Last summer (2008) yielded a few disappointing films. There was Indiana Jones 4, which I thought felt random, rushed, and even a bit pointless–not the kind of cinematic conclusion I’d expected for a hero like Indiana Jones. Then there was Wall•E–a fine achievement, to be sure, but I always felt a little distant from the robot characters, and even moreso from the fat human ones. Prince Caspian was pretty good, but it too had its disappointments, like Peter being egotistical and Susan and Caspian kissing.
The summer before that, in 2007, we got Pirates of the Caribbean 3, which was too long and also quite weird. Spider-Man 3 was pretty good, except for Peter Parker going emo.
The summer before that, in 2006, we got Pirates of the Caribbean 2, which was, like its successor, too long and too weird, especially as the follow-up to a great film like PotC 1.
There have been some great films thrown in, of course, like Ratatouille and Iron Man, but the films everyone expected to be great ended up being only mediocre, and it was the less publicized films that were great (for instance, Iron Man just popped out from nowhere as a summer blockbuster. No one saw it coming).
So, it was with some apprehension that I approached the batch of films for summer 2009. Nothing jumped out as having a lot of potential. But now, just one month into the summer movie season, I’ve seen 3 films, and all of them have been great. Like, actually great.
The first was Disney’s Earth, a breathtaking overview of our planet with hundreds of fantastic visuals. You get to see so many amazing moments in God’s creation (and it’s without the usual evolution-centric narration). It’s the best documentary I’ve seen in a long time.
The second was J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek, an incredible space adventure film that tells the story of how the Star Trek crew came together. It’s full of action, emotion, and laughs, and it ends leaving you wanting a sequel right away.
The third was Pixar’s Up, which tells the story of Carl Frederickson, a happy husband turned widower who flies his house to South America in search of the adventure he always dreamed of. Up also tells the story of Russell, an eager 8-year-old wilderness explorer, and Charles Muntz, a famous adventurer. Words cannot describe how well these three character arcs are woven together, or how touching, and hilarious, this film becomes. Pixar’s Up is a must see. You will not be disappointed.
In fact, you won’t be disappointed by any of these 3 films. They are that good. It looks like this summer turned out to be one of the best movie seasons in years.