I wrote this kid geek guide to summer for the Buffalo News Gusto section.
With “Star Wars,” “The Avengers” and superheroes more ubiquitous than ever before, it’s a great time to be a kid geek.
This list features some new films, a few annual movie events and even treats for fans of Japanese animation. Grab your Spider-Man hoodie, pack your lightsaber, and clutch your Totoro closely — it’s going to be a great summer.
Buffalo Bisons “Star Wars” Night, 6:05 p.m. June 2 at Coca-Cola Field
“Star Wars” night is a Buffalo tradition, and it continues to grow — literally. Last year’s event even included an enormous Jabba the Hutt in the concourse.
Characters from Rey to Captain Rex appear, “laser swords” are plentiful, and it culminates in a special scoreboard movie and explosion-like fireworks. Best for ages 5 and up; it’s a long night, and little ones might grow restless during the game.
“Incredibles 2,” opens June 15
Family superhero saga “The Incredibles” is one of Pixar’s most enduring favorites. This sequel to the 2004 hit has been years in the making, and if the trailers are any indication, it will be worth the wait. Bob Parr, a.k.a., Mr. Incredible, must care for baby Jack-Jack while his wife, Helen, a.k.a., Elastigirl, is taking on the world’s supervillains. No MPAA rating yet; expected to be PG.
Studio Ghibli Fest, June through August at Regal Elmwood and Transit Center
Fathom Events screens a different entry from Japan’s Studio Ghibli animation studio each month in the summer. “Pom Poko,” June 17, 18 and 20: Isao Takahata’s film is the story of a fierce battle between raccoon dogs and developers; rated PG. “Princess Mononoke,” July 22, 23 and 25: Hayao Miyazaki’s epic classic about a young warrior; rated PG-13.
“Grave of the Fireflies,” Aug. 12, 13 and 15: This is a harrowing WWII drama for older kids only. It is unrated, but PG-13 equivalent for mature thematic material, war violence, disturbing images and language.
Green Acres Ice Cream Free Outdoor Family Movie Night and Kids Pajama Party, dusk on Wednesdays from July 11 to Aug. 15 at Green Acres Ice Cream, 4357 Broadway, Depew.
Green Acres has hosted a free film series for several years, and as usual, there are some gems. One is “Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie” (Aug. 1). In this animated adaptation of Dav Pilkey’s beloved book, two elementary schoolers hypnotize their principal into believing he is an underwear-and-cape-clad superhero.
The rest of the schedule isn’t geek-fare, but it’s good for kids: “Ferdinand,” July 11; “Coco,” July 18; “Despicable Me 3,” July 25; “Paddington 2,” Aug. 8; and “The Nut Job 2,” Aug. 15. Ratings vary, but all films should be fine for ages 7 and up.
“Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation,” opens July 13
This animated film franchise has been a treat. In this third film, Dracula (voiced by Sandler), his daughter, son-in-law, grandson and monsters like Frankenstein and the Wolf Man take a monsters-only cruise ship. Best of all? Mel Brooks returns as the voice of Drac’s father. No MPAA rating yet; expected to be PG.
“Teen Titans Go! To the Movies,” opens July 27
Big-screen superhero bummers like “Justice League” got you down? There’s a far more cheerful and kid-friendly alternative in the Cartoon Network series “Teen Titans Go!” The first feature film based on the DC Comics series sees Robin, Cyborg, Beast Boy and friends take on the villain Slade (voiced by the great Will Arnett). Rated PG for action and rude humor.
Buffalo Bisons Superhero Night, 6:05 p.m. on Aug. 11 at Coca-Cola Field.
If the Bisons’ popular “Star Wars” night has a rival, it is this event centered on your favorite superheroes. Characters from the Superhero Alliance of Western New York are available for photos, and kids are encouraged to dress up. Fireworks bring the battle vs. good and evil to a close. Best for ages 5 and up; it’s a long night, and little ones might grow restless during the game.