Monday, September 01, 2008

2008 Summer Movie Wrap Up

My, my, my… what a summer it has been. As any fan boy, film nut or movie geek worth his salt will tell you is the most magical time of the year. The summer of 2008 is no exception save for the fact that the quality of the blockbuster has gone up. Amen. The studios bring out their A game at the summer solstice and oh, what a game it was.

I’m not a professional film expert, nor am I a professional writer; I’m just a guy with a laptop and a blog who knows what he likes. And what I like most of all is the story. “Serve the story” has become my mantra. Whatever medium or vehicular delivery the plot is passed from point A to point B – serve the story. Filmmakers, novelists, artists, cartoonists, puppeteers, song writers, actors, writers, directors, whatever; if serving the story is not their passion then they are in the wrong profession. Bottom line. There must be respect for the story and if the tale you are telling has something to do with existing characters that are already established firmly in popular culture, literature, or history – respect the character. If you want to tell your own story, fine; but don’t sacrifice the venture on a pyre of your own vanity in the process. Show some respect. Many of these characters have been around a lot longer than you and will be remembered long after your chance to progress their story has slipped through your fingers. Love the characters you write, respect them and serve the story. That’s it. That’s the recipe for success; primarily to successful storytelling but also to selling a lot of popcorn at the theaters.

Speaking of selling popcorn; to usher in the New Year I put together my summer movie picks for ’08. No pressure but if you are interested that can be found here: In this blog I picked my favorites for the upcoming movie season. When I wrote it Heath Ledger was still with us and we were in the middle of the writer’s strike. We were about to enter another uncertain year with a war going happening on two fronts and an uncertain economic future; well, why not start the year off with some comfort blogging? At the time I thought projecting my favorites would be a good idea. Now at the end of the season I thought I’d give you my favorite four films of the 2008 summer movie season. So without further ado; lets get down to business.

1. The Dark Knight will floor you and not just as a popcorn summertime movie. Its scope is far reaching and it is everything a Batman movie should be. It is truly a wonderfully realized piece of cinema. If the Academy ignores this one they should be stormed with pitchforks and torches. Here’s what I had to say about the movie then: I stand by those statements.

2. Iron Man was a wonderful way to start the summer. For this fan boy it was a close second and in a summer without Batman it would have easily taken the number one spot. They set the bar high right outta jump street. Here’s what I had to say on the film then: I stand by those statements.

3. Hellboy II: the Golden Army was visionary and fun. It progressed the Hellboy story along by throwing in some neat little plot twists in between shots from one of today’s most imaginative filmmakers. Here’s what I had to say then: You know what? I stand by those statements.

4. Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull was a lot of fun. It made me smile to see Indy make his way onto the big screen for another go round. I hope that it doesn’t stop with this one. There is so much more to do before Dr. Henry Jones Jr. hangs up his whip and fedora; and now that there is an heir apparent the franchise is ripe for the picking. Back when the movie came out instead of doing a blow-by-blow review I did a little recap on the “trilogy”. I was content with the fact that Indy had returned. My hopes were rewarded. If interested you can read all that jazz here: Mr. Lucas, Mr. Spielberg – Yes please, my I have another?

Of course one never knows how the marketplace will react to a film. Speed Racer immediately comes to mind. I thought that it would have wheels instead of hitting the wall like it did. I grew up watching Speed Racer; so did a lot of other fan boys so I was surprised that it didn’t work. Who’s to say why? Perhaps it was too high a concept? No. Maybe it was just too stylish for its own good? Maybe. Whatever the case it didn’t work. The public just stayed away. I’m sure that studios will be scrutinizing the whys and hows of it for years to come. It didn’t find its audience. It probably will on Blu-ray.

As for my favorites of the summer of 2008, well each one of these films served the story. As a result of that everyone was happy; the studios, the filmmakers and the fans both old and new. Each of these pictures will have a hand in selling a lot of Blu-ray players and HD TVs (don’t forget the magic number of 1080 p). I do not yet possess such equipment but would gladly test some if any company like a Panasonic or a Sony would like me to field trial such electronics under a wide variety of consumer situations and user conditions – well, just say the word.

I’m willing to sacrifice.

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