5 Hollywood Sequels That Will Feel Like Christmas Morning

I love the theater. I love smuggled candy and drinks, I love the fold-down-padded-seats, the tacky carpet, and the over-the-top theater intro music… (And for those who remember “the whisper,” skip ahead to :48 second mark)

Into this stew of amazing-ness, my friends and I would plan for, and look forward to a night at the movies. And on those nights, after the candy and soda were purchased, tickets paid for, and excitement levels fully built up, we arrived at the theater early. We didn’t much care for the best seat in the theater (though, that was always nice). We wanted to see the previews. As much as we wanted to see the paid for movie, we wanted to see what we would, in the future, also be paying to see. It was a glimpse into an exciting world of possibilities. A world where, because the movie hasn’t been released yet, it isn’t terrible. A world where imagination reigns supreme, and reality has no real authority. A world where the trailer’s music will make the movie look amazing- even if it never had a chance.

Previews are a vital part of our (the moviegoers’) experience. It gives us something to anticipate. It gives us hope that, even if this movie is a waste of money, the future is bright and maybe there will be something worth that 8 dollar movie ticket.

I love previews, and recently, there have been several movies in various stages of creation. Movies that I will, without a shadow of a doubt, see opening night. Movies that range from,  “I can’t imagine failing” to “I hope this wont be a waste.” I trust, though, that these movies will be worthy of my time and money.

Here we go…

Top Gun 2: (???)

Okay, so this movie is little more than a rumor, albeit a rumor worth an IMDB page. I remember watching the original with a friend of mine as a young boy. The planes, the motorcycles, and the dog-fighting scenes all blew the mind of a kid raised on cartoons and cheesy Power Rangers action sequences. The original movie, focused on Navy Fighter Pilots and a flight school named “Top Gun,” told the story of a young, cocky fighter pilot with a chip on his shoulder. He was careless and, as his call sign (“Maverick”) suggested, he was a loner. With one friend to his name, Maverick fights the demons from a life in the shadow of his father, learning along the way what it means to confront his fears, and to choose to be committed to someone, and something bigger than himself.

Enter the second movie. The world has changed since the previous movie, and technology has come a long way. Where once there were pilots to do the flying, we now have drones. In an interview, director Tony Scott has this to say:

I’m not waiting for a script by Christopher McQuarrie. I’m going to do my homework. I’m going down to Fallon, Nevada, it’s a whole different world now. These computer geeks — these kids play war games in a trailer in Fallon, Nevada and if we ever went to war or were in the Middle East or the Far East or wherever it is, these guys can actually fly drones. They are unmanned aircraft. They operate them and then they party all night.
[…]
They operate these drones like it’s war games, but it’s for real. This world fascinated me, because it’s so different from what it was originally. But, I don’t want to do a remake. I don’t want to do a reinvention. I want to do a new movie.

I suppose we’ll have to see how things progress, and maybe it will never see a big screen, but if that day does arrive- I will be there, and it will be able to do no wrong by me.

Mission: Impossible 4: December 16th, 2011

Hearing the two words, “Mission Impossible” will bring up exciting stories of secret agents, dramatic music, and a long…long…burning fuse.

Being a young kid, when I first watched the first of the Mission: Impossible trilogies, I was immediately sucked into this story. Ethan Hunt, the protagonist, is given an impossible mission to carry out…”should he choose to accept,” that is. The plot is filled with exciting shoot outs, double-crossing agents, computer hacking, and helicopters flying in tunnels.

They followed this action classic with, well, a very disappointing follow-up. M:I 2 was poorly written, and in an effort to keep people from noticing, they packed it full of explosions and other Hollywood antics. People noticed, though…and let Hollywood hear their displeasure.

Then came M:I3…it was better than the second, though still didn’t come close to the greatness of the original movie.

So, the truth is, I am probably setting myself up for a letdown here…but I can’t help myself. I want to want to like this movie. All I can  hope for is something between the quality of the first and third movie…I will hold out hope. The plot is, after the bombing of the Russian Kremlin, the U.S. President has disavowed the entire IMF team under charges of attempting to incite a worldwide nuclear war. Out to clear his name, Hunt escapes, and searches for the truth.

Even thought this is an overused plot line, I am hopeful for what Cruise and the Mission:Impossible franchise might produce.

Iron Man 3: May 3rd, 2013

Tony Starks, a billionaire playboy, creates a suit and fights crime. This isn’t a suit of spandex. No, it’s an all metal, flying war machine. In the first movie, he built it. In the second, the government tried to copy it…and in the third movie, well…we’ll have to wait and see.

In my opinion, the Iron Man franchise has yet to disappoint. Sure, the first and the second movies were nearly identical. Sure, I don’t really fear the antagonist in the movies. And, sure, during the second Iron Man, I could fairly easily predict the manner in which Starks was going to defeat his foe. Even after all this, I still love these movies. Why?  Because the writing is brilliant, the dialogue is incredibly well done…with impeccable comic timing provided by director Jon Favreau and actor Robert Downy Jr. They’ve created something that works. I find myself laughing throughout these movies.

Actually, it seems they poke fun at themselves throughout the movie. These days, superhero movies are a dime-a-dozen. When you watch other Superhero movies, you feel they are trying to convince you that they really are “Super.” You don’t see this desperate attempt in the Iron Man franchise. Starks is a regular (albeit, filthy rich…and brilliant) guy who enjoys fast cars (and suits) and doing things that might get him killed. I can respect that…and I look forward to the third movie.

The Dark Knight Rises: July 20th, 2012

To be honest, I am not sure how Christopher Nolan is going to follow-up the brilliance that was “The Dark Knight.” Playing the “Joker,” Heath Ledger created a feeling and persona on-screen that was terrifying. His presence will be hard to outdo. Though, if anyone can accomplish a successful follow-up, I think Nolan can.

The thing that strikes me about this Batman series is the sense of realism involved. Sure, there are times when what we see on-screen could not possibly translate into real life. All too often, though, superheroes are some form of an idealized “us.” They are what we wished we could be. They are the best of us, and never the worst. This is where Nolan separates from the pack. In these movies, we see a deeply conflicted and angry Bruce Wayne. We see someone deeply scarred by loss and influenced by his past. We see him struggle to make right choices, and we see the result of these decisions.

I believe that Nolan and Bale will team up and give us an amazing third installment, and chances are, I’ll be leaving the theater hoping upon hope that there will be a fourth.

The Hobbit (Prequel): December 14th, 2012

There are few movies that stir me like the Lord of the Rings. The scenery (Filmed in New Zealand), the music (from the genius mind of Howard Shore), and the sweeping story of good versus evil, unlikely heroes, and courage against all odds creates a longing within me to be part of something bigger than myself. Tolkien, the grandfather of the modern fantasy novel, didn’t just tell a story- he created an entire world for the reader to participate in. Many only know of Frodo Baggins and his trip to Mordor. The story that set the Trilogy in motion begins, ends, and is centered around another Hobbit- a hobbit that goes by the name of Bilbo. The Hobbit is a tale filled with danger, excitement, and again, unlikely heroes.

In the book, you watch as Bilbo and a band of dwarves nearly become dinner for three trolls. You witness Bilbo out-duel a slimy foe with riddles. You hold your breath as they journey through a haunted forest, fight spiders, and fight in battle of 5 massive battle sequences, and an attempt to rob a dragon. (What would a fantasy story be without a dragon?) My greatest anticipation rests in the fact that I cannot wait to see how these are portrayed on the big screen.

In the beginning stages of its adaptation to the big screen, “The Hobbit” was riddled with problems, delays, and departures. They had financial disputes, union disputes, and as a result of delays, had to replace the original director, Guillermo Del Toro. Fans of the movies began to think that this movie was just not destined to be. All worked out in the end, though, and The Hobbit is set to be released in two parts, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey and The Hobbit: There and Back Again. So, it looks as though we’ll be enjoying Middle Earth in 2012, and again in 2013.

Of all soon-to-come sequels (or prequels in this case), the two Hobbit movies are the ones I look forward to most.

I hope you have enjoyed my list. I’m sure many will disagree with the validity of my list, or quality of the movies I selected, and so, I pass it back to you. For those of you who read this, what soon-to-theater movies are you looking forward to seeing?

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