‘Blockbuster’ is the word that springs to mind as one surveys the raft of films being rolled out in the so-called ‘silly’ season to pique the interest of younger viewers enjoying a break from school.
We recently saw films like Wonder Woman and Transformers: The Last Knight making their pitch for this lucrative target audience. The ‘Big Movie’ craze continues with War for the Planet of the Apes (12A), the third chapter of the much-hyped primate series. Caesar (Andy Serkis) and his apes engage in a tussle with an army of humans led by a ruthless colonel played by Woody Harrelson (the poor man’s Brando from Apocalypse Now?) to determine who will finally rule the planet.
Despicable Me 3 (G), in gentler vein, has Steve Carell voicing the formerly nasty but now reformed character Gru. Gru tried to steal the moon in a previous Despicable Me outing. Here he meets a mysterious stranger, Dru. Dru claims to be his long-lost brother. The pair of them team up to try and foil a diamond thief. Kristin Wiig voices Gru’s wife and the much-loved minions are also present and correct. A bevy of energetic musical interludes rounds off the wholesome package.
Cars 3 (G) is another animated sequel that will be gobbled up by younger viewers. By now they will be well acquainted with the travails of Lightning McQueen (voiced by Owen Wilson). When we meet him this time he’s suffering from a crisis of confidence on the race track. He’s being humiliated by ‘new kid on the block’ Jackson Storm.
Not willing to take it lying down, he re-evaluates his career with the help of a new sponsor and trainer, voiced by Nathan Fillion and Cristela Alonzo respectively.
The most welcome voice in the film, however, is that of Paul Newman. Newman featured in the first Cars film but died shortly after it was released. Now, thanks to the wonders of technology, they’ve managed to ‘resurrect’ him for this third instalment of the franchise.
The Cars movies have always seemed to be in the shadow of the Toy Story ones, probably because people are more interesting to look at than vehicles. Cars 3 may change that perspective, at least if audiences aren’t put off by the elegiac tone of the film, featuring a Rocky Balboa character facing into the autumn of his career.
One of the most eagerly anticipated releases of the summer is Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk (12A). It comes to us hot on the heels of Churchill. The latter film catalogued the prelude to one of the great victories of World War 2. Dunkirk gives us the other side of the coin – a nightmare scenario.
It focuses on the traumas suffered by the Allied Forces on the eponymous French beach in 1940 when they found themselves surrounded by the German army on every side with nowhere left to turn. The star-studded cast includes Tom Hardy, Mark Rylance, Kenneth Branagh and our own Cillian Murphy.