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Sci-Fi Movie Preview June 2005 : Howl`s Moving Castle, Batman Begins, War of the Worlds
© RevolutionSF
June 20, 2005

June 10

Howl's Moving Castle (U.S. release; www.nausicaa.net/miyazaki/howl)

Kevin: Everyone should be required to see this movie.

Peggy: I remember enjoying the book sometime in the distant past, so it could be worth a look.

Jayme: Could Howl be anywhere near the masterpiece Spirited Away is? Can any movie be? Ooh, we can hope, can't we?

June 17

Batman Begins (www.batmanbegins.com)

Joe: Full circle for Morgan Freeman, who started out working with Spider-Man on Electric Company.

Peggy: Sure, why not? Heck, I'll go see it just because Joel Schumacher had nothing to do with it.

Rick: This looks really cool . . . but I've been fooled before.

Jayme: I'm cautiously optimistic, taking solace in the fact that no matter how bad it ultimately is, there's no way it can stoop to the depths of those Schumacher-helmed travesties.

Jason: Directed by the same guy who directed Memento. Plus, Christian Bale (American Psycho, Equilibrium, Reign of Fire) is pretty much guaranteed to be a better Batman than Keaton, Kilmer and Clooney combined. A dream cast if I've ever seen one — Bale, Freeman, Gary Oldman, Liam Neeson, Michael Caine, Rutger Hauer, Ken Watanabe. The only thing missing is Johnny Depp. Guaranteed to be miles better than any Marvel property released this year, including (sorry, true believers) The Fantastic Four.

Mark: Two villains, one of them really dumb-looking, a revamped origin sequence, and the most bland and unassuming actor since Sam Neill to don the Bat-Cowl. Then there's the cute scene in the previews where young master Bruce is driving the Batmobile Lunar Buggy around and asks, "Does it come in black?" (shades of "Alfred, let's go shopping" from the Tim Burton era).

If Birds of Prey was the last Bat-themed thing to leave the Warner Brothers office, is there ANY reason on God's Green Earth, why I should trust this movie to not suck? Yeah, I didn't think so. It'd be nice to be wrong. Like how I was wrong about the X-Men. I just said X-Men to remind you that the bar for superhero movies (Spider-Man) has been raised substantially since the last time we saw a Bat-Movie.

June 29

War of the Worlds (Tom Cruise and Steven Spielberg version; www.waroftheworlds.com)

Jason: Another chance for Cruise and Spielberg to upgrade a great SF author's vision with ridiculous action set pieces and gross-out humor. (Minority Report, anyone?) It'll be entertaining in a pedestrian post-1993 Spielberg sort of way.

Rick: One Spielberg/Cruise butchering of a science fiction story was enough for an entire lifetime.

Kevin: I'm sorry, but nothing can ever compare to the glorious TV series.

Jayme: Didn't we see this one a few years ago? Only it starred Will Smith and was called Independence Day?

Joe: What's next? Sandra Bullock's Forbidden Planet?

Mark: No, it'll be Jennifer Lopez' Metropolis. "Don't be fooled by the size of the rock. I'm still a robot from the block." Dude, that's the crossover appeal they've been looking for. The Tom Cruise version of WotW will be full of pretty stuff going boom. That's about it. At least it will be better than Independence Day. . . .

Shane: Speaking of parodies we'll hopefully never see, don't forget Will Smith's I, Robot — oh, right.

Peggy: Jessica Lange's King Kong . . . Tom Cruise's Minority Repo . . . damn, this is getting depressing.

Shane: Denise Richards' Starship Troopers — um, yeah.

John Travolta's Battlefield Earth — well, at least that one didn't have far to fall.

Great. Now I have to mope.

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