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2009 Summer Movie Winners and Losers

A Battle Royale for Transformers, GI Joe, District 9 and More

By Chad Derdowski     September 02, 2009


2009 Summer Movie Winners & Losers
© N/A
There are two sides to every story: black and white, yin and yang, heads and tails and all that jazz. In the epic struggle that was the summer of 2009, the cosmic scales of karma and justice found an awkward balance. For every winner, there was a loser and Mania.com is here to provide you with a recap of this summer’s biggest battles.
 

2009 Summer Movie List

1. Terminator: Salvation Vs. Star Trek

The first bout on our card features a couple of last ditch efforts to jumpstart a franchise that has seen better days. In the case of Star Trek, the funeral services had already been held and the body had been dissected for science. Terminator, on the other hand, still had a light pulse, with a recently-cancelled television series and a less-than-stellar final outing a few years back. Two sci-fi franchises on life support duke it out on the undercard.
 
The clear cut winner in this battle was Star Trek. Lauded by fans and critics alike, it breathed new life into Gene Roddenberry’s vision and ensured that the U.S.S. Enterprise will continue to keep on boldly going for at least a few more years. We saw a sleek new look and an honorable homage to the old continuity. Terminator, on the other hand, was panned by critics and ended up at the local dollar theater faster than you could say “Come with me if you want to live.” Not even Batman could save this predictable and one-dimensional flop.
 
The Winner: Star Trek by pinfall
 

 

2009 Summer Movie List

2. Land of the Lost Vs. The Hangover

Our second matchup features a ring general taking on one of the young lions of the sport as Will Ferrell attempts another old TV show revival with Land of the Lost. The challenger: a fresh faced up-and-comer known as The Hangover!
 
With a bloated budget of $100 million, LOTL apparently didn’t do any training and ran out of steam… hell, it never really had any to begin with. The film opened at just over $18 million and barely made back half of its budget. Reviews were terrible at best and Will Ferrell proved that his schtick is as over the hill as the dinosaurs he grappled with in the film. 
 
The Hangover, on the other hand, came out swinging. With a budget of only $35 million, it was the underdog success story of the summer. Utilizing skills such as a talented cast and actual humor, this film used strong buzz and positive word of mouth to become the Rocky Balboa of Summer 2K9, proving that a semi-retarded man falling down and yelling a lot does not equal comedy. 
 
The Winner: The Hangover by TKO
 

 

2009 Summer Movie List

3. X-Men Origins: Wolverine vs. Harry Potter

Two of the most anticipated flicks of the summer went toe-to-toe in our next fight. Both were sequels in popular franchises and both came with their fair share of controversy.
 
Wolverine was the fourth film in the X-Men franchise and an early cut leaked onto the interwebs shortly before the film premiered. Word of mouth was negative and Fox quickly assured us that the film fans downloaded illegally wasn’t the final cut. Turned out it didn’t matter much, as the movie didn’t exactly live up to the high standard set by the first three X-Movies… or any standards, for that matter. Hugh Jackman’s performance as the adamantium-infused mutant was the only high point in a film filled with pointless cameos and lackluster effects.
 
Harry Potter fans were outraged when the film, originally set to be released in November of 2008, was pushed back to July 2009 in order to guarantee the studio a major blockbuster. They must not have been too bothered though, as the film broke records for the biggest midnight gross of all-time as biggest five-day gross. It went on to become the highest grossing film of 2009. It appears that absence really does make the heart grow fonder.
 
The Winner: Harry Potter via submission.
 

 

2009 Summer Movie List

4. G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra vs. Inglorious Basterds

Both featured soldiers fighting against an evil so vile, it can scarcely be described. One was based on a beloved toy line, the other: a spaghetti-western inspired World War II film.
 
Quentin Tarantino’s epic Inglorious Basterds felt like the movie the director was born to make, with every scene and every line of dialogue absolutely perfect and filled with homage to the films he loves and has been inspired by. Every performance was top-notch and Christoph Waltz earned himself a well-deserved Best Actor award at Cannes. This is a perfect example of how to turn an action film into art.
 
 G.I. Joe, on the other hand, felt like it was cobbled together from leftover pieces of other summer films found on the cutting room floor with incomprehensible dialogue and performances more wooden than the toy soldiers that inspired the original G.I. Joe oh so long ago. If Channing Tatum doesn’t win a Razzie for his performance as Duke, then something is definitely wrong with the world.
 
The Winner: Basterds via pinfall. And let’s hope the Joes make it out of the arena with their scalps intact!
 

 

2009 Summer Movie List

5. Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen vs. District 9

The combatants in our main event are both interstellar travelers trapped on a world they never made. It’s a two-out-of-three falls steel cage match pitting the robots in disguise against the prawns of District 9. Would the reigning heavyweight champion of summer blockbusters be able to stand up against the technical savvy of the upstart young lion? 
 
In terms of ticket sales, Transformers was the clear-cut winner, trouncing all competitors with the exception of everyone’s favorite boy wizard. District 9’s ticket sales are nothing to scoff at, but nowhere near the record-breaking numbers Transformers have done over the course of the summer. In terms of respect… well, that’s another matter.
 
District 9 has been almost unanimously praised, with critics raving about the film’s intelligent story, social commentary and analogies to the apartheid system enforced by South Africa from 1948 to 1994. Transformers on the other hand is one of the worst-reviewed movies of all time and featured lowbrow humor, a couple of robots straight out of a minstrel show and plot holes the size of the Grand Canyon. D9 featured a return to the thinking man’s sci-fi of the 1970s, but with kick-ass action and special effects. Transformers played the “What did you expect, Shakespeare?” card and caused moviegoers eyeballs to bleed with over two hours of mind-numbing special effects and battle scenes that were so big and expensive they actually tipped the scales into the negative. Familiar with the phrase “So bad it’s good?” The effects in Transformers were so bloated and overdone that they actually became boring. Another fight scene? Ho-hum.
 
The Winner: In the end, this matchup brings to mind that timeless tale of the ultimate underdog: the aforementioned Rocky Balboa. After an intense battle, The Transformers walked away with the championship belt, but District 9 walked out with pride and dignity intact. We’ll leave it up to the reader to decide the real winner of this battle, but one thing is for sure: it isn’t the folks who spent their hard earned money on the crapfest that was Revenge of the Fallen.

 

 

COMMENTS AND RESPONSES

Showing items 1 - 10 of 32
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marcd30319 9/2/2009 4:01:23 AM

On the other hand, Transformers 2 does have Megan Fox running ... alot!

jppintar326 9/2/2009 4:27:58 AM

Loser:  the audience.  This year's movies, particularly genre movies, were disappointing and didn't live up to the hype.  Many of the films I saw this year could not excite me like they did last year.  I have already expressed my displeasure with Star Trek on a number of occasions so i won't beat a dead horse.  It would have been nice if Transformer movies were actually about the transformers and not about the human characters who are just annoying and long overstay their welcome.  Yes, I'm talking about you, Jon Turturro.  At least Nick Cage gives some kind of effort in his shameless "I Did It For The Money" movies.  Harry Potter was a very good movie but made too many changes from the book to satisfy Harry Potter fans like me.  I actually like GI Joe and Land of the Lost.  Some of us are entitled to their guilty pleasures.  As for Basterds, I am not a Taranttino fan and have no interest in his latest self indulgent revisionist history. 

Of course the best movie of the summer was left out:  Up by a wide margin.

Darkknight2280 9/2/2009 4:31:04 AM

Revenge of the fallen a crap fest? OMG I mean at least the acting in Fallen wasnt wooden and felt a little more beleiveable. But i am not giving a pass to the over the top racist robots and ball on devistator. But If you want to lable any of those movies a crap fest i would slap that lable on GIJOE. I was on the edge of my seat the entire movie...not from suspense but couldnt wait to get up and leave. But i do think District 9 was a better movie then Fallen, hands down.

shadowprime 9/2/2009 4:43:56 AM

 

Every scene and every line of IB was absolutely perfect? Hmmm. Guess that is a matter of taste. While I liked much of IB, I prefer movies in which the "heroes" aren't the equivalent of Al-Queda beheaders. If the bat-wielding idiot in IB is in any way different from them, the distinction was lost on me.

Shadow

marcd30319 9/2/2009 4:53:52 AM

I completely agree with jppintar326 that this Summer's line-up of movies in general and genre films in particular was a total crapfest.  One need only look back at the Summer of 2008 with Ironman, Indiana Jones, The Dark Knight, and Tropic Thunder to see the set the lack of quality entertainment from this Summer.  It is a toss up for me what was the biggest disappoint ment -- JJ Abrams' Star Trek was as bad as this first-generation Trekker feared it would be while Public Enemies failed as an adult alternative to the stale popcorn flick that polluted this Summer.  The last decent movie that I saw this year thus far was Taken.

hanso 9/2/2009 5:17:56 AM

You know, I was of the mind that this summer really sucked but looking back now that it's over it wasn't that bad thanks to August which delivered 2 awesome films.  The main problem this summer were the tent pole movies(not including Up which was great)  all pretty much sucked and if you want to be kind the most you can give them is "average". 

The smaller films released this summer were great.  The Hangover, District 9, Inglorious Basterds and The Hurt Locker from the ones that I saw.  Moon and (500) Days of Summer which I didnt see, are supposed to be really good also.

 

shadowprime 9/2/2009 5:35:08 AM

 

Again, we all have different tastes, but I thought TREK was a smart, fun, very entertaining movie that reinvigorated the old franchise. With all due respect... if TREK was going to have a life going forward, it needed to become relevant and engaging to younger folks who, while familiar with the iconic characters and imagery of the original (and some of the follow-ons, many terrific on their own merits). weren't going to be signing up for any more voyages with the older crews. I thought the TREK movie managed that, while offering a respectful, affectionate nod to the old-timers out there.

Beyond that... I guess a lot depends on what you were looking for. I wasn't blown away by TRANSFORMERS, but I had fun with it. I am not putting WOLVERINE or GI JOE on my Top Ten films lists but I was entertained. POTTER was good. HANGOVER was quirky fun. TERMINATOR was... passable. DISTRICT NINE was a pleasant surprise. Guess what I am saying is that while I saw nothign to rival DARK KNIGHT or IRON MAN, I still had a lot of fun at the movies this summer, overall.

If the critique is that none of the big summer movies delivered at the "A" level, I would probably agree - although I might put TREK up there. But I wouldn't go too far in the OTHER direction either.

Shadow

 

wessmith1966 9/2/2009 6:13:45 AM

 Star Trek was an exciting and entertaining relaunching of the franchise. marcd30319, I too am a first-generation Trek fan and not only wasn't I disappointed I was surprised at how much I enjoyed the movie. I was set to hate seeing my favorite characters recast and retooled, but I was won over with the excellence of the movie.

Comparing GI Joe to Inglorious Basterds is like comparing boxers of different weight classes, to continue your lines of comparisons. While they're both meant to entertain and involve soldiers, the movies couldn't be more different. IB was another Tarentino wordfest while GI Joe was balls-out action. While the acting won't win awards, GI Joe was entertaining summer popcorn fun.

As for the comedies, I'm so glad to see that the movies with Will Farrell, Jack Black and Michael Cera took a dive in the first round without even taking a hit on the chin. Land of the Lost and Year One (my picks before the summer began for the biggest flops) tripped on their laces heading to the ring.

Comparing Wolverine and Harry Potter is tough too, because Harry Potter was made to be a good movie and Wolverine was made to be another Fox cash cow. It really is a shame that Fox doesn't care as much about the X-properties as much as WB cares about Potter.

For me, the biggest winner of the summer was Star Trek. Not only was the entire future of a billion dollar franchise riding on the success this movie, there was also a legion of critics and fans ready to tear this movie apart if it sucked. Even with all of that pressure, Star Trek was a critical and financial success and accepted by the majority of Trek fans. With its success in all areas, Star Trek gets my vote for summer season champ.

okonomiyaki4000 9/2/2009 6:32:47 AM

 Didn't see land of the lost but it must be pretty horrible to lose to the hangover. That movie blew. 

shac2846 9/2/2009 6:45:14 AM

With the exception of UP (excellent film) from the months of May to June the only winner for me was Star Trek. I won radio tickets to an advanced screening and I was not expecting it to be as good as it was. I think Star Trek may have picked up the ball that Star Wars dropped, I'm anxious for a sequal.

Wolverine, Terminator Salvation, Transformers 2, GI Joe, the studios can keep em'. I'm not going to even watch these on tv. None of them were as bad as The Spirit mind you, there's a special place in hell for the people involved with that, but these movies were still dissappointing in just about every way. 

Hanso is right though, August has been the saving grace of the summer and I think the fall and winter films are going to save the year. 9, Lovely Bones, Avatar, Sherlock Holmes just to name a few. A lot to look forward to.

Hanso, if you can go out and see (500) Days of Summer and Moon, do it excellent movies.

Where's Gauley? I thought for sure he'd be in here stickin' up for his Transformers 2. Where you at Gauley?!

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