This summer’s blockbuster lineup is filled with licenses that I grew up with as a kid, but that seems to be the cyclical nature of Hollywood, right? But even with characters like Leonardo and Optimus Prime on the big screen, it can help to get a cheat sheet on pop culture tie-ins so you know what’s going on this summer.
What you need to know: a bunch of robotic aliens land on earth and can transform into vehicles. They tend to fight each other. The big names are Optimus Prime (good guy – he’s red and blue) and Megatron (bad guy, he’s gray). If the voices in the trailers sound familiar, it’s because the original voice actors have reprised their roles. Expect a lot of explosions, terrible dialogue and more robots fighting.
Got a kid who loves Transformers? I can’t blame them; Transformers are a fantastic double header when it comes to toys. They’re both vehicles and robots, what more could you want? Well, besides dinosaurs – that’s why the newest Transformer, Grimlock, is a fantastic addition to any toy box! He’s a robot that transforms into a T-Rex! (If that sentence doesn’t make you excited, I don’t know what will.)
Another mainstay of my childhood, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is coming back to the big screen this August. While I’m less than thrilled with the look of the new movie, I love the current cartoon. But if you need the Spark Notes on TMNT, here you go:
Four mutant turtles Leonardo (blue), Donatello (purple), Michelangelo (orange) and Raphael (red) were trained in the sewers by their mutated rat master, Splinter, and they battle evil ninjas known as the Foot Clan, who are led by the armored samurai Shredder.
Got a kid who wants to live in the sewer and become a ninja? Great! Well, not really, but there are plenty of toys to satisfy little fans. The LEGO Ninja Turtle line ties in with the TV show currently, but also works very well with both Ninjago and Legends of Chima. The LEGO Ninjago Ninjacopter is a fantastic build, and comes with plenty of ninjas to add to your child’s play.
Raise your hand if you have any clue who these heroes are! That’s okay; I’ve been reading comics my whole life, and only learned about the Guardians of the Galaxy in the last few years. They’re a ragtag team of misfits doing all they can to save the galaxy from a group of aliens. Basically, it’s Avengers meets Star Wars and Indiana Jones.
Expect some epic space battles, and remember – before the Iron Man movie came out, no one knew who Tony Stark was either. So while these characters may look a little weird (yes, one of them is a raccoon), you’ll probably be seeing more of them in the future from Marvel, since Guardians of the Galaxy ties in with rest of the Marvel Universe.
Want to foster a love of space and exploration inspired by Guardians of the Galaxy? The main character, Star Lord, is ready for anything thanks to his alien technology, and our line of Spy Gear fits in perfectly for adventuring at home. The Spy Gear Night Goggles provide vision in the dark thanks to a combination of lights and lenses.
But we’ve barely scratched the surface of everything coming out this summer! The newest Pixar movie, Planes: Fire and Rescue, will be released tomorrow (you probably already know because the littles are already clamoring to see it), and Earth to Echo is a modern homage to childhood favorites like E.T. and Close Encounters of the Third Kind. Have any other movies coming out this summer that you’re wondering about, or excited to see? Or are your kids still just hooked on Frozen? Let us know in the comments!