Summer Movies 2013: It was the Best of Times; It was the Worst of Times
The summer movie season is one of confused apocalyptic overtones. After Earth, World War Z, Oblivion, The Purge, Elysium, Worlds End, hell even the posters for Iron Man 3 have Tony Stark and his suits falling from the sky in pieces as well as the Enterprise in Star Trek Into Darkness. At this point, the movie I’m actually looking forward to “escape” real life would be Monsters University.
While I have already shredded Iron Man 3 for the most part, I’m not hopeful for Star Trek. The preview is amazing, but with the Geico commercials, and small spoilers leaking out, in not too hopeful for it. Darkness is a necessary element for summer movies. A hero is nothing without a good villain. Batman was not as awesome on screen until Heath ledger showed up, and Dark Knight was a very very dark movie. Only with the Joker’s terrorism and dark presence felt through the movie did we get a heroic Batman detective movie that wound up being unbelievably good. So, while Star Trek goes into darkness, I only hope it serves to illuminate the hopeful aspects that make Star Trek so we all know the classic difference between Star Trek and Star Wars.
I generally avoid comedies on the big screen. Why go see a comedy when it won’t bowl you over? There’s no explosions, otherworldly landscapes, or high octane chases. Hangover 3 will provide the vast expanse of Vegas and wide shots of the strip, which could be fun to watch on a big screen, but the concept of needing a big screen to laugh doesn’t hold much equity with me. However, with movies being my medium of choice to escape reality and enjoy myself for 2 hours, comedies might be the movies I look forward to more in 2013, rather than the usual explosive summer movie blockbusters.
I’m looking forward to four comedies that are coming out in Summer 2013 to challenge the notion of “Comedies are a big screen waste” for me. First, Much Ado About Nothing. The film shot in Joss Whedon’s back yard with a brilliant cast and shoe string budget. My current favorite incarnation is the Kenneth Branagh version, but I’d like to see that twenty years of filmmaking evolution bring to the screen. Joss Whedon made The Avengers with brilliant shot design in mind to take full advantage of the 3D technology and CG effects. Will he be able to prove himself a director by giving audiences a good interpretation, directing the actors, and giving us something new to look at? Despite the casual back-story of shooting a Shakespeare play in his backyard, this is a monumental task. It’s the same as a sophomore conductor hitting the podium with a Beethoven symphony. Everyone knows the material, now you need to shine.
Next, Pixar needs to win me over with Monsters University. I haven’t really enjoyed a Pixar movie, much less actively saw one in the theater since Up. After watching Ratatouille doped on pain needs, I figured out what I miss about Pixar, and what makes them so artful, so memorable, and so damn good. The subtleties are missing. There are some aspects of Ratatouille that make it good all ages movie, instead that kids movie about cooking. The previews and marketing have been awesome for Monsters University, and I really want it to be a winner with great comedy, subtle movements that sell me on the realistic nature of the characters, and a weird and wonderful world to explore.
Next is a summer movie that has intrigued me. There is always one summer comedy that is packed with a great cast, but the trailer has that “feel good” saccharine slathered all over it that turns you off, and you wind up watching it on HBO. The Way Way Back has me intrigued to see it. It has its hooks in me with a cast that includes Steve Carrel and Sam Rockwell. The script looks smartly put together, and frankly, it looks like it will deliver both pain and fun.
Last, Worlds End. I am a huge fanboy of the projects that Edgar Wright, Simon Pegg and Nick Frost have done. This will be the last installment do the comedy trilogy (Shaun of the Dead & Hot Fuzz), and so far they are smartly leaving out the funnier parts so we can enjoy the movie, instead of running a mental joke checklist as time passes. The cast is packed with a who’s who of BBC brilliance, so at this point, all I have to do is show up and enjoy myself.
Sure, I look forward to the summer movies the way we look forward to Autumn for football. God knows Florida heat and high AC bills aren’t what I look forward to. I’ll brave a car interior that’s roasting at 200 degrees to see a huge action packed thrill ride. However, this year’ crop of summer movies doesn’t hold any intrigue for me unless it’s a comedy. Man of Steel seems iffy, Iron Man 3 was a bad movie, Wolverine has no healing factor, and Star Trek has too many 3rd party endorsements to trust. If I want escapism and hope, I’m going to have to find a comedy this year. Luckily, there are plenty to choose from.