover if his love is true.

What Do I Think?: First reaction? Is this necessary? This spin off story is just a ploy to milk the Pirates series for all its worth. Orlando Bloom and Kiera Knightley, the other two main stars besides Johnny Depp, both quit the series after the third installment. Now it’s up to Depp to hold up the entire movie and, to be honest, I am tired of Jack Sparrow. He was amazing in the first movie, still pretty funny in the second, got repetitive in the third, and now after watching the trailer for this film, it just seems like they’re trying too hard. His act is old and repetitive and I’m tired of seeing the pirate in a drunken stupor running around like a chicken with his head cut off and acting completely scared around all the big bad guys: it’s overplayed.

Hype Factor: 4/10

X-Men: First Class (June 3rd) 

(Directed by Matthew Vaughn; Starring James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, and Jennifer Lawrence)

What’s It About?: A precursor to all past X-Men films, this movie tells the story of Charles Xavier (McAvoy) and Erik Lensherr (Fassbender) during the 1960’s. In the beginning they were two young men with great powers and became great friends as they helped the nation with their abilities. As time goes on though, the void between them grows and they eventually become the enemies that they are today.

What Do I Think?: When I first heard that this movie was coming about, I immediately thought “Oh great, another X-Men movie”. I wasn’t the biggest fan of the original trilogy and I didn’t even bother to see Wolverine’s spin off movie Origins (I think he is severely overrated). After watching the trailer and digging into this movie, however, I feel that it is actually going to turn out to be a great superhero movie. I’ve always like Magneto and Professor X a lot and it will be cool to see how they started out and how their friendship turned into a hatred. Although I will miss Ian Mckellan as Magneto, I’m getting good vibes from this movie. I just hope I don’t see too many more X-Men films.

Hype Factor: 8/10

Super 8 (June 10th) 

(Directed by J.J. Abrams; Starring Elle Fanning, Amanda Michalka, and Kyle Chandler)

What’s It About?: A group of kids, while filming a movie, witness a horrific train accident. What they don’t know, however, is what was being transported on that train. With mysterious military undertones, the citizens of one town start to notice disappearances an the deputy tries to pry some answers out of the government. The truth that they discover may be more shocking than they ever imagined. 

What Do I Think?: Like with Thor, the first thing I noticed was (a) J.J. Abrams wrote and directed it, and (b) Steven Speilberg produced it. These are two very good things. When I watch the trailer for this movie, I get a mix of Cloverfield, E.T., and The Goonies. Don’t ask me why, but that’s just what I pull from the trailer. Just by the way the movie was filmed it illicits a sense of wonder from me and makes me deeply interested in what exactly is on that train. I am very excited for this movie and the fact that J.J. Abrams is so good at keeping things secretive only makes my excitement even greater.

Hype Factor: 9/10

Green Lantern (June 17th) 

(Directed by Martin Campbell; Starring Ryan Reynolds, Blake Lively, and Peter Sarsgaard)

What’s It About?: Hal Jordan (Reynolds), an over-the-top jet pilot, is selected to join the Green Lantern Corps., a group of warriors from all different races in the universe that help keep peace and balance. He is given a ring that grants him superpowers that he must use to defeat Parallax, a new enemy that is threatening the Green Lantern Corps. in a way they have never been attacked before.

What Do I Think?: Cliche. I know that these superhero movies are already pre-written and their stories already exist, but I still can’t help but feel like I’ve seen this so many times before. I get a very strong “Tony Stark” vibe from Ryan Reynolds character, and although that works for Stark (Robert Downey Jr.), I don’t know how well it’s going to work for Reynolds. It’s going to be the same old thing: eccentric protagonist gets super power by some means and learns the values of life and what’s really important as he grows with the power. 

Hype Factor: 6/10

Transformers: Dark of the Moon (July 1st) 

(Directed by Michael bay; Starring Shia Labeouf, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Tyrese Gibson, and Josh Duhamel)

What’s It About?: The Autobots and Decepticons are back for a third time as they get involved with the space race between the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. A space craft from Cybertron was discovered on the moon and now a race between the Autobots and Decepticons has begun to reach the ship and learn its secrets.

What Do I Think?: After the catastrophe that was Revenge of the Fallen, I am not expecting much with this movie. I know that it’s going to be exactly the same as the other two: explosion after explosion within an explosion. It’s a Michael Bay movie; what else would you expect? Probably the biggest complaint I have is the replacement of Megan Fox. Now I wasn’t really a big fan of Fox herself, but I wish Bay would have kept her on board for the sake of the “plot” (I used quotations because the “plot” of the Transformers series is so convoluted and disorganized that it can hardly be called a “plot”). I mean, after two movies of Sam chasing after Mikaela and developing their love life, it seems incredibly stupid to just erase her from the picture and have Sam fall in love with some new girl (who is played by a Victoria’s Secret model with no previous acting experience). All in all, I will be seeing this movie for two reason: to see how they manage to explain Fox’s departure in the movie / laugh at the new girls most likely horrible acting and to see all the robot fighting action (I’m a guy; I’m allowed to like explosion and action).

Hype Factor: 4/10


Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (July 15th) 

(Directed by David Yates; Starring Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, and Rupert Grint)

What’s It About?: Harry (Radcliffe), Ron (Grint), and Hermione (Watson), as well as the entire Hogwarts gang, are back for the finale to the Harry Potter series. The second half of the Deathly Hallows book, this movie depicts the final fight between Good and Evil, Harry and the students of Hogwarts against Voldemort’s army. Answers are given to all of the most pressing plot points and the series finally comes to a close.

What Do I Think?: Being the Harry Potter junkie that I am, I am already pre-disposed to love this movie. Putting all bias aside, I still believe this will be an amazing movie for those who have seen the rest of them (obviously). The movies don’t stand a chance against the books of course, but as long as nothing big has been changed drastically, I feel this will be a quintessential summer movie. Unlike the first half of the book, which was more of the trios quest to find Voldemort’s Horcruxes, this movie is going to be an all out action flick, which is a nice relief from the previous installment. I have high hopes for this movie, but I have a small tinge of apprehension as well; I just feel like something will be changed from the books that I could never forgive Yates for.

Hype Factor: 9/10

Captain America: The First Avenger (July 22nd) 

(Directed by Joe Johnston; Starring Chris Evans, Hugo Weaving, and Richard Armitage)

What’s It About?: Set during WWII, Steve Rogers (Evans) is an eager man who wants to fight for his country but is denied because of his small body size. He opts to be part of a government experiment to create super soldiers. After a successful transformation, the army turns Rogers into a spokesperson for the army, making tours to different conferences and press events. He is given a patriotic uniform and paraded around to show the armies strength. The Nazi’s, on the other hand, employ an evil plan that requires Rogers to step up to the plate and fight for his country.

What Do I Think?: It’s completely ironic that the “First Avenger” is the last one to see their movie debut, but I have to say that Captain America seems to be the Avenger that I am going to like the most. I love learning about WWII and any story based off of that time period is bound to catch my attention. I am a fan of Evans’ character, who is just an honest guy trying to fight for his country. Another thing I am excited about is to see how the other Avengers get incorporated. If you notice in the trailer, right before the experiment begins the one scientists tells ‘Mr. Stark” to start it up. This is Howard Stark and is just another way in which the lives of the four Avengers are intertwined. Just think back to how many references there were in Iron Man 2. I think I’m really going to like Captain America.

Hype Factor: 9/10


Cowboys & Aliens (July 29th) 

(Directed by Jon Favreau; Starring Daniel Craig, Harrison Ford, and Olivia Wilde)

What’s It About?: A mysterious stranger named Jake Lonergan (Craig) is found in the town of Absolution with no memory of his past, he quickly becomes unwanted and must come under the orders of Colonel Woodrow Dolarhyde (Ford). A sudden alien invasion of the town requires the townsfolk to forget their fear and hatred of Lonergan and create a team of men to fight off the aliens. Lonergan holds the key to the towns survival in a shackle-like device on his wrist that can help save the town.

What Do I Think?: When I first heard of this movie, it sounded like the dumbest thing I had ever heard. “Cowboys & Aliens” just sounded so weird to me. But then I watched an interview with Favreau, the director, and realized two things: (1) this is actually a comic book, and (2) it has never been done before. I had never heard of this story before, so finding out that it was a comic book came as a shock to me. I thought it was just some random idea. Secondly, Favreau questions why we can’t have an alien invasion movie set in the Wild West. Just because we think we see aliens now doesn’t mean they didn’t see the same types of things back then either. I took this to heart and decided to give this movie a shot. Also, I just like Harrison Ford a lot. He may be old, but he’s still got what’s needed to be a badass action hero. It will be cool to see him work side by side with Daniel Craig, who I have not seen outside of James Bond

Hype Factor: 8/10


Rise of Planet of the Apes (August 5th) 

(Directed by Rupert Wyatt; Starring James Franco, Andy Serkis, and Freida Pinto)

What’s It About?: Will Rodman (Franco), who is a scientist, experiments with genetic engineering on apes in San Fransisco. What he ends up doing is creating a whole new race of super intelligent monkeys that create a fight with the humans for supremacy.

What Do I Think?: Dumbest nerd movie of the summer. I never liked Planet of the Apes and I never will. The whole concept just seems so stupid to me. Just another “lab creation gone wrong” movie. And the fact that the trailer boasts that it used the same visual effects team as Avatar just made me even more mad considering I really did not like Avatar. So its visuals are all it’s got going for it, huh? That means the story must really suck. No thanks.

Hype Factor: 1/10

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