The Undiscovered Megaplex, Part Two

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(Continuing Nerd World’s look at the year ahead in nerd cinema…)

May 4th. Spider-Man 3. By and large I believe that Sam Raimi is not the enemy. He’s got lifetime nerd cred from the whole Evil Dead thing, and there are some remarkably good things in the Spidey movies. And nice to see James “Flyboys” Franco still working. (Also, judging by the trailer, it’s nice to see the big sand-monster from The Mummy still working.) But how can they tell the story of Venom with getting into the Secret Wars?

June 15th: Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer. I saw the original Fantastic Four on a plane. As bad it was, it was nanotechnologically better than I expected. But still awful, mind you, and I expect more of the same from the sequel, which does violence to one of my all-time favorite superheros. I knew this would happen ever since I saw T2, which could essentially have been a tech demo designed to prove that the Surfer, being, you know, silver and all, is really easy to animate. And he does look pretty rad. Or Radd. I guess.

And he’s played by the guy who played Abe Sapiens in Hellboy, whose face I guess we’re doomed never see (I still haven’t heard his voice, either, since he was dubbed by David Hyde Pierce in Hellboy — not a great sign.) And I’m sure Reed Richards will figure this out, but hello, the Surfer is not a villain. He’s just Trapped in a World He Never Made!

And he doesn’t phase through things, people! He’s not Kitty Pryde! He wields the Power Cosmic! I hate you.

July 4 Transformers. I’m going to admit to a lack of credibility on this one. I don’t think I have at any point in my life played with, watched, or otherwise consumed a Transformers product. What can I say, I’m 37. We had Micronauts. I will only note that the trailer is pretty dope. On the other hand, every other movie Michael Bay has ever made, with the semi-exception of The Rock, has sucked.

July 13th: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. Potter movies are rarely unpleasant, with the exception of the second one, which (to me) Columbus reduced to unwatchable triteness. And Order of the Phoenix is my favorite of the books, after the first: We get to see some of that slow burn Harry has been hiding for so long. They’ve brought in yet another new director to the series, the fourth in five: David Yates, who apparently has done some gritty, critically praised TV work in the UK. (And that gets you the Goblet of Fire of movie franchises? Apparently so.) I’ll be there for one thing: the debut of yet another Potter hotty, Goth icon Nymphadora Tonks.

July 27th: The Simpsons Movie. You’ve seen the trailers, I’ve seen the trailers. They’re funny, but not I-definitely-haven’t-jumped-the-shark funny. Whatever. To quote Principal Skinner: Prove me wrong, kids. Prove me wrong.

July 27th: Stardust. Neil Gaiman is famous for many things. One of them is having sold almost everything he’s ever written to Hollywood, and having none of it actually get made. That streak dies with Stardust, which comes to us laden with stars aplenty: Claire Danes, Robert De Niro, and Michelle Pfeiffer. My feelings about Gaiman are deeply complex and nuanced. There are times when I find him the weest, twee-est bit sentimental. Let me quote an item of trivia about Stardust from IMDB: “The character of the talking, red-leaf tree was based on author Gaiman’s friend Tori Amos.” You get me? Though it should help that Matthew Vaughn, who did the gritty Brit-crime flick Layer Cake, is directing. He’ll bust the twee out of it if anyone can.