Alex's Summer of 2008: My Most Highly Anticipated Films
by Alex Billington
April 28, 2008
I'm continuing my annual tradition of listing out my most highly anticipated films for the summer in order to review them later on in August after the summer is over. I did it last year: here were my most highly anticipated films and the reviews later on in September. Last year really didn't have that great of results, given Spider-Man 3 was at the top of my list and I somehow put Surf's Up on there, too. This summer I think I'm being a bit more rational (or so I hope) and sticking with the films that I'm a bit more confident in. This concept is just looking at the films that have built up hype this early on compared to my actual reactions later on - a good hype-vs-actuality kind of study. Without further ado, let's dive right in.
1 - Wall-E
Yes, Wall-E is above The Dark Knight and I don't care. I have this feeling, from all the footage I've seen, that Wall-E could, just maybe, be one of the great movies I've ever seen in my entire life and replace Return of the King as the top spot in my all-time top 10. But then again, too much hype means it could end up being a big let down, so I'm trying to keep that thought out of my mind. However, when it comes to actually laying down a list of my most anticipated films, I can't help that thought from creeping back into my mind. Combine my love for great science fiction, a cute, innocent romantic robot, and my love for Pixar - and that's Wall-E.
2 - The Dark Knight
This really needs no introduction. Not only is Batman Begins already one of my favorite superhero movies, but also a recent viewing has made me realize even more how incredible Christopher Nolan truly is. You take that bit of hype, combine it with Nolan's brilliant intermission movie The Prestige, add Heath Leger as the Joker, show me some phenomenal trailers and footage, and lastly, film actual scenes completely on IMAX - and you've got a movie that surpasses my excitement that I had for Spider-Man 3. I have that same feeling as Wall-E - The Dark Knight could be one of the greatest movies in a long time and I'm looking forward to it just about as much as I was looking forward to Return of the King in 2003.
3 - Speed Racer
Although technically I've already seen it at this point, I'm including it because I'm truly excited to see it again and relive the experience in the midst of the summer movie season. Something about the energy and excitement of high speed car races combined with the brilliant imagery that the Wachowskis have dreamt up has me giddy for Speed Racer. I'm not worried about the story at all, in fact, I'm looking forward to simply sitting back and enjoying the one-of-a-kind experience that only the Wachowskis can deliver. There's nothing more I can say besides - Speed Racer was and still is one of my most anticipated summer films that I definitely know won't be forgotten at all.
4 - Iron Man
I think I've been excited for Iron Man since Comic-Con in July of last year. Now one year later I'm still holding onto that hype, hoping it will kick off the summer in style, and replace Spider-Man as the Marvel superhero franchise to follow for many years to come. Favreau has quickly stepped up to become one of my favorite directors because he's such a down-to-earth and cool comic book fan like 300's Zack Snyder. I believe he was the perfect guy to bring Iron Man to the big screen in the same way that Michael Bay was perfect for Transformers. I'm excited for one hell of a fun start to the summer movie season with this one.
5 - Indiana Jones 4
Before I even grew up, I was an Indiana Jones fan. He has been my hero all throughout my childhood and now even still remains one. Only Indiana Jones can kick so much ass with only a whip and a fedora and still look good doing it. While the footage for this just doesn't have me fully excited it for it (above the four other movies mentioned), I do think it will definitely deliver. If Harrison Ford and Steven Spielberg both came back to make this, then I don't think there is any way it could be that bad. What excites me the most is the absolute secrecy with this and I'm looking forward to finally seeing a new adventure unfold.
6 - Hellboy II: The Golden Army
I'm a huge Hellboy fan - everyone knows that! Ever since the first Hellboy in 2004, not only have I come to love Guillermo del Toro even more, but that movie made the #4 spot on my all-time top 10 list. That's enough to prove to you that I am genuinely excited for Hellboy II simply based on the director and the fact that I love the Hellboy universe. However, I'm sure you're wondering why it's only #6 on here and not #1? Well, the other movies have just beaten out the hype on this one, and Hellboy is much more of a guilty pleasure than anything major. I just hope this one really builds upon the first movie!
7 - Pineapple Express
Ever since Superbad last year, I've been anxiously awaiting Judd Apatow's next supremely placed summer comedy. When I heard about Pineapple Express and what it was all about, I knew this was already it. Its got James "Harry Osborn" Franco and Seth "Knocked Up" Rogen playing two mega-stoners who end up getting chased by the mob. Really, I don't think it can get any better than that! It's easily the one comedy I am looking forward to more than all others and I am ridiculously excited to see what sort of insanity goes down.
8 - The Incredible Hulk
If it weren't for the recent footage and new trailer that I saw at the New York Comic Con a few weeks ago, this probably wouldn't be here at all. I'm starting to feel like this could turn out pretty damn good - and I think it has a lot to do with Edward Norton. Although he lost the battle to turn it into the movie he really wanted it to be, I still think Marvel is cultivating a solid Hulk flick that will deliver more action than just about any other movie on this list. I've got a feeling that it may be a big sleeper hit that no one will see coming but in the end will shock everyone by how damn good it is. Only time will tell, but I'm crossing my fingers and hoping for the best.
9 - Get Smart
At this point, all that's left are comedies. Get Smart is one of the others that I'm very much looking forward to. I haven't seen a good action-comedy since, shit, maybe Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me in 1999? This time I think Steve Carell is going to hit another career high, embodying a character that he will be know for forever. Plus Pete Segal is finally going to come out of his hole with a solid comedy that I think could end up becoming one of the most loved summer movies. Get Smart has summer event movie written all over it and I'm looking forward to one hell of a fun opening weekend!
10 - Tropic Thunder
I was sold on this with the latest trailer. Not only do the war scenes look incredibly epic, but the comedy looks genuinely hilarious. Oddly, I'm not a fan of Zoolander, which is the last film Ben Stiller directed, but this time I've got a good feeling about Tropic Thunder. I think it's going to be one of those great movies to wrap up the summer on and, although it will be good, won't exactly be at the top of any "best of" lists by September. However, I could be wrong, and we could be in for a wild ride that will have me regretting I put it this low on the list, but I'm trying to prevent that hype from taking away what this could become.
I'll be back in August to check up and see how well all these rank up after actually seeing them! I don't expect anyone to comment until August really, because this is my own list that I'll look at again then, but go ahead if you want. We've talked about what we're looking forward to in the summer so much that it's just about drowned out by now... No?