A Man and His Movies

Dream thieves and discarded toys save a rather lackluster summer

By Sean Harris ’11
THE ROUNDUP

Another summer movie season has come and gone, and now that it’s over it could be classified with a gigantic “eh.”

It’s still better than last summer, a summer that offered “Star Trek”—and not much else. This summer gave us monumentally epic movies such as “Inception” and “Toy Story 3.” Beyond the obvious two, what else was there?

“Iron Man 2” was great, but fell short of expectations. “Scott Pilgrim” was a gem but unfortunately went up against Stallone and Co. in “The Expendables.”

And “Piranha 3D”? A lot of fun; look at it the right way and it’s actually a very effective horror movie.

For every great movie, there was a “The Last Airbender” or a “Vampires Suck” and for every one of those, there was something that was just there before fading from the collective mind of movie viewers (“The Prince of Persia”).

Maybe this is a far reaching effect of the writers’ strike in early 2008. Maybe theaters are so cluttered with mindless reboots, adaptations and sequels and this was just the year when it stood out the most.

It’s just sad to believe that summers have fallen this far since the excellent movie season of 2008; a summer when “The Dark Knight,” “Iron Man,” and many other fun movies came out to keep audiences entertained while they were escaping the heat.

Speaking of “The Dark Knight,” Christopher Nolan delivered yet again with “Inception”; a twisty journey through the subconscious, an ambitious movie that manages to pull it all off, mainly due to the efforts of Nolan.

This has been Nolan’s first film since “The Dark Knight” and original no less; a big risk to take. It seems it paid off, and as of Sept. 3, the box office gross of “Inception” has reached $272 million.

However, this doesn’t even touch on the box office success of “Toy Story 3,” a movie that in my own personal opinion also surpasses “Inception” in quality.

“Toy Story 3” is (maybe) the last film in the successful Pixar-made trilogy, and takes the perspective of the toys, Woody, Buzz and Co. as Andy, their owner, prepares to leave for college. It’s heartfelt, nostalgic and most importantly entertaining.

All of these qualities added up to a huge box office haul ($406 million by Sept. 3) and $1 billion internationally; an honor bestowed to only six other movies.

Those are the two movies that stood out the most to me and it’s a little disappointing that I can only mention two.

However, there is some hope for next year with “Thor” (May 2011) and “Captain America” (July 2011) fully setting the stage for “The Avengers” (scheduled for summer 2012).

Anticipation has slowly but steadily been building for this film, which could either launch a new era of superhero ensemble movies, or be a gigantic, epic disaster. No pressure, Marvel.

Next year is shaping up to be the year of the superhero with “Green Lantern” (May 2011) and “X-Men: First Class” (June 2011) also hitting theaters.

But maybe it’s a bad thing I’m already looking at next summer with hope. All I can do now is thank Nolan and Pixar for giving audiences two fantastic films.

I’ll be anxiously awaiting the next round of big-budgeted movies with a bucket of popcorn in one hand and a galleon of soda in the other.