Initial reactions for recent trailers for impending 2010 movies.
The Sorcerer's Apprentice
- I'm glad Nick Cage is playing the sorcerer and not the apprentice, but my god what a dull-looking kid they got for the hero. If you had a lineup of the leads from Percy Jackson, The Seeker, Cirque du Freak, Push, et al, I doubt I'd be able to match them up with the right movie. Also, Cage is playing it pretty low-key when this is the sort of fantasy movie where it would be okay for him to go a little nuts. Special effects look great - hello Jerry Bruckheimer! - and I spotted an quick clip of the homage to Mickey, Alfred Molina, and more orientalist Asian imagery than I'm entirely comfortable with. Still, the style is nice and polished and the movie should be a good visual break from the recent string of grim and gritties if nothing else.
- It's sad that what was originally supposed to be an inverted telling of the story with the Sheriff of Nottingham as the lead has turned into a pretty by-the-book version under the combined weight of Ridley Scott's and Russell Crowe's egos. It's definitely Scott's movie from the misty forest shots and the focus on grimy warfare - getting serious Kingdom of Heaven vibes, which I don't think is necessarily a good thing. Remember what Antoine Fuqua did to King Arthur? And could those power chords get any more obvious? Even with Cate Blanchett in the mix, I approach with trepidation.
Clash of the Titans
- Second trailer is much better than the first. Apparently this film has characters! Oh look, it's Liam Neeson! While the campy charms of the original are nowhere in sight, or possibly buried under several metric tons of testosterone and CGI, we can safely put this into the brainless guilty pleasure category. I mean that tagline is just *awful.* If any film was aimed at twelve-year-old boys, this is it. The production design is still bothering me - everything looks like it's been coated in a distracting layer of badass for extra "realism" - and I really don't know why they have to make the monsters so ugly as hell. Why does the kraken have a humanoid's face? What purpose could this possibly serve?
Shrek Forever After
- I skipped Shrek 3. This one doesn't look any better.
Alice in Wonderland
- I like the idea that this is a sequel to the Lewis Carroll original which gives the filmmakers room to do their own thing. I've seen so many versions of Alice it'll be nice to see a continuation a la "Return to Oz" that goes in a different direction - though there's the possibility that this is supposed to be based on "Through the Looking Glass" and the marketing folks are just trying to muddle the distinctions. I'm still not so sure about the look of the film, which jam packs so many crazy-colored stylized visuals together it might turn out to be too distracting like Burton's take on Willy Wonka. But I can't stay away from a movie that has Johnny Depp and Anne Hathaway in it.
Iron Man 2
- YES! The cardinal rule of movies is that character and plot are everything. This is the only trailer I've seen so far that puts this much emphasis on storytelling. It's a great reassurance that the Tony Stark of the first film, with the ego we all know and love, is back for the next round. It doesn't do so good of a job introducing Mickey Rourke and Scarlett Johanssen's characters, but we get just enough to make you want to find out more. The first minute or so with Tony breezing through life as the outed Iron Man is such a wonderful subversion of the usual superhero secret identity angst, and I love that it apparently didn't change much of his relationship with Pepper. Kudos to the only trailer so far that actually has me excited to see the movie.