We are now more than half-way through the American Summer blockbuster season, and the first looks at big movies from further down the road are starting to emerge. In this blog I’m gonna review the trailers for some notable upcoming films and quantify their awesomeness.
Now that we’ve got definitive contemporary screen adaptations of Batman, Spider-Man and all of the The Avengers, it can sometimes feel like there’s nothing left to achieve in the realm of the superhero blockbuster.
But the big daddy of them all awaits a modern interpretation.
It’ll be interesting to see how much Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel deviates from established Superman mythology, given the widely-held view that Bryan Singer’s Superman Returns failed in large part due to its slavish devotion to the world created by Richard Donner’s iconic Superman and Superman II in 1978 and 1980.
I’m a massive Zack Snyder fan, and the first thing about the above teaser that becomes apparent is how un-Zack Snyder-ish it is. The washed-out colour palette and almost Terrence Malick-type lyrical feel stands in marked contrast to Snyder’s traditional lush, slow-mo style.
I hope the rumours of big slow-mo fight scenes prove correct though, as I am a giant sucker for that stuff. Henry Cavill looks the part enormously and I’m gonna go ahead and just presume that’s Krypton the Wonder Dog.
I love how it’s not apparent until about three quarters of the way through that the teaser is about a Superman movie. I can’t have imagined anything cooler for a first teaser for this film – it gave me movie nerd goosebumps that I haven’t felt since…well, since the first teaser for Superman Returns. Let’s just hope this turns out a bit better.
Awesomeness Factor: 10
For this entry, I originally wrote a review of the underwhelming first teaser, which traded heavily on Bond’s legacy without really telling us anything about the new film.
The new trailer that came out yesterday however, is much cooler and I have had to adjust my awesomeness factor. The “Bond faking his death” gambit doesn’t feel new, but it feels right. I like the further exploration of the various locales, and you will always get me on board with train-based action, of which there appears to be plenty.
We are also introduced to several new characters: Ralph Fiennes’ bureaucrat; Naomie Harris’ fellow agent; Ben Wishaw’s new Q and Javier Bardem’s blonde bad guy, who can’t help but recall his iconic villain role in No Country For Old Men. Plus is that a London Underground-based action set-piece? Rad.
Beyond the ubiquitous golden hue, it’s difficult to discern too much about Sam Mendes’ specific approach to the Bond franchise from this trailer. But the Bond films have always been more producer-driven anyway, with little of a director’s personality ever able to make itself known.
The action glimpsed here piques my interest, but it’s still just another Bond film. Although they essentially created the modern blockbuster action genre, I haven’t had my action socks rocked by a Bond movie in quite some time.
Here’s hoping Mendes can step up to deliver a Bond film that lives up to 1989′s Licence To Kill – the most recent Bond benchmark in my opinion. Plus I really hope somebody actually falls from the sky in this movie. I like falling scenes.
Awesomeness Factor: 6
This gargantuan trailer for what is sure to be a gargantuan film paints Cloud Atlas as perhaps a slightly more mainstream addition to the slowly expanding “Where-We-Came-From-and-Where-Are-We-Going-Rumination” genre populated so far only by Darren Aronofsky’s The Fountain and Terrence Malick’s The Tree of Life. (Any other films you think should be included in this group?).
The grand ambition of Prometheus‘ plot has me very amped up about seeing films that try to really go macro – films that span millennia or attempt to make all-encompassing observations about existence.
The Wachowski brother and sister are two members of a very select group of filmmakers who could be trusted to get such an enterprise off the ground, and they’ve brought in Tom Tykwer, director of Perfume (which got poo-pooed by lovers of the book, but which was actually pretty awesome) and Run Lola Run, to assist them.
The variety of settings and design elements in this trailer alone have me completely on board, but I’m finding myself getting easily sucked into the grandiose poetic aspirations of the trailer. That’s something else I’m a sucker for – big, over-reaching emotional vistas. Also, Tom Hanks totally throws a dude off a building yo!
It may be easy to get distracted by the variety of Hankses presented here, but I can only imagine his involvement was integral to the movie getting green lit, so I’m okay with gangster Hanks.
Awesomeness Factor: 8
One of Paul Thomas Anderson’s most welcome proclivities as a writer and director is his tendency to give his characters huge rhetorical speeches. I can’t imagine a better story to hang a bunch of those on than a roman-a-clef about L. Ron Hubbard and the creation of Scientology.
The defining image in this trailer for me is the three brothers getting photographed at about the 13 second mark. The Norman Rockwell lighting and tones that come through here suggest a lush portrayal of post-war America against which PTA can present his central Hubbard-esque figure, Lancaster Dodd, played by Phillip Seymour Hoffman.
No modern writer/director has better treaded the line between populist and “quality” filmmaking, and The Master comes across as a perfect conduit through which to present his skills.
Awesomeness Factor: 10
I always thought Ang Lee got a rough ride over his 2002 Hulk film. The special effects and action sequences in that movie were freaking awesome, and Lee’s unlikely mastery of this sort of filmmaking comes through loud and clear in the trailer for Life of Pi.
But as special effects-infused as it may be, Life of Pi is no action movie. In fact it’s hard to say exactly what kind of movie it will be.
I haven’t read the book, but I know it’s about a young Indian man stuck on a lifeboat with a tiger, a confounding synopsis if ever there was one: Fable? Metaphor? Survival story? The trailer presents enough dazzling imagery to make me definitely want to see the film (the shipwreck alone is amazing), but I’m still not sure how literally to take it.
Ang Lee’s made some amazing movies over the years, but his last – 2009′s Taking Woodstock – was a giant mess. I remain confident he can do something cool with this film though, which at various stages was going to be helmed by M. Night Shyamalan; Alfonso Cuaron and Jean-Pierre Jeunet.
Awesomeness Factor: 6
I am a giant sucker for time-travel stories, and despite the generic action and future elements populating this trailer, I cannot wait to see this film. Sure Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s facial prosthetics (designed to make him look more like his future self played by Bruce Willis) appear distracting, but I’m sure I’ll get used to ‘em.
Writer/director Rian Johnson made a splash with his heavily stylised 2005 debut Brick, (which also starred Gordon-Levitt), but hardly anyone saw his con-artist thriller follow-up The Brothers Bloom, which is well worth checking out.
Awesomeness Factor: 7
Last year, despite my better judgement, I allowed myself to get my hopes up for the high concept shark thriller Shark Night 3D. Amazingly, it turned out to be a giant turd.
I am not letting this experience deter me from getting excited for this even HIGHER concept Australian shark thriller. It’s about a bunch of people who get trapped in a flooded supermarket with a great white shark what is trying to eat them.
Awesomeness Factor: 8