8 Cool Sci-Fi Summer Movies to See in 2014

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Although it’s barely been a month since the official start of spring, it won’t be long before the lazy days of summer are here. Along with the arrival of perfect beach weather and school vacations comes the usual slate of potential blockbusters that Hollywood hopes will entice movie fans into theaters this summer.

This year’s lineup of summer films includes everything from the usual family friendly animated titles and romantic comedies to artsy musician biopics and big-budget action flicks. However, there are also an unusual number of science-fiction films being released after this year’s summer solstice. Here are eight upcoming sci-fi movies to entertain and thrill you while you cool off in an air-conditioned theater this summer.

1. Transformers: Age of Extinction (June 27)

Michael Bay returned once again to the director’s chair for the fourth installment in the highly successful Transformers film franchise. While critics who panned the previous three Transformers movies may wish that this series would truly go extinct, fans of gigantic, computer-generated robot battles and slow-motion explosions will undoubtedly find plenty to love in Transformers: Age of Extinction. This will be the first Bay-directed Transformers movie to not include Shia LaBeouf. Instead, Mark Wahlberg will fill the role of the primary human protagonist, playing an auto mechanic who makes “a discovery that brings down the Autobots and Decepticons,” according to IMDb.

2. Snowpiercer (June 27)

Chris Evans, who is currently kicking box office butt as America’s most patriotic superhero in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, returns to theaters this June in another film based on a comic book. Based on the French graphic novel Le Transperceneige, Snowpiercer is set in a post-apocalyptic Earth that has been made uninhabitable by a global-warming remedy that went horribly wrong. The planet’s few survivors travel around the world on a perpetually moving train, on which a brutal class system evolves. Snowpiercer is Korean director Joon-ho Bong’s English-language film debut and also stars Jamie Bell, Ewen Bremner, Ed Harris, John Hurt, Ah-sung Ko, Kang-ho Song, Octavia Spencer, and Tilda Swinton, according to IMDb.

3. Earth to Echo (July 2)

This Walt Disney-produced movie tells the story of a group of friends who “investigate a series of bizarre text messages they receive after a construction project begins in their neighborhood,” according to IMDb. Based on the trailer, the film appears to use a “found footage” narrative format similar to 2008’s Cloverfield. However, judging by the PG rating and the R2D2-like chirps and beeps that the presumably extraterrestrial creature is making, it appears that this kid-friendly sci-fi movie will have more in common with E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial than it does with Cloverfield.

4. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (July 11)

The sequel to 2011’s Rise of the Planet of the Apes continues the story of how humanity lost control of Earth to its viral drug-enhanced fellow primates. Although James Franco and Rise of the Planet of the Apes director Rupert Wyatt did not return for the sequel, Andy Serkis reprised his role as Caesar, the leader of the apes. Besides Serkis, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes also stars Gary Oldman, Jason Clarke, Judy Greer, and Keri Russell, according to IMDb.

5. Jupiter Ascending (July 18)

Andy Wachowski and Lana Wachowski, the sibling directors behind the highly successful Matrix trilogy, return to the sci-fi genre with this story of a “young destitute human woman [who] gets targeted for assassination by the Queen of the Universe, and begins her destiny to finish the Queen’s reign,” according to IMDb. Mila Kunis plays Jupiter Jones, a janitor who discovers that she may be destined to become the next ruler of the universe, while Channing Tatum plays “a genetically engineered ex-military hunter” who was assigned to track Jupiter down. The film also stars Sean Bean, Douglas Booth, and Eddie Redmayne.

6. Guardians of the Galaxy (August 1)

Marvel continues to expand is cinematic universe of superheroes with Guardians of the Galaxy, a film based on the comic book series of the same name. The ensemble cast features many well-known stars: Chris Pratt, Bradley Cooper, Vin Diesel, Zoe Saldana, Benicio del Toro, Dave Bautista, Lee Pace, Michael Rooker, Karen Gillan, Djimon Hounsou, John C. Reilly, and Glenn Close. According to IMDb, the story revolves around a manhunt for Peter Quill/Star-Lord (played by Pratt) after he steals an orb that is sought by a villain named Ronan.

7. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (August 8)

Everyone’s favorite sewer-dwelling, anthropomorphic reptiles return to theaters this summer in a live-action film produced by Michael Bay. According to IMDb, the film features Megan Fox, Alan Ritchson, William Fichtner, Noel Fisher, Will Arnett, Pete Ploszek, Jeremy Howard, and Whoopi Goldberg. Johnny Knoxville and Tony Shalhoub lent their voice talents as Leonardo and Master Splinter, respectively.

8. The Giver (August 15)

Fans of films based on dystopian young adult literature may want to check out The Giver while they wait for the next installment of the Hunger Games. Based on a novel of the same name by Lois Lowry, The Giver tells the story of a supposedly utopian society where all pain and conflict have been eliminated. However, after a young boy named Jonas (played by Brenton Thwaites) is selected to learn about the “real” world from an elder known as The Giver (played by Jeff Bridges), he realizes that his “perfect” society hides some pretty dark secrets. The film also stars Alexander Skarsgård, Meryl Streep, Katie Holmes, and Taylor Swift, according to IMDb.

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