Summer hits look more promising than last year’s

Allan Lamb

I spent last summer out in the middle of nowhere, quite a drive from any movie theater. Normally a movie freak like me would find this situation most frustrating. However, the summer of 2007 offered nothing worth looking forward to so I have no regrets about my time away from the silver screen.

Last summer was probably the worst summer for movies in years, as all the big releases consisted of movies that doomed to suck from the get go and movies that promised a lot, but delivered little.

Originals such as Knocked Up and I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry failed to live up to the comedies of years past such as 40-Year-Old Virgin or Anchorman. And of course summer wouldn’t be the same without more overrated computer animated features such as Ratatouille and Surf’s Up — a last attempt to capitalize on the penguin-mania that began with March of the Penguins and should have ended with Happy Feet.

2007 will also be remembered in the minds of many as the year of disappointing “threequels.” The Bourne Ultimatum, Rush Hour 3, Ocean’s Thirteen, Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End, Shrek the Third and Spider-Man 3 are by far the weakest efforts of their respective franchises.

Transformers might have been something to at least harbor an ounce of hope had it not been directed by Michael Bay, who in the microcosm of the film industry, is the equivalent of the Anti-Christ.

While nothing that was released last summer even initially appealed to me, this summer is a different story.

I plan on attending Iron-Man tonight and am very excited, to say the least. I can’t imagine another actor whose more fit than Robert Downey Jr. to play Tony Stark. Likewise, I am hopeful about the potential rebound of the Hulk franchise. Can Ed Norton save us from Eric Bana? I think so.

Prince Caspian, the follow up to the film adaptation of C.S. Lewis’s The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, looks like it might surpass its predecessor’s quality and appears more action packed than the first. The talents of Eddie Izzard and fantasy veteran Warwick David (Willow) should also help make this one worth watching, even for the big kids.

Of course, the film I’m looking forward to the most is The Dark Knight. My anticipation began at the end of Batman Begins and was multiplied exponentially last year when the stills of Heath Ledger in his Joker make-up. Since Ledger’s passing, I feel a sense of reverence going to see this film.

Admittedly, most of the films he’s been in so far, with the exception of Brokeback Mountain, have only been mediocre at best. However, he was still a great actor and there is something mysterious about the fact that such a dark role is his last.

This summer I will be returning to the same middle of the same nowhere for the summer. Unlike last year, however, there is actually something worth making a special trip to the movies for. I have a good feeling about this summer’s movies; a good feeling that I haven’t felt in a long time.

Contact all editor Allan Lamb at [email protected].