We may be approaching the dead of winter, but it’s already starting to heat up thanks to the onslaught of summer movie promotional material that arrived this week.
Arriving at the dawn of the summer season is the latest from Sacha Baron Cohen, The Dictator. Perhaps I got a bit too comfortable with his mockumentary-style filmmaking because this trailer makes the Borat and Brüno follow up feel more like You Don’t Mess with the Zohan than Baron Cohen’s usual hilariously absurd fair. But perhaps it has something to do with that ridiculous hair. Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones return as Agent J and K in the third Men in Black on May 25th. The film’s first trailer is a pretty solid start to the promotional effort, the piece riding on the popularity of the originals, but then shifting gears and offering something new that also looks like a lot of fun. Who knew Josh Brolin looks so much like Jones?
Due out on June 8th, Prometheus is just starting to make a splash in the promotional department, first with a series of images and now with the film’s new poster. Sure, it’s fun to speculate now whether or not Prometheus really is the Alien prequel, but I’ve got this sinking feeling that even when the time comes to find out, we would have built it up far too much to care either way – unless the film is as good as Alien and Aliens. G.I. Joe: Retaliation is set to close out the month of June and, according to this new trailer, with just as much action and adventure as the first film. After surprisingly having enjoyed the first movie, I’m a bit shocked I’m not really feeling the second’s trailer. Then again, when the promotional material for The Rise of Cobra came out, I never thought I’d like the full feature, so perhaps there’s a reverse effect going on here.
Spider-Man swings back onto the big screen on July 3rd and while I’d like to bet Spidey will triumph over his opposition, nothing could overcome this terrible tagline. Do they think they’re tricking us into thinking the original Spider-Man trilogy never existed by calling this one “The Untold Story?” Spider-Man 3 only came out just over four years ago, so just make sure your movie is better and get on with it. Coming in at the tail end of the summer is ParaNorman and after an intriguing first teaser courtesy of Donovan’s infectious tune, “Season of the Witch,” we get a full trailer that not only shows of the stellar and rather fresh feeling animation, but a nice simple sense of what the story is about. On the complete opposite end of the spectrum there's ParaNorman's August 17th competition, The Expendables. The brand new teaser trailer doesn't show off much action (or much footage at all for that matter), rather goes the roll call route, showing off its testosterone-packed cast.
Now that’s a pretty good start, right? And we haven’t even gotten to the best of the best - and the worst of the worst, of course - so here we go …
The Best Stuff
1. Rock of Ages Trailer: The story isn’t the most original one out there – a small town girl comes to LA to be a star – and the very first trailer for Rock of Ages appropriately steers clear of that, putting emphasis on the wild characters and the killer soundtrack, much like the hit Broadway show. The colors are bright, the costumes are eccentric and the performances just a bit over the top (I’m looking at you, Catherine Zeta-Jones), which is just the way it should be. This piece is perfectly timed to the music, giving it an impeccable pace while showcasing a number of the show’s most popular hits that quite literally make you want to sing along or jump out of your seat. We’re long overdue for a romp of a movie musical and, based on this trailer, that wait will be over come June 1st.
2. [REC] 3: Genesis International Trailer: The extent of my Spanish? Uno más. I picked that up while I was in Punta Cana at a resort with terrible food. Uno más chocolate ice cream, please! So, clearly I’ve got absolutely no idea what they’re saying in this trailer for [REC] 3: Genesis but that certainly didn’t stop it from getting me pumped for more infection madness. I got pretty nervous when that same animated heart image from the film’s cop out of a teaser trailer popped up, but rather than roll into a slideshow of still images, this piece puts you right in the middle of a happy couple’s big day only to bring on the blood, guts and sheer terror. While the first two films of the series made use of the horror of people confined to an apartment building with a rather small group of survivors, the third installment ups the stakes big time, going after an entire wedding reception and seemingly, turning the large majority of the bride and groom’s friends and family into rabid beasts.
3. The Dark Knight Rises Poster: One of the most frustrating things about the industry’s obsession with franchises is that you never know when they’ll end. Few start out noting that there will be x amount of movies, so we’re always left wondering if they’ll continue and then, when the news is confirmed, everyone groans, “Oh, I saw that coming.” Well, this new poster for The Dark Knight Rises is a beautiful double-edged sword; it explicitly states “the legend ends,” but, in the case of Christopher Nolan’s Batman series, do we really want it to come to a close? Of course we’ve known for quite some time that The Dark Knight Rises was meant to wrap a trilogy, but, again, this isn’t only an industry obsessed with franchises, but money too and considering The Dark Knight Rises is expected to make a killing at the box office, who know what will really happen? Anyway, even beyond that perfectly appropriate tagline, this image says a lot in terms of what’s to come and the tone of the film, all while maintaining an impressive degree of aestheticism.
The Worst Stuff
1. What to Expect When You’re Expecting Trailer: The funny thing is I’d like to bet Lionsgate purposely timed the release of the What to Expect When You’re Expecting trailer to the theatrical release of New Year’s Eve. What’s with studios hiring incredible ensembles of actors only to waste them all on unfunny and tacky material? Poor Elizabeth Banks; she’s so much better than this and has to take the first beating with a painfully lame opening meltdown. And is that an accent Cameron Diaz is rocking or is that line of dialogue incredibly jumbled? Sure, Chace Crawford is a nice looking on-screen boyfriend, but I’d like to bet Anna Kendrick can find a better script than this. Then again, I must admit, I did linger on the end of this trailer longer than I should have to get a better look at Joe Manganiello.
2. Battleship Trailer: It’s hard to tell if it’s this trailer that’s bad or the inability to digest the fact that the Battleship movie isn’t a board game adaptation, rather another alien invasion film. Ever since the whole board game to film craze began, folks have endlessly speculated how writers would pull it off. Sure, in most cases, completely original narratives will be needed, but with Battleship, I’d like to bet nobody expected them to take this angle. Even worse, Battleship is kind of looking like Transformers: At Sea. That robotic alien race really might as well be Decepticons and the last 45 minutes of Dark of the Moon gave me my fill of big city destruction for at least the next year. On the bright side, I’d take Taylor Kitsch over Shia LaBeouf any day.
3. Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance Poster: If the Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance marketing team is solely targeting fans of the original for round two, then job well done. Does that film even have many hardcore fans? Probably not enough to keep the second film afloat at the box office, but there’s also no forgetting that Ghost Rider comes from a comic book series and the folks who hold that in high regards will almost undoubtedly turn out for another big screen adaptation regardless of the promotional campaign. But then there’s the rest of us – the majority of us – and what we see when we look at this new poster for Spirit of Vengeance is a whole bunch of flaming nonsense. This image is so busy, the designers were left with no choice but to ban the film’s title to a mere vertical sliver on the far side of the image. Will I waste my energy turning my head ever so slightly to read that? Fat chance.