It's December, which means that 2015 is just around the corner. This promises to be a pivotal year for Hollywood, with a slate chock full of big franchise films - though not as full as it was a year ago. Since the holiday movie season is in full swing, we've been getting lots of trailers for some of next year's biggest titles. Some of the highlights below. All links lead to Trailer Addict:
Star Wars: The Force Awakens - Let's get the big one out of the way first. We're still more than a year away from the release date, but this is a reassuring peek at the next "Star Wars" film. The visuals are right. The sound design is right. The music is bliss. Of course, a scant ninety seconds is too little to tell anything, and we all remember the raves that accompanied the first "Phantom Menace" trailer, right? For all we know that little soccer ball droid may be the next Jar Jar Binks. I'm staying optimistic though, because so far J.J. Abrams has been doing everything right.
Jurassic World - Isn't this the plot of "Jaws 3," but with genetically engineered dinosaurs? I think some of the concepts presented here are promising - theme park visits gone wrong are always fun - but this is a terrible trailer. The last half in particular, that switches to a horror tone and tries to make the "Jurassic Park" theme sound sinister, is just a bungle. The only bright spot in the whole thing is really Chris Pratt, and the "Jurassic World" creators were very, very lucky to be able to capitalize on the great 2014 he's had.
Tomorrowland - What I love about this teaser is that I still have no idea what the movie is about. I don't know who George Clooney's character is. I don't know what the mysterious "Tomorrowland" is. However, there's such a great sense of wonder and mystery conveyed here. I've been hearing about this project for ages, and Brad Bird has a track record that few can match up to, so I'm very curious to see the final result. At the time of writing, this is definitely my most highly anticipated blockbuster for next year.
Pan - I like so many of the people involved in this movie, but I'm not sure about this. I'm not opposed to origin stories, but the premise of Pan and Hook once being allies never sat quite right with me. Also, there's the Tiger Lily problem. I understand that Joe Wright did colorblind casting and a few of the major characters are dark-skinned - but none of them feature in the trailer or in any of the marketing. Instead, we have a lily-white Tiger Lily played by Rooney Mara everywhere. Way to shoot yourself in the foot, guys.
Inside Out - Formerly known as "The Untitled PIXAR Movie That Takes You Inside the Mind." The first teaser trailer was too brief for my tastes, so it's good to see the concept fleshed out a little with a domestic situation playing out between the main character and her parents, as seen through the eyes of their anthropomorphized emotions. It loses a few points for the stereotypical parents, but this is only a brief glimpse, so it's way too early to be drawing any conclusions yet. And you gotta love that tagline.
Cinderella - I was disappointed when Mark Romanek left the director's chair, but was faintly hopeful about Kenneth Branagh taking over. But I can't see Branagh anywhere in this trailer, which is just relentlessly Disney, Disney, Disney. Cate Blanchett's evil stepmother looks great, and Helena Bonham Carter as the Fairy Godmother should be a treat, but otherwise this looks like exactly what you'd expect yet another live-action remake of a Disney animated classic to look like. Do we at least get talking mice?
Terminator: Genisys - I was intially skeptical, and I still think the title is blah, but boy is it great to see Arnold Schwarzenegger in this franchise again. "Terminator" is one of those franchises that can be credibly rebooted since there's so much time travel and timeline rewriting in the premise itself. I'm not thrilled at having Jai Courtney fronting this, as he's been underwhelming in everything I've seen in him to date, but I'm excited about Emilia Clarke as Sarah Connor, who we all know is the real lead anyway.
Chappie - Neil Blomkamp's last movie "Elysium" looked great but was ultimately an unfortunate bust. It's hard to say if "Chappie" will be more of the same. This trailer doesn't offer many plot details, so it's essentialy an effects reel. The robot looks fantastic, but I'm wary that he's being voiced by Sharlto Copley, whose performances have just gotten more and more bizarre lately. But on the upside there's Hugh Jackman and Die Antwoord. Put this one in the "wait and see column."
Avengers: Age of Ultron - I'm linking the preview clip shown during "Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." here instead of the actual teaser because, let's be honest, it's so much better. You've got the humor, the checking in with all the old characters, and the villain making a splashy entrance. What does the teaser have? Random ballerina shots and a creepy version of "I've Got No Strings" from "Pinocchio." Seriously, what is it with trailers lately trying to make completely non-creepy songs sound creepy?
Mad Max: Fury Road - Wheeeeeeeeeeeee!