By Ace Hunter
The summer movie season is generally viewed as a Christmas of sorts for Film Warriors. It’s a time where passion and creativity overrun our imaginations, where filmmakers and studios unveiled their biggest, boldest endeavors upon the silver screen.
Each weekend from Memorial Day to Labor Day we’d have new cinematic presents to unwrap and play with delight. For a child of the blockbuster, summer was a pure film going experience, full of magic, adventure, and fun.
So what happened? When did summer films lose their soul? When did they become two hour advertisements for corporate entities bereft of any creativity in the medium?
It’s not me, you know. Yes, I utilize my acerbic tongue for the Weekend Film Warrior column, but that’s just one of my many writing voices. My passion for motion pictures is still intact. I have strayed from the path now and again, but I’ve always managed to find my way back home. A prodigal Film Warrior, if you will.
However, if there was any catalyst that would cause me to shun movies altogether and sequester myself in some remote Tibetan monastery, this past summer’s crop of horse dung would certainly qualify.
Marvel’s schizophrenic “Iron Man 2” (half superhero movie, half advertisement for another superhero movie) was the first lump of coal under the tree, and it rarely improved from there.
The armor took quite a beating as we were pounded with big budget disasters (“Prince Of Persia,” “Jonah Hex”), 3D overload (“Toy Story 3,” “Step Up 3D,” “Piranha 3D”), and painfully unfunny comedies (“Grown Ups”, “Dinner For Schmucks”).
We also grew tired of watching the following stars mug their way through another performance: Jennifer Aniston, Michael Cera, Adam Sandler, and Jay Baruchel.
Then there was “Sex In The City 2,” which managed to offend both Arab countries and the entire female race, showcasing a bunch of self involved, bitchy, ignorant women tossing their used maxi pads onto foreign soil without a second thought. But hey, at least one Film Warrior liked it (HERE), and he’s a dude!
I’ll be the first to admit there were weekends where I avoided the theater altogether (including this weekend, opting for the special edition of “Avatar” over anything else) to avoid another cinematic beating. I just couldn’t take the disappointment. There were times when I couldn’t even bring myself to crank out a full review for something I had seen (as witnessed HERE with “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice”).
There were a few bright pieces of yellow corn floating amongst ca-ca, to be sure. Joe Carnahan’s “The A-Team” was a big budget breath of fresh air, and it felt great to leave the theater with a smile on my face for once. “I Am Love” brought be back from the cinematic edge to restore my faith in this medium (my review HERE). Even Ridley Scott’s lame duck “Robin Hood” had a rousing final 20 minutes of summer movie magic. Now if only the rest of the film had that same magic.
Alas, there’s very little magic to be found anywhere now. These summer movies have become no better than the ones dumped upon us in late winter and early spring. They don’t spark the imagination so much as tire your soul.
I don’t want to be tired anymore. I want to be moved.
On Labor Day we’ll feature our summer movie wrap up podcast, which should put the final nail in this summer coffin. After that we’ll be onto other business as the past 12 weeks fade into memory. Next summer we begin again, and with it a renewed sense of hope on our endless quest that the legend we seek will return like the prodigal son to our theaters and our imaginations.
Until then, is anyone in the mood for “The Last Airbender?” Anyone? Anyone?
“Deeds, not words…”