Sunday, February 06, 2005

2005: A Really BIG Year for Movies

If you know me, you also know I love movies. There's almost nothing more enjoyable than sitting in a theater with friends and family enjoying the 'big' movies of the year. I'm like a 12-year old kid who goes into 'geek' mode when I'm thrilled about a movie. The hair on the back of my neck stands up, my eyes get all watery when the music starts, and I'm transported to their world. 2005 looks like it will a fun year for people like you and I, the moviegoing public.

I've compiled this list from various sources, but a more comprehensive list of 2005 films can be found at There's also more not included on Bill's list, and dates are subject to change as studios jockey for position during the summer and winter holiday seasons.

A few actors and actresses star in several of the year's films and there's a lot of 'big' names listed. We've already had Elektra with Jennifer Garner (Alias, Daredevil) and Terrence Stamp (The Limey, Superman II) from Rob Bowman (The X-Files, Reign of Fire) but here's a slate of some of the 'event' movies of the year. Where's the ticket lines start?

Constantine PosterCONSTANTINE: Another comic book-to-film adaptation has Keanu Reeves playing a detective who specializes in the occult. He reteams (Chain Reaction) with Rachel Weisz (The Mummy) to investigate the death of her twin sister. Some fans are already upset at the changes to the character from the comic books, but general early buzz is mixed. Looks promising, but could be too much for the general crowd and just achieve cult status. More about the original character can be found at The House of Vertigo. Opens February 18.

Robots PosterROBOTS: The creators of Ice Age, 20th Century Fox and Blue Sky Studios, collaborate on a tale of a young Robot who journeys to Robot City. Blue Sky / Fox have managed to provide some decent 3D animated competition for Pixar and DreamWorks Animation. If this film is successful, it will help build Fox's reputation in the 3D animation arena. Ewan McGregor voices the lead robot, with Mel Brooks, Drew Carey, and the always-amusing Robin Williams completing the 'metal' group. Chris Wedge directs. Opens March 11.

Sin City PosterSIN CITY: Robert Rodriguez (Desperado, Spy Kids) and comic book creator Frank Miller co-direct a tale of corruption and redemption from Miller's own bold graphic novels. Bruce Willis, Elijah Wood (The Lord of the Rings), Clive Owen (BMW Films Presents: The Hire, King Arthur), Jessica Alba (Dark Angel), Benicio Del Toro (Traffic), Michael Clarke Duncan (Armageddon), Michael Madsen (Reservoir Dogs, Kill Bill), and Maria Bello (The Cooler) are some of the gritty citizens who populate Basin City. Opens April 1.

Kingdom of Heaven PosterKINGDOM OF HEAVEN: Director Ridley Scott (Gladiator, Alien) chose Orlando Bloom (The Lord of the Rings, Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl) as his star. A 12th century blacksmith becomes a knight and helps defend Jerusalem during the Crusades. Ridley's one of the true masters of filmmaking. And as far as epic films go, Gladiator stands among the best. If this is as epic, we're in for another visual and storytelling treat. Liam Neeson (Schindler's List, Star Wars: The Phantom Menace) and David Thewlis (Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Timeline) also star. Opens May 6.

Star Wars Episode 3 Revenge of the Sith PosterSTAR WARS: EPISODE III - REVENGE OF THE SITH: George Lucas directs the last of the 3 Star Wars 'prequel' films. Anakin Skywalker's fall to the Dark Side is completed and the Jedi Order eliminated. Though The Phantom Menace didn't live up to fans expectations, Attack of the Clones brought a lot more energy and story to the prequels. Episode 3 promises to be the darkest chapter yet. Ewan McGregor, Hayden Christensen, Natalie Portman (Leon: The Professional), Samuel L. Jackson (Pulp Fiction), Christopher Lee, Ian McDiarmid, Anthony Daniels, Jimmy Smits and Peter Mayhew rule the galaxy far, far away. Opens May 19.

Madagascar PosterMADAGASCAR: From the creators (Dreamworks Animation) of Shrek 2 and Shark Tale, comes a 'tail' of zoo animals gone wild. Alex the Lion (Ben Stiller), is the main attraction at New York's Central Park Zoo. Marty the Zebra (Chris Rock), Melman the Giraffe (David Schwimmer), and Gloria the Hippo (Jada Pinkett Smith) decide to go after Alex when he attempts escape. Before making it to freedom, they are captured and put on a ship to Africa. When some clever penguins decide to sabotage the ship, the animals find themselves washing up on the island of Madagascar. Opens May 27.

Mr. and Mrs. Smith PosterMR. AND MRS. SMITH: Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie star as a husband and wife who are both assassins but don't know that the other is as well. Having filmed Spy Game with Robert Redford, Pitt comes with knowledge of the genre, and Jolie, with the Lara Croft: Tomb Raider series should have something to contribute. We've all seen the Spy genre done many different ways from James Bond to Austin Powers, but Director Doug Liman will hopefully bring this espionage story to the silver screen with the energy he did in The Bourne Identity. Opens June 10.

Batman Begins PosterBATMAN BEGINS: Director Christopher Nolan (Memento, Insomnia) will hopefully provide a needed reinvigoration of the Batman franchise in this 'prequel' of sorts to the other films. Christian Bale (American Psycho, Reign of Fire) stars as the Dark Knight Detective, with Michael Caine as his loyal butler Alfred. The truly stellar cast is rounded out with Morgan Freeman, Gary Oldman (True Romance), Liam Neeson, Rutger Hauer (Blade Runner), Ken Watanabe (The Last Samurai), and Katie Holmes. Opens June 17.

War of the Worlds PosterWAR OF THE WORLDS: Steven Spielberg, Tom Cruise and Composer John Williams reunite (Minority Report) for a remake of the classic George Pal science-fiction film. Actually it's based on the H.G. Wells book but in a contemporary setting. You can bet there'll be 'Tripods', tanks, soldiers, guns, lasers, running, screaming, fire, and more lasers! This could be the movie to beat this summer, if Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith doesn't live up to expectations. More info can also be found at The DreamWorks SKG Fansite. Opens June 29.

Fantastic Four PosterFANTASTIC FOUR: Michael Chiklis (The Commish, The Shield) stars as The Thing / Ben Grimm) and Jessica Alba (Dark Angel, Sin City materializes as The Invisible Woman / Sue Storm with Ioan Gruffudd as Mr. Fantastic / Reed Richards (King Arthur) and Chris Evans (Cellular) as The Human Torch / Johnny Storm. One of Marvel Comic's all-time biggest series, is being directed by Tim Story (Barbershop). This one's going to have a tough time matching the imagery of a superhero team generated by Brad Bird and Pixar's The Incredibles. Opens July 8 (moved from July 1 to not compete with War of the Worlds).

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory PosterCHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY: The brilliant Johnny Depp reunites with Director Tim Burton yet again (Sleepy Hollow, Edward Scissorhands, Ed Wood, The Corpse Bride) to bring a remake of the Roald Dahl best-selling children's book. Featuring Willy Wonka, Oompa Loompas, and lots of sugar-coated candy, this might be the big family film of the summer. Danny Elfman is also back to score another Burton film. Be sure to check out the freaky looking Johnny Depp as Willy Wonka at the official website. Opens July 15.

The Island PhotoTHE ISLAND: Big-budget, action Director Michael Bay (Armageddon, Bad Boys) brings a film almost certainly to keep the popcorn flowing from the bucket to your mouth. A 21st century sci-fi tale about human clones who escape a colony where they are raised to be harvested for parts by original humans. Ewan McGregor, like Liam Neeson, lends his talent to yet another potential blockbuster of 2005 along with Scarlett Johansson, Sean Bean, Djimon Hounsou (Amistad, Gladiator), Steve Buscemi, and Michael Clarke Duncan. This is also the first Michael Bay film not produced by Jerry Bruckheimer. Opens July 22.

Wallace and Gromit: Curse of the Wererabbit ImageWALLACE AND GROMIT: CURSE OF THE WERERABBIT: Another stop-motion animated film from the creators of Chicken Run. Wallace and Gromit: Curse of the Wererabbit makes its way to the big screen. Helena Bonham-Carter (Lady Tottington), who also does voice work in Tim Burton's The Corpse Bride, teams with Peter Sallis (Wallace), and Ralph Fiennes (Lord Victor Quartermaine). You can watch a behind-the-scenes clip here.Opens October 27.

The Corpse Bride PosterTIM BURTON'S THE CORPSE BRIDE: Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham-Carter provide the voices for Tim Burton's stop-motion folktale in the tradition of The Nightmare Before Christmas. Another painstaking film done in a process mastered by a select few like Henry Selick and Ray Harryhausen. One of my most anticipated films of the year. Check out the trailer and drool like a monster here. Opens October 31.

The Legend of Zorro PosterTHE LEGEND OF ZORRO: Antonio Banderas and Catherine Zeta-Jones both return in the sequel to Martin Campbell's (Goldeneye) original, The Mask of Zorro. After settling down to enjoy a family life, Zorro is forced to return when California is threatened again. Only this time, he's not alone, his lovely wife, Elena will be along for the adventure. Zorro is one of the characters who directly influenced Bob Kane's creation, Batman, and I really enjoyed how the first film respected the character and its history. The Mask of Zorro really brought a sense of adventure and fun with a character that some considered to be past his time. Zorro rides again on November 4.

Harry Potter 4 PhotoHARRY POTTER AND THE GOBLET OF FIRE: In a series I've really enjoyed, the wonderful adventures of Hogwarts wizards, witches, creatures, and ghouls are continued in this fourth installment. Director Mike Newell (Mona Lisa Smile, Donnie Brasco) picks up where Director Alfonso Cuaron (Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban) left off with Harry (Daniel Radcliffe) participating in a multi-school Wizardry Tournament. More news at the great MuggleNet. Opens November 18.

The Chronicles of Narnia PosterTHE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA: THE LION, THE WITCH, AND THE WARDROBE: Disney hopes to capitalize on the success of New Line Cinema's The Lord of the Rings series with another live-action filmed exploration of the Chronicles of Narnia tales. You can check out some of the fantastic creatures designs and effects being done by Weta Workshop (The Lord of the Rings) at Apple's QuickTime Trailers website. Since C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien were often in communication regarding each other's work, it is appropriate that Weta is there to bring the creatures to life. Brian Cox (Manhunter, X2: X-Men United) provides the voices of Aslan the Lion while Andrew Adamson (Shrek, Shrek 2) helms the production. Opens December 9.

King Kong Concept ArtKING KONG. Perhaps the real 'big' movie of the year. Peter Jackson follows up his enormously successful The Lord of the Rings trilogy with a remake of the original 1933 giant ape film. Starring Adrien Brody (The Thin Red Line, The Village), Naomi Watts (The Ring), Jack Black (School of Rock), Andy Serkis (Gollum in The Lord of the Rings), and Colin Hanks. The original is one of my all-time favorite films, so hopefully PJ can at least come close to the excitement and adventure of the original. The 1933 version continues to inspire filmmakers, animators, and paleontologist today and if PJ's version works, there'll be a new one to light up the imaginations of budding filmmakers. If you want to follow the progress of the production down in New Zealand, visit for video diaries and concept interviews. Opens December 14.
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