Below is a countdown to my top ten (10) favorite movies from the Summer of 2008. Naturally, there are some movies that are missing from the list. Either I never got to see them or I did not like them very much:
FAVORITE SUMMER MOVIES OF 2008 COUNTDOWN
10. "HELLBOY 2: THE GOLDEN ARMY" - I rather enjoyed this sequel to the 2004 hit, "Hellboy". In fact, I thought it was slightly better than the first film. I really enjoyed Ron Perlman, Selma Blair and Doug Jones in this one.
9. "PRINCE CASPIAN" - Another sequel that I enjoyed more than the first, due to it being slightly darker. This sequel to "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe" is about the Pensieves' return to Narnia, where they help Prince Caspian battle his evil uncle.
8. "GET SMART" - I never thought I would find myself enjoying the big screen version of the 60s hit show, "Get Smart". Even more surprising was Steve Correll's take on the Maxwell Smart character. Both he, the supporting cast and the movie's plot were excellent.
7. "THE INCREDIBLE HULK" - Many claimed that this reboot of the Hulk franchise was an improvement on the 2003 version with Eric Bana. Granted, the action sequences are better and Edward Norton was excellent in the title role. But I would not agree that it was better or worse than the 2003 version.
6. "THE MUMMY 3: TOMB OF THE DRAGON EMPEROR" - Although its production values were not as impressive as the first two "Mummy" films, this third entry was an entertaining tale about Rick and Evelyn O'Connell (Brendan Fraser and Maria Bello replacing Rachel Weisz) facing their mid-life crisis and helping their grown son face the mummy of a Chinese emperor (Jet Li) in post-World War II China.
5. "THE DARK KNIGHT" - I sure that many are surprised that this sequel to "Batman Begins" was not placed at the top of my list. The answer is that despite being a first-rate film, I had some problems with it - namely its moral code that dangerously came across as a little too neo-conservative to me; and the film's very contrived last half hour. By the way, Heath Ledger as the Joker was superb.
4. "TROPIC THUNDER - Ben Stiller directed and co-wrote this hilarious spoof of Hollywood excess in this tale about a group of actors in Southeast Asia, filming a Vietnam War movie. Robert Downey Jr. outshines an already talented cast as an Award winning, Method Australian actor portraying a black Army sergeant.
3. "INDIANA JONES and the KINGDOM OF THE CRYSTAL SKULL" - Many critics and moviegoers expressed disapproval of this latest Indy Jones entry. For them, it did not seem like the last three movies. But I realized that Lucas and Spielberg were doing a take on "B" movies of the 1950s (the movie is set in 1957), not the 1930s serial flicks. And I thought they did a great job. It was wonderful seeing Harrison Ford and Karen Allen together. And both Shia Labeouf and Cate Blanchett's performance were also enjoyable for me.
2. "IRON MAN" - Robert Downey Jr. must be the man of this summer. He was superb as wealthy industrialist Tony Stark, who becomes the iron-clad superhero, Iron Man. He was ably supported by an excellent cast that included Gwyneth Paltrow, Terrence Howard and Jeff Bridges; a first-rate plot and excellent direction by Jon Favreau.
1. "SPEED RACER" - That's right. My favorite movie of the summer is a cinematic version of a cartoon character from Japan about a young American race car driver and his family. With a first-rate cast that included Emile Hirsch, Matthew Fox and Christina Ricci, the Wachowski Brothers created one of the most imaginative movies I have seen in years. Even better, their out-of-this world visuals was backed by an excellent family drama. Two . . . thumbs . . . up on this one!