Summer Sequels

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As the summer rolls along, the family is slowly playing catch-up on all the movies and television we’ve been too busy to watch during opening weekends or the actual airdate. This meant that it was only Saturday when I finally got to see Ocean’s 13, the latest in the summer series of third films from a variety of franchises.

On its own, Ocean’s 13 is a slick caper movie with an easy rapport among all the actors. Some don’t get enough screen time and there’s a presumption you know who all the players are so introductions must have been deemed superfluous. Al Pacino made a convincing heavy and I wish there was more between him and Danny Ocean and Pacino vs. Andy Garcia. It’s also a shame Ellen Barkin was the only woman in the film since it felt aimed squarely at the guys. It was fun to see her again although she was a little over the top in her later scenes. Still and all, it was a breezy way to pass two hours, and it was clearly a better film than the first sequel.

The fates saw to it we had the third installment of many franchises this summer, with one more (Rush Hour) to go. In terms of building on the source material and first films, none of them have been total disasters, and this one may be the best of the bunch (and I say this without having Shrek 3). Having said that, it’s certainly not the greatest film of the summer but it doesn’t demand much of the audience, it’s easy to follow and isn’t padded. Spider-Man 3, for example, had too much going on to the disservice of the characters. Now, before you all go jumping up and down about Pirates 3, much as I loved it was still somewhat bloated whereas this one was tighter. (You may now defend your faves.)

Maybe the success of Knocked Up will inspire Hollywood to try more original fare, and smarter content as well. Movies like Waitress and No Reservations also got good reviews and should both do reasonable business, again encouraging the studio decision makers.

I saw all of this as the dust from the Comicon settles. The weeklong geek fest certainly brought out all the genre and near-genre films coming out between now and next summer. The need for a better blend between first-timers and sequels, adaptations and original fare exists and this summer’s schedule more than proves that.

3 comments

  • Bob Ahrens

    Bobby G.

    I have to agree with you. Through all the ballyhoo and peer pressure to attend one of the three-quels this year, I’ve had the best time with the “Originals” like “Ratatoille” and “Waitress”. And let’s not forget “Hot Fuzz” which was hilarious and brutal and scary and heartwarming all at once. Yes I’m looking forward to “Rush Hour 3”, not only because I feel Brett Ratner is a under-appreciated director. Both previous installments did not require you to see it from the beginning to “get” it. So too with the next chapter, it looks like it’s going to rely on the amazing talents of Jackie Chan, and the amazing humor of Chris Tucker, who manages to be over-the-top and funny without being vulgar. ( Chris Rock and Cedric the Un-Entertainer should take notice). If the previews are an accurate indication, they have preserved this. I love the bit with the old Chinese man named Yu and the young one named Mei. Sure it plays like a corny and stupid “Who’s on First” gag, but that’s the point… It makes you laugh anyway without the gross-out humor so common these days.

    Bob Ahrens

  • Userful blog. Thanks!

  • Userful blog. Thanks!