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Summer Blockbusters - Your Best and Worst

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Mark Kermode Mark Kermode | 18:05 UK time, Tuesday, 28 August 2012

I posted recently asking which are the best and worst summer blockbusters. Here I reveal your choices.

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  • Comment number 1.

    Here's the vid (on youtube) while the embedded vid is down: Kermode Uncut: Summer Blockbusters - Your Best and Worst

  • Comment number 2.

    Why are you surprised by Back to the Future getting so many mentions, Doc? It has all the things you described in your ode to Scott Pilgrim: funny, charming, smart. Yes, yes, all of those things, and it made a lot of money!

    Maybe next time you should ask what are the best and worst summer films and leave out the term "blockbuster." It still holds some meaning (for some people).

  • Comment number 3.

    I have to say this has been one of the finest kermode blogs. Such a variety of opinions, some i agree with (dark knight, indy, back to the future) some i dont (dark knight rises). But there has been a lot of enjoyable debate. One thing i will mention as i didn;t reply on the earlier blog, is that of this summer blockbusters: Prometheus is a film a moderately enjoyed but one i really want to see again more than the others, Spiderman, Dark Knight Rises etc

  • Comment number 4.

    I hadn't thought of Back to the Future as I'm sure it was a Christmas film over here, but I suppose it was a summer release in the US... back in the days when we didn't get simultaneous worldwide releases! So good choice.

    For me it's Terminator 2...the first time I went to a midnight screening etc. On the more family-friendly side I still think the original Men in Black takes some beating. And as stated elsewhere, Inception is only the prime example of a long line proving that films can be intelligent as well as block-busting (the "first summer blockbuster" Jaws is another).

    I never will understand the popularity of Scott Pilgrim vs the World (or Scott Pilgrim vs My Tolerance for Boredom, as I prefer. Scott wins, by the way). I thought it was just awful - boring, repetitive, and not funny. Still, each to their own! Fun Blog as ever - thanks Mark.

  • Comment number 5.

    I agree with the contributor comment about Waterworld....I actually quite liked the very entertaining and engaging premise. (The musical interlude was very badly misjudged though...I'll give you that.)

    If it had been made with the production values of Lord of the Rings it would have been an absolute belter!

  • Comment number 6.

    I might give Scott Pilgrim another whirl. I like the director, Ed whatsisface (sorry, Google, I can't be bothered), but I remember watching it and thinking 'this isn't aimed at me'. I wanted more than a snazzy frolic about teenage sexual frustration. Hang on a second, that's sounds great. I will watch it again.

    That sounded creepier than intended.

  • Comment number 7.

    Of the blockbusters I was able to view at the cinema, I'd rate Jurassic Park (my eldest brother laughing first and loudest and setting the whole cinema off when the t-rex chomps down on the accountant!) & The Matrix (story boards that map the whole movie out perfectly) as surpassing any other blockbuster I've seen in the Summertime at the cinema. Of course Cameron brings a lot of Talent to bear is another good example.

    As for The Fifth Element, already mentioned Besson, Sera, Gautier, Gaumont and forgot to add: Mobius!! (Jean Giraud "Moebius" art concept in Fifth Element). That sort of talent is what it takes to make a blockbuster, is a good yardstick?

  • Comment number 8.

    Doctor Kermode, I must admit that I really liked The Fifth Element. Gary Oldman gives a fine, hammy performance. Bruce Willis does that solid role he often plays; the support cast (Ian Holm et al) is fantastic too.

    If I can ask for a future blog post, maybe one focused on Gilliam's Brazil. Just such a brilliant, brilliant film that I'd love to hear your views on.

    Most importantly, I love your rockabilly style, so refreshing to see such class. Where do you get your Harringtons from?

    Thanks for the time and keep up the good work sir.

  • Comment number 9.

    Missed the request for these, but my favourite would be Totall Recall. It's the only film I've ever been to the cinema to see twice. I love the story, the score, the sci-fi aspect and the fact that I still don't know what the truth is (I've got a feeling it's an implanted holiday). Such a shame it will probably be shortly ruined. I know it has cheesy Arnie aspects, but I still love it.

  • Comment number 10.

    I'm surprised to see Independence Day getting so few mentions. Pure summer blockbuster fodder. For some reason, it seems to have all the worst aspects of modern blockbusters but somehow manages to pull things off through sheer gusto. It's got the pointless spectacle of destruction, the over-reliance on special effects, the haphazard plot digressions, the ridiculous and nonsensical resolution, the awful cheesy speeches and pro-American military gung-ho ness, the dog in danger sequence and yet... and yet it all works.

    I'm calling it The Goldblum Effect.

  • Comment number 11.

    Stu Bell - I just want to say that i completely agree with you about Scott Pilgrim. Not a single laugh to be found in a completely laborious film to watch. There's a reason why it didn't make it's money back, it wasn't good enough to sate the collective (at the time of release at least) imagination of it's target audience (which is either 19 year old preppy school girls or 35 year old self satisfied nerd-do-wells). Both camps of which i do not sit, mind.

    Err...rant over about that one!

  • Comment number 12.

    I thought for a moment that the pic on the video was of David Bowie in The Man Who Fell To Earth.... do I win £10?

  • Comment number 13.

    Was a bit confused by this as I remember (as a 7 year old) being taken to Star Wars as a Christmas present - so it never occurred to me that it was a "Summer Blockbuster". Back to the Future, I seem to recall, was also a Winter release (November/December?). However, if we are categorizing according to American release dates then why not include Die Hard. Strange as it may seem, this 'Christmas' movie was actually released at the height of summer in the US. So, belatedly, my choice for summer blockbuster is Die Hard.

  • Comment number 14.

    Remind me, please. When were the Flintstone films released? If they in the summer, could they go down the best/worst?!?!?!

  • Comment number 15.

    Doesn't surprise me that most of the worst summer blockbusters were sequels in people's opinions. Transformers 2, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull etc.
    The only exceptions to this - in my view - would be Aliens, Terminator 2: Judgement Day and The Dark Knight

  • Comment number 16.

    Why no love for Blade? This movie nearly single handedly revived the comic book genre Batman & Robin killed with its epic awfulness. This may sound blasphemous but I'd put the opening and closing fight scenes up against almost any action sequence not in Die Hard, The Road Warrior, or Apocalypse Now.

    I will say that Aliens is so good it's considered maybe the best science fiction and action movie of all time. Too bad James Cameron can't do character development like this anymore.

  • Comment number 17.

    I mist prometheus at the cinema. I waited for it for 2 years and i mist it! Shame on me! Never wait for weeks to watch a film with your girlfriend at the cinema and then find out she dosnt want to watch it anyway. Thats the summer blockbuster i cant wait to see. Its out on the 10th of october on blu ray i think so that'll have to do. Watched the dark knight rises and wasnt blown away by that like id hoped i would have been. Needs another viewing i think. Summer blockbusters seem to be more and more dissapointing as i get older. Which is a depressing thought only 28!

  • Comment number 18.

    AW, didnt read mine,oh well,obviously didnt have enough bite.I`ll check out some Rage Against The Machine lyrics, now, wheres that Guerilla Radio.

  • Comment number 19.

    For best blockbusters The Dark Knight Trilogy is an obvious choice but a good one. Worst for me is transformers (1, 2, and 3 are essentially the same film remade multiple times). Pirates of the caribbean is many things, but misogynist is not one of them.

  • Comment number 20.

    Jaws will always be the no.1 summer blockbuster for me, the film that started the concept and is still, for me, spielberg's finest work.

    in recent times, jurassic park remains the best CGI film. Remarkable in its day and still holds up well give or take a few clumsy elements

    and in defence of Michael Bay, his early action films worked well. Bad Boys and particularly The Rock. shame it was all downhill from there (though i have a bit of a soft spot for The Island with good work by ewan mcgregor and a figure-hugging outfit from scarlett johanssen)

    for worst, it would be independence day. an incredibly lazy film with not one original idea. it was interminable to watch at the cinema. i would have walked out were it not for the fact i needed a ride home

    and scott pilgrim's appeal was lost on me as well. one of those films that appealed to a very small audience who adore it whereas the other 98% of the world would rather stick needles in their eyes than sit through it again

  • Comment number 21.

    Very well written and insightful article on the effect of the Blockbuster on the movie (Hollywood studios) industry: How The State of the Movie Industry in 1991 Echoes Through to Today (and Why Movie Fans Should Care). Even the hyperlinks are work a check, especially the fall of the movie star.

  • Comment number 22.

    Back To The Future was released in the UK on 4th December 1985. I remember going to see it in Leicester Square the week before Xmas and then in Darlington in the new year. I suspect that many of the people who voted weren't born in 1985, so this is an interesting phenomenon which suggests that the term "Summer Blockbuster" has expanded beyond its literal meaning to become a, maybe pejorative, phrase to describe a certain type of mainstream, populist movie. BTW, the film that many use to describe the quintessential "Summer Blockbuster" is Jaws which was released in the UK on Xmas Day 1975. Truth is we have accepted as a descriptor something which actually was an American phenomenon and which had little to do with British distribution patterns.

  • Comment number 23.

    Great to see Scotty P getting so much love. I thought it was okay on first viewing, then went and saw it again at the cinema and fell in love with it. Own it on bluray and it's since become one of my most watched films of all time, probably only beaten by Blade Runner... and yes, Back to the Future!

  • Comment number 24.

    Here in Germany the #1 Blockbuster would be "Der Schuh des Manitu" (English: Manitou's Shoe) which had a budget of 4,5 Mio Euro and made more than 65 Mio Euro. It could be dumb at times but it's also a very good parody of the popular "Winnetou"-Movies and Books.

  • Comment number 25.

    why all the hate for Indy 4? granted it was nowhere near as good as the first three but IMHO it is head and shoulders above most of the pure cash grabbing plot optional blockbusters like Pirates 2&3, Matrix 2&3 and the later Bay films....

  • Comment number 26.

    I don't understand the problem some have with THE FIFTH ELEMENT. Clearly it's just plain snobbery against anything Luc Besson does. Love is the fifth element - what's so hard to understand? Love conquers all, etc. It's a simple metaphor wrapped in a sci-fi setting. The film never pretends to be anything other than loud, colourful, eccentric and original. It is what it is. Get over it, you pompous nitwits. I can appreciate many of the films Mark likes - and I share much of his taste - but that doesn't stop me enjoying the likes of THE FIFTH ELEMENT.

  • Comment number 27.

    Just gonna raise this up the flagpole and see who salutes it... The Mummy (1999) - not only was it a 'blockbuster' but, alongside 'The Matrix', it was the DVD that really sold the format as a must-have household item. Sure, it borrows heavily from Dr.Jones' romps, but it had an epic-sweep, a charming script and performances, as well as those essential 'scares', and it made a star out of Rachel Weisz. My brother and I saw t'Mummy and t'Matrix (yep, Yorkshiremen) on the same afternoon (whilst on holiday in San Diego) and the following day drove to Graumann's Chinese Theatre in L.A. for the premiere of 'The Phantom Menace'. Both those movies were a thousand-times more enjoyable than the shafting I received from LucasArts.

  • Comment number 28.

    OMG. "The Fifth Element" is one of the best movies ever. It was one of those movies I watched over and over again on VHA as a little girl. It was actually something my older brother and I could agree on watching. Part Sci-fi/part action/part romance. Amazing costumes too. Actually thinking about going as LeeLoo for Halloween this year. She's just too cool.

  • Comment number 29.

    Sorry for typo: VHS.

  • Comment number 30.

    I understand completely the divide over The Fifth Element, it is an extremely silly movie, it contains yet another annoying turn by Chris Tucker, its plot is action-excuse reductive and is resolved with a deus ex Jovovich causing the impending evil destruction to more or less shrug and slink away, and Gary Oldman so over the top it makes his turn in Leon look like George Smiley. Tucker aside, virtually everything that is wrong with the film helps make it work for those who fall under the spell of its hyper-popcorn charm. Grounded by Willis as the McClanesque guy who all this crap is happening to yet again, combined with Besson's undeniable visual flare and adept action choreography, The Fifth Element works with all the ultraviolent sensibilities of the Heavy Metal comics it has clearly digested and gloriously regurgitated. The satire is wafer thin and does it few favours but once Tucker shuts up and the adrenaline hits, it's a hell of a ride. For me it has made the whole ouvre of la Jovovich a continuing guilty pleasure, and for my wife, who usually abhors screen violence, it is both silly enough and contains beautiful memorably striking images, such as the Blue Diva, for her to enjoy it immensely. On the other hand I can see people, not without decent sensibilities, looking at it as a silly pointless mess, but they said that about Jackson Pollock.


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