Summer Movie Shake Down

So the summer is almost over, and there's been a lot of high profile movies released. How have these flicks stacked up so far? The Geek answers!

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull: It wasn't bad. It just wasn't good. Take out Indy and Mutt, add Mulder and Scully, and you have the movie that X-Files: I Want to Believe should have been.

Iron Man: Excellent comic book movie. Robert Downey Jr. is back in a big way, finally hitting his stride in a mainstream role. I'm looking forward to his next role as an African American army sergeant in Tropic Thunder.

The Incredible Hulk: Another good comic book film. I'd rate it slightly behind Iron Man, but not by much. Marvel Studios really knows what it's doing with its beloved properties. Here's hoping they can keep the ball rolling with The Avengers.

The X-Files: I Want to Believe
: A solid, monster of the week standalone episode of the quirky 90's television show. Series fans will be happy to see Mulder and Scully together again. Unfortunately, there's nothing special about this film. It won't make any new fans and is unlikely to inspire enough old fans to warrant a revival.

The Happening: A good effort by M. Night Shyamalan. The movie doesn't have a twist, so get over it. Some of the acting and dialogue feels off tempo, but I attributed much of it as an attempt to emulate science fiction films from the 50's era. As usual of Night's work, I'd recommend it, but check your brains and expectations at the door.

WALL-E: The single best animation AND science fiction film released in years. It's a movie for everyone, young or old, male or female. The design of the protagonist may be a bit too reminiscent of Short Circuit's Johnny Five, but as an old fan I preferred to think of it as an homage. The film deals with some weighty issues for a kids movie, and the fact that there is almost zero dialogue for the first 45 minutes or so was a ballsy move. The scathing commentary of modern American culture hits the bullseye.

HellBoy II: The Golden Army
: A fantastic follow up to the first film, expanding on the characters and the world they live in. Del Toro brings his 'A' game and paints a wonderous fantasy world, especially a scene where the heroes visit the Troll Market, a segment that greatly reminded me of Harry's first stroll down Diagon Alley in the first Potter film. Unfortunately the script is a bit heavy on exposition and some of the clunkier elements from the first film seem to carry over. Also, the opening flashback sequence which recounts the tale of the Golden Army to young Hellboy features some of the worst makeup effects I've seen in the theater in quite some time. Not a good way to start a film, putting potentially new fans on the defensive in the first scene.

The Dark Knight
: Hands down, the film of the summer. This is the Empire Strikes Back of our generation. Take everything about Batman Begins and turn the dial to the max. The movie is so great because it strives to be more than just another comic book movie. This film works as a crime-drama and a James Bond-style action adventure. Heath Ledger's performance as the Joker is spot on, giving us the most accurate cinematic version of the Clown Prince of Crime yet realized. Aaron Eckhart really turns heads as the brave district attorney, Harvey Dent.

Remember, the summer isn't over yet! Pineapple Express hits theaters on August 4th and Tropic Thunder opens August 15th. This has definitely been one of the strongest summer film seasons of recent memory. It's a good time to be a geek.