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Big Budget Bonanza Part 1

February 27, 2012

2012 has been good to movies. The Grey, The Devil Inside, Chronicle and The Woman in Black, The Vow, Safe House and Ghost Rider 2 have performed well and lifted the box office total to unexpected heights.

Many people scoff at big budget summer films. However, people forget that the classic Jaws (my favorite movie)  was the original summer blockbuster. When a big budget movie works it can be a marvelous spectacle.

Now that the Superbowl premiered the teaser trailers you are going to be blasted with previews and advertisements. I’m going to investigate these films to see if they are worth your time.

John Carter (March 9, 2012)

Of all the big budget films coming out this year I’m most curious about John Carter. It has a huge budget and is not a sequel. Carter is a HUGE gamble and that is why I like it. This movie has been five years in the making and cost $250 million.

John Carter of Mars is a big budget adaptation of the famous graphic novel written by Edward Rice Burroughs. John Carter has influenced Star Wars, Avatar and many other popular science fiction films. What I’m worried about is that people will say it is a “rip off” when it has influenced everything.

The movie features Taylor Kitsch (Friday Night Lights) and is directed by Andrew Stanton (Wall-E). So, the film has a solid unknown actor and a director who made his name in animated Pixar films.

My prediction is that John Carter will be a hit. Disney has already green lit a sequel and Brad Bird (The incredibles) just made Tom Cruise relevant again so I’m betting Stanton will provide a similar visual spectacle.

The best shot this film has is by word of mouth. If Stanton is correct the movie will make its budget back and more. The movie also has a strong international push due to the CGI and fantasy elements which worked for the Transformers series. One problem is that the previews do not make the story line clear. There was a big buzz via movie bloggers about this fan made trailer that did a much better job than Disney’s current marketing.

Mondo also created a neat looking poster to celebrate the world of John Carter.

I can’t wait to see if this gamble pays off.

Battle Ship (May 18, 2012)

This film is another big question mark. A board game adapted into a $200 million dollar movie action bonanza.

Taylor Kitsch (John Carter) stars in another summer blockbuster. Kitsch reunites with director Peter Berg (Run Down, Friday Night Lights, The Kingdom) to blow up enemy aliens. I’m convinced this movie will be fun.  Hasbro is marketing it as a Transformers like film and Berg is an incredibly gifted director who makes smart action and creates likable characters.

The biggest problem this film has to be the title. To invest $200 million in a board game adaptation is tricky. The thing I’m excited for is that I don’t think the previews give away everything. I think this will be a loud, fun and exciting film that is full of surprises.

An added bonus is that it features Liam Neeson as a cranky general.

Wrath of the Titans (March 30, 2012)

The remake of Clash of the Titans was solid but unspectacular. This new film looks to have gotten it right. The film looks bigger, badder and hairier.

Director Jonathan Liebesman (Battle Los Angeles) was brought in to add some more chaos and spice to the world of titans, demigods and lava giants.

Sidenote: I thought the Kraken was bad but imagine having to fight a Kraken made of lava. There is absolutely no way to win that fight. Sam Worthington already beheaded Medusa so the only thing that can save the world is Tommy Lee Jones. If you remember Jones bested a volcano in Los Angeles.

Wrath also upgrades Andromeda by recasting the role with Rosamund Pike. She should add a solid acting premise amidst the chaos.

The plot focuses on the released Titans that run amuck while Sam Worthington yells a lot. The remake had a surprisingly straight forward plot that kept it afloat and fun.  I’m hoping this new one keeps to the script and doesn’t become too bombastic and incoherent. All this film needs is a defined plot and lots of titan mayhem.

Sam Worthington yell prediction: 900 times.

Another added bonus is uber bearded Liam Neeson!

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