The Summer Movie Review - 2008


So, the summer holidays are over – well, for those of us who have to work anyway. One part of the summer holidays that usually excites me greatly (apart from presents, alcohol and parties in Brisbane with Geoff and Dave) is the summer movie lineup.

Boxing Day is D-Day for hit movies. 99% of the time, it’s when the biggest blockbusters are released. Each Lord of the Rings movie came out on Boxing Day. Invariably a James Bond film will come out on Boxing Day. Quite simply, it’s a great time to be at the movies. Except this year.

I don’t think I’ve seen a lamer New Years lineup of movies. When the most exciting blockbuster available on Boxing Day is the sequel to National Treasure, you know something is seriously wrong.

Now, I went to see the National Treasure sequel, and to its credit, it wasn’t all that bad. But here’s the thing. If you go to a blockbuster movie in the Christmas holidays you don’t want to walk out of the cinema thinking to yourself ‘hey, well that wasn’t that bad’. You want to be screaming “This was one of the best damn movies I’ve ever seen!” And if anyone said that about National Treasure, then they have as much credibility in my eyes as an art critic.

What other films are there? Some lame piece of garbage called Atonement – which looks like a cheapskate take on Pride and Prejudice. Enchanted – no good unless you’re being forced to take your 5 year old niece to the cinema. Alien vs Predator – please. P.S. I love you – hardly worthy of Christmas blockbuster status. The Golden Compass – looks like it could be ok (has Daniel Craig in it) so I’m reserving judgement on this one. Most of the people I know who’ve seen it say it’s kind of average though.

Of course there was one movie that has come out, post new years, that has a lot of people talking. It’s the new Will Smith movie; I Am Legend. I went to see that on Saturday night with my mate Garry. The movie didn’t get off to a good start though.

There was no queue for the cinema. Note, I didn’t say there was nobody waiting to go into the cinema… I said there was no queue. It was like trying to board a Jetstar flight – an absolute dog’s breakfast. People were barging others out of the way as everyone began their quest to find the best seat in the house. Once the cinema doors opened, it was like the running of the Bulls, only with popcorn, choc tops and coke flying everywhere.

Luckily I was near the front so I managed to weave my way past the fat people and nerds to actually get a pretty good seat. Only one problem, on my left was a high school couple that were more interested in studying for their next biology class than watching the movie. So, I decided I’d try and ruin their mood, so the public displays of affection would cease.

I started talking loudly to Garry about useless garbage, completely irrelevant conversation. I shifted in my chair, took off my shoes, commandeered the armrest – all the usual things that you hate the person in the seat next to you to do. But you know what? It worked! Not only did they stop making out with each other, they shifted seats altogether. You’ve got to love it when your plan ends up succeeding more than you had originally envisaged.

So it was now time for the movie to start. And you know what? It was awesome.

The start of the movie set the tone of the rest of the film really well. No music, just Will Smith making his way through a deserted and overrun New York. Having been there recently I have to say that the special effects rocked my face. Time Square as a ghost town looked fantastic, as did the rest of the film. Great times.

Then of course there was the added horror element. If you haven’t seen it, I suggest you stop reading and come back once you have cause I’m about to give away a decent plot detail.

You sure you’re ok?

Alright, I think we’re good.

The flesh eating humans was a great move. What else could they have done with the film anyway? So he’s by himself in New York. Who cares? Unless however, he has to survive against something ridiculously scary. And I will say that watching Will Smith and his dog having to survive against mutated flesh eating humans scared the crap out of me. After the film as I was walking back to my car (in pitch black of course) I had to keep checking over my shoulder for something that was trying to guzzle my blood. Good times.

Best scene of the movie? It’s a no contest. When the dog is chasing the deer and suddenly veers off into the dark room.  When Smith searches for his dog in the pitch black room, it legitimately scares the crap out of you. You have no idea there are flesh eating people round the corner either!

It reminded me a lot of a film I saw last year called ‘The Descent’. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a more messed up movie in the history of cinema. A bunch of girls go caving only to find their exit has been blocked off. The rest of the movie follows them trying to find a way out, however their plans are derailed by flesh eating mutants that subsequently pick off the girls one by one. It’s gory, bloody, and by far the scariest movie I've ever seen. In a word: awesome.

Now, I’m a pretty emotionally detached person – especially when it comes to movies. The fact that I Am Legend could suck me in and make me not only care about what happened to the characters (the dog’s fate for instance was seriously bad times) but get me freaked out by the human survivors as well, is testament to how well it was made. Nice work!

So, looking back at the summer movie lineup, what’s my review? Overall: bad times. I Am Legend should’ve come out on Boxing Day, because it may have saved the Xmas film lineup. Sadly, it didn’t and therefore couldn’t. It was like going to the Olympics and finding out that both the swimming and athletics had been cancelled. Either that or going to a conference only to find out that Julia Gillard is giving the keynote address. Bad times. Seriously bad times..

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The big movies normally hit
screens on Boxing Day

Nick Cage
Nicholas Cage failed to deliver in
the National Treasure sequel


I Am Legend was unquestionably the best
film of the 07/08 Christmas period

'Descent' was by far the scariest
film I've ever seen