Summer is coming and while we have our fingers crossed for lots of warm sunny days there are bound to be a few rainy afternoons that will be perfect for a trip to the movies. Here's a handy list to help you plan your summer.
I've broken this list into two parts — the more all-ages appropriate films that are likely to be rated PG (believe it or not, most of these films are not yet rated) and the somewhat more intense movies that will be more appropriate for tweens and teens.
All-ages movies for summer 2013
"Epic" – May 24 (PG)
Looking at the releases scheduled for this summer there are not a lot my munchkins will be clamoring for but Epic is one film that my daughter has announced we will be going to see early and often. She’s nuts about fairies and this has the kind of arboreal fantasy world that is right up her alley. As a non-sequel it does promise to be a bit more original than many of the other films this summer and it’s produced by the studio that created Ice Age, Rio, and Horton Hears a Who so it has a good pedigree.
"Monsters University" – June 21 (not yet rated, most likely G or PG)
I’m not sure what to make of this one. It’s Pixar, so that’s good considering their continuing record of quality storytelling. However, it’s been 12 years since Monsters Inc. and it feels a little like the well was running dry and they said, “Hey, people liked Monsters Inc. let’s do more with that one!” I’m going to trust the laurels Pixar may be resting on and give this a shot.
"Despicable Me 2" – July 3 (PG)
I am not a fan of the original Despicable Me. I felt it had a lot of story problems and the characters were weak. On the other hand, my kids loved it and they can’t wait for this one. Not least because the little yellow minion guys are featured prominently in the trailers and my son is always excited when a movie includes a submarine car.
"Turbo" – July 17 (not yet rated, most likely PG)
So there are plenty of jokes in this summer’s movies about snails and/or slugs, or slug-like creatures — let’s just say gastropods in general to save time. They’re slow but they think they’re fast; they need to hurry so they make running movements/noises and go nowhere. And this particular snail wants to race in the Indy 500. I’m having trouble picturing how they resolve the problem of showing a life-size snail racing next to life-size cars. I hope they succeed; this one is from DreamWorks so it has a chance.
"The Smurfs 2" – July 31 (not yet rated, most likely PG)
There’s a Smurfs 3 already scheduled for 2015. You cannot escape.
"Disney’s Planes" – August 9 (not yet rated, most likely G or PG)
This one took me a little by surprise. When my son was younger the original Cars was a really big deal. Cars 2 — perfectly entertaining but not strictly necessary — and now Planes. It is interesting to note that the official title is Disney’s Planes, which implies that even though Pixar is a part of Disney this wasn't produced by Pixar. The rumor I heard is that this was originally produced as a direct-to-video release but the studio felt that it might actually be strong enough to give it a try in theaters.
"Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters" – August 16 (not yet rated, most likely PG)
Watching the trailer for this one I got a very heavy Harry Potter vibe, which is not necessarily a bad thing. Fans of the Percy Jackson series should be pleased but this one is definitely crossing over my age bar into tween/teen territory. The previous Percy Jackson movie only got a PG and I would caution parents of younger kids to think twice about this one because it looks like it has some pretty intense fantasy peril and potentially frightening monsters.
Movies for teens and tweens for summer 2013
The following films are rated PG-13 and will likely be too intense for younger audiences but are going to be big summer movies and fun for the teenage crowd. As a general note, the theme this year seems to be the hero’s fall from grace. Iron Man, Star Trek, and Superman in particular are going to be exploring some darker themes, The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones is pretty much straight up teen fantasy horror.
"Iron Man 3" – May 3 (PG-13)
Tony Stark (played with boyish insouciance by Robert Downey Jr.) has a pretty good thing going with the whole genius inventor, billionaire, playboy, philanthropist angle. Expect that to all get torn down in this installment of the franchise.
"Star Trek Into Darkness" – May 17 (PG-13)
It’s Into Darkness. While it will be fun to watch the Enterprise crash into San Francisco it’s going to be a rough ride with lots of lens flare and shaky camera.
"Man of Steel" – June 14 (PG-13)
Make no mistake, even though this is a Superman movie it will be nothing like the 1978 Christopher Reeve outing. The director made his reputation with 300 and Watchmen — expect at least one gout of blood.
"Lone Ranger" – July 3 (not yet rated, most likely PG-13)
This one will be interesting as a kind of western superhero movie. Lots of gun play, lots of explosions and Johnny Depp as Tonto. Think of it as Pirates of the Caribbean with horses.
"The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones" – August 23 (not yet rated, most likely PG-13)
Demons, killing, flamethrowers, lots and lots of knives the title City of Bones probably tipped you off that this one was down there at the macabre end of the spectrum.
About the author: John Kubalak is a writer, teacher, volunteer coordinator, raconteur, and scalawag. He does not publish science fiction under the pseudonym Jonathan Black but he does publish a monograph on fatherhood, The Eclectic Dad. He has a son, a daughter, a beautiful wife (and a little dog too!) who are adorable, maddening, zany, and brilliant all at the same time.