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Trailer Round-Up (2012 Blockbusters)

As I already pointed out yesterday, Hollywood has been making every effort to cram multiplexes with awesome, high-profile movies in these last few weeks of 2011. And with a flood of high-profile movies, there inevitably comes a flood of high-profile trailers. I realize that I’m a little late to the party, since all of these trailers have already been dissected and scrutinized to an insane degree, despite having only come out a few days ago. Then again, there’s a classic sign that these trailers are events in themselves, promoting films that moviegoers the world over are frothing with anticipation to see. For example…

This one saw the light of day shortly after the preview event last week. I thought about writing an entry on it then, but I knew that all these other trailers were coming up and I wanted to cover them all in one swoop. Anyway, I don’t really have much to add. This trailer’s been picked apart to death on umpteen fansites, and most of the trailer shows details that were already known through leaked production photos. For those who aren’t aware, let me try to present the facts as plainly as I can. It’s a tricky thing trying to separate rumors from truth, but bear with me.

First of all, you’ll notice that the Tumbler makes a return. There are multiple Tumblers, in fact, and several of them carry such notable modifications as the cannon seen in the trailer. So far as I’m aware, the circumstances leading up to the return and mass production of the Batmobile are currently unknown.

Secondly, it’s widely believed that this movie will also feature the return of the League of Shadows, the group that trained Bruce Wayne in the first film. This hasn’t been confirmed, so far as I know, but the film does contain a brief shot of a goateed Bruce in an Escherian hall of stairways. To a passing observer, that might easily look like a flashback sequence to Bruce’s days as a wandering criminal.

Adding to the “League of Shadows” fervor is Marion Cotillard. Circumstantial evidence points to her being Talia al Ghul — daughter of Liam Neeson’s Ra’s al Ghul — though this hasn’t been confirmed. In any case, the trailer does imply that there’s some hint of romantic chemistry between her character and Bruce, which certainly fits with Talia’s role in the comics. You may also notice that Joseph Gordon-Levitt is in this movie. Rumor has it that he’s a cop who briefly becomes Batman while Bruce Wayne is recovering from a brutal injury (note Bruce’s prominent use of a cane through the trailer). This would mesh nicely with the events of “Knightfall,” perhaps the most definitive portrayal of Bane in any medium. But — again — this is all purely speculation.

Speaking of Bane, he gets a line in this trailer. After listening to him a few times in different settings, I’ve reached the following hypothesis: Bane’s sound mix only works on small speakers. On earbuds or computer speakers, his dialogue is audible loud and clear. In movie theaters, he’s completely inaudible. I don’t even know if that’s possible, but it’s the best explanation I’ve got.

As for the other villain, Anne Hathaway makes a very prominent appearance as Selina Kyle. Her main contribution to the trailer is what basically amounts to a speech from the Occupy movement. Nolan has never been shy about bringing timely issues to the Batman series (the cell phone plot point from The Dark Knight is another example, as is the “wartime vs. peacetime” issue raised in the trailer), so I’m pleased and unsurprised to see that he’ll be doing something similar in this film. Additionally, Hathaway’s line is delivered with such savory confidence that I’m very intrigued to see her performance, not to mention what role Catwoman will play in the grander scheme.

The Dark Knight Rises is set to premiere next July 20th. You know you’ll want to be there.

*yaaaaaaaawn*

There is no love lost between me and Clash of the Titans (2010). There’s visible studio tampering, the screenplay is a mess, precious few of the actors’ performances are salvageable, and the 3D version was reportedly unwatchable. From start to finish and from the studio heads on down, it’s clear that none of those involved had any idea what they were doing. Yet they suckered in enough moviegoers to warrant a sequel.

This one is evidently about a conflict between the Gods and the Titans, which might have been an interesting story if we hadn’t already seen it once or twice in theaters. Oh, and of course the war is presented by way of indecipherable battles that are extremely CGI-heavy. Last but not least — though it hopefully doesn’t have any bearing on the movie itself — whoever chose to score the trailer with a rock cover of “Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This)” seriously deserves to be fired. I don’t care if the lyrics are dressed up in so much grunge rock shit, they still have nothing to do with this CGI action film that’s allegedly based in Greek mythology.

All my cynicism aside, I do see one slight sign of promise: Gemma Arterton is nowhere to be seen. Nothing against the actress, mind you, but her character in the previous film was a lazily written all-purpose deus ex machina. Hell, Io’s presence in the film made even less sense when held against her place in the canon. But I digress. Fortunately, it appears that Io has been dumped in favor of Andromeda, who has been recast with Rosamund Pike. This is automatically an upgrade, since Andromeda and Perseus have been a couple since antiquity and splitting up that romance in the last film didn’t make any lick of sense. I’d also like to say that Rosamund Pike is a far better choice for the role than Alexa Davalos, though the jury’s still out on that one.

Alas, any optimism that I may have had about that movie is immediately crushed with the knowledge that the franchise has changed directors. Not that Louis Letterier did any great job with the last film — far from it — but that his replacement is Jonathan Liebesman. Yes, it seems that in their infinite wisdom, the WB execs decided that what this swords-and-sandals mythological adventure really needed was the bland, forgettable, and unwatchably hyperkinetic stylings that made Battle: Los Angeles such a laughingstock.

All signs point to this movie being an even bigger humiliation than its prequel. Still, if you’re one of those rare few who were clamoring for this sequel, you can watch CGI monsters fight Sam Worthington’s stupid new haircut to your heart’s content when Wrath of the Titans hits next March 30.

I honestly didn’t realize just how much I missed Middle Earth until this trailer took me back there. I still find it hard to believe that this movie is actually so close to hitting theaters, after stalling so many times over so many years. Speaking of which, the folks in the makeup department are truly outdoing themselves. Ian Holm, Ian McKellan, and Cate Blanchett all look like they haven’t aged a day in the decade since Lord of the Rings. Then again, I’m sure it helped that two of those three are playing older characters anyway. As for the newcomers, the dwarves all look like they’re having a great time, and I have all the faith in the world that Martin Freeman will deliver a wonderful Bilbo.

Aside from all that, this trailer seemed mostly focused on two goals: 1. Introduce the dwarves, and 2. Establish the connection with the previous trilogy. Both are perfectly understandable, as any plan to sell this film would naturally require both. Still, I wish I could’ve seen less of the old and more of the new. Lucky there’s time enough for that yet. There’s still a lot of promoting to do before this film comes out, and even more promoting to do for the second part after that.

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey comes out on December 14, and will probably win a boatload of Oscars a few months later. Frodo lives!

The cast and crew of Prometheus have been extremely shy about the film’s franchise status. No one will say anything about this film except that is shares “DNA” with the Alien films. Film geeks worldwide have been calling bullshit on that claim since day one, and this trailer vindicated us. Any movie fan with half a brain would see that teaser and instantly flash back to Alien. Let’s cut the crap here and now, folks. This movie is now officially a prequel.

Despite the filmmakers’ best attempts at secrecy, a rumored and thoroughly detailed plot synopsis was leaked some time ago, and it’s been supported by several details that have been leaked since. I won’t disclose the alleged synopsis, just in case it turns out to be true, though I will say that everything you really need to know is in the logline. These astronauts go out in search of humanity’s genesis and in the process, they find something that may very well wipe humanity out. Between that, the title (think Greek mythology), and the looming spectre of the Xenomorphs, I’m sure you can figure out the rest.

The trailer is definitely enough to simmer my sci-fi blood, though it’s deceptively secretive. The trailer sells this film as an authentic entry in the Alien canon (as well it should be, since Ridley Scott is directing), but there isn’t much else to latch onto. I don’t know if the PTB will risk showing much more in the next few months, but time will tell.

In any case, Prometheus looks like a very promising film. A lot of fanboy hopes are riding on this one, especially after the “Alien vs. Predator” atrocities so thoroughly sunk both franchises. Here’s hoping for a triumphant Xenomorph revival next June 8th.

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