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The blockbuster season is nigh. That statement can be as foreboding or as hopeful as you wish depending on your appreciation for mind-numbing explosions and excessive FX. Even if you pledge to the former camp and plan on avoiding the multiplex until Awards season rolls around once again, Player Affinity will jump back to five films that should at least get the most jaded of movie-goers into the mood. Superheroes, fast cars and aliens aplenty — this season has them all.
What better way to start
off our countdown than with the original blockbuster, the film that essentially
coined the term and forever changed the hottest months of the year into
The original Toy Story or the first Shrek are good substitutes for The Incredibles if you are so inclined, but they all have several things in common: energy, humor and wonderful animation. Hoodwinked Too! Hood vs. Evil, Kung Fu Panda 2 and Cars 2 are the three animated flicks on the docket this summer (sequel fever is not discriminatory of genre) – all from rival animation houses and all following-up debut hits in their respective franchises. The Incredibles is one of the best from the latter studio, Pixar, and certainly has the “feel” of a summer movie with the superhero angle, fiery actions sequences and plenty of tongue-in-cheek satirical humor. Frankly, if I was craving any sequel from Pixar it would be The Incredibles 2, but I digress. Overall, the second generation of animation (CGI over hand-drawn that is) has taken a step forward with DreamWorks upping their game to rival the aforementioned Disney subsidiary. Summer wouldn’t be complete without some animated fare and The Incredibles remains one of the greatest of all time and requisite viewing to prepare for May and beyond.
The second king of mindless FX-bombarding mayhem, Mr. Rolland Emmerich, purveyor of such blockbusters as The Day After Tomorrow, Godzilla and 2012, started his mainstream success off right with the alien invasion classic Independence Day. Also a 1996 offering, this Will Smith-headlined genre flick combined state-of-the-art computer graphics with models and real pyrotechnics. While bloated, silly at more than one time and far from a good movie in the traditional sense, it is great fun. It's one of the highest-grossing movies of all time and helped to pioneer the modern alien invasion flicks. Cowboys & Aliens and Super 8 add to the ever-expanding list of recent things-from-another-planet films and both seem to have a great chance at monetary and critical success considering the talent involved in both. So in preparation for two possible new classics, go back a decade or so and revisit some alien-fuelled destruction of old. Welcome to Earth.
The summer wouldn’t be compete without some popcorn-choking larfs, but seeing as this is the season for explosions let’s go with a movie that embraces both genres. Actor Simon Pegg and Nick Frost’s second teaming with Brit director Edgar Wright arguably trumped their first effort, Shaun of the Dead, in genre-deconstructing havoc while existing as a tidy little action flick of its own. And let’s be honest, any movie that references Bad Boys II is alright in my books. The Friedberg/Seltzer brand of spoofs will simply not die, so to get cerebral satires like Hot Fuzz is a blessing times two. While we don’t have any comedies this summer in that same vein, The Hangover Part II, Bad Teacher and Horrible Bosses all have breakout potential combining the raunch that seems to have been re-appreciated as of late, with great casts and writers. I love to watch warring wizards as much as the next guy but that can’t replace the need for hearty chuckles.