Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Movie Poop Shoot!

As most of you know, I am a filmmaker and film fan. My tastes range from the obscure horror film to the occasional blockbuster. To be honest, I'm not very likely to be found in a theater watching the latest big budget spectacle. Marvel may get me in there every once in a while, but most other studios just don't put out product that interests me very often.

With that in mind, I'm taking a look at some of the latest trailers for upcoming films. I have to say that I'm not very excited by what's being offered.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens

When the teaser trailer first appeared, I was cautiously interested. I was disappointed that there were no familiar faces in that version. Aside from the Falcon, there was nothing to let me know that The Force Awakens wasn't another prequel. The newest trailer finally gives us a glance at some of our beloved characters.

I have to say that I am still cautiously optimistic about this film. I have seen the original Star Wars trilogy dozens of times (like everyone else my age.) I enjoy each of the movies, but I am not at all a die hard fan. Like most people, I was tricked into seeing the prequels in the theater. Every one of them left a bad taste in my mouth.

As for the director, I have kind of a love/hate thing for Abrams. I loved the first Trek reboot. (Full disclosure: I'm a Trekkie.) Into Darkness, however, was absolutely awful. I could go on a full diatribe about it, but I'll spare you. I'm not fully sold on Abrams, but the trailer does make it seem like he was the right choice.

Overall, this is the movie I'm most excited about seeing in the coming months. It's been a long time since I really enjoyed Star Wars. I'm hoping this one finally gets it right.

Jurassic World

The original Jurassic Park is one of my all time favorite popcorn movies. I remember going to the theater to see it when I was a teenager and being blown away. For me, it hit all the marks of a good film: it relied on interesting characters, slowly built to ease you into the outlandish concept, turned up the suspense, and had a compelling philosophical question. To this day, I watch Jurassic Park a few times a year. The special effects still hold up; a real testament to the tasteful execution of Spielberg and his team.

Unfortunately, the movie's success ensured that there would be the inevitable sequels. Neither of them could hold a candle to the first. I believe I saw part 2 one time. I didn't even make it through the third one at all.

I can't really imagine why, but Hollywood has decided to unleash another film in the franchise. According to the trailer, there is a whole, functional park full of dinosaurs that perform tricks and amuse their human audience. As to be expected, something goes wrong and the creatures rampage.

I don't really know why they made this movie. Interest in this series seems to be fairly low, and the plot for it seems completely unoriginal.Seriously, after everything that happened in the other films, why would someone decide it would be okay to open this park? The trailer feels more like a waiter attempting to find the person who ordered a meal rather than a true blockbuster event. Chris Pratt, who I normally like, even seems bored in this one. I think I'd rather stay home opening night and rewatch the first.

Ant Man

Releasing a movie based on a character no one really remembers, especially one called "Ant Man," takes some real guts. However, creating bankable films on obscure properties has become Marvel's specialty. I was initially excited by the movie when I heard that Edgar Wright was going to direct. I love his Cornetto trilogy, and really felt like he could make this movie entertaining. Once it was announced that he dropped out, my hopes were kind of dashed. I am still kind of bummed about it.

This trailer does go a long way to selling me on the movie. Paul Rudd is a favorite of mine, so that's one in their favor. It also appears that the studio is playing on the comedic aspects of the concept; another score. (I don't know how you could do "Ant Man" in a gritty style, but I'm glad they didn't try.) I don't know if this is going to be the monster hit that Guardians was, but I'm willing to give this one a shot. People were skeptical of the first Iron Man film, and we see how that turned out.

Batman Vs Superman

If you are a fan of Man of Steel or Zack Snyder, you can go ahead and skip this one. I'm not going to say nice things about either.

Zack Snyder, in my opinion, is one of the worst directors working in Hollywood today. He is all style, with no concept of substance. His films are surface level, flashy, and ultimately, forgettable. Why Warner and DC have decided to hand him their entire superhero franchise is absolutely beyond me.

The original Superman films are in my favorites list. Well, the first two, at least. Superman Returns was a huge let down that derailed two franchises for a while. (Glad they got X men back on track!) The Christopher Nolan Batman films were amazing, even if they established that everything has to be "dark and gritty" from now on.

DC and Warner Brothers were riding pretty damn high on The Dark Knight's success when Marvel came from nowhere to blow them out of the water. They had to get a similar plan on tap, and quickly, lest they be forgotten. Unfortunately, it seems like they haphazardly slapped something together and handed it to the worst person they could find.

On paper, The Man of Steel looked good. It was written by one of Nolan's co writers, and even had Nolan's hand in the production. I get that the studio wanted more action in this one. Superman Returns was slow and boring. The problem with MoS is that it's ALL action and no real substance. The third act of the film is literally two guys destroying a CGI city for 20 minutes. I'm not a fan of computer graphics much, anyway, and this was too much. At the end, when thousands (if not millions) of people have died in crumbling buildings, we are asked to care about 1 family that Zod threatens. In a move that comes from nowhere, Supes makes his first cinematic kill.

Before even waiting to see if it was justified, Warner Brothers called MoS a hit and launched their own franchise. I'll admit that I was kind of impressed that the next film would be a Batman vs Superman. I thought that it showed a real willingness to take a chance. It was a bold move for such a large studio. And then.....they cast Batman. I'm not going to debate the merits of Ben Affleck's acting ability. Honestly, it's kind of irrelevant. The problem with his casting is that he is SO identifiable. Seeing his face in the trailer instantly brought me out of the world they are trying to build.

Released in the shadow of Star Wars, this trailer does nothing to help sell the film (to me, at least.) The whole thing seems so silly. There's a lot of shots of the cape flowing against lens flares and light sources, mixed with the over dramatic statue revelation. Then, they add Batman in his action figure suit with the mechanical voice: "Tell me, do you bleed? You Will." Whoever wrote this script should probably stay home on Oscar night.

At this point, I'm hoping this movie is so bad that its entertaining. The only way I'll probably watch this one is after a few drinks and with some like minded friends. I've accepted a long time ago that I'll probably never get another good Superman film. For whatever reason, no one seems to be able to figure those out any more. I've had the first Tim Burton Batman and Nolan's trilogy, so I'm good there. Now, it's time to sit back and watch the train wreck that the Dawn of Justice is shaping up to be. 


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