I’m almost ashamed. I didn’t get a chance to catch nearly as many movies this summer as I normally do. (I missed Speed Racer, The Incredible Hulk, and The Happening, to name a few…although from word of mouth, I imagine missing the latter was a good thing.)
However, I did catch most of the ones I really wanted to see, and for the most part, I have to say this summer was well-spent. There was only one movie that I really disliked, while the others ranged from “liked but had problems with” to “loved unconditionally and want to bear celluloid children with them.”
Without further ado, my summer 2008 movie reviews:
Get Smart: I’d never seen the old TV show that spawned this movie, so maybe I have a bit of a different perspective. Personally, I love Steve Carell and think he’s a comedic genius, so Get Smart already had that going for it. Alan Arkin, who was fantastic in Little Miss Sunshine, was great as the Chief in this. Dwayne Johnson was surprisingly funny as superstar Agent 23.
The plot itself was nothing to write home about (but then again, what spy spoofs really are?), but it was consistently funny and the actors rocked their roles. And really, what more do you want out of a comedy? Definitely catch it when you get the chance. Oh, and a major bonus? A random Bill Murray cameo.
Iron Man: There is but one word to describe this movie, and that is: AWESOME. Admittedly, I was initially skeptical about Robert Downey, Jr. as Tony Stark, but he absolutely NAILED this role. There is no other who could be Tony Stark. Jeff Bridges? He was a fantastic villain. I didn’t recognize him when he first came on the screen. I loved Gwyneth Paltrow as Pepper Potts, Tony’s robots, and the various suit-testing sequences. I loved the awesome ending line. I loved that they had a solid story, the post-credits scene, and S.H.I.E.L.D. In fact, there was very little that I didn’t love about this movie.
The only part I wasn’t absolutely crazy about was the fight between Iron Man and Iron Monger, and that was mostly because I couldn’t figure out why Stane died and Stark survived. But the rest of the movie was so damn amazing that I really don’t care. This is easily on par with Batman Begins and X2 for sheer superhero movie badassness.
Sex and the City: Sue me; I was a fan of the TV show. Thus, I was pretty excited when they managed to get everybody together and finally make the movie. And the movie was one of those rare beasts: a beloved TV show that actually translated into a decent movie. These were the same characters we’d grown to love over the show’s run. I liked that they stayed true to that, and that the friendships between the four women still stayed strong.
I wasn’t as crazy that Charlotte had very little by way of a story arc. Also, the “love” theme was handled a bit heavily. People who didn’t like the show won’t be converted, but it was good for what it was. And I like it when a movie can do that: embrace what it is.
Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull: Welcome to the only movie of the summer that I truly disliked. I had pretty high expectations, but I knew we were in trouble from the moment the CG prairie dog hit the screen.
Now, I love Indiana Jones. The Last Crusade is my favorite. This just didn’t feel like an Indiana Jones movie to me. It felt like they took beloved characters and put them in a crappy 1950s sci-fi movie. Indy is at his best when he’s hunting classical Christian mythological treasures.
The transition to the South American mythology was pretty cool, and I would’ve been okay with that. And the actors themselves did a really good job. But come on. Aliens? A flying saucer? Surviving a nuclear blast in a refrigerator that got blown four miles? This, my friends, is not Indiana Jones. This is a story that more closely resembled horse poop than a decent plot. So help me God, I hope they leave it at this one and let us recall the originals with fond nostalgia.
That’s it for now. Check in tomorrow for part 2, wherein I discuss Wall-E, Hellboy II, Mamma Mia!, and everybody’s most anticipated movie of the summer, The Dark Knight.