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Summer blockbusters: The good, the bad and the boring

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By Owen Bradbury Aranda

There are few better seasons for movies than summer. It’s a time for blockbusters to make big bucks and for comedies to make audiences laugh. This summer was no exception.

“Man of Steel”
(5 out of 10 stars)

One of the biggest letdowns of this summer, “Man of Steel” turned out to be possibly the worst film of the year.
Directed by Zack Snyder, director of “300” and “Watchmen,” and produced by Christopher Nolan, director of “The Dark Knight” franchise and “Inception,” the film seemed as if it couldn’t go wrong.

The movie was laden with promise — maybe this time they’d get it right. Unfortunately it did.

Due to its excessive and pointless destruction, terrible acting, badly written dialogue and shallow plot, the film not only failed to recapture the excitement created by the Superman franchise of the late ’70s and ’80s, but also turned out to be one of the worst super hero films of all time.

Although it seemed as if this portrayal of superman would manage to revive the story of America’s favorite superhero, the film failed like so many before it, and turned out to be nothing more than another pointless Hollywood blockbuster.

If you are looking for another superficial superhero film filled with over-the-top destruction, this movie is the one for you.

If on the other hand, you are a die-hard Superman fan looking for a 21st Century interpretation of this age-old classic, you are better off rewatching the Superman interpreted by Christopher Reeve.

“This is the End”
(8 out of 10 stars)

Surprisingly one of the best films of this summer, “This is the End” did not disappoint. The apocalyptic comedy is set in no other place than Hollywood.

The characters, a bunch of Hollywood comedians, are stuck on Earth for being sinners, as the day of judgment rages around them.

Directed by American comedy writer Evan Goldberg (known for “Pineapple Express,” “Superbad” and “The Green Hornet”) and actor Seth Rogen, known for many of the same films, the film possesses the same classic crude humor that audiences know and love.

The film stars James Franco, Jonah Hill, Seth Rogen, Jay Baruchel, Danny McBride, Craig Robinson and countless others.

Unlike many American comedies, which have flopped when presented with a star-studded cast, this film managed to pull it off, and lived up to the promise of its trailers, while still remaining original. The film is made unique by its Meta approach and satirical take on Hollywood, with the actors playing caricatures of themselves.

It is a truly hilarious film, which will keep you on the edge of your seat, laughing.

However due to the crude humor, sexual references, graphic nudity, pervasive language and drug use, the film is suited for mature audiences only.

“White House Down” (6 out of 10 stars)

“White House Down” was never supposed to be good, it was only ever made to entertain, which is something it does quite well.

The film essentially bears the same plot as “Olympus Has Fallen,” another absurd film about terrorists taking over the White House that came out earlier this year.

What was most surprising about “White House Down” was the fact that it wasn’t awful. It was funny, entertaining, action-packed, clever at moments, and over all an enjoyable film to watch.

Director Roland Emmerich somehow managed to pull of this ridiculous film, by not taking the film seriously.

Starring Channing Tatum as John Cale, a capitol police officer trying to please his daughter and Jamie Foxx as President Sawyer, the film takes on a light-hearted, almost comedic approach, rather than creating the usual nitty gritty atmosphere found in most action movies.

While the film is not especially memorable, the over-the-top special effects, ridiculous situations and incredible patriotism make the film fun and entertaining to watch.

“Lone Ranger”
(5 out of 10 stars)

Also competing for the being the worst film of this summer, “The Lone Ranger,” was not only a complete flop at the box office, but also a complete flop in most other respects.

It was basically “Pirates of the Caribbean,” with a western theme and without any of the originality of director Gore Verbinki’s first franchise.

Johnny Depp’s portrayal of Tonto was essentially Jack Sparrow with a limited vocabulary. Depp’s charming and entertaining character, which delighted viewers in “Pirates,” did nothing more than bore and disappoint audiences in “The Lone Ranger.”

The film was also far too long and quite simply doesn’t have enough plot to keep its audience entertained for its full 149-minute duration.

Packed full of pointless Disney-style special effects, the film bore a quality similar to that of “Prince of Persia” rather than the rugged quality of a Clint Eastwood western.

As a whole, the film was a disappointment due to the fact that it cost hundreds of millions of dollars to make and lost millions on opening weekend. It is incredibly unlikely that we will see a sequel to this failed franchise.

If you like westerns, unfortunately this isn’t your type of movie, if you want to watch “The Lone Ranger,” you’re better off watching the original.

"Elysium"
(7 out of 10 stars)

From the creators of the 2009 film “District 9,” comes the dystopian action thriller “Elysium.”

Staring Matt Damon, Jodie Foster and Sharlto Copley, the film takes place in a future where the separation of classes is extreme.

The poor live on the dying remains of our planet, while the rich live on Elysium, a man-made utopian world, which orbits the Earth.

The films’ setting is compelling, however the plot is not quite as satisfying. It seems as if the story could have delved deeper into the sociopolitical construct of the futuristic world in which the film takes place.

Somehow, the story felt a bit too simple for a world laden with such complexities.

What could have been an incredible film was marred by the fact that director Neill Blomkamp seemed to put most of his focus on special effects and production design rather than a well-developed plot.

The production design although beautifully executed, did not make up for the lack of story the film demonstrated. In terms of feel, the film bears a strong resemblance to Blomkamp’s first film, “District 9.”

All in all, it is a good film that is worth watching.

Although its plot line is a bit weak, it has a terrific setting, amazing special effects, stunning production design and an overall look and feel that make the film enjoyable.