With 2012′s blockbuster season well and truly behind us, it’s time to start really anticipating the big end-of-year movies and look ahead to next year’s blockbuster line-up. In this blog I’m going to review some new-ish trailers and attempt to quantify their awesomeness. You can also check out my previous August Trailer Awesomeness Assessment here.
A Good Day To Die Hard
While this trailer maintains the first teaser’s classical music action montage, we get a slightly better look at some of the set-pieces. Plus there’s an appearance by Mary Elizabeth Winstead in what is probably her only scene reprising the role of Lucy McClane from Die Hard 4.0, and we get to properly meet the guy playing John’s son, Aussie actor Jai Courtney, who looks like he’s been cast for his McClane-like ability to look cool with very little hair.
I love a good musical action montage, but if you remove the Moscow setting, this trailer looks incredibly generic. Cars explode. Machine guns rattle. Dudes jump out buildings. A guy says “Welcome to Moscow!”.
I failed to get onboard with the most recent Die Hard film, but I love the previous three, and I still have an enormous amount of goodwill for the series. The franchise’s signature has always been increasingly over-the-top action set-pieces, and while they spent a lot of money on the last one, it displayed very little in the way of creativity. I really hope director John Moore (Behind Enemy Lines; Flight of the Phoenix) has a few more action tricks up his sleeve than this trailer displays.
One point off for shunting Justin Long aside, one extra point for the coolest movie poster tagline in years.
Awesomeness Factor: 6
Iron Man 3
The fact that Lethal Weapon/The Last Boy Scout/Long Kiss Goodnight screenwriter Shane Black is writing and directing has me very excited for Iron Man 3, but this trailer is all over the freaking place .
It feels like they’ve rushed it out before enough of the film has been shot. Either that, or they just wanted to be as obtuse as possible about the plot. There really is very little to be discerned here, and it’s giving me worrying flashbacks to Iron Man 2‘s fatal lack of a clear through line.
Plus the giant set-piece on which the trailer hangs – the Stark mansion exploding and falling into the sea – barely features any Iron Man action at all, and could just as easily be from an Irwin Allen disaster movie.
I can only presume the coolest parts of the film are still being shot. If Stark’s mansion tumbling into the sea is as epic as the film gets, I shall be very disappointed. Still, the bit with the 747 looked kind cool and I enjoyed seeing Ben Kingsley as The Mandarin.
Awesomeness Factor: 6
This hardcore trailer’s goal appears to be to dissuade any doubts about the remakes commitment to being as full-on as possible. The original Evil Dead, so controversial in its time, feels relatively tame in a modern context. Not so this remake, if you go by the trailer, which is very unrelenting (beware… the dubstep!) and features lots of gore. There isn’t much in the way of character or cast introduction, although it’s clear bad things will happen to ostensible lead Jane Levy.
The trailer stops short of mentioning Sam Raimi and Bruce Campbell by name, but it does want us to know that the remake is from the people behind the original film. This also comes through in its presentation of newly rendered signature Evil Dead moments, like a character having to remove their own hand, and everybody’s favourite video nasty memory: the tree rape.
I honestly had to look away during that final shot, which alone earns the trailer’s red band status. My enduring love for 2009′s Drag Me To Hell has my appetite for Sam Raimi-style horror at an all time high, so I’m well primed for this film. Plus: New Zealand!
Awesomeness Factor: 7
I’m a Tom Cruise apologist from way back, and my favourite performance of his came in Michael Mann’s 2004 masterpiece, Collateral. That was no-nonsense; no grin; no cheese Cruise.
This trailer recalls Collateral in all the best ways. It’s clearly not quite as sombre a story, but I love it when Cruise cuts all the crap and focuses on being a bad-ass. There was much fan outcry over the legendarily short Cruise being cast as the legendarily imposing Reacher, but I have full faith in his ability to convince here.
Most of the film’s heavyweight cast get a look in – Richard Jenkins; Robert Duvall; Die Hard 5‘s Jai Courtney, and it’s a treat to get a glimpse of Werner Herzog’s stunt casting as the big bad.
Plus how cool is the final scene where Reacher slips into a crowd of onlookers to escape the cops? I can’t wait to see this.
Awesomeness Factor: 8
This remake of Brian De Palma’s landmark 1976 horror (or re-adaptation of Stephen King’s book, depending on your perspective) has a little bit more pedigree than most films on the unstoppable horror remake train – the director Kimberly Peirce made her debut with an Oscar-winning film (1999′s Boys Don’t Cry) and multiple Oscar-nominee Julianne Moore is taking on the role of the crazy religious mother so memorably essayed by Piper Laurie in the original film.
I found this teaser quite effective. I’m a sucker for a big long aerial shot, and the laying over of retrospective dialogue snippets (echoing the book’s flashback structure) creates a nice sense of foreboding.
With her performance as Hit Girl in Kick-Ass, Chloe Grace Moretz showed herself to be one of the most committed young actresses of her generation. But nobody has ever been able to be both so convincingly downtrodden and so genuinely pretty as Sissy Spacek was in the 1976 film (she was the original pretty/ugly teenage girl character!), so Moretz has her work cut out for her. Plus the territory has been already been repeatedly revisited with a 1999 sequel and a 2002 TV remake.
However I do look forward to getting a glimpse of Julianne Moore in action when a full trailer is released. She gives good crazy.
Awesomeness Factor: 7
I have been waiting over a decade for Robert Zemeckis (Back To The Future; Who Framed Roger Rabbit; Cast Away) to get back into live-action filmmaking following his obsessive and prolonged diversion into CGI-motion capture films like The Polar Express and Beowulf.
Flight is NOT the film I have been waiting for. Combining public interest in the feats of American commercial airline pilot hero Sully Sullenberger with a yawn-inducing alcoholism plot, Flight looks like a gussied-up TV movie.
Ever since Alive rocked my world in 1993, I’ve been fascinated by realistic portrayals of aeroplane disasters, and those aspects of the trailer look quite cool. But hoo-boy the rest of the film looks like a pile of pious bollix.
It’s time for Zemeckis to make a genre film again. He set the high bar for ambitious storytelling with the first half of his career, and he’s spent the second half crawling under it.
Awesomeness Factor: 2
I love Jason Statham. I love that it seems like he makes four or five action movies a year, and that they tend to be barely distinguishable from each other.
His new film represents the eighth filmic outing for pseudonymous novelist Richard Stark’s long-running thief character Parker (the most famous previous ones being 1967′s Point Blank starring Lee Marvin and 1999′s Payback starring Mel Gibson), and so there appears to be a little more meat on the bones of this film than most of Statham’s output.
This trailer evokes a lot of Statham’s previous efforts, but brings credibility in the form of supporting players like Nick Nolte and Michael Chiklis. Based on this trailer, Statham appears to have some degree of chemistry with leading lady Jennifer Lopez, bringing a mild Out of Sight quality to the proceedings.
Parker doesn’t look like a particularly original film, but the trailer brings to mind how Statham seems to be almost single-handedly keeping the old school action flames burning. Go him!
Awesomeness Factor: 8