Alex's Summer of Not-So-Greats: Following Up
by Alex Billington
September 3, 2007
Back on April 16th, before this record breaking summer kicked off, I wrote an article titled Alex's Summer of Greats: My Most Highly Anticipated Films with the objective of going back after the summer was over and following up with my real opinions. I listed 10 of my most highly anticipated films that would be hitting over the summer and a brief reason as to why I thought it looked so good. This will be an interesting study looking back at how my thoughts have changed after actually seeing each of the film's that topped my hype list.
Without further ado, let's dive right in all over again.
1 - Spider-Man 3
The more time goes by, the less I think about Spider-Man 3. When I first got out of it, I was let down, I knew it. It's no Spider-Man 2, as much as every last person in the world wanted it to be. As with Lord of the Rings, the final film was something amazing. With Spider-Man 3, that just wasn't the case and I'm not sure who to blame. It was good and it was an exciting experience, it just wasn't anything to really remember this summer. A bit sad considering how hyped up and how much excitement went into it. It was supposed to be the ultimate trilogy conclusion.
2 - Pirates of the Caribbean: At Worlds End
Contrary to the belief of almost everyone else, I actually really enjoyed this. Its darker and more serious side really drew me in and took me on one hell of a long 3 hour journey around the world. The production values and special effects alone were fantastic, some really emotional scenes still sit in my mind today, and the story, although insanely jumbled, was still a lengthy and enjoyable one. I may be alone here but I don't mind long movies with a lot to them, because being taken to that world of pirates and Davey Jones is always fun. I wouldn't say the best film by far this summer, but at least one I still really enjoyed. I may go as far as even calling it the best of the Pirates franchise, maybe…
3 - Ocean's 13
One of the few films on this list that turned out as good as I was hoping it to be. Ocean's 13 is still one of my favorites of the summer. I saw it multiple times and I liked it even better each time. It was about 100x better than Ocean's 12 and brought the whole film back to the feeling of Ocean's 11, which remains one of my favorite films of all time. I really love Steven Soderbergh and this reaffirms my belief that he is one of the greatest directors around.
4 - Transformers
Off of this list, Transformers easily takes the top prize as my own favorite film of the summer. I'm glad it was at #4 and not lower, but I had been getting a little skeptical around April. It wasn't until I actually saw it did I realize that Michael Bay truly was the right guy to direct this. I'll admit that I love great action movies that may have a hack of a plot, but this seriously kicked ass from start to finish. I can hardly say anything bad about Transformers besides a few little gripes, but beyond those it really was a solid film.
5 - Ratatouille
Although this is a great movie, over time I've thought less and less of it. I would dare even say I enjoyed Cars more. In terms of the story and technical achievements, this film is near perfect. I almost even cried at the end when Anton Ego (Peter O'Toole) gave his speech about critics. I just didn't find the enjoyment in it that I thought I would. It just didn't have that spine-tingling Pixar feel that I have with so many of their other movies. Maybe Wall-E will be better next summer, but either way, Ratatouille is still something to behold.
6 - Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
Right off the bat, this was no Goblet of Fire. That movie was the best in the Harry Potter series. This one comes in roughly third in the franchise, but I agree with the general consensus here that it seems more like filler fluff than a truly powerful Harry Potter movie. A couple of scenes at the end were powerful and emotional, but this was still not as good as Goblet of Fire. Just a few more years and we'll finally see the 7th and final book on the big screen.
7 - 1408
The worst of the worst on here, I've got to say. I'm not a horror/thriller fan and I was really looking forward to seeing something that really scared the shit out of me. This wasn't it. 1408 quickly turned into a psychological drama with confusing twists and "what the hell?" moments abundant. I was not impressed at all and ended up considering this one of the worst time-wasters of the summer. Now I've learned that having Stephen King's named attached means nothing.
8 - Live Free or Die Hard
Another one that I really ended up not liking too much. I wanted to give it a chance and I wanted to like this fun, over-the-top action movie, but it was just way too over-the-top. The action and car-throwing goodness was fine, it was the ridiculous story about the entire US being hacked via 2 PDA's and a series of computers in the back of an 18-wheeler. Seriously, this was as bad as The Mummy Returns and a far departure from the great action movie that was the original Die Hard.
9 - Fido
I'm not sure what to say about Fido. It wasn't about seeing it, it was about watching the crowds and the excitement that came from the rest of the world seeing a great zombie comedy. Unfortunately Lionsgate never gave anyone that option, as they opened it in about 5 theaters across the country and never more. Fido quickly disappeared without as much of a mention as a single commercial on TV and instead I hope it will work its way onto the shelves of many good indie movie collectors.
10 - Surf's Up
What was I thinking? Seriously? Not only was this a flop financially, but the film pretty much sucked. I had seen all of the good parts back in March at ShoWest and all that remained was a half-assed CGI film. I don't know how I ever thought a non-Pixar movie could be good, but I was giving this one a chance. I was digging the documentary style and hoping that it was just a fun kick-back-and-relax film, but the story was so bad that I wasn't even laughing after the mid-way point.
This summer wasn't as impressive as my original list made it out to be. I seemed to enjoy more of the unknowns and movies I wasn't as entirely excited about than I did the ones I was excited about. That's it for now folks. Have your own opinions or thoughts? Fire away!