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Summer Movie Wrap-up

Scene Staff Report | Tuesday, August 21, 2012

“Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter”

Easily the most underrated film of the summer, “Vampire Hunter” rewrote history in its own fantastical, ridiculous and awesomely fun way. Critics lambasted the film for taking itself too seriously and having a plot that was simultaneously complex and uninteresting, among other failures. But what the film lacked in Oscar potential, it made up in Abraham Lincoln exploding through vampires with an axe. Don’t even try to say that’s not awesome, because it is.

“Prometheus”

In the wake of one of the creepiest and most awe-inspiring trailers of the summer, as well as a number of equally intriguing Internet marketing campaigns, “Prometheus” rolled into theaters with high expectations. But director Ridley Scott, who many credit with redefining the sci-fi genre in the 1970s and ’80s, missed the mark with this one. While definitely creepy from start to finish, the movie runs too long, gets too confusing, tries to accomplish too much and does too little to be the grand return to science fiction it was hailed as.

“The Bourne Legacy”

The return of the action series that cemented Matt Damon as a legitimate star came without Damon, without Paul Greengrass – who directed the second and third films in the series – and without a Robert Ludlum novel as its base, which further distinguished the movie from its predecessors. But to overcome these obstacles, the film offers rising action star Jeremy Renner and proven writer-director Tony Gilroy, who co-wrote the first three films. The film continues the storyline of the first three films and has many similar elements, such as big action sets and car chases. However, Renner’s screen presence makes the film stand on its own. Despite an abrupt ending and a few too many scenes of people talking about things the audience isn’t supposed to completely understand, the film as a whole works as a solid continuation in the series.

“The Amazing Spider-Man”

“The Amazing Spider-Man,” starring Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone, was a fabulous start to the 2012 summer movie season. It was thrilling and well cast. The movie was packed with surprising plot twists, but it was the on-screen chemistry of the cast that held the story together. Peter Parker’s relationships with his aunt, uncle and Gwen captured the viewer’s attention and helped to flesh out the intricacies of the character’s life and Spider-Man’s development. The film definitely ranks among the best of the summer.

“Snow White and the Huntsman”

“Snow White and the Huntsman” definitely does not tear a page from the “Snow White” story of Disney fame. This Snow White tale features Kristen Stewart in the lead role, flanked by Chris Hemsworth as the Huntsman and Charlize Theron as the Evil Queen. While it’s not the happy tale so loved by many of our preschool selves, this summer blockbuster deserves its praise. Despite Stewart’s ever-present lack of emotional range, the dark overtones and eerie special effects redeem the film and make an impressive addition to the growing collection of slightly-twisted fairy tales.

“Brave”

Merida, heroine of Disney Pixar’s “Brave,” became the newest member of the Disney princess family with the film’s release at the beginning of this summer. Merida doesn’t quite fit the family mold, however. She makes the rare decision to refuse a prince (even Mulan finds her match in Shang) and retains both parents (despite the fact her mother temporarily becomes a bear). These two facts alone make “Brave” an impressive example of a possible change in the modern Disney princess storyline. “Brave” is no “Tangled,” but its Scottish brogues and brilliant animation make it another solid Disney production.

“The Dark Knight Rises”

The last film of director Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy, “The Dark Knight Rises” was one of the most anticipated movies of the summer, and it definitely surpassed many viewers’ expectations. After eight years in hiding, Batman (Christian Bale) comes back to save Gotham from a new terrorist group lead by Bane (Tom Hardy). Although many in the city first considered the superhero an enemy, Batman’s incredible actions give the people of Gotham the confidence they need to help their hero and defeat Bane. This movie has a very interesting and active plot, good acting and great special effects. “The Dark Knight Rises” is not to be missed.