Culture: Hold on to the edge of your seat...
In the summer of 1998, a film was released called Deep Impact which boasted the tagline: "Oceans rise. Cities fall. Hope survives." After sitting through its two-hour running time, I decided a more appropriate tagline would be: "Summers come. Movies suck. Hope survives." It is one of the strange paradoxes of the blockbuster season that, no matter how disappointed we are, we always look forward to the following summer with giddy enthusiasm. Some day, we think, Hollywood will get it right.
To be fair, 2008 produced the best crop of blockbusters in a decade. It had its share of disappointments – Speed Racer, The Happening and The Mummy 3 – but it also boasted Iron Man, The Dark Knight and Wall-E. This year's crop looks equally promising, though that may just be the triumph of hope over experience.
First out of the traps was Watchmen on Friday – admittedly, a dog with fleas according to those who've seen it, but still... After that we'll have to endure two pointless sequels – The Fast and the Furious 4 and Crank 2 – before Wolverine is unveiled on 29 April. Even Hugh Jackman's song-and-dance antics at the Oscars haven't diminished enthusiasm for this, not least because the director is Gavin Hood, who won an Oscar for Tsotsi in 2006.
Then, on 8 May comes Star Trek (above), JJ Abrams' attempt to reboot the outer-space franchise with Simon Pegg as Scotty. June brings us Terminator Salvation and Transformers 2, while July sees the release of Ice Age 3 and a remake of The Taking of Pelham 123.
However, the biggest movie of the year – the one with the highest expectations riding on its shoulders – is Avatar, James Cameron's first major feature since Titanic. Cameron is noted for his innovative use of state-of-the-art technology and, at the very least, this promises to deliver the best 3D experience ever seen in a cinema.
Of course, 75 per cent of these films will be terrible – and, for all I know, Crank 2 may turn out to be the best of the bunch. One thing's for sure: we'll end up looking forward to the summer of 2010 with just as much fervour.
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