Film Trailer Thoughts | Arrival (2016)

arrival amy adams forrest whittaker jeremy renner denis villeneuve trailer thoughts

So, this looks pretty great, doesn’t it?

Obviously, I love science fiction movies, but those that are of particular interest to me are the movies that focus on first contact scenarios, and treat them in a “realistic” fashion. Of course, there’s only so realistic one can be with an alien movie, but I do think this is a really fascinating starting point – to look at how a first contact scenario would affect geopolitics, how we would try to communicate, and so on and so forth. I can’t call to mind a single sci-fi movie that focuses on a linguist to this extent, actually, That’s got me really excited for this movie. (I’m aware this is based on a short story, but I think I’ll wait until after the movie has come out to read it – spoilers and suchlike.)

It also helps, of course, that you’ve got a great cast of actors here. I’m quite fond of Adams, Renner and Whitaker in their other movies, so I’m interested to see what they do with this movie, and how they work together. It’s also nice to see that Amy Adams is in the lead role; always good when a sci-fi movie has a female lead, and she’s definitely talented enough to anchor the movie. There’s also the fact that this movie shares a director with Sicario, and although I’ve not seen that, it’s been quite highly acclaimed – so that also catches my interest about this movie.

All in all, then, I’m really looking forward to this. At times it feels like we’re lacking in good, original sci-fi movies these days, so I’m really glad to see that we’re going to be getting a movie that looks quite outside the box.

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Film Trailer Thoughts | Justice League (First Look Footage)

justice league first look footage sdcc 2016 henry cavill ben affleck gal gadot jason momao ezra miller ray fisher zack snyder joss whedon

Alongside the Wonder Woman trailer, we’ve also got our first look at Justice League.

I’ve said – quite a lot, actually – how I’m not really a fan of the current direction that DC seems to be taking their properties in; I’ve done it to death by this point, so I shan’t spend too long on it, but in essence I’ve been less than impressed by the grimdark, cynical veneer applied to Superman, because I simply don’t recognise that interpretation as being my Superman. (To say nothing, of course, of the sheer sloppiness and general faults that are found within Batman vs Superman.)

And given the level of criticism I’ve levelled at the franchise, you’d perhaps be forgiven for mistaking it as a general disdain for DC characters. That couldn’t be further from the truth, honestly; I far prefer them to their Marvel counterparts, and I really enjoy all of the DC television offerings that are currently about. (Arrow notwithstanding, of course.) Indeed, I’m a pretty big fan of all the DC characters, but none moreso than the Justice League; the Bruce Timm cartoon series was a pretty huge factor in my resounding love for superheroes, hence a soft spot for the Justice League.

But that’s also why I’ve been so worried about this movie – there’s a personal connection, for me, and a precedent that seems to suggest it was very much going to be a movie that wasn’t for me. Which is fine, you know; other interpretations can be valid, and I don’t need everything to be tailored exactly to my idiosyncratic tastes, even if I’d quite like them to be.

Yet there’s something about this trailer, even despite all my reservations, I find extremely exciting. Tonally, it’s far more on the ball than previous installments; this film looks like it might be fun, for a change, rather than unremittingly dull and cynical. Visually, it already looks impressive, with Aquaman and the Flash being particularly notable standouts. (I imagine we saw comparatively little of Cyborg because of the level of CGI his character clearly involves.)

There’s already a great chemistry between the core cast, it seems, with a very natural interplay on display. I’m glad to see Batman and Wonder Woman working together, as friends, just like I’m used to them doing. I’m glad to see Barry and Bruce interacting so well together. And I’m glad to see that Bruce and Aquaman don’t, immediately, gel with one another; I wouldn’t want everything to be the same, after all. Primarily, then, I’m glad that this trailer seems to be putting the characters front and centre, and I dearly hope that the movie does too.

So, for now, to hell with all my doubts and my naysaying. This has got me excited, and for now, I’m just going to bask in that. The characters I love are going to have a movie together, and right now, it looks fantastic.

Finally.

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Film Trailer Thoughts | Wonder Woman (First Look Footage)

wonder woman textless poster wallpaper hd gal gadot chris pine patty jenkins trailer first look footage reaction thoughts

Wow!

This landed about fifteen minutes or so ago, and I have to say, I am very impressed. I’m on record as not really being a huge fan of the previous DCEU instalments, but I was very fond of Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman; she was, I’m inclined to say, one of the saving graces of Batman vs Superman. nonetheless, though, I remained tentative about this film.

But! Having seen this, I’m hugely, hugely impressed. It looks stellar. There’s a real emphasis on Diana as a character here; what’s conveyed most immediately is her sheer physicality. This trailer, I imagine, is directed at the naysayers – those few who don’t believe a woman can headline a superhero movie have, surely, changed their minds by now, no? What I appreciated most was how firmly the camera work didn’t objectify Wonder Woman here; there’s no intrusion of the male gaze or anything like that here. Just a single-minded emphasis

I’m also really glad that Wonder Woman is going to tackle the Grecian mythology aspects head on; after the ridiculous NBC Wonder Woman pilot, I was worried that perhaps certain elements of Diana’s backstory might be toned down somewhat. Thankfully, though, that’s not the case – we’ve got a direct namecheck for Zeus, and Themyscira Island looks quite beautiful. While I doubt we’ll spend a huge chunk of the movie there – I imagine it’ll be limited to Act One – I’m quite looking forward to getting a glimpse into this other culture.

So, this is what we’re getting: a Wonder Woman movie, set in World War One, with what looks to be some gorgeous cinematography and direction. It’s got Gal Gadot, who was one of the best parts of Batman vs Superman, and Chris Pine, who’s pretty damn good himself. We’re also finally getting a female superhero movie, with a female director helming the project too.

That’s pretty neat, huh?

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Film Trailer Thoughts | Star Trek Beyond (2016)

star trek beyond poster justin lin trailer sabotage yellow purple chris pine sofia boutella idris elba

I mean, it’s kind of an awful trailer, isn’t it?

There’s no two ways about it, it’s just awfully generic. 80s music, action shots, joke, action shots, title of movie, final one liner. This is possibly the most formulaic trailer I’ve seen; the only thing it was really lacking was some sort of ominous voiceover, but I’m almost certain we’ll see that at some point in the future. The actual subject matter is, frankly, just sort of meh as well. It’s difficult to judge the film on this because there’s so little substance to the trailer – the film is presented very much as a generic action movie, and little more.

And that’s fair, I guess. It will have to be marketed in a certain way for it to appeal to as broad an audience as possible; conventional wisdom suggests that if you market this movie as a philosophical, classic style Star Trek movie, then it’s not going to get as many ticket sales. Whether conventional wisdom is in this case correct remains up for debate; I suppose they have arguably got some evidence for this, given the success of the last two movies. (I’d consider them, for the record, entertaining movies, but not really good Star Trek movies.)

I do have some faith, to be fair. There seems to be a few indications of something more traditionally Star Trek-y in there; the survival movie aspect has potential, as does the fact we’re being introduced to a new alien species. I like the ideas that are evoked by the title, Star Trek Beyond, and I like Idris Elba’s line, “This is where the frontier pushes back”. I wonder if, perhaps, there’s something about the planet transforming people into aliens – that female alien looks a little like Zoe Saldana in the makeup, so maybe that’s Uhura? (Or perhaps I’ve just got used to these movies having very few women in them.)

At the end of it all, though, this just isn’t inspiring much of a reaction in me, because I’m finding it difficult to actually, like, care. It’s a really generic trailer, with a group of characters that I just never properly connected with. Sure, it’s Kirk and Spock and all of them, but they’re not the versions of the characters I know very well; so far, there’s 6 ish hours of screentime with them in two movies of debatable quality spread out over 6 years. I’m not hugely invested in them.

So, you know, whatever. I guess Star Trek is this now? Cool, sure, whatever.

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On Hitman: Agent 47, movie trailers, and spoilers

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So, I was at the cinema yesterday, and I saw the trailer for this film. ‘Tis based on a video game, but I must confess, I’d never actually heard of it before. I’m not really big on video games, to be honest. Really not particularly good at them. Often lose. (I’ve gotten quite good at Tetris, though.)

Anyway, though, the trailer for this film came up, and it looked pretty good to me. Not necessarily the sort of thing I’d watch in the cinema, but if ever it was on TV, I’d probably look into it – action movies about hypercompetent people tend to have potential, I think, and from the trailer it looked cool enough. I quite liked the opening scene, and Zachary Quinto was in it, who’s an actor I typically tend to like. So, yeah, that alone was enough to pique my interest.

But! The trailer then continued, and imparted some more information about the plot to me. And I found that quite interesting, actually. Because up until that point, it looked like our Agent 47 fellow could be broadly termed as the bad guy, and Zachary Quinto as the good guy. Except that’s not the case – there’s a twist!

Quinto is in fact a government agent type with nefarious schemes, and Agent 47 is trying to stop him. The woman it seems like he’s trying to kill isn’t an innocent woman, but is in fact another Agent (number 46?) who was raised with him and just doesn’t remember. Something like that.

It surprised me, though, and it really made me think about the current debate about spoilers in movie trailers. This is, obviously, the sort of thing that will probably be framed as a twist in the actual movie. Which makes sense – the person you thought was the bad guy is infact the good guy, and indeed vice versa. It makes sense for that to be a twist. And yet, here it is, laid to bare.

Which is an odd thing, I think. I mean, it;s not impossible to create a trailer without that reveal – because, look, they actually have. When I was searching for the link to the above trailer, I found this other one, which preserves the twist, and offers a level of set up that could still intrigue someone. Perhaps the studio weren’t particularly confident in the trailer as it was?

A comparison that sort of jumps out at me is Marvel movies, particularly The Winter Soldier. Here’s the trailer for that one. Interestingly, none of the three major twists are present in the trailer. Well, I say interestingly, I mean appropriately. Even the one that isn’t really a twist, and would have been spoiled fairly frequently beforehand, given that it actually comes from the comics – the identity of the Winter Soldier, that is.

I mean, I jumped to that comparison because, arguably, they’re in the same place as adaptations – someone is going to know the plot, and indeed how it ends, before they see the film. The Winter Soldier maybe wasn’t the best example given that it didn’t adapt a specific story – maybe a book is more accurate? Books feel a little too high profile, though, and I assume this particular film is going to reach a far wider audience than the video game did.

This is a little rambling, I suppose, given that I don’t actually have an new or interesting insights – I can’t explain exactly why Fox decided to put the reveal in the trailer, nor do I have any argument beyond “spoilers in trailers are bad”. I mean, I have a bit of a case-by-case view of spoilers – a lot of the time, knowing the ending doesn’t matter, because it’s how they get from A to B where the story is. I kinda feel, though, that in the case of this particular spoiler, it’s revealed far more than necessary – I’m a lot less likely to watch this movie, now, because I think I can more or less guess the plot with a fair degree of accuracy, and action scenes aren’t always the most interesting things on their own anyway.

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Film Trailer Thoughts | Deadpool (2016)

deadpool trailer reaction marvel ryan reynolds david leitch tim miller

Hmm okay.

I don’t actually exactly know why I’m posting about this, because apart from being thinly connected to superheroes, this isn’t really a movie I’d typically be interested in. Never really been into Deadpool, but I’m aware of the basic concept. Not exactly a fan of the humour on display, nor one for overly violent films. Maybe everything I’m about to say now is going to be based on a total misunderstanding of the character, or just my tastes not really intersecting with what the character is.

Basically, though, it doesn’t look very good to me. Schlocky violence, whilst not my thing, is pretty easily justified, but it’s the jokes that stood out more to me. As I understand it, Deadpool is meant to be a fairly funny character, and part of the humour comes from meta references. And, you know, fine – that sort of “not green or animated” joke is probably the sort of thing I am the target for, given that I’ll understand it, and I’m already broadly inclined to like self referential humour. The worry was, though, that they’re simply setting themselves up for a pretty niche market, because if the film gets bogged down in that sort of thing, it’s not going to be accessible for many people.

I guess… essentially it’s meant to be a comedic deconstruction of comic book movies, with added violence, but the comedy comes from self referential humour and puerile sex jokes. That seems to be it, then.

But it’s probably unfair of me to just judge it by the trailer like that though. This isn’t the plot trailer, it’s the “introduce people to the character” trailer. (Though, you know, involved nerd jokes, violence and sex references seems to be the extent of the character as is set up…) It’s almost certain there’s going to be more going on in the rest of the film, obviously.

This is probably a film that is going to be really well recieved by a specific audience (Deadpool fans), have an okay ish reception from everyone else, and probably make back it’s money, but not enough to be considered majorly profitable.

Still, I could be wrong. And here’s hoping I am – it’s always nice to have more good movies.

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Film Trailer Thoughts | Star Wars: The Force Awakens

star wars the force awakens milennium falcon official teaser trailer jakuu tie fighter

Brand new Star Wars trailer!

I am in two minds about this.

It is a little bit underwhelming, frankly. I’m not a fan of the “mysterious” voice over; without context, it doesn’t really do much to up suspense or anything. Vaguely worried, in fact, that it indicates they’re setting up some sort of Darth Vader substitute, complete with a distinctive voice style. I mean, I’m obviously extrapolating a lot from essentially nothing, but I do think that this film should try to be a little more it’s own thing than imitating previous installments. That’s a general sort of idea, mind you, which is independent of “oh my god there’s a voice that’s kinda like Darth Vader but not”.

But… I mean, look, this is brand new Star Wars. Before Doctor Who came back in 2005, Star Wars was pretty much my main obsession. And this evoked a lot of that. It was right on point, in terms of the visual style, and it had all of those things I used to love so much. Stormtroopers! TIE Fighters! Tatooine! X-Wings! The Millennium Falcon!

This is all of that, all of the things that so many people remembered, and it’s new, and there’s enough there for a pretty amazing story. It’s impossible not to be impressed by it, and have feel even a little excitement.

And so, Star Wars has awakened, and we all have… a new hope.

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Film Trailer Thoughts | Avengers: Age of Ultron (First Trailer)

avengers age of ultron marvel tony stark robert downy jr iron man steve rogers captain america chris evans joss whedon trailer hd poster kevin feige

Yeah, I mean like… if you haven’t already seen this, you’ve probably been living under a rock. (What’s the rent like?)

But you have not, already, heard my thoughts upon it! And so, you lucky people, you shall hear them thusly.

I mean obviously it looks really cool. Do you ever realise, when you’re watching trailers, the most exciting thing about them is just how new everything is? Especially when you’re already so familiar with what’s come before, to see the characters you love in new settings and doing new things is pretty amazing. Somehow in a trailer though it’s a little different to, you know, actually watching the film – maybe it’s the suspense from not having the whole thing yet? Hmm.

Anyways, one thing that stood out. Mostly – and this is probably because it’s the sort of thing I look for anyway – it’s a lines of dialogue, specifically one of Ultron’s.

“You want to save the world, but you don’t want to see it change.”

This was the most interesting line, I think. I find the whole idea of the status quo in world’s with superheros pretty compelling – I mean, in all seriousness, what on earth would you actually do if people like this existed? The idea that the Avengers wouldn’t drastically affect politics, or diplomacy, or people’s lives – that’s ridiculous. But whether they’d be willing to acknowledge the change they’ve made is a bit different, and it seems to be where they’re going with this. Who cares about the real world? Let’s see their world.

Film Trailer Thoughts | The Hunger Games: Mockingjay (Part 1)

hunger games mockingjay trailer katniss everdeen jennifer lawrence gale hawthorne liam hemsworth part 1 hd

Look, look, trailer. (He says, as though everyone hasn’t seen it already.)

It’s an interesting one, this trailer. When I first watched it, I was not, admittedly, all that wowed by it. The footage they’ve got seems pretty disparate, and it’s comprised mainly of people standing around being dramatic. Equally though, I have absolutely no idea how you’d make a trailer from this film. As I understand it, the way the film is split is that, basically, all the political intrigue and expository stuff is going to be in this film, with the more dramatic, actual revolution, being in the second film. Which is fine, obviously; that stuff was always my favourite part of the books, and I think it could make for a really excellent film.

But… it’s difficult to get right. I wasn’t a fan of the first film, and I still haven’t seen all of the second. The first film, I think, had a fair few failings (though probably not as many as I initially thought, I was rather harsh on first viewing) but what I’ve seen of the second was a massive improvement. However, certain elements didn’t make it into Catching Fire which would have set up the rebellion and revolution aspects here, so I’m interested to see how that plays out.

High hopes then, but tempered expectations. It hasn’t always worked out before.

(Mind you, that four note motif they play at the end of each trailer? Bloody love it. It’s so haunting and sinister.)