Indiana Jones, Speed Racer, the Incredible Hulk and Carrie Bradshaw? Talk about a power-packed spring. Admit it, that John Williams’ “Raiders” theme is already stuck in your head. Not only are the characters big, but the directors — Spielberg and the Wachowski brothers among them — bring heft to this spring’s blockbusters. So grab your popcorn (don’t forget to check to see if the film is playing at an IMAX theater) and get ready to have your mind blown.
“Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull”
Starring: Harrison Ford, Shia LaBeouf, Cate Blanchett, Ray Winstone, Karen Allen, John Hurt, Jim BroadbentDirector: Steven SpielbergStory: Plot details are still sketchy, but we do know that Indiana Jones (Ford) goes up against Soviet agents in a quest for the Crystal Skull. He’s assisted by former lover Marion Ravenwood (Allen) and a young man named Mutt (LaBeouf). Blanchett plays Soviet Agent Irina Spalko. Spielberg, George Lucas and co. are keeping whether LaBeouf plays Indy’s son under wraps, but it does seem likely — why else re-introduce Allen’s character?One to watch? But of course! even wrote, “‘Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull’ may well be the film that kicks off a second Indiana Jones trilogy.” Windolf thinks that LaBeouf may take over the bullwhip after this film. Even at 66, Ford does his own stunts. He told , “I always wanted to make sure the audience understood the pain, so that they could participate and enjoy the triumph.” Lucas has no illusions about this movie being for fans, not critics. “I know the critics are going to hate it,” he told . “They already hate it. So there’s nothing we can do about that.”Coming: May 22Web site: http://www.indianajones.com/site/index.html
“The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian”Starring: Georgie Henley, Skandar Keynes, William Moseley, Anna Popplewell, Liam Neeson, Ben Barnes, Alicia Borrachero, Peter DinklageDirector: Andrew AdamsonStory: Set one year after the events of “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe,” the four Pevensie siblings (Henley, Keynes, Moseley, Popplewell) return to Narnia — but while only one year passed for the kids, 1,300 years have gone by in Narnia. The Golden Age is gone, and Narnia is now ruled by evil King Miraz (Sergio Castellitto) and the Telmarines. It’s up to young Prince Caspian (Barnes) to claim the throne and bring peace to the land once again. One to watch? Future looks uncertain. If you look at the “Harry Potter” movies as an example, the second in that series is the weakest. Adamson returns to the director’s chair and told Edward Douglas of ComingSoon.com that the sequel is bigger than the first film. “The battles, both the raid sequence in the castle and this final battle, are more complex than last time. And … because we are revisiting a similar world, you want to give yourself new challenges. We deliberately made things more complicated.”Coming: May 16Web site: http://disney.go.com/disneypictures/narnia/
Starring: Emile Hirsch, Christina Ricci, John Goodman, Susan Sarandon, Matthew Fox, Hiroyuki Sanada, Richard RoundtreeDirector: Andy Wachowski, Larry WachowskiStory: Speed Racer (Hirsch) wants to win the Crucible, a cross-country rally race in the Mach 5, an advanced racing car that his father (Goodman) designed. The owner of Royalton Industries (Roger Allam) wants Speed to race for him, and when he turns him down, he wants to ensure that Speed won’t win the race. With a little help from girlfriend Trixie (Ricci) and former rival Racer-X (Fox), Speed plans to thwart Royalton’s plans. One to watch? Yes. Sometimes the innovation alone is worth it. This is the Wachowski brothers’ first directorial effort since the third “Matrix” film. It’s was shot in high-definition video against a green screen so that it almost looks like a live-action film inside a video game. “There were no sets, just us and the green background,” Hirsh told Empire magazine. “(All) of it is in-focus, the front and the back, because they’re layering the film,” Sarandon told MTV.com’s Larry Carroll, who described the technique as “real-life anime.” The film is being released in regular and IMAX theaters — visually, it could break new ground.Coming: May 9Web site: http://speedracerthemovie.warnerbros.com/
“Iron Man”Starring: Robert Downey Jr., Terrence Howard, Gwyneth Paltrow, Jeff Bridges, Shaun Toub, Leslie BibbDirector: Jon FavreauStory: Tony Stark (Downey Jr.) is a billionaire inventor who comes up with the ultimate weapon, but is kidnapped by terrorists when he goes to demonstrate it in Afghanistan. They want him to build a missile for them, but instead he builds an iron suit that helps him escape. Once back in America, he decides he wants to continue his crime-fighting ways and uses his ingenuity and money to build an even better power-armor suit. One to watch? Yes. Inspired casting here: Downey Jr. seems perfect to add a much needed dose of “who me?” fun to this comic-book tale. Director Favreau (“Elf,” “Swingers”) told comicscontinuum.com, “I think in the casting of Downey and the way we handle the tone of it, it sort of has that irreverence that the old — that I always associate with the Marvel brand, and that is a reaction to the very earnest, you know, black-and-white iconic flawless heroes of the day.” Favreau told AintItCoolNews.com that the film is planned to be the first of a trilogy. Coming: May 2Web site: http://ironmanmovie.marvel.com/
Starring: Edward Norton, Liv Tyler, Tim Roth, William Hurt, Tim Blake Nelson, Christina Cabot, Lou Ferrigno, Martin Starr, Ty BurrellDirector: Louis LeterrierStory: Scientist Bruce Banner (Norton) is searching for a cure for the gamma radiation that has infected his body, turning him into a green monster whenever he feels rage. General Thunderbolt Ross (Hurt) wants to harness his power for military use. But when Banner is confronted with a new enemy called The Abomination (Roth), he realizes that he can use his powers to defeat the villain. One to watch? Maybe. There’s some behind-the-scenes drama. Deadline Hollywood Daily’s Nikki Finke is reporting that “Norton and Marvel are clashing over how to cut the pic.” An insider told Finke, “There’s a lot of posturing going on between Edward’s camp and Marvel over how you edit the final version.” Norton has had clashes like this before, most notably with “American History X” director Tony Kaye, who was basically locked out of the editing room. However, in this case Finke reports that Norton was “promised tremendous involvement and access” by Marvel at the beginning of the process. Norton also re-wrote Zak Penn’s screenplay. Coming: June 13Web site: http://incrediblehulk.marvel.com/