1) Avatar 2 & 3
Directed by James Cameron
Yeah, the first Avatar has just been released on DVD, and yeah, the sequel and possible third entry are still in the negotiating stages (which is likely just James Cameron smiling with open arms as Fox piles big bags with dollar signs into his open arms), but as soon as Cameron said that he originally foresaw Avatar as a trilogy, he instantly guaranteed himself several hundreds of millions of dollars of our money that we will gladly fork over.
The thought process goes something like this: there is no release date for Avatar 2– don’t care, gimmie. No one, including Cameron is signed on- don’t care, gimmie! There isn’t even a script yet- don’t care gimmie!! And so on.
All we ask is that the sequels don’t suck. Sure, we want them to be every bit as jaw droppingly awesome as the original, but as long as they don’t straight up suck, we will be ok with it. There is nothing worse than when a fantastic opening to a trilogy is ruined by mediocre and bewildering sequels. Especially when the sequels involve a bunch of hippies dancing in a cave for five straight minutes of screen time (looking at YOU, Matrix). Make it pretty, throw in 3D, and you already have at the very least, a watchable movie. The effects alone should give it a bit of a pass at parts, just like the first movie did when it comes to the originality of the “Dances With Blue Monkeys meets FernGully” plot.
The proposed sequels will almost certainly be in 3D, and if they are even just decent, they could further push the 3D TV market, so there could be a lot riding on the return to Pandora. So please James Cameron, we all love you and have faith. Just don’t suck!
2) The Avengers
Directed by Joss Whedon (in negotiations)
This movie has fanboys all tingly in naughty places. If it rocks, it will be like having awesome poured through your eyeballs into your brain. It would be a small justification for the millions of kids that read comics through their childhood while others were out playing sports and talking to girls. It is the movie that has been playing in the heads of comic book fans for years and years, and it could be the high water mark that all other superhero movies aspire to. Or it could be the silver bullet that kills the burgeoning golden age of superhero movies that we are now entering. Kills. It. Dead.
When it comes to mechanics, the more moving parts, the more likely something is to fail- it is simply the law of averages; and this movie has a lot of moving parts. On paper it sounds easy: you make a movie with characters that all have their own back stories in other movies and you create a cinematic universe. Assuming each upcoming lead-in film is successful, you then have proven characters that will be part of a franchise. It is a nerd orgy of awesome, so what can go wrong? A whole lot.
There are still a lot of hurdles before this movie even begins pre-production. Iron Man 2 is a bona fide hit but Thor and Captain America are still over a year away from theaters; Ed Norton’s Hulk was meh-tacular, and there might be issues between Norton and the studio- assuming they even want the character of the Hulk in the movie. And then you have the onscreen chemistry. Robert Downey Jr. eats the screen up when he is on, whether he is Iron Man, Sherlock Holmes, or a white man playing a black man (Tropic Thunder). Can Chris Evans as Captain America rival him on screen? Will Thor be relegated to the background? Where does Samuel L. Jackson’s Nick Fury fit in, and does Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow get a role? If Ed Norton does appear as the Hulk, can he make an impact before his CGI alter ego takes over? Will they introduce more Avengers, and if so, how do you prevent those characters that don’t have their own movies from being totally overlooked? Can any movie with this much background and potential live up to its own hype? And so on.
Despite all these problems- or “challenges” as we say in the corporate world, if this movie reaches its potential, it will rock hard. Plus, the studio is negotiating with Joss Whedon (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Firefly) to direct and to re-write the Avengers script. Oh, and Nathan Fillion (Firefly) is rumored to be Hank Pym aka Giant Man/Ant Man. If you are a comics fan, and that news doesn’t have you fist pumping the air in joy, then please seek medical attention because you might be dead.
To put the hype for this movie in context, above is a logo from a viral video from Iron Man 2 that enough people think looks like the Avengers logo, that the video has had millions upon millions of hits.
3) Batman 3
July 20, 2012
Directed by Christopher Nolan
If there was any question about whether or not this movie was anticipated, the fact that the announcement of Batman 3‘s July release date two years away, making the number one spot on Yahoo’s “trending now” should have answered that. Like Shultz in Hogan’s Heroes, “we know nothing!” about this movie. Nothing at all. Even if every internet site with a keyboard has a theory.
All we know is that Christian Bale, Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman, Gary Oldman, and Christopher Nolan are all contractually obligated to return – that’s it. Beyond that, despite dozens of “insiders” claiming Catwoman will be in it, or that the Riddler is the main baddie, there is nothing. Nolan hasn’t even finished writing the story. Regardless, the hype and speculation will continue until the sequel hits theaters.
Unlike Avatar which has the advantage of 3D and special effects, this sequel will be scrutinized from top to bottom. There is a lot to live up to. The Dark Knight is the fifth highest grossing movie of all time (number three in the U.S.), and it featured an Oscar winning performance by Heath Ledger, whose tragic death further pushed the hype of the movie.
Nolan is the man, but he is chasing his own shadow. The Dark Knight simply had several things going for it: the timing, the performances, the story. Everything worked, and it became an event. In order to top that, things will need to be absolutely perfect. The movie is in a sense competing with itself. Stiff competition.
4) Captain America: The First Avenger
July 22, 2011
Directed by Joe Johnston
The pressure upon this move is intense. It is the lump of coal that could become a diamond, or it could just be- well, a broken lump of coal. Iron Man 2 is already doing well. Thor can suck and it won’t matter a whole lot. But if Captain America: The First Avenger fails, and if Chris Evans can’t pull it off, the Avengers movie is doomed and all of Marvel’s hopes and dreams die with it. But no pressure.
Director Joe Johnston has his work cut out for him. His last movie The Wolfman failed to meet expectations, mainly because it was horrible. Badly acted, badly directed, badly scripted. It failed on multiple levels, and the poor box office numbers confirmed the failure. Now he has the fate of a billion dollars in projects on his shoulders. But hey, he directed Honey, I Shrunk the Kids, so he has that going for him. So again, no pressure.
Chris Evans is a good actor that has been on the verge of mega-stardom for awhile now. He has shown a great deal of range, and he even managed to look ok in a pair of truly awful Fantastic Four movies, despite the movies doing everything they possibly could to drag him down. He has his work cut out for him, and not just in this movie- he will be a major key to The Avengers success or failure. If The Avengers is going to work, Evans will need to both rival the likes of Robert Downey Jr., Samuel L. Jackson, and possibly Ed Norton, and also be believable as their leader.
This movie has to do more than just not suck, it needs to be good. Great would be better, but good would be passable too. If it sucks, Marvel’s movie department is in trouble and thousands of people may be out of work, not to mention the ruined childhood dreams of millions of fans. No pressure at all.
5) Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows 1&2
November 19, 2010/ July 15, 2011
Directed by David Yates
This is technically two movies (but not really). With the sun setting on the Harry Potter franchise, Warner Bros is looking to make the magic last just a bit longer, and give the final climactic episode the proper treatment that it richly deserves! Of course the fact that two movies will make twice as much money as one has nothing to do with it, nothing at all.
The Harry Potter movies have been good, and will likely be with us through repeats and rewatchings for years to come, but the plots have holes in them. For example, in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (spoilers), the final battle between Harry and Voldemort ends when their wands connect and create a feedback that saves Harry’s life and creates an eerie and memorable encounter with Voldemort’s most recent victims, including Harry’s parents. When Harry returns and talks to Dumbledore, he asks about what had happened. Readers knew through a long and detailed explanation that the wands were from the same source and so they could not be fully used against each other, something that has a major impact on the final book. Viewers of the movie were treated to Dumbledore enigmatically nodding and saying “prior incantani”. And that’s it. No explanation, no nothing. What the hell! They didn’t bother to explain how a 13-year-old boy survived a confrontation with a monster that could probably kick the devil in the balls and laugh. Then the movie just kind of forgot about it and distracted the audience with the cinematic equivalent of something shiny.
Plot holes like that exist in all of the movies, but with this being the final movie- sorry, final two movies (“alakamoney”, bam, double the profits!), hopefully the plot will at least make an effort to make some kind of sense. If it is awesome, all plot holes will be forgiven. If it sucks, it will cheapen the entire series and undermine everything that came before, and Harry Potter fans- who are legion- might take to the streets and riot. Probably not, but it could happen.
6) The Power of the Dark Crystal
Directed by Michael Spierig & Peter Spierig
For the most part it is hard to get excited about this movie for two reasons. First, details on it are scarce, even the exact release is unknown. Second, it is kinda hard to remember the original since it was several decades ago. But this movie made the list for the simple reason that to mess it up now would be like going back into our childhoods and bitch slapping our first puppy. You don’t have to remember the original to remember that it was a part of many people’s childhoods. Why not go ahead and remake The Goonies and really just screw our childhood’s up? No, wait… Hollywood, that was a joke. DO NOT REMAKE THE GOONIES!
There really is no reason to make a sequel to this movie. Sure Hollywood is reboot happy, and execs are willing to mine the depths of any and all potential properties, but why mess with this movie? Who was clammering for it? Muppet enthusiasts? The original was a movie for kids that retains with us through a heavy dose of nostalgia, but is that the new target audience? 30-year-olds that love muppets? A somewhat odd and potentially creepy group.
Then again, maybe this is a good movie to remake or sequel-ize because it carries a certain amount of name recognition without being tied too closely to the original. So on behalf of our childhoods, we hope this movie doesn’t suck. It is already a precarious move to mess with it, so don’t screw it up, Hollywood. And if you touch The Goonies, we will shank you.
7) Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World
August 13, 2010
Directed by Edgar Wright
Edgar Wright is a bad ass. He is one of those directors that has a unique view of filmmaking which makes his material seem fresh and new. Even if you didn’t like his previous box office darlings Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz, even if you hated his British cult TV show Spaced, it is hard to deny that he is a talented director. So we have high hopes for his new movie.
Scott Pilgrim vs. the World looks cool, and perhaps more importantly, it looks unique- something that is becoming increasingly rare in Hollywood. Of all the movies on the list, this one seems to be the one that most messes with the conventions of filmmaking. So we hope it doesn’t suck, because if it does, the chances are that we will see less movies like it and more sequels to franchises that should have been allowed to go gracefully into that great goodnight (looking at you, Die Hard. Right at you). It could also potentially limit directors like Wright in favor of more predictable directors. Imagine a world where directors like Michael Bay ran free. The horror, the horror…
The movie is also based on an obscure, but well loved comic, so again, if it fails the likelihood of more independent comics making the big screen drops. KickAss was a great movie but it just did ok in the box office, not great, and unless the studios start seeing $$$ off of indie comics that become movies, the genre could go away- or worse yet, they could buy the rights to the sourcel material and take a fantastic and original idea that no one has done yet, and then put Angelina Jolie and a “Loom of Fate” in it. But we’re not packing a grudge about the rewriting of Wanted. Not at all.
8) Star Trek 2
June 29, 2012
Directed by JJ Abrams (In Negotiations)
The first movie was cool, and it rebooted a 40-year-old franchise that carried the blood, sweat and tears of nerds everywhere, and it did it in style. No easy task. So now that the Trekkies have been appeased and JJ Abrams doesn’t have to sleep with a gun under his pillow, we can see what happens!
The sequel should keep the vibe of the original series, but it is not as tethered to it as the first. Granted, the reboot managed to turn that tether into something cool and unique, but seeing what Abrams can do without restrictions should be worth seeing. The only thing we know about the sequel is that it has been confirmed, and that the leads are all contractually obligated to be in it. If it is good, expect a third movie to be announced within a year of the second’s release, probably sooner. If it is not, pray for JJ Abrams.
Paramount is putting all its hopes for Star Trek in Abrams lap. The movies are high visibility, but a good TV show can make a lot of money and generate income for 7 years or more. Star Trek: The Next Generation ran for 7-years, as did Deep Space Nine and Voyager. Enterprise, not so much, but the fans love their Trek. As long as the movies do well, Trekkies will be appeased. It isn’t the same as a weekly show, but one day the series could move back to the small screen. If the movies tank, the Trek franchise will likely hibernate for several years, and we won’t get any more TV programming or movies of any kind from Abrams, as he will likely be in hiding after militant Trekkies declare a fatwa on him.
9) Tron Legacy
December 17, 2010
Directed by Joseph Kosinski
Ok Disney, do not mess this one up. The original movie was awesome. Sure it was insanely unrealistic, but who cares, it was neat. It came from a time when people believed that computers could do anything. ANYTHING. Be self aware? Sure. Take over the world? Easy. Break down matter and transport it into a computer system? Done. And despite the fact that an iPhone is probably more powerful than the ENCOM system that nearly ruled the world in the first movie, we didn’t care. Because Tron rocked.
So of all movies to get a true CGI facelift, doing up Tron is cool, it deserves it, and everything that we have seen looks good. Jeff Bridges is back, and they did the Benjamin Button thing to make him look young. Awesome! The star Garrett Hedlund, is supposed to be an up and comer, and Olivia Wilde is in it too. She’s pretty! Bruce Boxleitner is back, the movie is in 3D, and the technology should shine. All good things! They even signed Daft Punk to do the music for the entire movie! The film has been in production for over a year, so it sounds like Disney is treating it right, and the recently released trailer looks cool. So what could go wrong?
Well, let’s start with the director Joseph Kosinski. That name may be unfamiliar to most readers. That’s because he has never directed a movie. Or a TV show. Or a music video. He did a few commercials, but that’s it. And now he is in charge of a technically demanding big budget movie that is in 3D, shot mainly in CGI, with all the pressure of making a sequel to an original movie that has had 28 years to build on its cult status. What could possibly go wrong?
10) Twilight Saga: Eclipse
June 30, 2010
Directed by David Slade
This movie is blah blah blah….. ok, the series already sucks on many levels. When you have a movie that takes Anna Kendrick (Up in the Air), arguably- actually, probably not even arguably- the best actress in the movie, and you marginalize her character into a whiny and obnoxious friend to a self obsessed emo chick, then you know you are in trouble.
Sparkly vampires, a forced love story with manufactured chemistry between three dull and uninterested looking stars all trying to out pose each other, an unsympathetic lead character that likes to cock tease a werewolf, and source material that decided to throw out literary conventions in favor of… well, sucking. And yet the books have sold more copies than a civilized society can rationally explain, and the movies have made enough money to justify our extinction as a society.
So why is this on our list of movies we hope don’t suck? Because somehow, somewhere, odds are that someone will make us watch it. A girlfriend, a young family member, someone that won a bet and hates you, etc. So we hope that it doesn’t suck for entirely selfish reasons. The fourth and final installment is already guaranteed (and will possibly be split into two movies), so it doesn’t matter. Even if the movie lost money, even if the movie is worse than Battlefield Earth, even if it is so bad that moviegoers begin to spontaneously combust rather than endure any more, there will be another Twilight movie. So we hope it doesn’t suck because we are already screwed.
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