Honestly, I don’t know what studio execs were thinking when they started out to plan the summer of 2013.
First, you need to know that I love movies. In fact, I’m always kinda shocked when I meet someone who doesn’t love movies. What are they doing to tell themselves stories? I wonder! Because I totally need stories. Lots of them. New ones. All the time. Am I alone here? I think not. That’s why movie houses are still going in spite of $12 tickets and sticky floors. We want stories.
But the stories that were served up to us this summer seemed all to have one common theme: property damage.
The most egregious offender has to have been “Man of Steel.” While I loved Henry Cavill as the super hero, and Amy Adams also did a great Lois, the repeated fights against the villain simply added up to scores of smashed buildings. Isn’t Superman all about protecting people and their stuff? I mean, a kabillion dollars of damage were done to Metropolis, not to mention that little Iowa town. I could just imagine a documentary afterward, “Aliens Destroyed My Town.” Because it was a huge mess. Who’s gonna clean that up?
Plus, the so-called updated special effects didn’t seem too updated to me. Zod’s goo pod? For the “Phantom Zone?” They looked just like the goo pods in the hilarious mock comedy “Galaxy Quest”–but they were cooler in that jokey movie. Bring back the terrifying Phantom Zone from the 1980 Superman 2 where Zod and his meanie cohorts get put inside the spinning mirror, as though they’ve been made 2 dimensional, and chucked out into space. Now that was cool.
That said, I’d watch the next one, just to see if Henry Cavill will be better at fighting off Lex Luthor. Or could the franchise come up with a new villain after all these rehash installments, perhaps? Or does that compromise the integrity of the Superman storyline? I’m not a purist. I just want a good story. (Apologies to purists.)
Anyway. Back to the property damage. “White House Down,” anyone? How many priceless pieces of art and (as I see it) sacred places can they destroy? Please. It might’ve been a pretty good plot if it hadn’t been so in-my-face didactic, with the total message (besides property damage) being “Those d—-‘d Republicans are trying to destroy humanity again.” Nice. We actually walked out of the theater laughing at how baldfaced it was. But the armor plated Cadillac limo was pretty cool. Until it drove around the fountain for the thirty-fifth time. And I ask you, why didn’t the spectators step back when they saw the bad guys had RPGs and weren’t afraid to launch them at helicopters? So. Much. Property. Damage.
I could go on. Iron Man, anyone? We had to skip The Lone Ranger because all the previews contained was a lot of Old West property damage. Star Trek gets a pass because–Cumberbatch.
I gave Gatsby a miss. I was an English major, which might make you think I’d love to immerse in the droll literary world, but it’s a depressing story, like Rebel Without A Cause, but 40 years sooner. Not my favorite thing. I prefer a happy ending. With a kiss, of course.
The movie I did like was one the critics hated: “Now You See Me.” What a fun, original show. Little, if any, property damage. Had Michael Caine (always a favorite) and Morgan Freeman (who won my heart in his Electric Company days), plus a really twisty plot. Thoroughly enjoyable. Why did critics pan it? Not enough property damage? I don’t get it.
Still, there are a few movies left to see. We might catch the animated ones (Monsters U and Despicable 2) on the Redbox later. Prectictable me, I’m looking forward to Austenland (loved the book.) And then, we’ll see what Wolverine brings.
My prediction? Property damage.