Monday, August 26, 2013

Movie Monday: A Fall (Sequel) Preview

This fall, many of the upcoming scifi/fantasy movies that are getting the most press are sequels.  We start off with Thor: The Dark World which pretty much picks up where Thor left off, despite the fact that Thor himself played a key role in The Avengers between now and then.  Jane (Natalie Portman) is back, but this time, she gets taken to Asgard rather than Thor hanging out on Earth.  There's also been lots of talk about how Loki's screen time is getting beefed up, both in the film and in the trailer, which will hopefully make the film more complicated and interesting.  Take a look:

Thor: The Dark World releases in theaters in the U.S. on November 8, 2013.

Next up we've got the sequel to the 2012 hit The Hunger Games, starring Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss Everdeen.  The Hunger Games: Catching Fire follows the middle book of Suzanne Collins' popular series, and seems like it has the potential to capture the political complexity that marks this second  installment.

Donald Sutherland, playing President Snow, features more prominently in this film, as do other cinematic heavyweights such as Philip Seymour Hoffman.  I wasn't a huge fan of the second book, to be honest--it felt like a lot of treading water--but these casting choices give me hope that this second film will really take the opportunity to explore some of the political nuance and intrigue suggested by Collins' work.

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire opens in theaters in the U.S. on November 22, 2013.

Finally, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug opens on December 13, 2013 as the second installment in the 3-movie series (loosely) based on Tolkien's novel The Hobbit.  While this movie does have more of Smaug in it (voiced by Sherlock's Benedict Cumberbatch), it also seems like it will confirm many of our worst fears about what is going to happen in this trilogy:

Oh, hi Legolas!  I didn't know you were in this movie!  Watching this trailer, I probably wouldn't have known that it was a story centered on a single hobbit--I would actually have thought it was a story about Legolas.  And therein lies the problem with this trilogy for me.  By making it so big, and introducing so many other characters, the simplicity of Tolkien's original story is lost, and with it, much of what made the story great.

By Jen Miller