Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Summer of sequels: Is there anything good left on the menu?

I'm sure it's happened before, but it's been particularly galling that for the past two weeks we've had nothing but sequels in wide release.

And of course, that's not going to change any time soon, so rather than complain about something I can't do anything about (though anyone who knows me knows I do plenty of that, too), let's just take a look at what's on the sequel menu this summer to see if there will be anything worth ordering.

"Kung Fu Panda 2"
What's not to love about a panda that does kung fu? Of the two sequels opening this weekend, I'm definitely in for this one.

"The Hangover Part II"
When someone pointed out to director Todd Phillips that the story of this one looked exactly like the one for the first "Hangover," he basically said, "so what, it's just a comedy." He's right, I guess, and I certainly laughed at No. 1, so I'm up for one more round with the guys, this time out in Bangkok. Opening Friday.

"X-Men: First Class"
Matthew Vaughn will probably never make a movie as cool as "Kick-Ass," but from what I've seen so far, this prequel (not a sequel, I know, but bear with me) about the origins of the "X-Men" should be great. My only complaint: Between the trailers and every other kind of clip, it certainly seems like I've seen most of the movie already, so here's hoping there's something left to surprise us. Opening June 3.

"Cars 2"
The cars as international super spies? Sounds too silly even for me, who sees far too many animated movies, so I think I'll just say no to this one (which would make it the first Pixar movie I've skipped.) Opening June 24.

"Transformers: The Dark of the Moon"
No one spreads mass destruction better than Michael Bay, if that's your thing, and the third installment in his giant robot saga should be the loudest one yet. I'm not sure I can take any more myself. Opening June 29.

"Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2"
Not just a sequel, but the second half of a sequel? It's getting hard to keep all this straight, but the end to J.K. Rowling's wizarding tale should be the best movie in wide release for the rest of this summer, so I'm definitely in. Opening July 15.

"Final Destination 5"
This one just raises too many questions. If I skipped the first four of these (which I did), won't I just be confused if I start now? How can there already have been four, if No. 1 was supposed to be the "Final Destination"? And wasn't that actually supposed to arrive last Saturday? Now my head just hurts. Opening Aug. 12.

"Spy Kids 4: All the Time in the World"
This one looks like its squarely aimed at kids, and what in the world is wrong with that? Robert Rodriguez usually has a lot of fun when he makes movies for younguns, and I loved the first of these movies, but I think I'll just have to skip this course unless it gets some incredibly good buzz. Opening Aug. 19.

And to close, if I can, a plug for a non-sequel that I finally managed to catch up with last weekend, and may well be out of theaters by now, "Soul Surfer." Yes, it's a Christian movie, but a fairly subtle one at that, and who can't be inspired by the story of Bethany Hamilton, the professional surfer who lost an entire arm in a shark attack? The surfing action is beautifully shot, the acting (especially from young AnnaSophia Robb as Bethany) is solid, and it's just a genuine feel-good story well told. So, catch it if you still can (it was still playing at the Galleria in Centerville last weekend), and keep an eye out for it on DVD if not. Peace out.


Anna said...

I'm down with Kung Fu Panda and X-Men. KFP is definitely my favourite children's film of the past few years, thought it was great fun. Also the previews for X-men have been exciting, and they really can't do worse than Wolverine ..

Reel Fanatic said...

Amen to that ... Or "X-3," for that matter, which, although it's a tight contest in the crapfest, is probably even worse than "Wolverine"