The 2009 hit film Star Trek garnered many fans, as it became a big hit at the box office. But many new fans may not have realized that it was not the first movie in a new franchise, but rather the eleventh film in a franchise that celebrates its 45th anniversary this year. Tasked with revitalizing a venerable franchise that was on life support (Star Trek: Enterprise, the franchise’s fifth television series, had been canceled six years previously, and the tenth film, Star Trek: Nemesis, was a critical and box office dud in 2002), Star Trek actually faced a similar situation encountered by another film 27 years earlier. In many ways, the films are quite similar, and yet, in others, they are diametric opposites; as such, they become, as Mr. Spock might say, fascinating mirrors for each other. Join us as Reel Rumbles heads to the Final Frontier for a battle of galactic proportions: Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan vs. Star Trek.
It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas, which means many people will be turning their movie-watching attention to a lot of those feel-good holiday favorites. But for some, this is the most wonderful time of the year… for busting some heads. Nothing says peace on Earth like a good, old-fashioned, blood-pumping action flick, and this year we’re entering the Reel Rumbles ring with a couple of the best. So get ready to deck the halls (and some thugs). It’s time for Die Hard vs. Lethal Weapon.
Following the success of Peter Jackson‘s Lord of the Rings trilogy (the third installment of which went on to become only the second entry in that elite “Billion Dollar Club”), it seemed like every studio wanted to jump on the fantasy-adventure bandwagon. And increasingly, the inspiration for such films has seemed to come from books targeted primarily at younger readers. The more popular franchises to arise from this trend were the Harry Potter and Chronicles of Narnia series. (The seventh and eighth Potter films are in theaters now and next summer, and the third Narnia film hits in December.)
But for those tired of the big franchises and looking for more one-off adventures, there is a pair of films that were produced by Paramount Pictures and Nickelodeon Movies in the past decade that offer plenty of thrills and spills, and entertaining journeys into fantastical realms. They are clearly targeted at family audiences, but it is my opinion that there’s plenty to enjoy in them for adults as well, and I like them both more than the average Potter or Narnia film. So step into the Reel Rumbles ring for a battle of fantastic proportions as we take on The Spiderwick Chronicles vs. Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events.
In 1997, space was a quirky place. Paul Verhoeven went bug-squishing in Starship Troopers. A pre-Resident Evil Paul W.S. Anderson and a pre-Hellboy Guillermo Del Toro gave us very different sci-fi/horror flicks in Event Horizon and Mimic. And Alien Resurrection made the venerable franchise a little weirder under the pen of Joss Whedon and the direction of French indie favorite Jean-Pierre Jeunet.
Arguably, the two most successful offerings, however, gave us very unique takes on science fiction (at least from a visual standpoint). One was the surreal and visually unique pet project of a French writer/director who nowadays is better known for writing and producing more generic action fare such as Taken and the Transporter franchise. The other was based on a comic book (back when such things were a little less common), was a bona fide box office smash (coming only behind the then-highest-grossing-movie-of-all-time in the year’s earnings) and cemented Will Smith‘s reputation as a box-office king (fresh as he was off the previous year’s Independence Day). Both films packed plenty of chuckles–intentional and, perhaps, otherwise.
To twist a tagline from that Alien franchise: In space, no one can hear you laugh. But back in ’97, the laughter was heard in multiplexes everywhere. Come enter the Reel Rumbles ring as we take a stroll thirteen years down memory lane and bust heads with some freaky aliens in The Fifth Element vs. Men in Black.
What if someone you never met, someone you never saw, someone you never knew, was the only someone for you? That’s the question asked by Nora Ephron’s 1993 hit Sleepless in Seattle, which climbs into the Reel Rumbles ring this week to do battle with 2004’s The Notebook, a film that claims that behind every great love is a great story. Are these films promising chick flick classics, or just heavy-handed weepy tear-jerkers going for cheap shots over quality storytelling? Find out as the bell rings for The Notebook vs. Sleepless in Seattle.