A-List: Top Five Anticipated Summer Movies
By J. Don Birnam
April 30, 2015
The summer movie season officially begins on Friday, and it promises to be a fun-filled ride with the usual blockbusters and potentially surprising openings. Don’t tell our friends in the Furious franchise, of course (who have single-handedly redefined the meaning of the summer blockbuster by likely making more money than most of the movies that will come out in the summer of 2015) that this year’s blockbusters are yet to come out. Still, it is romantically traditional to think of the May 1st through Labor Day period as the traditional time in which studios put out their expected audience pleasures, movies that will make big splashes opening weekend in theaters across the country and the world.
So what movies am I most looking forward to this summer? I have an inkling which movies most fans are looking forward to, and there is some overlap but not an exact correspondence. Luckily, this time around the rules are simple: if the movie opens in wide release in the United States between May 1st and Labor Day, it qualifies.
I always complain, as you know, about the glut of sequels, prequels, remakes, and comic book movies. Summer of 2015 is no exception, with not less than a half dozen such movies vying for top headlines this season. Yet, among those there are always at least one or two that leaves you feeling like the project was worth it overall. There are also at least one or two seemingly original entries that have promise (and are likely candidates for a sequel in the near future). My top five list, thus, consists of a mix of such flicks.
Some honorable mentions before we get started have to include Pitch Perfect 2 (somewhat of a guilty pleasure), Magic Mike XXL (a really guilty pleasure), Mad Max (I’m intrigued by the reboot of the series, but not so excited as to put it in the top five), and the next entry in the Disney-ride series, Tomorrowland. Alas, there are at least five other movies I’m much more excited about this summer season. There are also some dishonorable mentions: is anyone really looking forward to the next comic book reboot, Fantastic Four? I expect this movie to be this year’s Green Lantern and fail miserably. The next Mission: Impossible movie also looks like it can be a miserable failure, but Tom Cruise’s last few action movies should prove otherwise.
Without further ado…
5. Jurassic World
Against my better judgment, I am really looking forward to the fourth entry in the Jurassic Park series. The last movie, Jurassic Park III, was flat out terrible. And, to be honest, nothing in the trailer suggests that this installment will be anything different than, say, Jaws 4: a bigger, bloodier, more exaggerated chapter with little in terms of originality and nuance to make it worth your while.
And yet, Jurassic World is on the list because I still think of the original as such a masterpiece of technical prowess and sheer audience entertainment that I cannot be kept away from this series. Jurassic World is set for release on June 12th, and features an all new cast, spearheaded by Chris Pratt. The Zero Dark Thirty star has proven his worth and draw as a summer attraction with last year’s surprise hit, Guardians of the Galaxy, and the people behind the Jurassic franchise are surely hoping that he can bring the magic touch to this otherwise fading series. The fact that it has been 14 years since the last entry in the franchise is something studio execs are no doubt banking on to draw audience interest, but it is as legitimate to wonder whether the long pause has cooled people’s memories of the movies.