2010 is shaping up to be an exciting year for fantasy fans. There are at least 15 films slated for release this year, and we’ve got a full preview!
Percy Jackson and the Olympians: Lightning Thief
Release date: Feb. 12
Based on the best-selling series by Rick Riordan, Lightning Thief tells the story of Percy Jackson, an American teenager afflicted with ADHD and dyslexia, who discovers on a school field trip that he is the son of Poseidon. (You know, the god of sea and earthquakes. The angriest of the Big Three.) Percy’s mission is to find Zeus’ stolen lightning bolt and prevent a civil war from breaking out among the gods — who, by the way, have moved Olympus from the mythical mountain to the mythical 600th floor of The Empire State Building. Percy also has to rescue his mother from the Underworld, and — presumably — wrestle with the tourists that swarm The Empire State building every Valentine’s Day.
Release date: Feb. 12
The Wolfman has a long, proud history of scarring the crap out of anyone willing to leave home on the night when the wolfbane blooms. The film has been remade five times since its 1924 debut, and each time it falls firmly in the “horror” category. In this incarnation, Oscar winners Benicio Del Toro and Anthony Hopkins team up as Lawrence Talbot and Sir John Talbot, a haunted father and son team searching for their missing brother/son. Lawrence finds himself falling in love with his brother’s fiance, and then falling under the spell of the full moon. We’re holding out hope for a special guest appearance by Michael J. Fox, surfing by the sleepy Victorian hamlet of Blackmoor on top of a van.
Alice in Wonderland
Release date: Mar. 5
In Tim Burton’s vividly re-imagined Alice in Wonderland, Alice falls down the rabbit hole at the age of 19. She doesn’t remember ever having been to Wonderland before, but you can bet your shrinking potion that Helena Bonham Carter’s Red Queen remembers her. Alice reunites with the White Rabbit, Tweedledee and Tweedledum, the Dormouse, the Caterpillar, the Cheshire Cat, and of course, the Mad Hatter. (Played by Michael Sheen, Matt Lucas, Barbara Windsor, Alan Rickman, Stephen Fry and Johnny Depp, respectively.) The teaser trailer promised stunning visuals and the second trailer actually hinted at an engaging plot. Disney will be offering the film in their patented Digital 3D, just in case you missed out on attending a rave when you were in college.
Season of the Witch
Release Date: Mar. 19
Nicholas Cage plays a battle-worn and weary Crusader who returns to Europe for supplies, only to find himself recruited by a dying Cardinal. His mission is to escort a young woman to a remote abbey where she will stand trial for being a witch. Only this peasant is not your run of the mill Salem sorcerer; no, this witch is responsible for The Black Plague. Can Cage decode the map on the back of the Magna Carta in time to discover the secret message on the inside of King Arthur’s chalice in time to unlock the sacred chisel with which he must carve the answers to the world’s toughest Sudoku? And can he do it in time to save the entire continent from death? Oh, these are the Dark Ages indeed!
Nanny McPhee and the Big Bang
Release date: Mar. 25
As the star, screenwriter and producer of this sequel, Emma Thompson has made Nanny McPhee her pet project. The film’s official description reads “A group of children are evacuated from the city to a farm during wartime, where they encounter Nanny McPhee, the magic-wielding governess.” So, The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe meets Mary Poppins. Unfortunately, Thompson was so preoccupied with the role, that she couldn’t find time to return as Professor Trelawney in the final installment of Harry Potter. It’s a hard pill to swallow considering that Ralph Fiennes (Lord Voldemort himself) is headlining Thompson’s Big Bang.
Clash of the Titans
Release date: Mar. 26
Another remake of a beloved fantasy classic, Clash of the Titans follows Perseus (born of a god, raised by a man) as he risks his life for the right to marry Princess Andromeda. He must battle Medusa and the Kraken monster as he follows his quest to forbidden worlds to defeat Hades (Ralph Fiennes) before the King of the Underworld can unseat Zeus (Liam Neeson). We don’t mind the remakes, as long as Clash of the Titans doesn’t fall victim to Hollywood’s latest fantasy craze: refusing to properly conclude a story, just in case the studio decides to fund a sequel. The only respectable exception would be the appearance of Kinopio Toad: “We’re sorry Perseus, but your Princess is in another castle.”
The Chronicles of Narnia: Voyage of the Dawn Treader
Release date: May 7
Poor Peter and Susan Pevensie, kicked out of Narnia for learning to shave and discovering makeup. But Edward and Lucy, played by Skandar Keynes and Georgie Henley (arguably the more talented of the four child stars who relaunched The Chronicles of Narnia) are back, and they’re bringing Prince Caspian with them. Unfortunately, they’re also bringing Narnia’s own Cousin Oliver, Eustace Clarence Scrubb. (We’re counting on Reepicheep to drown him out. Or just drown him.) Dawn Treader will follow the plot of C.S. Lewis’ original story: The younger Pevensies join forces with Caspian as he sails to the edge of the world, battling dufflepuds, slave traders, dragons, merfolk, and plenty of Christian symbolism along the way.
Iron Man 2
Release date: May 7
Robert Downey Jr’s celebrated Tony Stark is back in the second part of the Iron Man trilogy. This time, the whole world knows that the industrialist inventor is the man in the armored suit. The military, the American government and the media are all pushing him to share his technology with the world, but Stark knows enough about humanity to realize it’s a terrible idea. Don Cheadle will be taking over for Terrance Howard as James “Rhodey” Rhodes. And Gwyneth Paltrow will return as Pepper Potts. Unfortunately Pepper drives Stark to the brink of alcoholism when she gets a new boyfriend. Apparently even bazillionaires need a reminder that you shouldn’t operate heavy machinery while under the influence.
Release date: May 14
When Russell Crowe’s Robin Hood hits theaters, it will be the tenth time the story has been adapted for the big screen. This incarnation follows the more traditional version of the story: Robin of Loxley, Earl of Huntington, returns to London after fighting in the Crusades to find that his village has been plundered at the hands of the Sheriff of Nottingham (Matthew Macfadyen). So, Robin forms a group of rough and tumble Merry Men to steal back their money and their land, and win the heart of Maid Marian (Cate Blanchett). Of course, the real question is whether or not the soundtrack can hope to compete with Bryan Adams’ “Everything I Do (I Do It For You)” from 1991’s Prince of Thieves. We’re guessing probably not.
Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time
Release date: May 28
A movie based on a video game? Why not; it worked for Angelina Jolie! In Prince of Persia, Jake Gyllenhaal plays Dastan, an Aladdin-like street-urchin in Medieval Persia. After showing unique valor in battle, the King adopts Dastan and sends him off to reclaim the Sands of Time (a gift from the gods that, um, controls the sands of time). Prince of Persia is the fourth Disney/Bruckheimer collaboration, and if the team’s other films (all three Pirates of the Caribbean) are any indication, it should enjoy plenty of mainstream success. And cross-promotion with Happy Meals. And Legos. And graphic novels. And, of course, another video game.
Release date: June 18
D.C. is auctioning off its lesser-known heroes right and left these days. Jonah Hex is a caustic, curmudgeonly, former Confederate States Army soldier whose face is scarred almost beyond recognition. He’s got all of the swagger of Clint Eastwood, without any of the charm. Josh Brolin stars as Hex in the movie adaptation, along with John Malkovich as Quentin Turnbull (the bad guy), and Megan Fox as a trigger-happy prostitute. Er, trigger-happy with the guns. Actual guns. Revolvers. Turnbull’s plan is a Civil War do-over, and Hex has been hired as the bounty hunter who must shut him down. The plot sounds almost as plausible as Malkovich with a southern accent. We totally buy Megan Fox’s role, though.
The Twilight Saga: Eclipse
Release date: June 30
We haven’t really heard much about this movie. It’s apparently some kind of adaptation of a vampire romance novel. There may have been some movies before this one, but they must have flopped at the box office. From what we’ve heard, there’s a vampire with some wicked crazy hair, and a werewolf who refuses to wear a shirt, and a helpless girl who sits in her room listening to emo music and writing fan fiction about herself. We also heard something about sparkles and middle-aged women wearing t-shirts to support either the wicked hair or the abs. If any other information becomes available, we’ll let you know. This thing will probably go straight to DVD, though.
The Last Airbender
Release date: July 2
M. Night Shyamalan directing a Nickelodeon movie? Who’d have guessed it? (Us, actually. M. Night Shyamalan sees dollar signs.) The Last Airbender is a live-action adaptation of the super popular Nick cartoon series Avatar: The Last Airbender. The premise of the cartoon is that Earth, Fire, Water and Air can be controlled by “benders.” Aang is the Avatar, and the last surviving member of Air Nomads. His purpose is to restore balance and overthrow the Fire Nation’s Admiral Zhao, but first he must learn to focus and bend all of the elements. Fortunately, the creators of the series left out the fifth element, Heart. That poor kid with the Heart ring on Captain Planet had the lamest superpower ever.
The Sorcerer’s Apprentice
Release date: July 16
Nicholas Cage is back with more fantasy, this time in a live-action adaptation of the “Sorcerer’s Apprentice” scene from Disney’s Fantasia. (You remember? Mickey and those crazy mops!) Cage plays Balthazar Blake, a master sorcerer who sets out to protect his city from an evil wizard. He recruits a young apprentice, Dave Stutler (Jay Baruchel) to help him. After a crash-course in magic (and what could possibly go wrong when you put those two words together?), Stutler joins Blake’s quest in a Disney-esque battle of Good versus Evil. The film looks to be a lot less trippy than the actual “Sorcerer’s Apprentice” from Fantasia. So if you’re looking for a mind-bend, you’ll have to watch Burton’s Alice in Wonderland on DVD.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1
Release date: Nov 17
If you thought Dumbledore’s death was tragic, wait until the first five minutes of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, when Harry’s beloved and loyal companion, Hedwig, gets (spoiler alert) blasted out of the sky. As promised, Harry, Ron and Hermione don’t return for their seventh year at Hogwarts. Instead they must decode Dumbledore’s mission for them from beyond the grave while trying to find and destroy the fragments of Voldemort’s soul that he’s hidden in horcruxes around the country. The path toward victory is strewn with casualties and heartbreak. Even the unshakable trio will find themselves turning against one another. Director David Yates is sticking with the films until the final expelliarmus.
Release date: Dec. 17
Tron Legacy is the nerdgasmic sequel to Disney’s 1982 film. Jeff Bridges return as Kevin Flynn, and and Bruce Boxleitner will reprise his roles as Alan Bradley and Tron. Garrett Hedlund will take over as Kevin’s now-adult son, Sam, who gets sucked into the same world his father disappeared into 25 years earlier. (We knew he was alive!) The father/son team join forces and traverse the treacherous cyber terrain, which has become much more sophisticated since we last saw it.
Obviously, a tie-in video game will be released in time for Christmas.
What 2010 fantasy film are you most looking forward to?
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- Review: With PRINCE OF PERSIA: THE SANDS OF TIME, the Video Game Movie Adaptation Curse is Broken! (Sort of)
- Just Because It’s the Most Popular, Does That Mean It’s the Best?
- From the Palantir! (A Fantasy News Round-Up)