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Summer Preview: 10 to Watch in 2010

Let's take a sneak peek at some of the summer's hottest VFX-laden films.

Superheroes, remakes, sequels, animation to live action, a mind-bender and a little Twilight make up this summer's sneak peek.  Check out our these 10 films, including the trailers on AWNtv!

Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore 

The A-Team

Robin Hood

The Sorcerer's Apprentice

The Twilight Saga: Eclipse

Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time

The Last Airbender


Iron Man 2

Tippett Studio and Sony Imageworks handle CG felines and canines. Courtesy of Warner Bros.

  10. Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore (Warner Bros., July 30)

The battle between cats and dogs is put on hold as they join forces to stop the ruthless feline rogue spy, Kitty Galore (Bette Midler), who hatches a diabolical plan to rule the world. Chris O' Donnell, Jack McBrayer, Alec Baldwin, Michael Clarke Duncan and -- surprise -- Roger Moore. Tippett Studio and Sony Pictures Imageworks did the majority of the work, with Joe Bauer handling overall vfx supervision. Tippett (under Blair Clark's vfx supervision) created nearly all of the cat shots and a few other animals as well, including Kitty Galore, the villainess sphinx; Scrumptious, her met mouse; and Seamus, the pigeon.

Another scarred DC character makes it to the big screen.

Courtesy of Warner Bros.

9. Jonah Hex (Warner Bros., June 18)

Horror /Western based on the DC comic about a scarred bounty hunter (Josh Brolin) trying to stop a disgruntled post-Civil War terrorist (John Malkovich). Jimmy Hayward, who co-directed Horton Hears a Who!, helms his first live-action feature. Megan Fox co-stars as a gun-toting prostitute and, naturally, Hex's love interest.VFX by Hydraulx, Pixel Magic, Rodeo FX and Soho VFX.

The A-Team is back for a 21st century makeover. Courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox.

8. The A-Team (Twentieth Century Fox, June 11)

The popular '80s TV series finally makes it to the big-screen with a group of Iraq War vets looking to clear its name after being framed for a crime. Joe Carnahan directs Liam Neeson, Bradley Cooper, Jessica Biel, Sharlto Copley, Patrick Wilson and Quinton "Rampage" Jackson. Handling the mayhem are Rhythm & Hues, Digital Domain, Weta Digital, Hydraulx and Soho VFX. James Price serves as overall vfx supervisor.

Scott, Crowe and Blanchett have plenty of legendary experience. Courtesy of Universal.

7. Robin Hood (Universal, May 14)

Ridley Scott re-imagines the legendary tale with old pal Russell Crowe (in their fifth collaboration) providing a Gladiator touch. Cate Blanchett plays the recently widowed Lady Marian and Matthew Macfadyen plays the villainous Sheriff of Nottingham. MPC (with Richard Stammers as vfx supervisor) supplies armies, arrows, environments and landing fleet.

This Sorcerer's Apprentice looks for its own magic. Courtesy of Disney.

6. The Sorcerer's Apprentice (Disney, July 16)

Master sorcerer Nicolas Cage recruits Jay Baruchel to protect New York City from arch-nemesis Alfred Molina in producer Jerry Bruckheimer's live-action adaptation of the animated Disney tale from Fantasia. Jon Turteltaub (National Treasure: Book of Secrets) directs. Judging by the trailer there are Iron eagles, dragon rings and swarms of bugs from Double Negative, Asylum FX and Rising Sun Pictures.

Edward or Jacob? What a choice. Courtesy of Summit.

 5. The Twilight Saga: Eclipse (Summit, June 30)

In the third installment of the most successful indie franchise of all-time, Bella is forced to choose between vampire Edward and werewolf Jacob. David Slade (30 Days of Night, Hard Candy) directs. Tippett Studio (with Phil Tippett and Eric Leven providing vfx supervision) is on wolf duty again, adding three more to the pack for a total of eight. Image Engine (supervised by Jon Cowley) climbs aboard with on-set supervision, previs & postvis, creature effects, digital matte painting, set extensions and compositing.

Will Prince of Persia be that breakthrough videogame adaptation? Courtesy of Disney.

4. Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time (Disney, May 28)

The popular Ubisoft videogame seems like a natural for a summer popcorn movie, as a Persian prince and enemy princess team up to stop a despot from destroying the world with a sandstorm. Jerry Bruckheimer produces (who else?) and Mike Newell (Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire) directs. The London contingent of Cinesite, MPC, Double Negative and Framestore whip up the VFX, with additional help from LipSync Post, Cube Effects and Nvizible.

M. Night tackles his first franchise after being wowed and inspired by the animated series. Courtesy of Paramount.

3. The Last Airbender (Paramount, July 2)

The Nickelodeon animated TV series gets the live-action treatment by M. Night Shyamalan, who's looking to regain his old touch. You can bet that the bending forces of air, fire, water and earth figure prominently in ILM's vfx arsenal under the supervision of Pablo Helman. Also, look for some pretty cool-looking CG creatures inspired by the series as well.

Chris Nolan finally confronts his fascination with dreams head on. Courtesy of Warner Bros.

2. Inception (Warner Bros., July 16)

Chris Nolan's must-see mind-bending thriller has Leonardo DiCaprio invading people's dreams and stealing their IPs, with dire psychological consequences: quite a follow-up to The Dark Knight and Shutter Island for director and star. According to the Los Angeles Times, "Several vivid sequences show a dream metropolis in churning calamity." Double Negative's Paul Franklin, who supervises the vfx, has nothing more to add at this time, except that New Deal Studios handled the miniatures. However, he assures us that "the film will be spectacular in all respects!"

Will Tony Stark's razzle-dazzle continue its dominance? Courtesy of Paramount.

1. Iron Man 2 (Paramount, May 7)

Tony Stark has plenty to contend with in the summer's first and most anticipated film, as the Marvel superhero encounters both War Machine and Whiplash. More wondrous CG armor, to be sure, as ILM raises the bar under Ben Snow's vfx supervision. With additional help from Double Negative, PLF, GOAT, Legacy Effects, Prologue and Fuel VFX, as Janek Sirrs handles overall supervision. Jon Favreau, of course, is back behind the camera.

Bill Desowitz is senior editor of AWN & VFXWorld.