As we leave behind the movies of 2003, it’s time to look ahead at what there is to expect in 2004. Here is a list of the films I’m most looking forward to. Some of my picks may make no sense whatsoever to you, but for some reason they have my interest:
1. Spider-Man 2 – As a comics fan I’m glad to see the wall crawler hit the big screen again. As a movie fan, it’s cool to see the sequel to one of the most successful films ever made return to theaters. The trailer looked fantastic and it promises to not only break new ground but revisit some of the plot threads begun in the first film. Alfred Molina also looks great as Doc Ock. Look for Spidey 2 to be one of the biggest movies of 2004.
2. The Incredibles – Mix Pixar, superheroes, and Iron Giant’s Brad Bird together and you have another one of the films I’m most looking forward to. Even though we’ve only been given one teaser and some brief behind the scenes glimpses, it looks like it might be one of the most entertaining movies of the year. With a cast including Samuel L. Jackson, Holly Hunter, Jason Lee, and Craig T. Nelson you can’t go wrong.
3. Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow – The title, concept, and look of this movie in the teaser are totally cheesy, but they also appealed to me. Anyone who liked The Iron Giant or The Rocketeer will be interested in Sky Captain. But is it all visuals and no substance or a classic homage to old school sci-fi?
4. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban – As a big fan of the Harry Potter books, I’m eager to see how new director Alfonso Cuarón will interpret the story. Cast members have told me that he has a different take on the tale than director Chris Columbus. Expect it to be even darker than the previous films. Will it be another good year at Hogwarts?
5. Shrek 2 – The first film was fun and the trailer for the sequel looked hilarious as well. But can it possibly live up to the hype of the first?
6. Alien vs. Predator – Will it be cheesy? Probably. Will it suck? The odds are in favor of it. However, I’m a long time fan of the Aliens vs. Predator comics, so I’m really looking forward to this film. Hopefully we’ll get a monster team-up in the spirit of Dracula vs. Frankenstein, Godzilla vs. King King, or Abbot and Costello meet the Mummy. OK, maybe not the last one, but AVP has potential.
7. The Village – While M. Night Shyamalan’s movies are often a mixed bag, I can’t deny that I always look forward to seeing them. He seems to always tap into a subject that interests me. That being said, I have no idea what The Village is about. Maybe it’s better to go into his films cold?
8. Van Helsing – From the folks that brought you the Mummy comes Van Helsing. If you liked the Mummy movies, you can probably expect to enjoy this new monster movie. It promises to deliver more of the same, this time courtesy of Wolverine himself, Hugh Jackman. Mix it all up together and throw in British babe Kate Beckinsale and it looks like a fun flick.
9. Hellboy – Hellboy interests me for several reasons. The first is that I wonder if a comic movie outside of Marvel can do good. If so, expect more comic movies. If not, expect studio execs to shy away from them. Second, the trailer makes the film look like a paranormal Men in Black and that could be cool. Third, I got to visit the set of this movie in Prague and meet the director, the crew, and Hellboy himself in full makeup. Therefore, I’m keen to see the final result. But will audiences get past the outlandish concept and the bizarre name?
10. Kill Bill: Vol. 2 – Did you like the first Kill Bill film? Yup, me too. So it follows that the sequel will be highly anticipated as well. And we’ll finally get to meet Bill himself!
Beyond my top 10 list, here are a few other flicks that have piqued my interest one way or another:
The Passion of the Christ – Surrounded in controversy, will this be a faithful depiction of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ?
The Chronicles of Riddick – I loved Pitch Black. Can this film create a new sci-fi franchise?
Blade: Trinity – The first two Blade flicks were pretty entertaining. Can this film successfully round out the trilogy for Marvel?
The Terminal – Tom Hanks and Spielberg re-team. Nuff said.
Anchorman – Can Will Ferrell have another hit after Elf?
I, Robot – One of the few sci-fi movies of 2004. Will Will Smith pick another hit or dud?
The Life Aquatic – I really enjoy Wes Anderson movies and Bill Murray, Owen Wilson, and Angelica Huston re-team for this.
A few movies are complete wild cards in 2004. They look like they might be huge, fun hits or tremendous bombs. It could go either way. Here are a few that I’m personally watching to see which way they’ll go:
Lemony Snicket’s A Series Of Unfortunate Events – Jim Carrey’s on board, but is this a poor man’s Harry Potter?
Garfield – Bill Murray takes on the comic cat, but will it be funny at all?
Collateral – Tom Cruise and Jamie Foxx team up. A hit or a disaster?
Catwoman – I want this movie to be good but early pictures aren’t promising. Then again, that’s what was said about X-Men.
Man-Thing – Can a third rate Marvel character earn his own franchise? Insiders say yes. We’ll see.
The Punisher – Another great grim and gritty comic character comes to the screen, but in Florida? And will Travolta steal the show?
The Alamo – As a Texan I hope this is great, but the push back in release date is not promising.
Shark Tale – Is this the next Shrek or a Finding Nemo ripoff?
Troy – Will this one be an epic war flick or a Gladiator ripoff?
Around the World in 80 Days – More Jackie Chan Lite with a huge list of big name cameos.
Starsky & Hutch – Owen Wilson and Ben Stiller re-team for a parody of the famous cop show. Can the gag be funny for 2 hours?
King Arthur – Jerry Bruckheimer and Kiera Knightley re-team after Pirates of the Caribbean. The trailer looks weak, but then again so did the one for Pirates.
The Day After Tomorrow – A disaster flick from the folks that brought you Independence Day. The effects will be great, but what about the story?