Will 2013 be an unlucky summer at the movies? You wouldn’t want to accuse Hollywood studios of triskaidekaphobia, at least not with a mouthful of popcorn, but the numeral 2013 seems to have inspired an inordinate number of films about planet-killing assaults from aliens, pollution, war and zombies.
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Star Trek Into Darkness, in theatres May 17. J. J. Abrams breathed fresh swashbuckling spirit into the Star Trek franchise in 2009, with Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto as the baby-faced Captain Kirk and Mr. Spock. This time, they quarrel and then make up when faced with a common enemy played by Benedict Cumberbatch (TV’s Sherlock Holmes) as the requisite English villain with a mellow baritone, who lays waste to future London. To the bridge!
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Man of Steel, in theatres June 14. In retelling the story of the original superhero, Zack Snyder (Watchmen) directs under the guidance of producer Christopher Nolan (The Dark Knight), with Kevin Costner and Diane Lane as Ma and Pa Kent, English actor Henry Cavill as Clark Kent/Man of Steel and Amy Adams as Lois Lane. Look for Michael Shannon, whose face needs no prosthetic help, as merciless arch-enemy General Zod.
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World War Z, in theatres June 21. Brad Pitt produces and stars in the most expensive zombie movie about a global undead outbreak, adapted from Max Brooks’s 2006 novel, with Marc Forster (Quantum of Solace) directing. Will it be a disaster film or just a disaster?
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The Lone Ranger, in theatres July 3. Johnny Depp, as shaman spirit warrior Tonto, relates the legend of the Lone Ranger (Armie Hammer) with the team behind Pirates of the Caribbean, including director Gore Verbinski, calling the shots. After a decade in development hell, and a budget downgrade, the movie’s being modestly touted as a “dysfunctional buddy movie.”
Peter Mountain/Disney Enterprises Inc. and Jerry Bruckheimer Inc.
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Pacific Rim, in theatres July 12. Guillermo Del Toro (Pan’s Labyrinth) directs what he calls “a beautiful poem to giant monsters,” in a story of robots fighting invaders from inside the Earth. Think of Michael Bay’s Transformers movies, with a Promethean poetic spark. Shown here is del Toro at Comic-Con on July 14, 2012 in San Diego.
Matt Sayles/The Associated Press
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Elysium, in theatres Aug. 9. Matt Damon plays an Earth-dwelling guy who finds himself caught up in a fight for his life on a mission to Elysium. Jodi Foster is also featured in the film, whose character’s job is to keep out those who cannot afford a spot on the pristine vessel, a.k.a Damon. In Greek mythology, Elysium is where the heroes and relatives of the gods hung out in total paradise, while everyone else was left in the equivalent of Hades or hell. Elysium is the second feature-length science fiction effort of Neil Blomkamp, who also directed the 2009 hit, District 9.