Another big week. 8 trailers were released even before Comic-Con happened, so, yeah. Big week. I also talk about music choices a lot this week, for some reason. Whatever. Here we go.
On The Basis Of Sex
With the Supreme Court being something of a hot topic for the third time in three years, a movie about Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the most recognizable member of its current participants, is certainly something of an automatic awards contender (as is the documentary about Ginsburg that came out earlier this year). Felicity Jones certainly appears to be game based on this trailer, and Hammer could probably sneak in there as well. The trailer itself does an okay job of selling the story, although I’m not a big fan of either either song choice, with the on the nose “It’s A Man’s Man’s World” and the overly poppy sounding “Can’t Knock Me Down,” feeling inadequate for such a significant true story. I’m sure the movie will be great and I wouldn’t be surprised if Ginsburg walked away from Oscar night with two awards (Best Actress and Best Documentary) but I hope the music choices in the film work a bit better.
The Darkest Minds
*long exhale* Okay. The first trailer for this movie focused more on the “X-Men meets every young adult dystopian franchise from the last ten years” feel of this movie, while this one focuses more on the romantic relationship at its heart, which…I feel like this trailer would work way better if I knew anything about the book this is based off of, but coming in empty, I’m mostly confused why Amandla Stenberg is crying during that kind of nothing story, and then even more confused why she is getting Thanos’d at the end. So, I’ma pass. I just don’t think I’m the audience for this movie, which is totally fine.
How are they making a story about the bisexual lead singer of Queen look this bland? Additionally, how are they making a story about the bisexual lead singer of Queen look like its barely about Mercury, but is instead more about the band? I mean, I followed the making of this movie enough to know that Brian May really does not want an honest portrayal of his friend, and I’m probably biased/bummed out about that as I watch these trailers. No matter my reason, this trailer does a whole lot of nothing for me, if not making me more and more convinced that the movie will be actively bad. The lip-syncing on Rami Malek does not look convincing, and despite some promising looking shots, he looks like a bad cosplay version of Mercury. I’d say “at least this one shows a bit more of Mercury’s relationship with a man” and “at least this one alludes to him confronting his mortality,” but it’s kind of messed up the first one didn’t do that in the first place, so no extra points for them getting it right here. Blech. I’m sad. Also, don’t call him Fred. Get out of here with that. Ugh. Moving on before I try to pass off a random disgruntled sounds as an actual opinion. *Blows air into hands to make a fart noise*
Last week, I talked about how The Mis-Education of Cameron Post surprised me by being a surprisingly pleasant and easy to watch story about a gay teen being sent to a conversion camp. That is not what this one is. This looks like a much more realistic portrayal of those evil institutions, which in a lot of ways is a very good thing. Every member of this cast looks like they are absolutely hitting their performances out of the park, led in particular by Lucas Hedges, who looks to be well on his way to a second Oscar nomination. And hopefully the honesty of what these institutions teach will open the minds of some people (mostly referring to the idea that “God will not love you the way that you are,” which, please get out of here with that hatred). This will not be an easy watch, but it also feels like an essential one, so sign me up with tissues please.
This is the first of two films that I will discuss for the second time in this week’s wrap-up, but this is the only one that benefits fairly drastically with some new footage. Actually getting into what the movie has to offer story-wise goes a long way, and this feels like it could be a brilliantly bleak and fun satire on our reality and how we react to things in the weirdest and worst way possible (remember when we blamed the women when all those celebrities nude photos were hacked and released? Haha, the human race is garbage). On the flip side, it looks like it could very easy swerve into the category of “yeah, we get it,” and instead of letting up, they just keeping steering into the skid of the absurdity of the world. It’s a very fine line when it comes to satire, and it looks like this movie doesn’t really toe that line, but instead just kind of leaps over it without a care. At least it might gives us some laughs along the way?
Okay, so I’m down to evil-clown with the idea of this movie, even if it might not be the most original thing in the world (Goosebumps and Psych had episodes based around the same general idea). But neither of those had Tony Todd has some kind of emcee, so, they lose. None of these scares look particularly inspired, and the dude’s mask is far from terrifying (I love the reveal of him tearing off a hood to reveal the mask. Like. What even), but it looks like it can give us, at the very least, some interesting set pieces as we watch a bunch of probably unlikable characters get axed in an amusement park. I cannot wait to stream this from the comfort of my own home so that I don’t have to spend money on it.
At one point thought to be the next film in the totally necessary Cloverfield franchise (amazing what The Cloverfield Particile can do to a person), Overlord looks like a straight up gloriously bonkers genre mash-up of WWII story mixed with some kind of goofy horror monster thing. With some fairly impressive looking explosions and creepy make-up effects (that half-faced dude smiling is enough for me to want to see this opening weekend), it seems to do a really excellent job of mashing up the two radically different genres. That said, what on God’s green earth is AC/DC’s “Hell’s Bells” doing in this trailer? When the song started, I kind of dug it, because who doesn’t dig a little bit of AC/DC, but as it kept playing over the striking footage, it just feels wildly out of place, at least for a movie getting a wide-release. That’s an Asylum-level song choice. Never go full Asylum.
Welcome to Marwen
As foreshadowed in the Assassination Nation write-up, this is the second film making its second appearance in these write-ups, although this one does not particularly benefit from showing any new footage, although getting to see all the absolutely terrifying dolls so close to their counter parts is kind of neat. This one for sure shows off Carrell’s performance a bit more, while giving us a bit more background on what caused Mark to lose his memory. I also like the way that the action figure world interacts with Mark’s real world, and I really do like the idea of the mixture of the two world’s, and showing the action figures to come to life to show how they help Mark cope. But, these dolls still super freak me out, especially watching two of them make out. That’s weird. This is probably just a me thing, I’ll grant, but the dolls are a lot for me to get over.
Glass- Comic Con Trailer
I’m probably going to be Mad Online about this movie in about six months when Shyamalan shows that he wasn’t really worth the hope and trust that he earned with Split, but, that said, I’m so very excited about this movie. And this trailer sells it hard. From the bait and switch with Sarah Paulson being the focus of the first quarter of the trailer or so to showing off a potentially magical relationship between Sam Jackson’s Mr. Glass and James McAvoy’s individual with dissociative identity disorder, this movie is really checking off all the boxes from what I wanted when these two seemingly unrelated franchises finally mixed. McAvoy, in particular, looks like he is ready to act circles around the rest of the cast, which is no small feat, considering the rest of the cast includes the previously mentioned Emmy winner Paulson. I’m hoping that Anya Taylor-Joy’s Casey gets a good amount of screen time, as her performance was absolutely essential to my enjoyment of Split. All this to say, I’m very excited about what this January holds and the positive steps in the Shyamlanissance it could represent, and am also fully prepared to be epicly let down by the director of The Happening.
Fantastic Beasts 2: The Crimes of Grindelwald- Comic Con Trailer
Although I enjoy the original Harry Potter franchise, I did not care for the idea of this Fantastic Beasts five-part franchise even before I saw the first film. The first film’s harsh tonal differences did it no favors, neither did them forcing me to watch Colin Farrell’s actually engaging villain performance literally transform into another Johnny Depp caricature, to say nothing about the fact that actual domestic abuser Johnny Depp is in the Harry Potter universe. But I’m sure Warner Brothers knows how poorly received that casting has been received and won’t feature him prominently in any of the advertising or Comic-Con, right? I mean, sure, his character’s name is literally in the title, but surely they can find a way to get around that. Okay, this bit has gone on long enough, they’re really steering into the curve of having Depp be in this franchise, which, ugh. I’ll grant that this movie seems to be doing a solid job of actually putting Newt (Eddie Redmayne, doing his Eddie Redmayne thing) into the actual overall arc of the franchise (which has nothing to do with Beasts, but whatever). Most of the beast designs look kind of neat (those cats look like they need another rendering or twelve). Jude Law is really coming off as inspired casting for young Dumbledore, but knowing this franchise, he’ll probably transform into Steven Seagal or some nonsense by the end of the movie. Also, I’ve watched this trailer a few times now, and I still swear that Nicolas Flamel is introducing himself as Nichola Flemming at the end. Also, is seeing Nicolas Flamel something people wanted? Not that “what the people want” matters to the people behind this franchise at this point, just asking.
Godzilla: King of Monsters- Comic Con Trailer
I wrote this one last because I wanted to end with a gush session, because, Oh My God. First of all, starting with a combination of Millie Bobbie Brown and Vera Farmiga, always a great choice. And the way the music builds as the smoke begins to envelop that building, as Farmiga talks about how the human race is the infection destroying the world? Strong start. But then the really perfect music choice kicks in as those gorgeous keys of “Clair de Lune” come in as we see some underwater cave drawing footage, and then as Godzilla’s atomic nature charges up in his back, lighting that dark room. We get an ominous shot of some giant beast (I think it’s King Ghidorah) followed by an even more ominous shot of city destruction. But for real, this trailer kicks it into another gear as Godzilla’s atomic breath kicks in the really impressive swell of Clair de Lune, introducing us to a breathtaking shot of Mothra unfolding its wings, Rodan emerging from a volcano and King Ghidorah just straight up towering over an airplane. Then the music cuts for just a second as we hear Charles Dance (Tywin Lannister in the house) saying “Long Live the King” before we get a final crescendo of the music, over some really striking imagery, concluding with Millie Bobbie Brown proudly smiling as Godzilla gives a final roar. I know that this is just a play by play, but holy hell every part of this trailer just works for me, and it also shows how an unexpected music choice can just take you to a different level (Pay attention, On The Basis of Sex and Overlord). I’ve watched this trailer so many times and have not gotten tired of hearing that music swell as Mothra unfolds its wings. It blows me away every time. I cannot wait to see this in an actual theater so I can just weep with excitement. Long live the king, indeed.
Shazam!- Comic Con Trailer
The MCU was not at Comic-Con this year (which, with the James Gunn stuff, was probably a blessing in disguise for Kevin Feige), so the superhero trailers we got are both from the DCEU, which, I normally would laugh at, but they actually did a solid job (something they never really did for Batman vs Superman or the Justice League). This is very obviously a franchise that needs a tonal shift, and this movie certainly seems to be doing that, without feeling like it’s trying to say “look! How fun!” It just genuinely feels fun, with most of the credit going to Zachary Levi’s performance, which does a great job of feeling like a teenager (played by Asher Angel) who is able to magically turn into a full-grown adult with super speed and bullet immunity. Levi flirting with the girl’s at the end, by just saying “I’m a superhero” while he munches on chips is not the funniest joke, but it’s an endearing enough delivery that it ends everything on a high note. It’s interesting that both of DC’s upcoming movies are being helmed by directors who predominantly work in horror (David F. Sandberg has Lights Out and Annabelle: Creation to his name), and I’m interested to see how that transitions into what feels like a very light and giddy superhero flick, but this is certainly promising.
Aquaman- Comic Con Trailer
This trailer does not earn its film as much goodwill as Shazam!’s did, which is the exact opposite of what I would have predicted, just because I like James Wan (Saw, The Conjuring, The Conjuring 2). Jason Momoa certainly seems to be enjoying himself as the titular character, but that’s really the only performance that is doing much of anything for me in this trailer (which is good, considering, you know, he’s the lead). Amber Heard’s Mera (not Ariel, despite my wife’s wishes) is just kind of there, which might be writing or might be Heard, I can’t really tell which one would get the blame there. Same with Patrick Wilson, who I typically like a lot, but we also see much less of him here, so I’ll hold out hope that he’ll be better. I am very interested that this movie is diving in (pun intended) with two villains right off the bat, and I hope neither one gets shorted here (although the Black Manta costume, just in general, seems a tad silly). Like I mentioned above, this trailer certainly does more good than bad, which is a step up from most other DCEU properties (although I’ve been hurt before on a fun trailer for them before), but I would like to see more craft behind the shots, which is mostly what I expect from Wan.
Ranking and Summaries
- Godzilla: King of The Monsters– Striking imagery of monsters and destruction elevated by the inspired music choice of “Clair de Lune” leaves me with one thought: Long live the king, indeed.
- Glass- This far up mostly for the bait and switch beginning, with the satisfying reveal of our three leads in a long, colorful psych ward, the finale of the strangest trilogy in recent memory is off to a promising start.
- Boy Erased- Stuffed to the brim with great performances, this awards contender might be one of the more difficult watches of the year, but also one of the most essential.
- Shazam!- A genuinely fun little trailer, anchored by Levi’s giddy performance as a child stuck in a grown superhero’s body, that promises a much needed tonal shift in the DCEU.
- Assassination Nation- Finally giving us a peek at what this movie is actually about, the trailer promises us a biting satire that will probably end up being a bit much.
- Overlord- What “Clair de Lune” does for Godzilla: King of The Monsters, that is exactly what “Hell’s Bells” does not do for Overlord, a feast for the eyes but genuine confusion on the music choice.
- On The Basis Of Sex- A couple of less than ideal music choices really drag down a trailer showcasing what could well be an Oscar-winning performance.
- Aquaman- Although Mamoa seems game, this trailer already feels like it has a lot going on, but at least it looks more pleasant than most other DCEU trailers.
- Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes Of Grindelwald- Still not really showing us why this franchise exists, the trailer at least seems to suggest that the two totally different arcs from the first movie will mesh together fairly well, even if we have to deal with actual monster Johnny Depp.
- Welcome To Marwen- Carrell seems game, and on paper, I like the idea, but those dolls freak me out so hard.
- Hell Fest- The general idea of the movie is more interesting than the trailer, but at least it previews what could be some interesting set pieces.
- Bohemian Rhapsody- It should be a punishable crime to make a movie about someone so inherently interesting look this uninteresting.
- The Darkest Minds- A trailer that really feels like it’s for people who have read the book, this trailer does nothing for me.
Photo Credit Long Live The King http://cdn.collider.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/godzilla-2-image-20.png