12 MUST-SEE sci-fi and fantasy movies of summer

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Jul 4, 2015, 5:49 PM EDT

It's the start of Memorial Day weekend, which can only mean one thing—BBQs and hot summer movies. While we know some of you just can't wait to see Marmaduke or the Scary Movie dudes' new flick, Vampire Movie, we decided to put together our MUST-SEE list of movies.

Here are the 12 sci-fi and fantasy movies we're most looking forward to this summer in order of their release date.

Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time

Starring: Jake Gyllenhaal, Ben Kingsley, Gemma Arterton, Alfred Molina

Written by: Boaz Yakin, Doug Miro, Carlfincepo Bernard

Directed by: Mike Newell

Release Date: Today, Friday, May 28, 2010

Synopsis: This epic action-adventure set in ancient Persia tells the tale of a rogue prince (Jake Gyllenhaal) who joins forces with a mysterious princess (Gemma Arterton) to protect an ancient magical dagger from the dark forces that wish to use it to release the Sands of Time. This gift from the gods is able to reverse time and allow the possessor to rule the world. (Rated PG-13)

Why We Think It's A Must-See: Yep, here's another movie based on a video game from the team that brought you Pirates of the Caribbean. But really, the reason to check out this epic magic-dagger-time-travel epic is because it's Jerry Bruckheimer big, most likely thanks to it coming from Walt Disney Pictures and Jerry Bruckheimer Films. Well, that and its oh, too hot stars ... Jake Gyllenhall looking incredibly ripped and Gemma Arterton looking incredibly ripe.


Starring: Adrien Brody, Sarah Polley, Delphine Chaneac

Written by: Vincenzo Natali, Antoinette Terry Bryant, Doug Taylor

Directed by: Vincenzo Natali

Release Date: Friday, June 4, 2010

Synopsis: Clive and Elsa are genetic engineering superstars who specialize in splicing DNA together from different animals to create fantastic hybrids. However, the young scientists want to take their research farther despite legal and ethical boundaries, and so they begin testing mixing human and animal DNA. The result of their experiment, a winged human chimera named Dren, exceeds her creator's dreams until something goes terribly wrong. (Rated R)

Why We Think It's A Must-See: This incredibly cool-looking creature movie not only stars the Oscar-winning Adrien Brody, but the creature Dren looks non-human but beautiful, and more than a little scary. And whether the movie works or not, the subject matter of using human DNA to stretch the boundaries of science is at the core of what scares people about science today.

Jonah Hex

Starring: Josh Brolin, Megan Fox, John Malkovich, Will Arnett

Written by: Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor

Directed by: Jimmy Hayward

Release Date: Friday, June 18, 2010

Synopsis: Jonah Hex (Josh Brolin) is a scarred drifter and bounty hunter of last resort, a tough and stoic gunslinger who can track down anyone ... and anything. Having survived death, Jonah's violent history is steeped in myth and legend and has left him with one foot in the natural world and one on the "other side." His only human connection is with Leila (Megan Fox), whose life in a brothel has left her with scars of her own. But Jonah's past is about to catch up with him when the U.S. military makes him an offer he can't refuse: In exchange for his freedom from the warrants on his head, he must track down and stop the dangerous terrorist Quentin Turnbull (John Malkovich). But Turnbull, who is gathering an army and preparing to unleash hell, is also Jonah's oldest enemy and will stop at nothing until Jonah is dead.

Why We Think It's A Must-See: Based on the gritty DC Comics graphic novel of the same name, this supernatural-hero-hell-bent-on-revenge story looks like an easy fit for Josh Brolin, with Megan Fox attempting to remind us why she's still the hottest actress on film today. Add into the mix the Oscar-nominated John Malkovich, who was born to play villains, and a huge production budget, and we're thinking Jonah Hex is a film we can't wait to see.

Toy Story 3

Starring: Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Joan Cusack, Don Rickles, Wallace Shawn, John Ratzenberger, and Michael Keaton

Written by: Michael Arndt

Directed by: Lee Unkrich

Release Date: Friday, June 18, 2010

Synopsis: Andy is all grown up and heading to college, meaning that Woody, Buzz Lightyear and all his toys are being sent to storage. However, when the toys find themselves at the local day-care center, they end up in a battle for survival after they end up facing preschool children. (Rated G)

Why We Think It's A Must-See: Seriously, it's Pixar and it's Toy Story 3! Toy Story was great, Toy Story 2 was greater ... how can 3 not be even greater-er? Add in a little Barbie and Ken action, and what could be better? Besides it's in 3-D and IMAX 3-D!

The Twilight Saga: Eclipse

Starring: Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, Taylor Lautner

Written by: Melissa Rosenberg

Directed by: David Slade

Release Date: Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Synopsis: With a series of savage killings in Seattle as the backdrop, Bella once again finds herself in supernatural danger. In the third Twilight movie, Bella is about to graduate, leaving her to finally choose between vampire Edward and werewolf Jacob. However, the trio end up in the middle of the ultimate supernatural battle. (Rated PG-13)

Why We Think It's A Must-See: If you've seen the first two, are you seriously going to stop going all Twilight now? As Bella's grand tale continues, there are impressive werewolf-on-vampire battle scenes, heartbreaking romance and epic decisions to be made. Add a bunch of nasty serial killings into the blend, and well, this could be the best Twilight ever.

The Last Airbender

Starring: Noah Ringer, Jackson Rathbone, Nicola Peltz, Jessica Jade Andres

Written and Directed by: M. Night Shyamalan

Release Date: Friday, July 2, 2010

Synopsis: Based on the first season of the animated television series Avatar: The Last Airbender. The story tells the epic tale of Air, Water, Earth, Fire. Four nations tied by destiny when the Fire Nation launches a brutal war against the others. A century has passed with no hope in sight to change the path of this destruction. Caught between combat and courage, Aang (Noah Ringer) discovers he is the lone Avatar with the power to manipulate all four elements. Aang teams with Katara (Nicola Peltz), a Waterbender, and her brother, Sokka (Jackson Rathbone), to restore balance to their war-torn world.

Why We Think It's A Must-See: The trailers look impressive, and actually we can't wait to see if M. Night Shyamalan can finally put The Sixth Sense behind him as the best movie he'll ever make. No, there aren't any huge stars to hang our hopes on, but the special effects and martial-arts battles look amazing.


Starring: Adrien Brody, Alice Braga, Laurence Fishburne, Danny Trejo, Walton Goggins, Oleg Taktarov

Written by: Alex Litvak, Michael Finch

Directed by: Nimród Antal

Release Date: Friday, July 9, 2010

Synopsis: A group of cold-blooded human predators—mercenaries, convicts, death squad members—find themselves on an alien planet as prey for a new breed of alien Predators.

Why We Think It's A Must-See: With the likes of Oscar winner Adrien Brody (big summer for him) and Emmy winner Laurence Fishburne, we've got to think this is more than just another Predator knockoff. Besides, the trailers remind us of the first one, and we've gotta hope two award winners trump (or at least equal) one Arnold (as in Schwarzenegger).

Despicable Me

Starring: Steve Carell, Jason Segel, Kristen Wiig, Will Arnett

Written by: Ken Daurio, Cinco Paul

Directed by: Chris Renaud, Pierre Coffin

Release Date: Friday, July 9, 2010

Synopsis: In this 3-D animated feature, amongst a happy suburban neighborhood surrounded by white picket fences with flowering rose bushes sits a black house with a dead lawn. Unbeknownst to the neighbors, hidden beneath this home is a vast secret hideout. Surrounded by a small army of minions, we discover Gru (voiced by Steve Carell), planning the biggest heist in the history of the world ... to steal the moon. (Rated PG)

Why We Think It's A Must-See: The animation looks spectacular, and you've got to love a supervillain who has to outsmart a superhero, control an army of minions and watch over three lovable kids. It's got Steve Carell voicing the bad guy. ... All that and it's from whoever is not Pixar that brings us good animated movies like Horton Hears a Who and Ice Age (i.e. Christopher Meledandri).

The Sorcerer's Apprentice

Starring: Nicolas Cage, Jay Baruchel, Alfred Molina, Teresa Palmer

Written by: Doug Miro, Carlo Bernard, Matt Lopez

Directed by: Jon Turteltaub

Release Date: Friday, July 16, 2010

Synopsis: Balthazar Blake (Nicolas Cage) is a master sorcerer in modern-day Manhattan trying to defend the city from his archnemesis, Maxim Horvath (Alfred Molina). Balthazar recruits Dave Stutler (Jay Baruchel) to help him and gives his reluctant accomplice a crash course in the art and science of magic so they can stop the forces of darkness. (Rated PG)

Why We Think It's A Must-See: Nicolas Cage. Okay, Nicolas Cage and a lot of exceptional special effects, a goofy kid, with the wonderful Alfred Molina on hand to do villainous things. And since it comes from National Treasure's Jerry Bruckheimer and Jon Turteltaub, you know it's going to be big.


Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Ellen Page, Marion Cotillard, Michael Caine, Tom Berenger

Written and Directed by: Christopher Nolan

Release Date: Friday, July 16, 2010

Synopsis: Dom Cobb (Leonardo DiCaprio) is a skilled thief, the absolute best in the dangerous art of extraction, stealing valuable secrets from deep within the subconscious during the dream state, when the mind is at its most vulnerable. Cobb's rare ability has made him valuable in corporate espionage. In one last job, he must cause an "inception"—instead of stealing an idea, he must plant one. (Rated PG-13)

Why We Think It's A Must-See: Inception looks weird, mysterious, and freaking amazing. ... Beyond that it has Leonardo DiCaprio and comes from Christopher Nolan, the man behind Memento, The Prestige, Batman Begins and The Dark Knight. The marketing campaign has been brilliant. We're so ready for this one.


Starring: Alex Pettyfer, Vanessa Hudgens, Mary-Kate Olsen, Neil Patrick Harris, Peter Krause

Written and Directed by: Daniel Barnz

Release Date:TBD (Originally scheduled July 30, 2010)

Synopsis: In this hyper-modern retelling of Beauty and the Beast, the smart, handsome and rich Kyle Kingson (Alex Pettyfer) has it all, along with a wicked streak to boot. Prone to humiliating "aggressively unattractive" classmates, he zeroes in on Goth classmate Kendra Hilferty (Mary-Kate Olsen), inviting her to the school's extravagant environmental bash. Kendra accepts, and Kyle blows her off in a particularly savage fashion. She retaliates by casting a spell that physically transforms him into everything he despises. Enraged by his horrible and unrecognizable appearance, he confronts Kendra and learns that the only solution to the curse is to find someone who will love him as he is within one year. (Rated PG-13)

Why We Think It's A Must-See: In what might prove to be the sleeper romantic hit of the summer, it looks like Beastly may just take a familiar tale and turn it on its head just enough to make it something special. While its leads aren't all that well known, you've got to love the fact that the supporting cast looks excellent, with Neil Patrick Harris likely adding some humor as the Beast's blind tutor, Mary-Kate Olsen looking pretty scary and Lisa Gay Hamilton in the mix to add heart.

Piranha 3-D

Starring: Elisabeth Shue, Ving Rhames, Steven R. McQueen, Christopher Lloyd, Richard Dreyfuss

Written by: Alexandre Aja, Mark Canton, Grégory Levasseur

Directed by: Alexandre Aja

Release Date: August 27, 2010

Synopsis: The fictional Lake Victoria is the caldera of a prehistoric volcano. Each spring break, the population of Lake Victoria, Ariz., swells from 5,000 to 50,000 as young people flood the town to celebrate. When earth tremors tear open a crack in the lake floor, all hell breaks through in the form of piranhas—a million big, ravenous, razor-toothed monsters, unchanged since the dawn of time. Unstoppable killing machines acting blindly under one primeval impulse: to hunt down and eat anything that moves. Sheriff Julie Forester (Elizabeth Shue) is seriously outnumbered, and with only one chance to save the lake and her family from becoming fish food, she must risk everything to destroy the aquatic carnivores herself.

Why We Think It's A Must-See: The trailers for this make enormous prehistoric piranhas eating college kids look like a blast, especially in 3-D. Plus Ving Rhames, Christopher Lloyd and Richard Dreyfuss are on hand to up the entertainment quotient. While Piranha 3-D certainly isn't likely to be a classic, it does look like the perfect movie to end the summer with.

Which one do you want to see most?

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