This Week In Blockbusters: Johnny Depp And Christia Bale Are "Public Enemies" And "Ice Age" Brings Back The Dinosaurs
Ah, the fourth of July. An extended weekend full of barbecue, fireworks, and big summer releases. Though, if I may be so bold, this year's tent-pole release date isn't as strong as I feel like it has been in the past. Though, perhaps this is because Will Smith is nowhere to be found, Michael Bay has already released his movie, and Arnold Schwarzenegger is still doing that whole 'politics' thing. This has been a big week for blockbusters in past years. Three of the four Die Hard films came out this weekend, where the phrase "yippee-ki-yay mother fucker" became oddly patriotic, Will Smith has had so many openers on this weekend it could practically be named after him (including the Men In Black movies, Hancock, Wild Wild West, and the appropriately titled Independence Day, which features the best presidential address since Gettysburgh), Superhero films have flourished and failed, and Michael Bay has decided fireworks just weren't explosive enough to celebrate the fourth like our forefathers would want, so decided he'd blow some shit up himself. Tack on some Terminator movies, more movies about alien invasions like War of the Worlds, and we've got ourselves a federal holiday. (But seriously, what is it about this weekend that spawns space oriented/heavy science fiction
Not so this year. When you look at the smash-hit lists from yesteryear, this weekend looks relatively tame. But that's not to say it won't be fun. First we'll have Johnny Depp and Christian Bale step out from two of the most financially successful film franchises ever and lend their talents to Public Enemies, a film about the depression bank-robbing wave lead by John Dillinger. Depp stars as Dillinger, and Bale stars the FBI agent, Melvin Purvis, who is trying to catch him.
My first fear is that Bale will still be locked in intense-grunt mode left over after The Dark Knight and Terminator Salvation. Assuming that isn't the case, this looks to be a rather enthralling film. Early reviews are pretty positive, praising both the actors as well as director Michael Mann. Dillinger was treated as a hero to many, who saw him as a modern day Robin Hood. But he was a killer as well. America had a rather strange habit glorifying and mythologizing our criminals. (I'm sorry, did I say had? Insert: Joke about any rapper). Bonnie and Clyde, Baby Face Nelson, Pretty Boy Floyd, Ma Barker; these people of the 'Public Enemy' era captivated U.S. press as they went on their crime sprees in the Midwest. Some people have since forgot how ruthless these people could be, and that they did, in fact, shoot a lot people in the face. John Dillinger himself was one of the most famous, known as 'Jackrabbit' for his speed and grace in heists (he was known to leap over furniture, something seen in the trailer for the film. Hooray accuracy!)
We also see in the preview that, during a bank heist, a bystander pulls out his money. "We're here for the bank's money," Dillinger says, "Not yours." Never mind that the bank's money belongs to him, and anyone who puts their money in the bank... But it was acts like this that made people transform him into some sort of hero. I am interested to see how the film portrays him.
I'm sure he'll find some way to quirk up this role.
This will draw in some crowds, certainly, but I'm going to guess the Transformers shadow is going to linger for this weekend.
Excitement Buzz: 7.8/10
Also coming out this Wednesday is the family film Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs. Now, I'm not one for historical accuracy, but this genre is starting to push even my limits. In the first film, the Ice Age began. Apparently, in the second, what seemed like 16 seconds later, it began to "Melt Down." Now, in the third one, it's the Dawn of the Dinosaurs. Really? Didn't they die out long before mastodons and woolly mammoths walked the earth? There sure seems to be a predominance of mammals in this series for there to be T-Rex's walking around. I'm okay with this, save for the fact that there are going to be very confused kids concerning particular geological time lines.
But it's okay! Because this doesn't actually claim that Dinosaurs didn't come around until this point in history. In Ice Age 3, they were believed to be extinct for a long time, but actually lived in a secret land under the earth's surface. How original, I don't think I've ever heard of that-
Alright, this whole 'dinosaurs living underground' bit needs to stop.
I actually really liked the first Ice Age film. I thought it was original, and interesting. The aspect of saving the human baby, along with Manny's tragic history involving humans, gave some pretty serious stuff for a kid's movie. The next film, however, looked too generic and standard 'cartoon sequel' like, where the plot consisted of "let's reverse the first movie" and whose purpose was to show more of Scrat's antics as he chased his acorn. Now this one seems to be, "okay, let's have them face dinosaurs!" I've seen bits and pieces of the second film, and wasn't just wildly impressed, and am not expecting much out of this. But perhaps I'm being unfair.
So while this is purely family fanfare, it might pull in some cash over the holiday weekend.
Excitement buzz: 4/10