The golden age of geek-friendly films will continue next year, with more flicks about superheroes, aliens and technology-gone-crazy set to hit the big screen -- and technophiles everywhere are offering their predictions for the best geek movies to watch in 2011.
According to a ridiculously unscientific poll of IT geeks and comic book lovers, the film debut of Marvel Comics fan favorite Captain America tops the list of next year’s most anticipated geek movies; followed closely by The Green Lantern; Thor; The Green Hornet; and the movie that already deserves an Oscar for most interesting juxtaposition in a film title, Cowboys and Aliens.
But before delving into storylines and previews, the very existence of geek movies begs a question: Just why is it that the technologically savvy and exceptionally imaginative tend to love seeing movies about spaceships, the supernatural and common people being thrust into extraordinary situations?
“It flushes out the frank reality of what we do on a day-to-day basis,” said Mark Smith, CEO and executive vice president with Ventana Research Inc., a Pleasanton, Calif.-based IT analyst firm. “It gives us the opportunity to think about something completely different [and gets us thinking about] what’s possible in the future with technology.”
Plenty of superheroes to hit the screen in 2011
Geeks who didn’t get enough superhero action with 2010’s Iron Man II and Kick-Ass have plenty to look forward to next year, including Captain America: The First Avenger, Thor, X-Men: First Class and more.
Due out in June, Captain America: The First Avenger centers on the life of World War II-era hero Steve Rogers, who goes from frail youth to Nazi-fighting super-soldier, complete with that trademark red, white and blue shield.
After the release of Captain America and another Marvel Comics movie, Thor -- the story of an ancient, Nordic-style alien warrior cast down to Earth and due out in May -- the stage will finally be set for 2012’s Avengers movie. The Avengers, based on the Marvel Comics saga, will feature Iron Man, Thor, The Incredible Hulk and Captain America all in the same film -- and geeks everywhere are drooling with anticipation.
In the meantime, The Green Lantern, due out in June, will tell the story of Hal Jordan, a test pilot who joins The Green Lantern Corps and becomes one of the guardians of the universe. In a quest to learn more about The Green Lantern, this reporter journeyed to New England Comics in Norwood, Mass., to speak with Chris Famulari, the store’s manager and resident comic book expert.
“One day, [Jordan] gets summoned by this being that has crash-landed on earth,” Famulari said. “[The being] is part of this galactic police force, and when they die, they have to give their ring to someone who is without fear and who is noble.”
The ring, which makes one a Green Lantern, carries great power and, as a result, the temptation to become corrupt is also great, Famulari explained. The story reflects that distinctively human struggle to remain good when evil is much easier, he said. It also answers the question: What inspires people to be heroes?
“One of the things also that I like about Green Lantern is that you could be him,” Famulari said. “Those are the characters for me that I’ve always had the deepest appreciation for. Without the ring, he’s a person.”
Another visitor to New England Comics, a Christmas-shopping woman named Caroline, who didn’t want to give her last name, said that she’s looking forward to another green-themed hero. The Green Hornet, starring Seth Rogen, is set for release in February.
Caroline said The Green Hornet, which follows the story of a playboy-turned-superhero, reminds her of her early childhood because her parents drove a car similar to The Hornet’s 1966 Chrysler Imperial.
“We used to have The Green Hornet’s car,” she said. “That was cool. In fact, when our parents were gone, we went looking for the little missiles that shot out of the front of it.”
Famulari pointed out that The Green Hornet has been around for longer than most superheroes.
“It started off as a pulp before there were even comics,” he said. “Once he has a movie, The Green Hornet will have had almost every single kind of media incarnation you can have.”
More geek movies to watch in 2011
For those who have had their fill of superheroes, 2011 has several other geek movies in store, including Super 8, which tells the story of a train that derails on its way to the military’s top-secret installation known as Area 51 and the alien that emerges from the wreckage; Battle: Los Angeles, which tells another story of invading aliens and the struggle to take them down; and Transformers: Dark of the Moon.
“I think that the geek squad is primarily a very analytic-thinking group of people, and so they really like to think in terms of one thing leads to another,” said Tony Fisher, CEO of information management software vendor DataFlux. “I think that the plots and the environment around a lot of the sci-fi stuff lends itself to that kind of linear way of thinking about things.”
For those who prefer fantasy to science fiction, get ready to cry, because next year will feature the final installment of the decade long Harry Potter saga. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part II is due out in July. So long, Harry.