Trailer Tuesday Overflowth

This week, in anticipation of the kick off of the summer movie season next week with Age of Ultron, has seen a glut of big-brand trailers released for films of high interest. After the jump you'll find the teaser for Jurassic Wide-World-Of-Sports, Superman vs. Batman: Double, Double, Toil and Trouble, Star Wars: The Force Siestas, and the Fantastic 4our.

But first up, a fresh look at Ian McKellen's Mr. Holmes. this trailer gives us a better look at what the film is about: Holmes obsessing over his final case. But it also shows us that the film will spend some time reveling in the legacy of the Holmes stories. In the canon, why Holmes goes off to tend bees is something of an oddity considering his tendency towards boredom. This trailer suggests it was all the undue attention he was receiving, as well as "a great mistake" that drove him to exile. What I continue to take away from it is the impressive transformation McKellen is undertaking, switching between the older and eldest Holmes with little more than posture, dress and a few extra wrinkles. I really do hope this movie is excellent, because these trailers are making it look very good. Plus, I'm a sucker for a good Holmes story.

Well... might as well get one with this... bring on the rest.

We'll start with Fantastic Four, which comes out in August, and has abandoned the premise of being secretive and cagey with the reveal of the character designs by just showing us them. Which is refreshing. And would have been difficult to maintain a marketing campaign centered around superpowers if you were unwilling to show off the powers.

This trailer basically gives away the entire first act, as these five individuals come together, go off and get them some super powers. It also doesn't do or show anything to make it stand out in the genre. Maybe it'll be spectacular, and I'll wait and judge the film on the film. But this trailer doesn't distinguish this reboot as being much different then the original series. If feels like a generic superhero trailer from ten years ago. And that isn't a good thing.

Next up, the first full trailer for Jurassic World. I'll admit, I've had a rollarcoaster relationship with this film. Upon it's announcement, I was against it simply because I didn't believe it was necessary. However, in the months that they that were filming it, Colin Trevorrow won me over by letting us know his thought process behind making it, incorporating some interesting ideas, some new animals, and bringing together a decent cast.

Now though, I think I'm wandering back towards my original gut reaction. First off, every trailer release has featured similar footage recut in different ways. Part of that might have been unfinished CG work, but it also makes me wonder how much of this film we've actually seen, how much is being changed in the edit, and how much is just blatant manipulation on the part of Universal. Second, in the initial trailer, there were some line of dialogue that seemed a bit wooden. With each new trailer and piece of footage, this problem seems to be getting worse. The writing, which granted we've only seen in brief second-long snippets, does not seem top shelf. I want this film to be amazing, but I'm settling back down into the idea of it potentially being another disappointment.

Now on to the heavy hitters. First, Star Wars. Force Awakens will no doubt break every world record for box office, I don't think anyone has any doubt of that. A film like this, good or bad, will make money. It is engineered to make money, which isn't really an accomplishment. When movies like Avengers or Avatar make a billion dollars, it's a surprise and feels earned. It's an actual accomplishment. When a movie like this makes a billion, it lives up to expectations. The same, incidentally, will be true next week with Age of Ultron. So, as I'm watching the reactions to this trailer online, and people are treating it as though it were the second coming of Jesus, I can't help but remember 1998 and the overreactions that preceded it, and the tidal wave of disappointment that followed.

And I can't help but think that it's a bit too much. It is fanatical. It is cultish, and more than a little distressing. Personally, I can't get excited about it. I don't feel that way about Star Wars. The first one is more historically significant than good, the second one is pretty amazing and the rest are pretty crap. My interest in the series is more scientific than emotional. Harrison Ford pops up at the end of this, and I don't see Han Solo, I see Harrison Ford seemingly distracted. So, I watch this trailer, and all I can think of is how horrible everyone is going to be when it comes out. The level of insufferablity will reach peak levels. If the movie is good, there will be no living with them, and if it's bad, it'll be even worse. The most interesting, fascinating, amazing thing to come out of this trailer's release was the reveal that the new droid - BB-8 - was an actual practical effect. That, more than any of this film footage, floored me. That is deserving of admiration.

And finally, what might well be the most polarizing film of next year: Bats v Sups: To Grandmother's House We Go. Already, the vitriol online is reaching a fever pitch. the trailer hadn't even been released yet - just the pirated version, and already people were at one another's throats. "This movie will be the greatest thing man ever created" vs "this movie will blow so hard, CNN will force reporters to go stand in it" seem to be the only available sides. There is no middle ground, no nuance, no reasoned alternatives. Pick a side, we are apparently at war.

I will be the first to admit, proclaim even, that I hated Man of Steel. There is a quantitative way to measure the quality of various aspects of film making, and Man of Steel failed to meet those standards. For me personally, and also I believe in an objective way. It had incredibly strong visuals, and Zack Synder is a visual director, so that can be expected. And the characterization of Lois was probably the best it's ever been. However, the rest of the film was a mess. I've discussed this at length before, and don't want to repeat myself right now.

But those opinions are based on the end result. I sat in a theater and watched the film, and judged it on its merits. I can back up my opinions with examples and evidence drawn from the final product. The irrational hate and love that is on display for this film is based on 2:14 seconds of cultivated, edited and manipulated footage. The quality of the film cannot be extrapolated based on this sample. The trailer itself is very much in keeping with the visual identity of the previous film. Very dark, very atmospheric and very unsubtle. The best that can be predicted about the quality of the forthcoming film is a good-faith argument based on prior performance. In that case, my expectations for BvS: Lolz are lower because of the under-performance of Man of Steel. This might be a superior film, and I'll wait until the film is released before making that determination.

As for the counter argument, that "fanboys goin' to hate the other team," the prior performance expectation holds firm. Of DC's previous ten live action films released, two are objectively good, another two or three are subjectively decent, and the final five have been universally recognized as being terrible. Compare to the previous ten films of Marvel in general, only Amazing Spider-man and it's sequel fall short in an objective way. Ten films back in the just MCU is the entirely of the MCU, which has it's failures, but in the minority to it's successes. A track record is not a reasonable indicator of future success, but it does inform how much latitude a fan is willing to give a future property.

So, I would suggest cutting out the tumorous hate, and waiting until you know exactly what you're talking about before you spout off at the mouth. That's certainly how I'm moving forward.
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About MR. Clark

Adopting the descriptor of "successfully unpublished author", MR. Clark began writing things on the internet in 2012, which he believed to be an entirely reputable and civilized place to find and deliver information. He regrets much.


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