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I like to think that there are two points in a year that are a huge time for movies, but in different ways and for different reasons. Oscar season and of course, Summer Blockbuster season. The blockbuster season, I would argue might just be a little bigger if only for the reason that a wider audience seems to get to the Summer films, while Oscar films might not be watched by all of the same people who watched the Summer flicks, unless of course they all happened to be cinephiles, and let’s face it, not everyone is. So, where does that leave us with regard to the blockbuster season? It leaves us with a lot of people checking out the action, adventure, explosions and superheroes. There is more to it than that though.
As always, every year presents its share of winners and losers and this year is no different. Was it a bust? I would say not. Why? Because this season brought plenty of good summer entertainment, some of which came with a bit of highbrow aspects and more complex and engaging storytelling than something of the more mindless entertainment type. There’s no way I’ll be able to go over each and every one of them here, but one good example of this is Pacific Rim, which is one of my favorites of the 2013 summer season. It delivers exactly what it promises in giant robot on giant monster action, but it also provides a layer of depth with regard to the human element involved and the mythology it touches on. I’m not sure I want to see a sequel to such an awesome movie because this one was just so well done.
Iron Man 3 was another fantastic summer blockbuster. By stripping Tony Stark down to his essence with nothing but his wits to get him out of tight spots, we were allowed to rediscover what makes him tick and in a big way. Star Trek Into Darkness was a great followup to JJ Abrams’ excellent original. While I’m not sure it was better than the previous entry, it wasn’t worse, which is still pretty darn good. Since we’re on ‘pretty darn good’, we might as well thrown in Fast 6, which shows that the series has come a long, long way from being all about the hot women and fast cars. There is much more character depth and the storytelling is beginning to resemble something as intricate as say, JJ Abrams’ Lost. Fast 7 should be exciting! Then of course, there are other hits like the Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg directed apocalyptic comedy This Is The End. While it may not count as a blockbuster in the traditional sense, it definitely has blockbuster level effects and is probably one of the funniest films of the summer with a dash of social commentary on the Hollywood celebrity culture thrown in for good measure.
What about misses and not so awesome summer flicks? Well, I honestly can’t speak to all of those, mainly because I haven’t seen them all, but I can tell you that I have been keeping up with what’s been going on with most of these films and I can say that there is much more good out there than not good. Films like The Lone Ranger, which I liked better than I thought I would, R.I.P.D., After Earth, which I also liked a lot, and Red 2, I understand were a some that could fall in the ‘Loser’ category. Of course, audiences will make their own judgments on these films.
Then you have surprises like, Elysium, which actually doesn’t seem like much of a surprise hit and if you’ve seen District 9, you know what I mean because you may have expected Neil Blomkamp’s second outing to be a hit. Then on the horror side, you have probably the breakout hit of the summer in James Wan’s The Conjuring, which by the way is a non-sequel or prequel. It managed to do some genuine scaring the old-fashioned way without all the blood and excessive gore, which can be so prevalent in other horror flicks.
At the end of the day, if there is a least one good summer flick out during the blockbuster season, I don’t consider it a bust. Maybe I’m a little off beat for that statement, but even better to me is if a film manages to be more than a summer popcorn experience, I’m more than happy to see it more than once and to recommend that film. Overall, this summer blockbuster season was pretty fantastic in my opinion, but what might you all think out there? Were any of these summer films, or any others that I haven’t mentioned, worth your time? Let us know!