Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Trailer bowl

I was going to write a longer piece, but I ran out of time, so thought I'd at least check in with something shorter.

It's no great revelation that for a lot of people who watch the Super Bowl, the commercials are the best part. (These days, that's debatable). For film fans, though, you have to increase that by one layer of specificity. While your average fan just wants to see how Danica Patrick will make a new innuendo about her breasts for GoDaddy.com, or the latest shenanigans of the Budweiser clydesdales, film fans are eager for their first look at a bunch of new films.

Of course, the value of this used to be higher. Nowadays, the hardcore geek can find any trailer he/she wants online. But I like to take a little bit more of a laid back approach to trailer watching. If someone sends me a link saying I "gotta watch this," then I will. But otherwise, I won't go seeking them out.

And so it is that I still look forward with some giddiness to what the Super Bowl has in store for me. I still remember the burst of excitement I felt over such films as The Hulk, Transformers and Wanted. Ah, what great films they all turned out to be. (Please note my sarcasm).

And one thing I noticed -- no matter how my attention was diverted elsewhere, toward socializing or drinking or eating scrumptious appetizers, and sometimes even toward football, I somehow maintained a sixth sense for tuning in when a new trailer started. (I reviewed, just to be sure, by fast-forwarding the copy on my DVR tonight. If you don't watch the commercials you missed the day afterward, you'll never watch them).

So instead of doing the rundown of which commercials were good and which sucked -- and this year, it would weigh heavily on the latter category -- I thought I'd give a quick recap of the film trailers, and my impressions based on one (or in some cases, two) viewings.

Duplicity. With Clive Owen and Julia Roberts yukking it up like there's no tomorrow, this looks like Mr. and Mrs. Smith meets Oceans 12. In other words, I'm not interested. In case you're interested, IMDB says this will be the third film called Duplicity since 2004. (March 20th)

G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra. I have a number of concerns here: 1) If it's the first movie in the series, do you really need a secondary title? 2) It's releasing in August -- not a good sign. 3) Aren't these guys supposed to be military? How come there's no sign of a battlefield? Looks more like X-Men to me. 4) It's directed by the guy who directed The Mummy. 5) The ad played before kickoff, which means it can't be good. Other than all that, I'm excited. Hey, I played with G.I. Joes when I was a kid. (August 7th)

Angels & Demons. I admit to referring to this as Gods and Monsters when the ad came on. Hey, I'd had a couple beers. The only thing I will say is that when I saw The Da Vinci Code, I thought it was an exact replica of the book. Well, I haven't actually read the book this time, so maybe there'll be some surprises. But I will probably not go. Oh, and I loved how the ad referred to the first movie generically -- "He uncovered one of the greatest cover-ups in history," or something to that effect -- and then, lacking the confidence that you'd know what they were talking about, threw in a whispered voice saying the word "Da Vinci." Thanks, I needed that. (May 15th)

The Year One. Jack Black and Michael Cera get stoned -- but not in the way you're thinking. I liked the idea when I first heard of this, but the ad did nothing to build on that. The sets look cheap, but not in a good way, and the humor seems like it'll be pretty warmed over. Though it is nice to see Michael Cera taking a break from playing Michael Cera. (June 19th)

Fast & Furious. Okay, we have to figure out something here ... is it a series reboot if it's the same cast? Or is it just the fourth in the series? "New model, original parts." My head is spinning. This is the first time I have ever seen a series try to create a different title just by removing a couple of definite articles. I guess that ampersand is new, too. Does this mean that Vin Diesel has finally admitted he needs to make some safe choices? Blah. (April 3rd)

Land of the Lost. I was a huge fan of Will Ferrell's in Step Brothers, so this looks like a step backward to me. However, Danny McBride is in this movie, so that bodes well. But why didn't they put him in the ad? (Remember, I'm going on a single screening here). Ultimately, this reminds me a lot of a number of other movies. Where's Brendan Fraser when you need him? I think the main reason this movie exists is so that Ferrell could say "Matt Lauer can suck it!" (June 5th)

Star Trek. Every other trailer for Star Trek has been awesome. This one was no different, even in short form. I've honored it by giving it the accompanying art for this post. (May 8th)

Up. I was overjoyed by the appearance of this one when I first saw the trailer, but on second viewing, I was a little more hesitant. Will I grow to love the old man and the boy scout just like I've loved all the other Pixar characters? Probably. Will definitely see this one in 3D. (May 29th)

Monsters vs. Aliens. Speaking of 3D glasses ... I did not have them to watch this. But I still liked the trailer. I'm wondering if it's possible I could prefer a Dreamworks picture to a Pixar picture for the first time ever. Probably not. (March 27th)

Race to Witch Mountain. Huh? This movie is confusing as hell. Didn't Hellboy already impress us by standing in front of a car, and Hancock already not quite impress us by standing in front of a train? I guess we've never seen a kid do it. Eh. Dwayne Johnson or not, I will pass. (March 13th)

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. Okay, I know most of us have seen Transformers ... but do any of us remember who "the fallen" were? This assumes some kind of deep investment in the angst and mythology of the Transformers world. Which none of us had. Hey, I liked Transformers better than almost anyone I know, and Michael Bay can still blow stuff up, but I am not excited for this. (June 26th)

Most regret not seeing an ad for: Terminator: Salvation (May 22nd)

Not a bumper crop overall. In fact, weakest field in years. So it goes.

Okay, so it wasn't that short. But I wrote it fast.


Daddy Geek Boy said...

I would say that GI JOE is destined to be this year's TRANSFORMERS, except that TRANSFORMERS will be this years' TRANSFORMERS.

If LAND OF THE LOST gets that GHOSTBUSTERS vibe going, we're in business.

As far as Dreamworks Animation goes...I'm psyched for MONSTERS VS. ALIENS. KUNG FU PANDA was one of the best movies of last summer. And this one looks like a lot of fun. No, they're not on Pixar's level, but really who is?

Vancetastic said...


Do you ever feel like you're screaming when you discuss many movies at once? I am referring, of course, to capitalizing the film titles, which is otherwise a quite effective way of setting them off from the rest of the text. As you will see in the next paragraph (and in all my postings), I prefer italics, but of course that's just personal preference.

Sadly, few films ever get that Ghostbusters vibe going.

I am inclined to agree with your assessments otherwise ...

Daddy Geek Boy said...

Sorry, force of habit.

Vancetastic said...

No, keep it up -- I'd never try to change you. Besides, it's much easier than typing in the html tags.