It’s finally here, the Crusade’s summer movie wrap-up (and the Crusade’s first duel blog).
So what is the wrap-up?
Well, it’s been several months and eleven movies in the making (Sorry, “The Help,” but we can’t include you in this number).
And now it’s time for the final weigh-ins. Yes, that’s right, it’s awards time.
We’d like to say this little experiment was all fun and games, although there was plenty of both. However, it turns out that fairly and honestly reviewing movies of which most will never be nominated by the Academy is hard work.
Nails were bitten, minds expanded, midnight oil burned, and we can’t thank you all enough for bearing with us.
We hope you enjoyed it as much as we did.
Of course, all good things must end, but we thought we’d go out with a bit of a bang.
So here it is, the first annual summer movie wrap-up. And to all of the movies not mentioned below, we can’t all be winners…
Stephanie: I know, I know, it’s a little obvious. But when you go into a movie thinking that the weakest link is going to be Blake Lively (no offense Blake…love the travelling pants) and it turns out to be the whole plot, it sticks with you.
Such a waste of a perfectly good cast (Peter Sarsgaard, Mark Strong, Angela Bassett, Tim Robbins) and premise (a movie about a magical ring). Pure and utter exhaustion got me through this movie…oh and Ryan Reynolds…I can’t stay mad at you, but I sure am going to try.
Zer: After my glowing review of “Green Lantern” this may come as a bit of a surprise, but sometimes it hurts more when you expect better. And from a franchise that relaunched the career of Johnny Depp, and solidified Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightley as household names, I expected much better. The original films were all but completely discarded, and what we were left with was a mess of old gags, a two-dimensional villain, and a collection of static characters. Of course, Mr. Depp will always be awesome as Captain Jack, and there will always be a special place in my heart for Geoffrey Rush as Captain Barbossa, but this movie left me longing for some familiar and friendlier tides.
Stephanie: I suppose what’s most surprising about this movie is that I expected it to be good. But by the time we got around to it, my standards for a good superhero movie had been drastically lowered. So the expectations I had arrived at were somewhere around “please don’t insult my intelligence, or bore me to tears.”
This movie surpassed not only those seriously lowered standards, but the original (much higher) as well. It has heart, and history, and style. It’s entertaining and well acted. Everything a superhero movie should be and then some.
Zer: With Chris Hemsworth’s larger than life biceps, plus the overly theatrical costumes and acting featured in the trailers, “Thor” had campy cinema written all over it. And in many ways it is just that, but it’s also good. The strength of this film lies in its light heartedness. It does not take itself too seriously, but it still tells a compelling story. Plus, it comes with a completely adorable little love story (still breaking my heart). Maybe it was my incredibly mixed expectations, but this one definitely surprised me.
Stephanie: I have to get this out of my system: All Hail Caesar…and Andy Serkis. This man is fantastic. For those who are confused right now, let me explain. Yes, Caesar is animated, but Andy Serkis is the man he is animated around. The emotion, the movement, the voice, are this man.
I have a feeling this will be echoed in my fellow Crusader’s entry, but Mr. Serkis deserves a nomination (and deserved one for the Lord of the Rings). He is the emotional center of this piece. Inspiring.
Zer: This was an easy one. The eternal optimist in me hopes that the Academy will do the right thing, and at least throw Andy Serkis a nomination. However, just in case, the Crusade is giving him the sweep in this category. His acting may have appeared on the screen via motion-capture technology, but Andy Serkis as Caesar is one of the most realistic acting accomplishments of this summer. Serkis’ physical performance and use of raw emotion is incredibly moving. Words can be powerful tools, but his performance requires none (for the most part). It’s an inspiring performance.
Most Likely to Make It Into the Personal Movie Collection:
And how would I host the annual HP marathons without the complete set?
But for all of you who held out to buy them all at once, I applaud you. The wait is over. Who knew you’d end up buying them on blu-ray. Amazing what can happen in just over a decade.
Zer: Full disclosure, I was checking the DVD release date for this one on Amazon about an hour after leaving the movie theater. As a proud owner of the original X-Men trilogy, “X-Men: First Class” was probably going to end up in my personal collection anyways (assuming it wasn’t a revisiting of “X-Men Origins: Wolverine). But this fresh take on the franchise with its great new, young cast (James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, and Jennifer Lawrence), I will proudly place alongside the rest with hopes that there will be more to follow.
I admit this as much for the series as a whole as it is for this film. It’s been the journey of a lifetime for so many fans and will continue to be cherished for years and years to come.
The final chapter is epic and intimate and beautifully done.
Zer: I admit that I had every intention of giving this honor to a certain boy wizard (and he’s still a close second). But this one blew me away. Not only is there the already mentioned inspiring motion-capture performance by Andy Serkis, but there’s also the rest of the beautiful CGI work created by the artists at Weta Workshops, and a surprisingly poignant story with an incredibly relevant message. This film embraces the franchise it comes from, but also makes some changes for the better. It’s not only better than it should be, it’s a great film, and raises the bar for future summer blockbusters. Plus, it has those “damn dirty apes.”
And on that note, can’t believe we’re about to say this but: That’s all folks… for now.
…All of you out-of-season summer blockbusters, don’t think you’ve escaped our judgement: