I will always be excited by the continued relevance of the famous fictional Victorian detective and about every new screen adaptation featuring Sherlock Holmes. Mr. Holmes, however, is beyond thrilling because the great Sir Ian McKellen will be playing the title character in a film which takes a unique perspective on the man in his later years. While I am undecided based on the trailer whether the film will live up to my hopes for it, at the very least I know I can rely on McKellen for an incredible performance.
Mad Max: Fury Road
I love the original Mad Max trilogy, with all it’s twisted, over-the-top action and something so preciously Australian in its tone and style. I love how they portray a totally foreign culture born out of the hardship and necessity brought on by a great apocalypse – one of survival at all costs, suspicion, and amorality. It’s at once stark and elaborate, barren and grotesque – a bundle of perplexing and delightful contradictions. This newest installment of the franchise, written and directed by George Miller himself, looks to be everything the originals are and more. If it even comes close, I will be both overjoyed and disturbed.
Avengers: Age of Ultron
Who isn’t excited for Joss Whedon’s follow up to the spectacular extravaganza of super heroes that was The Avengers (2012)? We’ve all been waiting a long time, and while the wait has been made bearable by Marvel’s slate of phase two standalone movies and news of the studio’s plan for phase three, the release date can’t come soon enough. While I’m anticipating an excellent ensemble movie with huge action and intense drama, I am struck by a point that a character on Community made about the upcoming film: “Marvel has really pinned Joss Whedon in creatively, so how can that be bad?”
So many of the big summer movies these days are sequels or reboots or remakes, and while I’m often weary of the lack of creativity in current Hollywood filmmaking, I just can’t argue against a good dinosaur movie. The Jurassic Park franchise of films haven’t always been at their best, but based on the trailer for this newest installment its at least pretty unlikely to be worse than Jurassic Park III, so I’d call that a win. Chris Pratt continues his infiltration into the world of action heroes as a gamekeeper with some awesome trained “velociraptors” (I use quotations because the velociraptors of Jurassic Park actually bear almost no resemblance to actual velociraptors). As no one ever seems to learn from previous Jurassic Park movies, dinosaurs are dangerous and humans are just never equipped to control them. Someone makes a cool new dinosaur hybrid and things go drastically wrong – Surprise!
In this sea of sequels, its always nice to see the approach of something wondrous and creative. Tomorrowland is co-written by Brad Bird (Pixar) and Damon Lindelof (Lost, Star Trek) and directed by Bird. Based on the trailer, it looks to be a fabulous journey of a fantastical nature that blends together a number of sci-fi elements – from dystopian cultures to theoretical technology to the gleaming spires of our imagined future. It at once reminds you of classic fantasy-adventure movies like The NeverEnding Story (1984) or Dune (1984) but new, modern, and scientific. The title Tomorrowland and the design of that futuristic city even plays on the type of “worlds of tomorrow” features at DisneyWorld or world fairs of the past. We still dream of that future, we’ve just forgotten we do – and so, it seems, have the characters of Tomorrowland.