Summer has come to an end, the sky is now constantly grey in colour rather than only occasionally and students are making their way in dribs and drabs back to Edinburgh. The summer blockbusters have all but petered out. Were there any standout features and what precious escapism have students got to look forward to come the autumn?
For many, the run into the summer months heralded the beginning of what looked like a great crop of releases. Audiences were wowed by the mammoth Godzilla, charmed by the far more subtle Frank or at least oozing excitement for the next installment of How to Train Your Dragon. Then cinemas were thrown in at the deep end, with Transformers: Age of Extinction exploding across cinema screens. This time it was Mark Walhberg who had to deal with Optimus Prime and levels of robotic madness that Michael Bay had no control over.
The summer blockbusters can often seem to have the same feel to them; an identity that could be described as mindless or monotonous with little to separate one from other. However, there were two which really stood out from the crowd, bringing a level of intelligence or at the very least some depth to the summer releases. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes had fans of the excellent prequel excited and the magnificent CGI did not disappoint. Praising a summer blockbuster for the high quality of its CGI is nonsensical, this is an expectation of large budget films, not an exception. Thus for a summer film to raise itself above the rest it needs something else in its arsenal beyond simple graphics. Creating depth between a talking ape and a human is quite challenging but Dawn of the Planet of the Apes was successful, creating a multitude of engaging characters (including multiple apes) which elevated itself above the majority in terms of blockbusters this summer. No conversation or article regarding summer films could possibly get away with leaving Guardians of the Galaxy absent. For a film which looked truly dreadful, childlike and remarkably unremarkable something exceptional was the result. Genuine depth, likeable characters and witty writing all scream top marks to this marvel film (for more read the review).
The most important film of the summer would arguably be Boyhood. Certainly the film with the most ambitious design; filming for 13 years throughout a child’s life is no mean feat and it was conquered flawlessly by Richard Linklater. A Further success of Boyhood (of which there are many) is its indie film appeal despite it being a saturation blockbuster; keeping a quiet, subtle intrigue and all the while dealing with the constant threat of domination by the larger films of the summer.
With the summer over and the rain beginning it is time to look forward to the upcoming autumnal releases which give shelter via the stifling, stickiness of Cineworld to bedraggled students for a precious few hours. With procrastination being an important daily routine for a student, it is important to be at grips with the next standout releases. Interstellar, Christopher Nolan’s upcoming release of epic proportions falls early November and looks to be continuing Matthew McConaughey’s rebirth as well as Nolan’s established career as the blockbuster king. The Hunger Games also returns in November, giving loyal fans their fix of Jennifer Lawrence and continuing the smash hit success of the previous films. Of course there is a plethora of independent films as well plenty of blockbusters to be released, so as always procrastination is never far away.