There's nothing more delightful in the hot, muggy summer than a cool, air-conditioned movie theater. But what to choose when some summer releases are so similar as to be nearly indistinguishable? I'm speaking, of course, about the special effects extravaganzas An Inconvenient Truth, and Superman Returns.
Below is a handy guide to help you decide where to spend your summer movie dollars. (Warning: Potential Superman Returns spoilers. If you're a Republican legislator, there may be a few Inconvenient Truth spoilers too.)
How long will I be in air-conditioning?
Superman: 2 hours, 37 minutes
Inconvenient Truth: 1 hour, 40 minutes
Superman: Soap star Brandon Routh, who looks very similar to Christopher Reeve's Superman, but much younger.
Inconvenient Truth: Presidential nominee Al Gore, who looks very similar to Christopher Reeve's Superman, but older and paunchier.
Charm and Charisma Factor
Superman: Routh is very pretty, but a little bland, and there's nowhere near enough of the Clark/Lois interaction that is always the most entertaining part of a Superman movie. He's also frequently computer-generated.
Inconvenient Truth: Gore is suprisingly charismatic and exhibits much of the dry humor one wishes he showed more of as a presidential candidate.
Superman: Lex Luthor
Inconvenient Truth: Carbon dioxide (and Congress)
Superman: Crystals from Krypton are used in real-estate plot to create a new continent, submerging North America and other land masses.
Inconvenient Truth: Greenland melts, raising global sea level by 20 feet and submerging major world cities.
Threat to New York City
Superman: Major earthquakes, eventually total submersion under the Atlantic.
Inconvenient Truth: Lower Manhattan destroyed, but Amy's Robot residences in Brooklyn, Midtown, and Upper Manhattan should be fine.
Superman: Indirect. Many shots of Twin Towerless lower Manhattan, references to terrible things happening in Superman's "5-year" absence.
Inconvenient Truth: Comparison of destruction of Towers to potential destruction of all of lower Manhattan.
Casualties if Crisis Is Not Averted
Inconvenient Truth: "Hundreds of Millions"
Superman: Non-stop, including planes, boats, crystal landmasses, and possibly Routh's muscles.
Inconvenient Truth: Endearing attempt to make it seem like Gore knows PowerPoint, including many shots of him scrolling through the presentation on his laptop.
Superman: Suprisingly, with the exception of an early plane rescue, no. Earnest, and kind of a drag.
Inconvenient Truth: Surprisingly, for a movie based on a PowerPoint, yes. Earnest, but engaging.