GeekDad’s Guide to This Summer’s Movies

Summer may not start until Memorial Day, but the Summer movie has already started. It looks like there will be plenty of movies on the marquee for geeks and geeklets to enjoy.

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It was hard to miss the opening weekend for Iron Man 3. One of the big movie themes this summer is sequels. There are lots of them.

Here are some of the movies on GeekDad’s ticket list this summer.

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Star Trek Into Darkness

May 17

Geek Cred: J.J. Abrams did a great job with the Star Trek reboot four years ago. There is no reason to think we won’t get more of the same. The first movie had the popcorn zippiness that defines a summer movie. That element was often missing in the earlier Star Trek movies.

Dad Cred: If your kids have seen the first J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek, then there is no reason to think they can’t see this one. It may have too much violence and intense action for smaller kids with its PG-13 rating.

Dread: Abrams removed some of the cerebral aspects of the Star Trek franchise, replacing some social commentary with phasers set to stun. But he still makes a great movie.

 

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Epic

May 24

Geek Cred: Animation time. An American teenage girl finds herself in a forest where good and evil are battling as tiny warriors.

Dad Cred: The summer’s first animated movie is based on a children’s book by William Joyce, who also wrote the source material behind Rise Of The Guardians.

Dread:  This movie is not from Pixar or Disney or Dreamworks. It’s from Blue Sky Studios who brought you Robots, Rio and the Ice Age sequels.

 

After-Earth

After Earth

May 31

Geek Cred: Will Smith and his son Jaden play a father and son whose spaceship crashes on Earth a thousand years after humans left for a more hospitable place to live.

Dad Cred: There will be lots of father/son bonding time. But it is rated PG-13 for sci-fi action violence and some disturbing images.

Dread: This is the new film from M. Night Shyamalan. Each of his films has gotten progressively worse than the one preceded it. But could it really be any worse than The Happening?

 

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Man of Steel

June 14
Geek Cred: Director Zack Snyder (300, Watchmen) reboots the red, white and blue franchise again. It looks a bit darker than the previous films. Even better, it has General Zod menacing Earth.

Dad Cred: Kids love Superman. But you will need to be careful. That PG-13 rating means it will be too much for younger kids.

Dread: I find Superman to be one of the most boring of the superheroes. He lacks a meaningful flaw. Zach Snyder, the director, makes visually interesting films, but they tend to be short on plot.

 

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Monsters University

June 21

Geek Cred: The sequel is a prequel, creating an origin story for Mike and Sulley. We get to see them and the other characters in their younger years as they attend college. Mike and Sulley both want to major in the monster profession of scaring.

Dad Cred: It’s a Pixar movie. You can’t resist the unstoppable force. Even bad Pixar movies are better than most movies.

Dread: The Pixar sequels have not been as good as the first movie. So I need to lower my expectations.

 

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World War Z

June 21

Geek Cred: Brad Pitt tries to get to the root cause of the worldwide zombie plague threatening humanity.The movie is based on the great book of the same name by Max Brooks. Pitt plays a United nations worker who is somehow the key to stopping the zombies. The book was an intriguing narration that was built around dozens of interviews of key players in the war against the zombies.

Dad Cred: It carries a PG-13 rating and may be too intense for some older kids. But since it has Brad Pitt, maybe you should take Mrs. GeekDad to see this one.

Dread: From the trailers and the description it looks like only the name remains from the book. Rumors from the movie set tell tales of re-writes and clashes over artistic direction.

 

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Much Ado About Nothing

June 21

Geek Cred: Not every summer movie needs to have explosions, CGI, or animation. Get some culture and enjoy some Shakespeare. Joss Whedon put this film together during a writers’ strike and it’s full of actors from the Whedonverse, including Nathan Fillion, Alexis Denisof, Fran Kranz, and Amy Acker.

Dad Cred: Kids could use some culture. But it does carry a PG-13 rating for some sexuality and brief drug use.

Dread: It is Shakespeare and it is black and white.

despicable me 2

Despicable Me 2

July 3

Geek Cred: Former supervillan Gru is recruited by the Anti-Villain League to help fight a powerful new supercriminal.

Dad Cred: Have you seen how cute the minions are? Have you seen the minion blimp?

Dread: It’s a sequel. Few sequels are as good as the first movie.

 

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Pacific Rim

July 12

Geek Cred: Guillermo del Toro of Hellboy and Pan’s Labyrinth unleashes his creative talents on science fiction. Aliens attack Earth. Humans fight back with giant robots.

Dad Cred: It carries a PG-13 for sequences of intense sci-fi action and violence throughout, and brief language.

Dread: It may be more of cartoon, with all of the CGI, than a live action film. But I grew up on Voltron and del Toro makes great movies, so I don’t care.

 

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Turbo

July 17

Geek Cred: A snail dreams of winning the Indy 500. This spunky mollusk gets a shot at his impossible dream when he’s exposed to nitrous oxide, which somehow grants him a Flash-like swiftness.

Dad Cred: It’s animated. You will have a rainy day this summer and will want to spend a day inside. Your kids will want to see it and to have you buy them the merchandise.

Dread: It smells of a Dreamworks knock off the Cars franchise.

 

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R.I.P.D.

July 19

Geek Cred: Just because a cop is dead, it doesn’t mean he’s off duty. Ryan Reynolds teams up with Jeff bridges to find the man who murdered him.

Dad Cred: It gets a PG-13 for violence, sci-fi/fantasy action, some sensuality, and language including sex references.

Dread: Buddy cop movies can be fun. You combine that with science fiction and you can get Men In Black. Or you could get Dead Heat.

 

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The Wolverine

July 26

Geek Cred: Hugh Jackman is back. Wolverine makes a voyage to modern-day Japan. A Frank Miller story is the basis for the movie.

Dad Cred: This may be one to have Mrs. Geek Dad come along. I’m sure there will be many scenes with a shirtless Hugh Jackman.

Dread:  X-Men Origins: Wolverine was a weak turn in the franchise.

 

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Smurfs 2

July 31

Geek Cred: Who didn’t enjoy the Smurfs when you were growing up?…… No, I didn’t either. But the movie does have Neil Patrick Harris.

Dad Cred: My kids loved the first Smurfs movie… when it debuted on cable.

Dread: Too many reasons to list.

 

300

300: Rise of an Empire

August 2

Geek Cred: The Greek general Themistocles battles an invading army of Persians under the mortal-turned-god, Xerxes.The original 300, directed by Zack Snyder, was visually stunning.

Dad Cred: This is likely to carry an R rating and I assume it will be as violent and bloody as the first movie, if not more so.

Dread: Yet another sequel.

 

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Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters

August 7

Geek Cred: Thor Freudenthal of Diary Of A Wimpy Kid takes over the young adult franchise for this sequel. Percy and his teenage gang of half-gods seek the Golden Fleece in order to prevent the lord of the Titans from being awakened. Nathan Fillion enters the franchise as Hermes.

Dad Cred: If your kids liked the books and the first movie, they will want to see this one.

Dread: The first installment, 2010’s Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief was mediocre.

 

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Elysium

August 9

Geek Cred: Neill Blomkamp blended social commentary with science fiction in  District 9. In his latest movie, it’s 2154 and the very rich live on a space station while everyone else suffers below on Earth. Matt Damon is one of the suffering and wants to do something about that social divide.

Dad Cred: This is likely to be rated R, with intense bloody violence and Language. Best to leave the kids at home for this one.

Dread: The trailer looks fun, but not as novel or visually interesting as his earlier movie.

 

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Planes

August 9

Geek Cred: Talking planes? This movie is a spinoff from Cars.

Dad Cred: You have better things to do than battle the Disney marketing machine. The movie was rumored to originally be a direct to video film, but was deemed good enough for a theatrical release.

Dread: Cars is the lemon of the Pixar movieography. This is likely to be more about selling toys than making a good movie.

 

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Kick-Ass 2

August 16

Geek Cred: A sequel to 2010′s Kick-Ass, adapting Mark Millar’s superheroes in the real world comics.

Dad Cred: Chloë Grace Moretz was fun, but foul-mouthed in the first movie. Supervillain Christopher Mintz-Plasse decides his code name is “The Motherfucker.”

Dread: Yet another sequel.

 

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The World’s End

August 23

Geek Cred: Writer-director Edgar Wright and writer-actor Simon Pegg from Shaun of the Dead serve up more of their comedy. A pub-crawl reunion coincides with the end of the world and the apocalypse is getting in the way of quality drinking time.

Dad Cred: If the kids liked Shaun of the Dead, they should like this. And you should expect a similar amount of language and violence.

Dread: It sounds a lot like Shaun of the Dead, replacing zombies with aliens. But that sounds like a fun way to end the summer movie season.

Doug Cornelius

About Doug Cornelius

GeekDad at night and Chief Compliance Officer for a real estate private equity company by day. Covering the parenting scene in Boston and my kids' playroom.

Doug Cornelius

About Doug Cornelius

GeekDad at night and Chief Compliance Officer for a real estate private equity company by day. Covering the parenting scene in Boston and my kids' playroom.

2 thoughts on “GeekDad’s Guide to This Summer’s Movies

  1. I appreciate the efforts to communicate movie ratings. Too much is done to promote movies for adults to kids and too little is done to educate us all on the negative effects researchers see from improper exposure. It would be cool to have a Geek Dad piece on the research and recommendations (such as pediatrician guidelines for no TV or movie exposure at all before the age of 2 and severely limited exposure for years after that. Studies show “children who watched R-rated movies once in a while, sometimes, or all of the time had significantly increased cumulative odds of poorer school performance.”

    It can be tremendously hard as parents not to share our favorite movies (old or new) with out children. That is especially true when it seems every toddler has already watched Star Wars. Still, the research is pretty solid that media exposure is harmful at a variety of ages. I would like to see Geek Dad do as much as possible to encourage the community to limit media and choose appropriate media. One possibility is to provide links to Commonsense, a site that rates movies for how appropriate they are (it also allows comments from various groups, including educators/pediatricians).

    Some reading: http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2011/10/infant-tv-guidelines/
    http://www.aap.org/en-us/advocacy-and-policy/aap-health-initiatives/Pages/Media-and-Children.aspx
    http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/118/4/e1061.abstract
    http://www.commonsensemedia.org/

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