So last year it was a summer of sequels, an unending stream of numerical misfires, few of which lived up to their predecessors. It was a summer so full of sequels that Dre and I each wrote a total of three or four pieces just to cover them all. Yes. Our sequel pieces had sequels. Well, this year we've managed to avoid the 2s and 3s and "return of"s -- for the most part. Instead we've been invaded by TV land, with a number of old television shows rearing their ugly heads for one last roar in the box office. Some will work. Some won't. Here's the handicapping.
Sex and the City. It's like Star Wars for people lacking dude parts. What was once a successful, long running HBO series has managed to reassemble its cast for one last hurrah as everyone gathers for the wedding of the show's narrator. The reports out of the London premiere described the crowd as almost religious in their worship of the material. But the critics savaged it, claiming the shock formula of the show just doesn't work in this day and age, and especially not on the big screen. This feels like those nasty Star Wars prequels where the hardcore fans called them genius while everyone else just shrugged.
The X-Files: I Want to Believe. You know what? I want to believe. But I just don't yet. After the last two seasons of the nine season series became a sad parody of itself -- looking more like the hollywood adaptation of the real-life Mulder and Scully that the FBI agents would have to endure watching themselves in a REAL episode of the show -- and a movie that was inexplicable even to fans of the show, they're back. This time, however, it looks like they've got a solid idea and formula. Rather than trying to tie it into the mess of a mythology from a show long off the air, they are instead making a longer, cinematic episode. I want to believe. Chris Carter, make me believe again.
Speed Racer. It came. It went. I never saw a summer blockbuster get lapped by so many other films so fast. But once upon a time, it was a popular animated kids show. One with a killer theme song. And much like the movie, I'll be damned if anyone can tell you what a single episode was really about.
Get Smart. This one looks like the solid winner of the bunch. The show was a classic, ripe for the picking -- a goof on James Bond in the same vein of Inspector Clouseau. Of course the casting would be everything, and this production seems to hit it out of the ballpark. Anne Hathaway SOOOOO looks like every teenage boy's Agent 99. Duane Johnson is back where he shines best -- comedy. And Alan Arkin as the Chief? How awesome is that. But really, the big hammer hitting the nail on the head is Steve Carell as Maxwell Smart. Holy crap. You almost wonder if someone squinted while watching The Office and said "Hey, who owns the rights to Get Smart?"
The Incredible Hulk. While many would no doubt point out that both this film and the television show were both derived from a comic book, star and major contributor Edward Norton has talked about going back to the TV show to make this movie. To tell a story that had the soul of that show. If they do, this movie could be awesome. If it is more like Ang Lee's previous version ... not so much. But it is the clear inspiration that makes me include this and not include Batman or Iron Man, both of which have had televised versions.
Star Wars: Clone Wars. In a weird twist to this concept, this fall's television debut of the Clone Wars TV show is being introduced to the world by having its first 3 episodes woven together into a feature film. This sounds incredibly cool. But ... it's a Star Wars project being overseen by the now completely insane George Lucas, a Sith Lord who long ago turned over to the dark side and now uses his vast Jedi powers to cause intense suffering among his lifelong fans while brutally enslaving others into being his mindless drones who work day in and day out to make money to buy products branded with the Star Wars logo. So yeah. You could say I didn't like the prequels much. God, I hope this is better. I'd sure feel a lot better if this didn't take place between parts II and III.