All hale the tough cookies of cinema! We’ve got three incredibly strong heroines leading the promotional pack this week, but, before we get to the goods (and the bads), let’s take a look at some of the items that didn’t manage to crack the top or bottom out.
Almost the Best
With Thanksgiving right around the corner, it’s most certainly that time of year and that in itself makes me itch for fun holiday material and Arthur Christmas is doing a stellar job at filling that void. The most recent addition to the Sony Pictures Animation piece is a collection of new clips that show off the elves’ hardcore work ethic and super slick plan of attack - er, gift giving. Perhaps I should give this one a bit of a spoiler alert, but Charlize Theron nearly snagged two of the top spots on this week’s list. Just missing the cut is the new poster for Young Adult, which, following the first one, puts more of an emphasis on Theron’s character whose costume is overloaded with telling items which are then made all the more striking thanks to the use of a stark black background.
In the Middle
No, the new red band trailer for The Sitter doesn’t have much new material to offer, but there’s still something rather mesmerizing about it, hence it’s position in the middle. The fact that I couldn’t bear to turn this one off even after seeing most of these gags in previous trailers suggest that not only could the full feature be an excellent comedic entry, but it could wind up being one worthy of multiple viewings. Also finding its trailer floating in the abyss of the top and the bottom is The Iron Lady. While Meryl Streep pulls the piece in a positive direction, there’s just nothing particularly intriguing about this trailer. It feels rather all over the place and leaves us with nothing firm to grab hold of, therefore, extinguishing any lasting need for more.
Almost the Worst
Let’s stick with The Iron Lady, as sadly, it deserves some purely sour attention thanks to its new poster. No, there’s nothing wrong with showing off your prime asset, but there’s something about seeing a massive Meryl Streep plastered on billboards or hanging from theater rafters that turns me off quite a bit. Lastly, can I say I told you so? I said it when that very first image arrived and then again when we got the teaser trailer; Pixar's Brave isn't looking all that good. No, the new full trailer doesn't deserve a spot in the lowest of the low, but it most certainly lacks the draw of, well, just about every other Pixar movie ever made.
Bye-bye to the ones that just missed the cut; it’s time to check out your top three and bottom three promotional pieces of the week.
The Best Stuff
1. The Hunger Games Trailer: Duh! But yet again, Lionsgate honestly deserves this position in the “Best Stuff” category. Looking at The Hunger Games first full trailer, fan girl enthusiasm aside, this is just a solid piece of promotional material. Don’t know anything about The Hunger Games? This trailer appropriately starts at the beginning and then starts to carry you through the story, leaving you at the absolutely peek of anticipation. Then again, even with all the background information divulged, the video doesn’t even come close to entering spoiler territory. Now, turning my more obsessive side back on, a few quick striking elements to note: Seneca Crane’s beard. One of the highlights of this trailer is that it shows Lionsgate is bringing the source material to life in a fashion that’s quite on line with what I pictured while reading the book, but I never imagined Crane had so much flare – but I like it. He’s a somewhat understated character in Suzanne Collins’ work, but this flashy look suggests he could make quite the impact in the big screen version. Liam Hemsworth. Thanks to a lackluster resume, I pegged Hemsworth as the wrong guy for Gale right from the start. Sure, he looked okay in the images that followed, but this trailer finally lifts him up beyond merely looking the part, suggesting he can really embody the character. The Capitol. The design team nailed it. It’s got a futuristic look, but there’s still a grittiness to it that reeks of danger. I could really go on and on about the success of this piece, but let’s keep it semi-brief in hopes I’ll have many more opportunities to sing this film’s praises over the next few months.
2. Snow White and the Huntsman Trailer: Who knew this one would turn out to look this good? Something about the opening seconds of this trailer brings me back to the days of Sucker Punch, (the promising promotion material only), but then it switches gears, going from CGI darkness to an epic swords and shields battle. Cue an impressively evil Charlize Theron. She’s still quite beautiful and exhibits her usual charm, but the malevolent undertone is ever present, making the character all the more horrifying. As for Snow White, I never knew the character could be so rough and tough, but there’s no denying that Snow-gone-soldier is a blast to watch. Additional credit goes to the person responsible for creating the trailer score. It packs the power of a rock ballad yet gives off a rather majestic tone thanks to the orchestral additions, but then takes on almost a futurist nature courtesy of the electronic tunes. It’s infectious.
3. Mirror Mirror Trailer: Even more surprising, who would have ever thought the Snow White movies would go two for two in just one week? Sure, we’ve got two films based on the same fairy tale on the way, but now that we’ve got our first look at both, it’s as evident as ever that the two will occupy their own sectors of the movie realm. But, then again, that most certainly doesn’t mean folks will be sticking to one or the other as, not only does Snow White and the Huntsman look great, but Tarsem Singh’s Mirror Mirror does, too! Switching gears entirely, this one is packed with cheesy jokes, bright colors and, best of all, Julia Roberts. Roberts owns this trailer. She’s evil, but rocks a wonderful degree of humor that’s endlessly amusing. If Roberts herself isn’t enough to get you hooked, Singh’s stellar eye will seal the deal. With Immortals and now this, it’s clear the guy can make anything look outstanding, with the depth and detail to make every frame worthy of minutes of study and appreciation. Snow White times two in 2012? Fine by me.
The Worst Stuff
1. Titanic 3D Poster: There’s nothing wrong with this image per se, but I’m really getting annoyed with the uninspiring advertising for 3D re-releases. Sure, studios are basically just bringing an old favorite back to the big screen, but after doing all of the 3D conversion work, you’d think they’d at least deliver promotional material that feels somewhat fresh. No, they’re not going to call Kate Winslet and Leonard DiCaprio in for a nearly 15 years later photo shoot, but with all the new visual tricks out there, they should be able to come up with a design that leaves viewers with the feeling that a 3D version of Titanic has more to offer.
2. A Thousand Words Trailer: And back down he goes again. After an amusing performance in the all-around solid film, Tower Heist, Eddie Murphy seems to be heading back to the land of run-of-the-mill, lame comedies. Not only does this trailer for A Thousand Words suggest that the movie might not have a single funny gag, but it also highlights the fact that it’s got some major plot problems. A guy who’s connected to a tree that loses a leaf every time he says a word and will then kill him when it’s entirely bare? Silly, and not in a good way. Even worse? Murphy seems to be just as annoying going silent as when he’s rattling off nonsensical dialogue at his typical rapid fire pace.
3. A Warrior’s Heart Trailer: Just jump on the Twilight Saga bandwagon why don’t you? Not a Twihard? All A Warrior’s Heart’s got to offer is some melodramatic performances and a story that’s caught in between a fun bad boy/good girl romance and its desperate attempt to “mean something.” Even worse, this trailer exhibits foreshadowing to the max. Not only do we get to see what I expect to be Kellan Lutz’s character’s full journey, but then the visuals and Ashley Greene’s voiceover basically spoil that he’ll eventually emerge from the darkness. Then again, for the hardcore Twilight fan, Lutz and Greene over a solid story is a good trade, right?