Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Trailers! Trailers! The Catching-Up Edition

It's the first week of May, and we've already got several full trailers for some of the big November movies in circulation. I haven't done a trailer post in a while, so we'll be talking about these, plus some of the notable later summer films where the first trailers were only released in the last few months. We've got a lot of ground to cover, so let's get started. As usual, all links below lead to Trailer Addict.

Thor: The Dark World - Of all the individual Marvel movies, I'd put "Thor" near the bottom of the list. I like the character, but his appearances on screen have felt the most slapdash and lacking in substance. I expect the filmmakers know this, which is why they make sure to show us part of a scene that likely happens a good ways into the second act: Thor seeking help from Loki, who is easily the most memorable villain in Marvel's film universe so far. We don't see anything of the film's actual villains, or really much of the threat they pose, but Loki's involvement is enough.

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire - I've already been spoiled regarding a lot of what happens in this movie, so I was impressed with how well this trailer kept some of the biggest plot points under wraps, at least for now. I wouldn't be surprised if future trailers go on to reveal more. However, this one nicely sets up the rising tensions between Katniss and the Capitol, giving a lot of screen time to Donald Sutherland, who plays the major antagonist President Snow. And the sight of Philip Seymour Hoffman getting in on the fun makes me indescribably happy.

R.I.P.D. - The trailer spends most of its time setting up the concept of Ryan Reynolds and Jeff Bridges as part of an undead police force, but what it's really doing is selling you on a certain mood and tone. This is going to be a supernatural action movie with a lot of CGI effects, but it's also going to be a broad comedy. I can definitely see why people are suggesting that this is going to be "MIB" with the undead. Even the poster looks pretty similar. But will "R.I.P.D." be any good? I can't tell from what we've seen so far, but I do like everybody involved here.

2 Guns - Here's Denzel Washington and Mark Wahlberg playing a pair of cops, who are both working undercover at cross purposes, get betrayed, and have to join forces to win the day. Pretty standard buddy movie setup. So you sell the movie the way you always do. Car chases! Gun battles! One liners! The big question is whether Washington and Wahlberg are going to work well together onscreen, and I think the clips make a decent case for it. The banter flows, and the antagonism feels genuine. It's not very original, but who sees a movie like this for originality?

RED 2 - The retirees are back for more mayhem, and this time they're joined by new villains Catherine Zeta-Jones and Lee Byung-hun. However, the highlight of this installment is almost certainly going to be Anthony Hopkins, who is acting a great deal sillier than I've seen him on the screen in some time. Will he and John Malkovitch have a ham-off at some point? I can only hope. Otherwise, you have your typical spies and renegades story and most of the cast of the previous film back for more fun - including Helen Mirren and all her dangerous toys.

The Wolverine - The problems of "The Wolverine" trailer are twofold. On the one hand, it's relying way too much on previously established imagery from the "X-men" franchise. And on the other hand, the new material looks pretty weak. The bulk of this movie will be set in Japan, but the visuals are generic, the action and effects look underwhelming, and the whole thing is just so much smaller scale than anything else in the franchise. These are major problems that the marketing for "X-men: First Class" had too, and I hope "The Wolverine" is similarly better than its ads.

Elysium - Director Neil Blomkamp is back, and he's brought more "Halo"- like visuals and some big stars for his latest science-fiction film. Matt Damon and Jodie Foster star in the tale of a dystopian future society where an extreme split has developed between the haves and the have-nots. I'm expecting more social commentary, more crazy action scenes, and more deeply flawed characters. And I'm intrigued that the story appears to have many similarities to the manga "Battle Angel Alita," the one James Cameron's been trying to turn into a film for a decade now.

Ender's Game - And here's the movie that I'm the most curious about, out of everything else listed here. How do you turn Orson Scott Card's science-fiction classic into a Hollywood effects extravaganza? From the new trailer I recognize the characters and the concepts, but how faithful is this adaptation going to be? The trailer is provocative, but it's hardly very informative, more concerned with making sure we see every award-winning actor who will appear in the film than introducing us to Ender Wiggins or his universe. The glimpses of Battle School and the Formics are encouraging though.

Turbo - I know, I know, but the little snails are frickin' adorable!

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