Wed
Mar 28 2012 11:00am

Let’s Talk Science Fiction Summer Movies

This is a giant summer for genre movies! (Is it all the 2012 in the air?) And with the release of John Carter and The Hunger Games this month, “summer” blockbusters seem to have started early. In the coming months we’ll see the return of beloved superheroes, a few remakes, strange prequels, and the debut of possible new cultural phenomena. So how do we think it’s all going to shake out? The Tor.com crew weighs in on the quality of the flicks coming our way this season.

 

Mirror, Mirror (3/30)

Ryan: I’m confused as to why this isn’t a big-screen remake of the 60s Star Trek episode of the same name. Imagine Julia Roberts with that evil-Spock goatee.

Chris: No.

Emily: Also no.

Bridget: Absolutely not.

 

Wrath of the Titans (3/30)

Ryan: Why isn’t this movie called Kraken 2: Re-Released?

Emily: I always feel like I get everything that you can possibly get out of these movies from the trailers. And Liam Neeson wasn’t in this trailer. Boo.

Bridget: Not interested in the Titans, unless they bring back Maggie Smith.

Chris: Is she playing the lava monster? I love that guy!

 

Cabin in the Woods (4/13)

Ryan: Simply not my kind of movie. Don’t like cabins. Don’t really like the woods.

Emily: I’m a Whedon fan, but the marketing on this one has been super spotty. All I know is that Whedon has taken on horror. I suppose I’ll go see it if other people give it the thumbs up?

Bridget: I like woods, Whedon, and cabins, and the idea that the movie is supposed to be a critique of everything that’s wrong with the last ten years of horror as a genre (read: torture porn) — I really hope it lives up to expectations.

Chris: Oh god, this looks like it was made in the 90s and glued together with random unaired bits of Dollhouse. I think I’ll just rewatch Wet Hot American Summer instead.

 

Lockout (4/13)

Ryan: This looks like a remake of Fortress mashed up with some kind of weird cop show in space. No thanks. But if Christopher Lambert were in it, I’d see it.

Emily: I’ve been waiting for Luc Besson to tackle SF again since The Fifth Element. But I’m not quite sure this was the movie I was waiting for.

Chris: The above trailer is hilarious but the American release trailer is pretty by the numbers. I’m a stingy moviegoer anyway so I would pass this up.

 

The Raven (4/27)

Ryan: You never know. Some people have nightmares about Poe stories. Others have nightmares about John Cusack. Might be the perfect combination.

Emily: There’s totally a part in this movie where some urchin news boy chases Poe over the matter of “two dollars!” right?

Bridget: Yes. Either that, or the raven shows up outside of Cusack’s chamber door with a boombox.

Chris: I hope this turns out to be a prequel to Grosse Point Blank.

 

The Avengers (5/4)

Ryan: I hate myself for saying this, but it’s going to be really entertaining. I feel manipulated already, but I like it.

Irene: I never read the comics and yet I’m super excited to see this. I blame Tony/Robert Stark/Downey Jr.

Emily: Midnight showing again. Need a dose of Stark Snark™. It actually looks like they attempted to give Black Widow a character, too, which almost (though not quite) makes up for showcasing her caboose in nearly every poster.

Bridget: Personally, I save all my superhero love for the Batman, but I’m sure it’ll be a good time.

Chris: I’m building a time machine just so I can see this immediately.

 

Dark Shadows (5/11)

Ryan: This will be good. Though, I bet it would have been better 15 years ago when Tim Burton was... different.

Irene: Has Tim Burton learned to tell a story?...No? Not yet?

Emily: Love Tim Burton, always have, never been ashamed of it. (Okay, yes, Planet of the Apes. Ashamed that time.) And frankly, I love how he tackles comedy. So I’m thinking this will completely entertaining, if nothing else.

Bridget: The trailer was trying way too hard, but I think this could be fun. I still can’t cope with Charlie and the Chocolate Factory or Alice in Wonderland, but since I’ve never seen the original Dark Shadows, there aren’t any cherished memories to destroy this time around. Hooray?!

 

Battleship (5/18)

Ryan: Remember in grade school when people worried about “backwash” in bottles of soda — when saliva was mixed in with your cherry coke or whatever? This is the movie version of backwash. Gross.

Emily: Why are John Carter and Rihanna in a movie? Why this movie?

Bridget: At what point do we seriously have to ask ourselves, as rational adults, “Is Liam Neeson under some sort of curse where he’s forced to say yes to every terrible project that comes his way?” Because I’m running out of explanations for his IMDB page beyond that don’t actively involve sorcery.

Chris: I hope the hero yells “Yahtzee!” after destroying the alien mothership.

 

Men in Black 3 (5/25)

Ryan: I like retro 60s space helmets. I like the way Josh Brolin looks. I don’t like those General Grievous space bikes.

Emily: After that awful sequel, I’m cautiously optimistic? Josh Brolin’s Tommy Lee Jones impression is spot on, but that doesn’t mean we’ve got the fun of the first film back.

Chris: I feel the same. Tommy Lee Jones is by far the best parts of these movies and I even thought he was perfect in the second. (It’s like he’s playing an audience member. He’s just grumpy and tired of the bullshit.) And while Josh Brolin looks entertaining, I think audiences have grown past the “LOL cab driver aliens” concept, so this might just seem tired.

 

Snow White and the Huntsmen (6/1)

Ryan: There’s nothing wrong with this movie other than the fact that I want to care more than I do. I think it’s the Kristen Stewart thing. But it will be good-ish.

Irene: The lastest preview has me excited to see this one. That, and knowing that Sam Weber and Justin Sweet did some of the concept art for it.

Emily: YES SNOW WHITE IN REAL ARMOR. I’m sorry... what were we talking about?

Bridget: Visually, it looks pretty amazing, and I quite like Charlize Theron. I think I can get past the Kristen Stewart thing, since she doesn’t look like she’ll be required to emote all that much. I may also be giving it mental bonus points for containing little to no Julia Roberts (I’m allergic).

 

Prometheus (6/8)

Ryan: The trailers have convinced me: this will be OFF THE HOOK. Also, the more I’m told there won’t be Aliens in it, the more I suspect there will definitely be Aliens. Bring it on.

Irene: The movie I’ve been waiting for for thirty years. And for some reason I feel completely confident it’ll deliver.

Emily: I’ll be shocked if this isn’t amazing. And not just because we all know what a crazy perfectionist Ridley Scott can be.

Bridget: YAY.

Chris: As movies go, this isn’t all that different from movies like Lock Out and Battleship, but for some reason this feels far more authentic and interesting than all of the others combined.

 

Brave (6/22)

Ryan: Adorable. Pixar. Red hair. Love.

Irene: Pixar back to orginal story telling! In Scotland!! With a female lead!!!

Emily: If this were any other studio, I’d be nervous about it falling into the “girl who likes to do things that boys like and is strong-willed and independent, it’s so edgy!” stereotype. But it’s Pixar. And it’s going to be wonderful.

Chris: I’m definitely wait-and-see on this. The trailers have been really thin on story, which Pixar usually makes up by being humorous. Except the trailers have been really thin on that, too. The concept of a female lead in a Pixar movie is definitely not enough to be interesting. But. It’s a Pixar film and no one can even touch this studio’s track record, so I’m obviously going to see it.

 

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter (6/22)

Ryan: This movie will be fun, but will suck slightly more than it should. No one will know why, but it will have to do with the premise not actually being enough to carry the film.

Emily: Provided that the sense of humor balances the vampire slaughtering, this movie might be awesome. I live in hope.

Bridget: I’m in. I can’t help it—I just want to see Abe Lincoln killing things with an axe. The heart wants what it wants. Plus Alan Tudyk and Jimmi Simpson.

Chris: You guys it’s gonna be like Rocky except with Abe Lincoln, vampires, and axes. My heart is bursting just typing that.

 

Seeking a Friend For the End of the World (6/22)

Ryan: This movie will be just like Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, only a rom-com with totally different elements. It has a good premise, but will fall short of being a movie you’ll ever want to watch again.

Emily: Too busy watching Abe Lincoln kill vampires.

Bridget: I was charmed by the trailer in spite of myself. I try to blame the Talking Heads, but the quirky charm might suck people in like some kind of inescapable, twee Sarlacc pit.

 

G.I. Joe 2 (6/29)

Ryan: This is worse than Battleship. These movie shouldn’t be made for anyone, and yet it has a huge demographic. This movie scares me.

Emily: Why?

Chris: I heard they didn’t actually bother making this film and audiences will just be treated to 90 minutes of blank screen. Then afterwards everyone will make up their favorite scenes and fights because no one will be able to bring themselves to admit that they paid money to see G.I. Joe 2.

 

The Amazing Spider-Man (7/3)

Ryan: I am jealous of Andrew Garfield’s hair.

Emily: Too soon, but we’re getting it anyway. Even if it’s good, it looks like people are actively trying not to care about it. Too bad Fox has the rights; I wanted them to reintroduce Spider-Man by putting him in the Avengers film and then giving him his own movie. It would have been awesome.

Bridget: I will be too busy obsessing over The Dark Knight Rises. I like to get a head start.

Chris: I’m gonna go ahead and call myself the biggest Spider-Man fan in this office. That said, I’m not interested in seeing this. (Unless they can prove that it’s basically the Ultimate Comics in film form?)

Fun fact! They filmed a bit of this movie right outside the Tor.com office, so you might be able to see the weird things we have hanging up in there.

 

The Dark Knight Rises (7/20)

Ryan: This will do well at the box office, obviously. But, it will be the turning point in which the critics realize Christopher Nolan movies are overly-serious and extremely trite. Also, mumble-gate will destroy it.

Irene: I have no opinion, there was no Batman after Adam West. (But I do love the phrase mumble-gate. Nice one, Ryan.)

Emily: Seeing as this is Chris Nolan’s unique vision of the Batman universe, I can’t wait to see how he’ll end it. Even if it is a huge downer.

Bridget: I have all kinds of issues with Nolan as a director, and the Bat-growl is patently ridiculous; plus, I have yet to see a single female character in these movies who didn’t make me want to throw flaming refuse at the screen. Do I expect to have some complaints? I’m counting on it. Am I still crazy-go-nuts-excited to see this as soon as humanly possible? Absolutely. Can’t wait.

Chris: You are all insane. This will be great. Stop being insane.

 

Neighborhood Watch (7/27)

Ryan: I don’t like the title.

Emily: I don’t like the poster.

Bridget: I like Richard Ayoade! (But yeah. Eh. And they should change the title).

Chris: I don’t remember where my sandwich went.

 

Total Recall (8/3)

 

 

Ryan: I’d oddly be more interested if it were Ewan McGregor or Ryan Gosling in the lead. Or if the whole thing was a rom-com with Owen Wilson.

Emily: It seems weird trying to displace the original version. I feel like this one will be too slick, and the only people who will really enjoy it will be the kind of people who liked XXX: State of the Union.

Bridget: I will probably not be getting my ass to Mars. As it were.

 

Warm Bodies (8/10)

Ryan: Ewww.

Emily: I can’t tell how seriously we’re supposed to take this movie. I know they’re saying it’s a drama, but I don’t want to hear those words when “zombie romance” is also used in the description.

Bridget: AKA The Twilight of the Malkovich. Pretty impressive for what started out as a self-published novel, I guess, but not my thing—I’ll probably be taking a break from zombies until World War Z finally comes out in 2013.

 

ParaNorman (8/17)

Ryan: I want to like this more. It looks cute, but I can’t shake two feelings. 1. It looks like a Coraline knock-off. 2. I wouldn’t like this when I was a kid.

Emily: Just a little too kitschy for me. And the look of the animation bugs me.

Irene: Hmm, I was looking forward to this before I saw the trailer. A bit less so now. But I want to belive there is a place for stop motion animation in the world so I’ll continue to have hope for it until I hear more.

 

The Expendables 2 (8/17)

Ryan: I’m still waiting for the old British actor version of this concept. Michael Caine, Patrick Stewart, Sean Connery, Ian McKellan, Christopher Plummer, Roger Moore, you get the idea. Until then, I’m out.

Emily: Ryan, you forgot Gary Oldman and David Bowie.

Bridget: And Peter O’Toole! I’ll drink to that.

 

The Apparition (8/24)

Ryan: Like the title suggests, no one will know this movie was even here.

Emily: Wait, Tom “Draco Malfoy” Felton is in this? What happened to the good old days when he was Jodie Foster’s kid in that non-musical The King and I remake?

Bridget: Inspired by “allegedly true events,” you guys. Whatever, I just hope Draco gets to rap in it.

 

The Possession (8/31)

Ryan: How is this not a SyFy Channel original?

Emily: Yay for Jeffrey Dean Morgan?

Bridget: “Why Yard Sales Are Evil: The Movie.” Maybe we could reframe it as a tale about the dangers of hoarding and sell it Lifetime, instead.

 

7500 (8/31)

Ryan: It’s been called “Ghosts on a Plane” but Samuel L. Jackson isn’t in it, so why bother?

Emily: In agreement with Ryan. If I can’t call a special number and get Samuel L. Jackson to leave my friends voicemail messages, ordering them to see the movie with me, I don’t want any part in your trans-atlantic (or pacific) flight.

Bridget: I don’t know who perpetrated that cover of “Leaving On A Jet Plane” in the trailer, but I hope they are being tormented by the indignant ghost of John Denver right about now. Other than that, no opinion.

Chris: So basically there are no summer movies worth a damn after Batman 3? Aw.


Stubby the Rocket is the mascot of Tor.com and if you made it all the way down here then congratulations! You’re the winner!

26 comments
David Thomson
1. ZetaStriker
Chris: I’m definitely wait-and-see on this. The trailers have been really thin on story, which Pixar usually makes up by being humorous.
I think this is more a case of not spoiling the movie's plot, as there have been hints of a mystical threat/wish scenario of some sort. I think we've only seen clips from the first twenty minutes of the film, for the most part.
wiredog
2. wiredog
I guess "Iron Sky" is coming out too early for this roundup...
Brian R
3. Mayhem
I have to confess that until I got halfway down the page I misread the numbers beside each title as a rating, not a release date.
Curse of American date formats.
Still, Battleship probably will end up around a 5/18 ...
Chris Lough
4. TorChris
@1. ZetaStriker. That would be a happy surprise. Pixar doing fantasy is something I'd love to see.

@2. wiredog. "Iron Sky" didn't really have a general release date when we put this together, even though it's screening this Friday, which is why we didn't include it. We could certainly add our opinion about it in the comments...
Matthew Soddy
5. Jexral
I am pretty excited about The Amazing Spiderman. When I was little I was a pretty big fan of Spiderman, but I detested the Sam Raimi films; hopefully this one will get it right.

And I think you guys are mistaken about Cabin in the Woods. Both the trailers and the pedigree of the film are excellent. Of course, that's no guarantee of excellence for the thing in itself, but it certainly warrents some degree of attention.
Joshua Starr
6. JStarr
I like this post.

I also like the Snow White has somehow combines the aesthetics of Twilight and Game of Thrones (this isn't just the Kristen Stewart effect, right? Or maybe it is), but I think y'all are being way optimistic on actual quality.

I have gotten myself excited for Cabin of the Woods (I like humorous, self-aware horror, and I'm all like WHAT at the sci-fi elements), but I'll probably be just slightly disappointed, like I am with most Whedon projects other than the high points of Buffy. (I mean--he's better than most, but never quite as good as I want him to be.) Though I also liked Cloverfield (from Drew Goddard, Cabin's writer) better than most.

Prometheus will be great, everyone knows it. Even though they spoiled pretty much everything in the trailer?

Brave, yep, Avengers, sure!, Dark Knight Rises, okay FINE, Spider-Man, yawn.

Most concise analysis of late-period Tim Burton I've seen:
https://twitter.com/#!/danforthfrance/statuses/180775692458409985
wiredog
7. RyanMcn
Not to be a huge pedant here, but having Christopher Plummer in an British version of the Expendables?

Well, he is kind of, you know, Canadian and all... ;)
Rich Bennett
8. Neuralnet
Great post, thanks! Very nice summary of the summer movies. I agreee with most of the comments. I cant wait for Prometheus... but the latest trailers are giving too much about the movie away I think. Dark Shadows just looks bizzaro... that could be good if it is funny. Definitely a wait and see on that one. Of the superhero/comic movies, I am not at all excited for the spiderman reboot. But I will probably go to The avengers and Dark knight.

Wow... how do some of these movies get the green light.. so many more bad movies than good being released this summer (battleship, GI Joe..reallly!?!)

The neighborhood watch movie may go from funny to bad taste depending on how the Trayvon Martin case goes and what exact jokes they put int that movie (I already cringed a little bit at the trailer).
Jeremy Goff
10. JeremyM
I have to say that I was pretty excited for Cabin In The Woods and that was before I found out that it was a Whedon project. Now I'd revise that to extremely excited.
Samuel Montgomery-Blinn
11. montsamu
I am disappointed after seeing the GI Joe 2 trailer, and going over to IMDB, to learn that Bruce Willis's character isn't, actually, named John McClane.
wiredog
13. Dax
So, Wrath of the Titans is pretty much just God of War, but without Kratos and player-interaction?
M Linden
14. mlinden
I'm bummed by the trailer in the woods trailer. The Sci-fi elements were supposed to be the big twist, and people who saw the movie in preview screenings were respectfully vague about what was going on. The trailer kinda showed a lot more than I expected it to.
Chuk Goodin
15. Chuk
@11, is he playing Duke?
I saw the trailer to G. I. Joe 2 before The Hunger Games and hadn't heard of it before. I still don't think I want to see it but it looks way better than the first movie did. (I only saw the trailer.)
I didn't know anything about Cabin in the Woods except that it was a horror (which I don't watch anymore), but the trailer makes it look way more interesting (also, Whedon.)
Irene Gallo
17. Irene
(Christopher a. I hate to take down your comment but since we un-published #12 it's a bit out of context now. But thanks for having our back!)
wiredog
18. CCPLrose
I am waiting for The Avengers. I'm with Chris. I want a time machine so I can see it NOW!
Carol Witt
19. carolwitt
Irene @ 17: I still see comment #12.

RyanMcn @ 7: When I saw Christopher Plummer's name in there, I started wondering which other Canadians should be added. My immediate thought was Gordon Pinsent.
Bridget McGovern
20. BMcGovern
@19 Thanks for the heads up--should be taken care of now! (Also...do we include Shatner if we're branching out into Canadian territory? :)
Bridget Smith
21. BridgetSmith
Oh, Liam Neeson. I don't fully understand how your mind works. Do you have, like, gambling debts or something? That has to be it, right? Or is Bridget right and it is a curse?

It's pretty telling about how good superhero movies are these days that I'm excited for almost all of these despite never having read comic books as a kid.

I sincerely hope that Snow White & the Huntsman is as great as the trailers look. I was so hoping that Mirror, Mirror would be great - The Fall, The Fall! - but it looks, well, pretty terrible.

I'm kind of hoping a friend will drag me to Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, and then it'll turn out to be intentionally hilarious but also badass-fun. This seems like an unlikely string of events, but still.
Chris Lough
22. TorChris
Okay, full disclosure, ya'll. We pretty much meant Christopher-Plummer-as-General-Chang in that list. Do we not hear the chimes at midnight?
wiredog
23. John R. Ellis
"Pixar doing fantasy is something I'd love to see."

Fantasy...like living, sentient toys?
Chris Lough
24. TorChris
Fantasy like epic fantasy. Heroes, quests, magic, and the associated tropes.
wiredog
25. wickedkinetic
Just wanted to share how funny this article looked at first glance when I didn't know the #'s after the titles were dates, and thought instead it was some contrived/randon/bizarre scoring system....

When Wrath and Mirror get only 3 out of 30 sTORs but Avengers gets an improbable 5 out of 4......

maybe I've just been awake tooo loong.
Karan J
26. karanj
Eric Robinson
27. perrin77
I will never understand the Titan Trilogy
1) Remember the Titans
2) Clash of the Titans
3) Wrath of the Titans

Just my 2 cents ;)
wiredog
28. euphbass
You know, it took me well over half way through this post to realise what your apparently bizzare and random scoring in brackets for each film actually was... 4 out of 27? 5 out of 4? 6 out of 1?

Must be because I'm British.

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