It’s summer blockbuster time! As a moviegoer, I’m always on the lookout for smart SF&F films, where character development and action are well balanced, and CGI doesn’t stand in for plot. But these can be few and far between. Here are some that I think might make the cut…
Iron Man 3
Okay, I know this is out now, but I haven’t seen it yet. I saw The Avengers, but skipped Iron Man 2 because one movie starring a full-of-himself billionaire was enough — he worked much better for me in an ensemble cast. But from the trailers, this installment features a fallen Tony Stark who’s struggling to find his feet again. That’s a story I can get on board with. Add in the superhero setting and the wisecracks, and I’m there.
Star Trek Into Darkness
Again, mixed feelings about this one. As a longtime fan, I thought the Star Trek reboot was a fun action movie, but it lacked the sense of wonder and reverence for science (even pseudoscience) that, to me, were central to Star Trek. Plus the cockiness of Chris Pine’s Kirk annoyed the hell out of me. (Sense a theme here?) On the other hand, it’s still Star Trek, and where else am I going to get my Spock fix these days? The trailers have me cautiously hopeful for that balance of character and explosion I mentioned above.
Spaceship crash-landing on a far-future Earth that’s been abandoned to animals? Okay, you’ve got my attention. From the trailer, this could be a great father-son story disguised as an action movie…or it could be an action movie with a couple of nods to their relationship. But I tend to like Will Smith’s science fiction movies, so I’m hoping for the former.
World War Z
I’m a sucker for a good apocalypse movie. This one is an adaptation of a zombie novel I’d heard a lot about but hadn’t gotten around to reading. Add in the fact that the screenplay is by J. Michael Straczynski of Babylon 5 fame, and I’m definitely hopeful.
This is the latest film by Neill Blomkamp of District 9, so I’m already interested. The premise of haves vs. have-nots is pretty well-worn in written science fiction, but I’ve not seen it lately on the big screen, and I expect Blomkamp to have some interesting things to say about it.
And finally, a couple of movies that aren’t SF/F, but are on my list:
Much Ado About Nothing
Not SF/F, but directed by Joss Whedon, so that counts for something, right? If you’re a Whedon fan, you’ve probably already heard about that movie he shot at his house in 12 days between other projects. Well, this is it! The trailer makes it look cool and modern without trying too hard, so I’m excited to see what Whedon does with it.
Stories We Tell
This isn’t fiction at all — it’s a documentary by Canadian actor Sarah Polley, about her late-in-life discovery that the man she knew as her father wasn’t her biological father. Her mother died of cancer when she was a child, so she can’t go to the source. Instead, she interviews everyone she can, trying to find the truth after years and layers of lies. Polley’s first film, Away From Her, was beautifully done (a story about a woman with Alzheimer’s and the husband who loves her), so I’m looking forward to this one as well.
Over to you. What do you look for in a blockbuster? What movies are you looking forward to this summer?