While we can’t say we’re excited about the likes of Final Destination 5 or Scream 4 there are plenty of more exciting follow-up movies on the horizon. Things really kick off in May with the launch of three big hitters. First up, Johnny Depp reprises Captain Jack for the fourth time in Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides where he’s joined by Penelope Cruz and Ian McShane in the search for the Fountain of Youth. Equally over the top, and also aimed at kids, Kung Fu Panda 2 returns with Po (Jack Black) back to protect the valley of peace from a villain bent on using a secret weapon to destroy China. Finally in May, we get the chance to see how Bangkok compares to Vegas with the launch of Hangover Part II—expect plenty of disapproval here. Cars 2 is the next sequel to race onto the big screen in June with Lightning and Mater travelling the world in a James Bond inspired spy storyline before Harry, Hermione and Ron battle it out with Voldemort in the final installment of the magic movie franchise Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (July). We’d mention the latest Transformers called Dark of the Moon (yes the title doesn’t make sense) but the last one was so bad we kinda lost interest in giant shape-changing robots.
Haven’t we seen this before?
When there isn’t a sequel to make, Hollywood can always just look through the old movie archive for inspiration. This summer is no exception with a whole host of remakes starting off with English funnyman and former playboy (Russell Brand) reviving a film starring another English funnyman and playboy (Dudley Moore), Arthur (April), in a comic tale about a funny English err playboy. Another blast from the 80s past is the return of Conan the Barbarian (August) to our big screens. No Arnie cameo in the remake but expect plenty of sword action and chiseled chests in this tale of revenge. More bare chests, well at least some sweaty singlets, in the remake of cult 80s dance movie Footloose, which is slated for release in October. If you didn’t see the original teen hit it involves plenty of rebellious pouting, a legendary 80s soundtrack and lots and lots of dancing. Less cheery by half is the final big remake of 2011. The revival of Sam Peckinpah’s controversial and violent Straw Dogs (September) about a young American academic and his wife terrorized by local thugs. James Mardsen takes on the Dustin Hoffman role while the setting has been transplanted from rural England to the deep South of America.
Spiderman, Superman, Batman, Iron Man—you get the idea, comic heroes usually equal big bucks when transported to the big screen. So it’s no surprise that Hollywood continues to scour the comic books to find the next hit in 2011. Ryan Reynolds play a test pilot who is granted access to amazing powers and free membership to an intergalactic squad of peace keepers in The Green Lantern (July). Steve Rogers who played the human torch in 2007’s Fantastic Four, swaps fire for a shield as he becomes a super soldier with a nifty uniform in Captain America: The First Avenger (July). Even more retro is the screen appearance of Norse god Thor (May), who has been kicked out of the realm of Asgard and now must spend his days wandering around earth with his big hammer protecting us mortals. Finishing up the superheroes there’s also time for some old favorites with an X Men prequel. In X Men: First Class (June) we go back to a time when Professor X and Magneto were best friends, not archenemies, and used their new found powers to save the world.
A film that does get us excited is Cowboys & Aliens (July) starring Daniel Craig, Harrison Ford and Sam Rockwell, it features hardcore aliens and very craggy cowboys kicking off in a mashup sci-fi western. Oh and it’s directed by Jon Favreau who did Iron Man. Mashups like this could be the next hot trend, with Natalie Portman set to star in a movie version of 2009 hit novel Pride and Prejudice & Zombies very soon. More aliens come in the form of the J.J. Abrams (Star Trek) project, Super 8 (Jun), about an alien escaping enroute to Area 51. Finally, a very different type of monster is at large in Kevin Smith’s (Clerks, Chasing Amy) new movie Red State (Oct), a horror film loosely based around the activities of Right wing American religious groups like the Westboro Baptist Church.