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Super-heroes, swords and crystal skulls coming soon

Charlie Owen
Vail, CO, Colorado
Special to the Daily
ALL |

Now that “Iron Man” and “Speed Racer” have just been released, it’s safe to say it’s officially summer movie blockbuster season ” that wonderful time of year when the movie-going public is treated to loud, action-packed, big-budget, special-effects-heavy films, usually based on super-heroes or sword-wielding warriors.

This summer is no different. A bevy of comic-book franchises and feel-good comedies are set for theatrical debuts in the coming months and we want to get you in on the ground floor. The following is a list of our predictions for this summer’s biggest blockbusters. Buy the ticket, butter the popcorn and get ready to have your mind blown ” or at least entertained.

Release Date: May 16

This follow up to 2005’s “The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe” should keep fans of the franchise well-pleased. More battle scenes featuring Minotaurs, Centaurs and other fantasy creatures can’t hurt either. The Pevensie children find their way back into Narnia a year after their last adventure with Aslan and the evil White Witch, only to find it’s a thousand years later in Narnia-tme. King Miraz rules the land with cruelty and malice, preventing the rightful ruler ” Prince Caspian ” from taking the throne and restoring beauty and peace to the land. These films based on a series of classic novels by C.S. Lewis have a little bit of something for everybody, so don’t let the PG rating keep you away.

Release Date: May 22.

Proving he’s not yet a relic of the silver screen, Harrison Ford reprises his role as one of the greatest action heroes of all time, Indiana Jones. The treasure hunting, whip cracking archeologist is back with a new quest ” find the mythical Crystal Skull of Akator before evil Soviet Union agents plotting to dominate the world get their hands on it. He is joined on his journey by Shia LaBeouf (“Transformers”) who has an agenda of his own during their search, which will take them to Peru and other exotic locations. If director Steven Spielberg can keep the humorous tone and light-hearted action of the previous three Jones films intact, this should be another worthy sequel.

Release Date: June 13.

In an effort to wash away the perceived failure of the first Hulk movie in 2003, Universal Pictures and Marvel Studios are starting from scratch here with an all-new cast. They’ve also given our favorite not-so-jolly green giant a new origin and a new nemesis, The Abomination (Tim Roth). Taking a cue from the comics and ’80s television series, scientist Bruce Banner (Edward Norton) is infected with deadly amounts of gamma radiation that turns him into an invincible, angry monster when he gets pissed. Our government wants him so they can harness his powers into military technology so our hero must run and run and run to escape them and battle his inner-demons. One thing this version of the Hulk doesn’t look short on is action, so get ready, because the new Hulk is punching his way into town.

Release Date: June 27.

This one’s for the children but chances are most adults will like it, too. Pixar (“Ratatouille”) and Walt Disney team up once again to create another CG cartoon, this one the story of WALL.E, a robot left behind on Earth when the rest of civilization takes to space in the year 2700. His job is to clean up all the trash that humans have covered the planet in, the reason they left Earth to begin with. Of course, being a Disney movie, there must be a love story, so when Eve ” a robot probe sent back to Earth by humans ” bumps into WALL.E, cosmic adventures ensue.

Release Date: July 18.

Thank God for Christopher Nolan, the director who single-handedly rescued the Batman franchise from certain doom. Finally, somebody who gets it, somebody who understands that Batman is all about personal demons, dark fears and psychotic villains. Christian Bale dons the mantle of the Dark Knight once again, this time to face the menacing, murderous Joker, Gotham City’s newest bad boy (if you disregard the first Batman movie starring Michael Keaton). Heath Ledger, in his final role before his death, plays the Joker, a nightmarish man with a painted face and one hell of a scary laugh. The joker ” no surprise here ” unleashes a reign of terror across Gotham that Batman must end.

Release Date: Aug. 15.

What do you get when you drop a team of pampered movie stars into the jungles of Southeast Asia in order to make the most expensive war movie ever produced? Director and star Ben Stiller is probably hoping to get lots of laughs and maybe a sequel or two from “Tropic Thunder.” The movie pokes fun at actor stereotypes with Stiller playing Tugg Speedman, the action guy, Robert Downey Jr. playing Kirk Lazarus, the actor who takes his roles so seriously he voluntarily undergoes surgery to become black, and Jack Black, who plays Jeff Portnoy, the funny guy. But when they arrive on location they soon realize that they are caught in an actual war and must become the characters they portray on-screen. The premise is so ridiculous it just might work.

High Life writer Charlie Owen can be reached at 970-748-2939 or cowen@vaildaily.com.


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