Summer 2011 Blockbusters Go Back In Time

Kyle Chandler, Joel Courtney, Elle Fanning and Ron Eldard in Paramount Pictures' "Super 8" Kyle Chandler, Joel Courtney, Elle Fanning and Ron Eldard in Paramount Pictures' "Super 8"

It might be summer 2011, but at the movies it’s all about going back in time!

Period movies might evoke the Oscar season (and films usually starring Kate Winslet or Cate Blanchett), but this summer, some of the biggest popcorn flicks are going retro – from the 1970s all the way back to the 1870s!

The period summer movie season started off with “Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides,” which is set in an undetermined time when crossing the seas meant battling peg-legged scoundrels and the occasional mermaid sighting.

On Friday, Marvel’s mutants go retro with “X-Men: First Class,” set in the 1960s and tackles the Cuban Missile Crisis – President John F. Kennedy even makes an appearance.

The following week, J.J. Abrams’ “Super 8” takes audiences to the late ‘70s where a train accident leads to series of mysterious events for a group of small town Ohio teenagers.

On June 29, “Transformers: Dark of the Moon” blasts into theaters with more “robots in disguise” action. Though the Michael Bay movie is mainly set in 2011, the story goes back in time and includes appearances by President Richard Nixon and a second summer big screen appearance by President Kennedy.

The final installment in the boy wizard franchise, “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part II,” might be set in current times, but the wizarding world (with it’s period-esque costumes and lack of technology… we’re pretty sure Harry doesn’t have an iPhone!) evokes a throwback vibe. The last “Potter” opens on July 15.

A week later, Marvel continues with its retro vibe with “Captain America: First Avenger,” which goes back to 1942 – the height of World War II. Steve Rodgers (Chris Evans) goes skull to Red Skull with the Nazis after being transformed into a super-soldier.

The Wild West is also headed back to the big screen on July 29 in “Cowboys and Aliens,” set in 1873 Arizona, where gun-slingers take on beings from another world. No word who will win this galactic showdown, but we’re putting our money on Daniel Craig and his alien technology wrist weapon!

The retro summer blockbuster season wraps up on August 19 by going way back – to ancient times with the reboot of “Conan The Barbarian,” starring “Games of Thrones” star Jason Momoa. How will the new movie compare to the original starring Arnold Schwarzenegger?

Honorable mention goes to “The Help,” set in 1960s Mississippi in the midst of the beginnings of the Civil Rights movement. The stellar ensemble cast includes Emma Stone, Viola Davis, Bryce Dallas-Howard, Allison Janney and Jessica Chastain and opens on August 12.

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