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‘Trek,’ ‘Transformers,’ ‘Terminator’ — oh my!

Christian Bale, Hugh Jackman, Shia LaBeouf look to crush box office records this spring with a spate of new big-budget event films.
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There are certain movies true fans dress up for. Vulcan ears for “Star Trek,” perhaps fake claws for “X-Men Origins: Wolverine,” heck, maybe even a metal exoskeleton for “Terminator Salvation.” These are more than just movies, they are events. And the studios involved are banking on breaking some box office records. Will you oblige them?

“Terminator Salvation”
Christian Bale, Sam Worthington, Anton Yelchin, Bryce Dallas Howard, Moon Bloodgood, Common Director: McG Story: Set in 2018, John Connor (Bale) is ready to fight against Skynet and its army of Terminators. But when he meets Marcus Wright (Worthington), he begins to doubt his fated future. Has Wright been sent from the past or the future — and what exactly is he? Yelchin stars as the young Kyle Reese, who is captured by Skynet and used as bait to lure John Connor (since, after all, Kyle is Connor’s dad). This is both a sequel and a prequel. Worth seeing? Yes. The question is: Can McG (“Charlie’s Angels”) make a movie that relies on more than just special effects? The good news is that “Dark Knight’s” Jonathan Nolan is a one of the film’s co-writers, along with “CSI” co-creator, Anthony E. Zuiker. McG described Nolan to, saying, “He's literate, intelligent, difficult — an elegant opposition. He got into the whole idea of: ‘Where does humanity begin and machines end?’” For fans who think they know the leaked ending, McG said, “I can say to you definitely now, Connor is not a machine. That's not to say we didn't toy with the idea; how interesting would it be if the leader of the human resistance was actually a Terminator?” At a New York screening, McG did reveal, “The ending might piss some people off.” Web site: Release date: May 21

“X-Men Origins: Wolverine”
Hugh Jackman, Ryan Reynolds, Liev Schreiber, Dominic Monaghan, Lynn Collins, Danny Huston, Taylor KitschDirector: Gavin Hood Story: Set almost 20 years before “X-Men,” the film tells the story of Logan’s (Jackman) early years and how he became part of the Canadian Government’s plot to turn people into living weapons (also known as Weapon X), which resulted in his becoming Wolverine. He has an intense rivalry with half-brother Victor Creed (Schreiber), who becomes Sabretooth. Other featured mutants include Deadpool (Reynolds) and Gambit (Kitsch). Worth seeing? Maybe. Jackman told USA Today that he thought the “X-Men” films had gotten away from who Wolverine really is. “I'm not mad about it, but I thought he had gotten a bit soft,” Jackman said. “I thought we had gotten away from the essence of who Wolverine really is: a bad (dude) who wants to live his own life.” There was a bit of a fuss when it came out that director Hood (“Rendition”) had to go back and do re-shoots. Jackman was quick to send off a note to Aint It Cool News to explain that the re-shoots were due to scheduling conflicts. “Please rest assured that ‘Wolverine’ will be badass and hopefully meet all of your expectations,” he wrote. Brett Ratner’s third “X-Men” sequel paled in comparison to Bryan Singer’s work on the first two films. Will this film provide a fresh start or will it be more like “Aliens 3”? Web site:  Release date: May 1

“Star Trek”
Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, John Cho, Ben Cross, Zoe Saldana, Anton Yelchin, Karl Urban, Eric Bana, Simon Pegg, Leonard Nimoy Director: J.J. Abrams Story: The latest reboot of the “Star Trek” universe focuses on how the young James T. Kirk (Pine) came to know Spock (Quinto) and became captain of the Starship Enterprise. There are younger versions of all the familiar names including Sulu (Cho), Scotty (Pegg), Uhura (Saldana), McCoy (Urban) and Chekov (Yelchin). In this film they come up against a Romulan named Nero (Bana) who threatens the United Federation of Planets. Worth seeing? Yes. The best news about this reboot is that writers Robert Orci and Alex Kurtzman (both wrote “Mission Impossible: III”) are all “Star Trek” fans. Orci told that he would consider himself and producer Damon Lindelof “Trekkies.” “There has never been anything on TV that has made sci-fi as relatable and respectable as ‘The Next Generation,’” Orci said. He added that “Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan” was his favorite of the “Trek” films. Director Abrams (“Lost”) admits to being more of a “Star Wars” guy, but he doesn’t worry about offending the Trekkies. He told the Los Angeles Times, “I can't make this movie for readers of Nacelles Monthly who are only concerned with what the ship's engines look like. They're going to find something they hate no matter what I do.” Abrams also promises that there will be a tribble in the film. Describing the story, Abrams told the L.A. Times, “This story is ultimately about a guy who is full of unbelievable potential but he is aimless, he is lost. He ends up finding a path that takes him beyond his wildest dreams.” Web site:  Release date: May 8

“Angels & Demons”
Tom Hanks, Ewan McGregor, Ayelet Zurer, Stellan Skarsgard, Pierfrancesco Favino, Nikolaj Lie Kaas, Armin Mueller-Stahl Director: Ron Howard Story: Robert Langdon (Hanks) is summoned by Vatican City to investigate a murder victim who’s been branded with the Illuminati ambigram. He discovers a secret society is planning to murder four cardinals and destroy St. Peter’s Basilica during the meeting to choose the next pope. Zurer plays Italian scientist Vittoria Vetra, who helps Langdon solve the mystery. Worth seeing? Perhaps. Here’s hoping Howard refined what went wrong with “The Da Vinci Code.” Producer Brian Grazer told USA Today, “I think we may have been too reverential toward (the first book). We got all the facts of the book right, but the movie was a little long and stagey.” You can say that again. The good news: Hanks has left his awful haircut behind.Web site: Release date: May 15

“Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen”
Shia LaBeouf, Megan Fox, Josh Duhamel, Tyrese Gibson, Kevin Dunn, Julie White, John Benjamin Hickey Director: Michael Bay Story: When Sam Witwicky (LaBeouf) learns something about the origins of the Transformers, the Decepticons return to Earth to kidnap him. Optimus Prime forms an alliance with international armies to join Sam in the second epic battle to protect mankind. Worth seeing? Only if you liked the first one. “Star Trek” writers Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman (along with co-writer Ehren Kruger) also penned this film. Orci told, “It’s about being away from home. It’s a few years later and Sam is going to finally go to college and he’s going to face being away from home just as the autobots are having to deal with being away from Cybertron.” He also revealed that there will be no Dinobots in the film. “We couldn’t quite figure out how to justify a robot that would pretend to be a dinosaur,” Orci said. Director Bay (“The Rock”) told, “The robots have much more personality … Now we can really get these robots to emote.” He promised fans, “This movie is darker.” Parts of the film were actually shot at the Giza pyramid complex and Luxor in Egypt. Web site:  Release date: June 26