Tomb Raider: Alex Bailey
Glenn Gaslin
March 09, 2001 AT 05:00 AM EST

Online, it’s already summer. Sure, it’s months before the blockbuster movie blitz strikes with full force, but late winter anticipation of big films has become a form of entertainment all its own. With studios launching Flash thick teasers for their $100 million noisemakers and film fan sites concocting daily ”news” out of the flimsiest of rumors, many of the season’s spectacles have already begun. ”You see a good trailer or a good poster and you want to fill in the blanks with your imagination,” says Patrick Sauriol, creator of Coming Attractions. The Web can provide plenty of preseason hysteria, speculation, and misdirection. Here, an early look at seven summer flicks.

PLANET OF THE APES This Tim Burton remake sounds familiar, as it should: A lost astronaut (Mark Wahlberg) stumbles upon a world run by hyperintelligent simians. It’s even got Charlton Heston as a damn dirty ape, no less. So what’s new? Tim Burton’s Planet of the Apes explains how the director is playing up his oddball visual style. For example, we learn about the ultrarealistic ape outfits. We also read about conflicting theories regarding the surprise ending. DIGIBUZZ As long as it’s not that Statue of Liberty thing again, we’re in.

A.I. ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE For years, Stanley Kubrick imagined a movie called ”A.I.” about an android boy, but the late filmmaker never got around to it. Now Steven Spielberg’s taken over, Haley Joel Osment and Jude Law are cast, and the A.I. Movie Unofficial Site is offering a glimpse into the future, with pictures of strange chairs and animatronic creatures, Kubrick’s concept drawings of ice formations, and word that ’80s Goth rockers Ministry will be in the film. DIGIBUZZ A mysterious film only gets more mysterious.

PEARL HARBOR No amount of research on Pearl Harbor: Remembered will explain what, beyond getting bombed, Ben Affleck and Cuba Gooding Jr. will be doing on one infamous day. The official site isn’t much help either, but it is packed with educational goodness about nurses, ’40s fashion, and tropical diseases. DIGIBUZZ Malaria + Affleck = blockbuster.

THE MUMMY RETURNS The official site unwraps few details about this sequel (Brendan Fraser battles two evil forces roused from sandy graves). But fansite The Mummy Returns! digs up these key facts: (a) WWF superstar The Rock is in it; (b) he plays the Scorpion King; and (c) apparently there isn’t anybody else in this movie. DIGIBUZZ What first sounded like mindless summer fun now promises to be mindless summer fun…with The Rock!

TOMB RAIDER As Angelina Jolie brings vidgame heroine Lara Croft to life, The Anti-Tomb Raider League fights her every step of the way. These pages read plot points and action figure designs as signs of doom, but site creator Chloe Emmott tells EW, ”I really don’t think [the movie] will be horrendously bad.” DIGIBUZZ It’s as if someone unplugged the PlayStation.

JAY AND SILENT BOB STRIKE BACK Though Kevin Smith’s site posts tons of info on his ”Dogma” follow up, it’s hard to tell what it’s about — except that it involves pothead Jay (Jason Mewes), buddy Bob (Smith), and a huge, weird cast including Ben Affleck, Matt Damon, Chris Rock, and Mark Hamill. DIGIBUZZ Word of a lightsaber battle has expectations soaring.

AMERICAN PIE 2 Lucky for you, American Pie 2 Movie Fan Site has tracked every single development of the teen romp sequel. Will the now all star cast be back? (Yep.) Will there be more gratuitous skin shots? (You bet.) More, um, of that stuff with pies? (Nope.) Will the thing be funny? (It doesn’t say.) DIGIBUZZ What? No pie?

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