By Brian M. Raftery
Updated August 03, 2001 at 04:00 AM EDT

You know you’re in the middle of a slow summer-movie season when A.I.’s emotionally detached teddy bear is a standout. But don’t worry: We’ve seen the future (well, the movie-trailer version of it), and it looks a lot better, at least for two or three minutes at a time.

HARRY POTTER AND THE SORCERER’S STONE (Nov.) Sporting the biggest specs since Dame Edna, the world’s best-selling sorcerer (Daniel Radcliffe) makes his big-screen debut in this F/X-laden promo. The gang’s owl here, including Professor Snape (Alan Rickman) and Hagrid (Robbie Coltrane). But those who don’t know Gryffindors from Galleons may find the character-crammed spot confusing. Grade: B

THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING (Dec.) Peter Jackson’s epic take on the first Lord of the Rings book features well-tailored baddies, over-coiffed hobbits, and more pointy ears than a Nosferatu family picnic. But who cares what we think? You’re going to see it anyway. Just don’t drool too much until then. Grade: A-

WINDTALKERS (Nov.) John Woo’s M:I-2 follow-up isn’t a New Age chat line, but a somber (and spiritual) WWII drama. With all the carnage, stars Nicolas Cage and Christian Slater are virtually MIA, as are Woo’s trademark slow-motion white doves. Grade: B

MONSTERS, INC. (Nov.) Is there a tag line more comforting than ”the creators of Toy Story take you…”? Pixar’s latest — about a society of human-fearing creatures — promises highbrow laughs and big-name voices (Billy Crystal, John Goodman), not to mention a menagerie of neurotic beasties. Grade: A

SPIDER-MAN (May 2002) At first, this fast-paced clip resembles an unwanted Swordfish sequel, with five high-tech thieves escaping from a bank before hitting a snag: a skyscraper-supported web. The brief Spidey shots are tantalizing, but not the generic guitar-squawk background music — we already miss the dated (but catchy) cartoon theme. Grade: B+

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