Six of the best: Upcoming summer blockbusters.

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Photo courtesy of pagetopremiere.com

 Simon James

X-Men: Days of Future Past – Release: May 22nd 2014

2014 is shaping up to be a lot better than last year in terms of superhero films, with The Winter Soldier and The Amazing Spider-Man 2 both doing the business. But if anything has the potential to top them both, it’s Days of Future Past.

The film, directed by Bryan Singer (the man behind the first two X-Men movies) will see the X-Men of two time periods fight to save their species, and quite possibly humanity as well. Never before has time-travel been used so explicitly in a superhero film, but by teaming the young mutants with the old, the film acts as a sequel to both First Class and The Last Stand. This means there is a huge ensemble cast, with big names such as Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart, James McAvoy, Ian McKellen and Jennifer Lawrence pointing towards a blockbuster – a serious attempt to replicate the scale of 2012’s The Avengers combining superhero franchises.

It’s not just the ambition of the film that’s got moviegoers itching for May 22nd, it’s the brilliance of the two-part comic book on which the film is based. It’s the intensity and emotion of the trailer that chillingly fits into real-world events. It’s maybe even the fact that the time-travel could fix the glaring continuity errors that exist within the franchise. But perhaps that’s asking for too much.

 

Jane Hodgkiss

The Fault in Our Stars – Release: June 20th 2014

Based on the New York Times bestseller by internet vlogger John Green, The Fault in Our Stars tells the story of Hazel Grace Lancaster and Augustus Waters, who meet at a cancer support group and bond through their love of bad video games and slightly pretentious but forgivable metaphors. It’s a love story, but with a definite twist.

The all-star cast is a testament to how loved the book already is. Shailene Woodley (star of the recent Divergent movie) leads it as the very lovable Hazel Graze, even cutting off her own hair to play the part. Augustus Waters is played by a new actor, Ansel Elgort, who had his movie debut in the most recent adaption of Stephen King’s Carrie. Willem Dafoe is the main name here, playing the Dutch author Peter Van Houten. I for one can’t wait to hear his Dutch accent.

With John Green’s big internet following, it’s fair to say there’s a lot of pressure surrounding the movie. However, if his behind the scenes vlogs with the principal cast are anything to go by, fans aren’t going to be disappointed.

 

How to Train Your Dragon 2 – Release:  July 4th 2014

After the tremendous success of How to Train Your Dragon (nominated for two Oscars and one Golden Globe), it’s not surprising that Dreamworks are releasing a sequel. Children and adults alike adored Hiccup and Toothless’ adventures on the island of Berk because, let’s face it, dragons are always cool.

The second instalment promises even more action, adventure and excitement. Taking place five years after the first movie, dragon racing is now the favourite sport of the citizens of Berk. However, Hiccup and Toothless are now journeying further, mapping their progress as they discover new lands and skies to explore. They soon discover a mysterious ice cave, home to new dragons and an enigmatic dragon rider who threatens the peace. The pair are facing their biggest challenge yet as they change the fate of the world forever.

Many of the cast from the first movie such as Jay Baruchel, Jonah Hill, Gerard Butler and Kristen Wiig are reprising their roles. There are also new voices, including recent Oscar winner Cate Blanchett and Game of Thrones’ Kit Harrington. All in all, this promises to be a great movie for both kids and adults packed full of fun and adventure. Just don’t forget your dragon!

 

 Bryony Seager

 

Maleficent – Release: May 30th 2014

The much talked about movie starring Angelina Jolie in the title role is out in late May, just out in time for the end of exams for most people (sorry first years!). It seems like this summer has a bumper crop of movies but this seems to be the one I’ve heard a lot about; a rethinking of the classic fairy tale of Sleeping Beauty. The story is of course told from the evil witch’s point of view, exploring how she becomes the villain we all remember appearing in a puff of green smoke from the original Disney movie. Maleficent was also one of the more terrifying antagonists for me; she just seemed so evil with no redeeming qualities, and judging by the trailer for this it seems like we’re going to get much of the same. The film definitely appears to have gone down the darker route, seemingly more like the original Grimm tale rather than Disney’s reimagining, with Jolie is as the centre piece with her cut glass bone structure, her demonic headdress and blood red lips.

 

Grace of Monaco – Release: June 6th 2014

Most people have seen the culturally iconic picture of Grace Kelly on her wedding day to Prince Ranier III of Monaco – it has been the inspiration to a hundred thousand wedding dresses since that day, and probably will be for many more to come. It is sometimes a little difficult to give something so well remembered and visualised a new face, The biopic Grace of Monaco out in early June is going to try and give the princess’ story a retelling, with Nicole Kidman cast in the title role. The script, once it was picked up in 2012, was filmed in Italy and Monaco, supposedly with the support of the principality, although the Royal Family of Monaco have since come out and said that the film needlessly glamorises a short part in Monaco’s history and that it should not be considered a biopic due to “historical inaccuracies”. Whatever your opinion on the matter, it seems it is going to be an exquisitely made film with cast appearances from Derek Jacobi, Tim Roth and Milo Ventimiglia. The first appearance of the film will be at the Cannes Film Festival in late spring May 2014.

Rory Mellon

Guardians of the Galaxy – Release: July 31st 2014

Guardians of the Galaxy is Marvel’s most ambitious film yet, it’s also the studio’s most risky. Having moved into phase two of its Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) the Disney owned studio could have played it safe, instead they’re hoping to shine the spotlight on a lesser known superhero team.

The Guardians of the Galaxy consist of five members: Star-Lord (Chris Pratt), Gamora (Zoe Saldana), Dax (Dave Bautista), Groot (Vin Diesel) and Rocket Racoon (Bradley Cooper). This isn’t your typical group of heroes though. Firstly they’re often not on the best of terms; their alliance is more born out of desperation than friendship. Secondly they’re not a noble group of heroes fighting for justice – instead they are in it for themselves.

A lot of faith is being placed in Chris Pratt who plays the human lead; it will be interesting to see if Pratt is up to the task of gluing together what could be a fragmented film if allowed to run wild. Bradley Cooper is an interesting choice as the wise cracking Rocket Racoon, despite his strange nature Rocket is a brilliant character that could really set Guardians of the Galaxy apart from other films in the genre. Whilst we have only seen a snippet of the film from the first trailer, the early signs are pointing to another winner from Marvel.