Friday, November 26, 2010

The Thanksgiving Trailer Trove

It's Thanksgiving weekend, which means the trailers for next year's spring and summer movies are starting to make their premieres. I want to run down a couple of them with a few thoughts. I'll have another post for the trailers attached to the Christmas releases next month. All links lead to Trailer Addict. Enjoy.

"The Green Lantern" – First, let's take care of the big one, now that the trailer has been officially released. Of the three big superhero films due next summer, this is the one I'm anticipating the most. The trailer doesn't change that, but I'm with the critics of the CGI suit. I can see why it might be necessary, but the execution looks awfully cartoonish. Ryan Reynolds is perfectly suited to superhero duty, but I wish we could have seen more of the other actors, especially Blake Lively as the female lead. The trailer starts out all right, but there's some tonal whiplash as it goes from irreverent to eye-popping to somber, and then back to irreverent. Whatever you want to say about the "Green Hornet" trailer, at least it was consistent.

"Cars 2" – I respect the original PIXAR film even if it didn't win me over. I'm getting a similar vibe from the sequel, despite the addition of the espionage elements. And I'm sure the creators didn't intend it, but I'm seeing a lot of similarities to the Wachowski siblings' unfortunate "Speed Racer."

"Cowboys and Aliens" – It's so good to see Harrison Ford back onscreen in an action role after his recent spate of awkward comedies and middling dramas. Even "Indiana Jones" didn't seem to fit him quite right anymore, but playing the scowling antagonist-turned ally to Daniel Craig's gunslinger hero here feels appropriate. I like the way that the trailer only gives us a brief tease of the aliens, saving the money shots for later. My only quibble is that Olivia Wilde sticks out like a sore thumb in the cast and the Old West environment. Between this and "Tron," it looks like we'll be seeing a lot of her this year, and I hope her acting has improved since the last season of "House."

"Red Riding Hood" – I feel bad about laughing, but it's so blatant that the marketers are targeting the "Twilight" crowd with Catherine Hardwicke's latest. The visuals are gorgeous and there's the possibility that the marketing campaign is being misleading. We'll just have to wait and see.

"Battle: Los Angeles" – My favorite trailer to debut in the last month. It looks like this alien invasion film will be playing it straight and keeping the story simple, following a group of soldiers as they clash with extraterrestrial foes. This could be one of those instances where the trailer puts all the best shots forward, and the film turns out to be a much duller affair – the effects are from the same people that did "Skyline" – but I remain optimistic. Aaron Eckhart and Michelle Rodriguez will star in the film, but I didn't see more than a glimpse of either, which suggests that the marketers are keeping plenty in reserve. Now I'm glad I got that picture with the prop helicopter from the film while I was at Comic-Con.

"Hop" – Unfortunate similarities to "Alvin and the Chipmunks" aside, the little bunny rabbit is awfully cute and the concept has promise. Let's see if I respond better to one of these rodent-led rock musicals when it isn't trying to resurrect the carcass of one of my childhood favorites.

"Your Highness" – If you took out Danny McBride's character, this would be the kind of medieval fantasy B-movie that I would be on in a second. James Franco, Natalie Portman, and Zooey Deschanel playing swords and sorcerers? Yes please! Unfortunately, between the efforts of director David Gordon Green and McBride, "Your Highness" is going to be a raunchy stoner comedy in the same vein as "Pineapple Express." I may have patience for five-hour Italian historical dramas, but I'm not sure I have the patience for this. Shoehorning in a quick montage of shiny dramatic moments at the end just makes it all the worse.

"Source Code" – Duncan Jones' follow-up to "Moon" looks to be another conceptually complicated science-fiction film, but with a more high voltage cast this time around. I think they spoiled too much of the plot in the trailer to give us an emotional hook, but I'm still curious to see how it's going to play out.

"Winnie the Pooh" – This trailer is like pure, concentrated nostalgia injected directly into the eyeballs. "Winnie the Pooh" marks Disney's second attempt to revive their traditionally animated features, and they're pulling out all the stops this time. The notion of a new "Pooh" movie is irresistible. You show me someone who doesn't love the Silly Old Bear, and I'll show you a truly miserable human being.

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