2012 Summer Blockbusters
By Andrea Fort
It’s that time of year again, as the calendar fills with long weekends, and Hollywood offers to fill our free time with their big summer releases. We are bombarded by trailers as we wait for the first big titles to release and it can be overwhelming to know which movies to spend your hard earned dollars on. Well, I will do the hard work for you. I generously volunteer to sacrifice myself each month and pick apart the big trailers to give you a better idea of what to expect this May.
The first big release this summer is Joss Whedon’s The Avengers. It hits theatres May 4th and has been the center of conversation for pop culture aficionados since its announcement. The newest trailer begins as so many do: scenes of destruction, people fleeing from some unseen evil, and Nick Fury’s voice heard speaking about war and its threat. These are common tropes of summer action movies; dramatic images and dialogue are nothing new to moviegoers. But as it goes on, we see glimpses of Captain America, Bruce Banner and his alter ego, Thor, and Iron Man. And then the Captain, the Thunder God, and the billionaire genius can be seen fighting one another as Tony Stark reminds us that he “does not play well with others.” Now, this is the movie the fans want to see, Marvel’s biggest characters taken on by an equally impressive cast and overseen by a director who is a fan favourite. The Avengers promises to deliver action, comedy, and drama in equal parts, and is already wowing movie goers in Europe. This is one summer movie we can’t wait to see.
The next big title, Tim Burton’s Dark Shadows, releases on May 11th. It is a remake of the gothic soap opera of the same name that aired on ABC from 1966 to 1971. But in typical Tim Burton fashion, the trailer proves that the director has taken something campy and twisted it to suit his own distinct aesthetic, reminiscent of 1994’s Ed Wood. Like in Ed Wood, Johnny Depp plays the lead and if the trailer is any indication, he punctuates the entire movie with his own dry wit. As with most of Tim Burton’s films, Helena Bonham Carter can be seen as well. Along with the usual cast, viewers can expect more of Burton’s usual: dark sunken eyes, gothic architecture, a large-eyed blonde who stirs trouble, and a quirky sense of humour. Fans of Tim Burton’s previous work (like yours truly) will no doubt love this one too, but if his film catalogue seems repetitive to you, then skip this one.
Battleship will release on May 18th. Yes, it is based on the classic board game and billed as a movie from “Hasboro, the people that brought you Transformers.” Strangely, Battleship looks like the illegitimate love child of Transformers and Independence Day, but I cannot remember B4 on my Battleship board having any aliens. The movie stars Taylor Kitsch, Liam Neeson, and Rihanna as the crew of a—wait for it—battleship that stumbles upon a mysterious craft in the ocean. The trailer has intense, bass-heavy music broken up by overly dramatic dialogue. The effects are reminiscent of the Transformers franchise. Large, otherworldly mechanical beasts wreak havoc in downtown New York while the US Marine Corps look on with melodramatically serious expressions. The whole thing feels heavy-handed and a little silly. It’s likely to be a lot of fun if you’re into the big action movie kind of thing, but if you want a movie with a bit more substance, steer clear.
The last trailer I looked at is Men In Black III. I want to start by saying that I’m not sure Men In Black needed a sequel, much less a third instalment. Men In Black II was fun but lacked the novelty of its precursor. The original movie had a fresh concept and a lot of room for original humour, not to mention the innovative pairing of Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones (a definite highlight). Now that we’re facing the release of number three on May 25th, the joke is starting to feel old. The trailer has the usual large, slimy aliens giving Smith’s character J a hard time, and more futuristic shiny silver technology, but it isn’t until J jumps off the Chrysler Building to go back in time (yes, you read that correctly) that the movie begins to look interesting. J finds a young K (Tommy Lee Jones’ character) in the past, and he’s played by Josh Brolin, whose imitation of Tommy Lee Jones is uncanny. Fans of the franchise so far will probably enjoy this next sequel, but for the rest of us, I’m recommending this movie purely on the basis of another actor trying to take on Tommy Lee Jones’ manerisms.
Honourable mention goes to the trailer for The Dictator, which didn’t make the cut because it’s a Sacha Baron Cohen movie and there’s nothing more to say about that. Between The Avengers, Dark Shadows, Battleship, and Men In Black III, it looks like Hollywood is starting the summer season with a bang. Out of these titles, my support is firmly behind The Avengers, although being a huge Tim Burton fan girl, Dark Shadows is a close second. Whatever you choose to watch in theatres this month, keep your eyes open for the next trailer (especially since The Dark Knight Rises trailers are out there now) and happy viewing until June!