Trailers of the Week: Battleship, The Three Stooges, On the Road, and More

Battleship — Trailer no. 3 (May 18)

Silver: I cannot wait to buy my ticket to Battleship. Even though the film looks like a vapid orgy of action and CGI, I have much more faith in Peter Berg, a director who’s made some good films and told actual stories (Very Bad Things, The Kingdom, Friday Night Lights), than I do in a new addition to the Michael Bay(hem) section of his résumé.

But one question still remains: How is Berg going to work in the iconic line, “You sunk my battleship”? It has to happen, right? The film could be a masterpiece, but if that moment doesn’t materialize, we’re all going to feel a little cheated, right?

We’ve done some thinking, and here are some potential options for how the line might be delivered:

A. After lowering his binoculars, by a gobsmacked Liam Neeson (our preference)
B. With all sincerity, and hiding his Canadian accent, by Taylor Kitsch in hushed tones
C. By an angered Rihanna right before she either launches a missile or shoots an alien
D. A throwaway line by a featured or background extra (preferably Landry)
E. None of the above
F. The line does not appear in the film

Browne: G. The Juggernaut will emerge from the ocean and deliver it. Yep, definitely happening.

The Three Stooges — International Trailer (April 13)

Silver: This film should have been killed the minute Benicio Del Toro (Moe), Sean Penn (Larry), and Jim Carrey (Curly) dropped out. Even with the well-past-their-prime Farrelly brothers writing and directing, that’s a film I would have been first on line to see. Instead, the project moved forward with three guys none of us have ever heard of forcing out Stooge impressions, and a cast packed with C, D, and F celebrities (I’m choosing to ignore Larry David’s presence). The Farrellys have long said that they’re massive Stooges fans, and that this is their dream project.

Yes, all we’ve seen in both the previously released domestic trailer and this latest international one is a heavy dependence on cheap laughs (the iPhone bit), all-too-familiar Stooges gags, and Kate Upton’s body. Not the elegantly choreographed mayhem dexterously executed by the original trio. Too bad. This one could have been great.

Browne: I can’t believe, in 2012, a studio is banking on high jinks to deliver results. There’s no way this was made after 1998. This was painful. I’m embarrassed for Sofia Vergara. How did Modern Family allow her to take this role? This might be the worst trailer to ever come across our desk, Silver. I’m floored.

On the Road (TBD)

Silver: Walter Salles’s Che Guevara coming-of-age film Motorcycle Diaries is so exceptional that it’s hard for me to believe this long-gestating adaptation of Jack Kerouac’s beloved and rebellious novel would be anything less than spectacular, despite its mostly dull Into the Wild 2-feeling trailer. I’m unfamiliar with the lead actor, Sam Riley, and have deep concerns handing the iconic character of Dean Moriarty over to Tron Jr. (a.k.a. Garrett Hedlund), but have faith that along with Salles at the helm, the strong supporting cast — Viggo Mortensen, Amy Adams, Alice Braga, Terrence Howard, Elizabeth Moss, and Steve Buscemi — will wind up carrying the film.

Browne: I will watch this trailer once a day until the film comes out. At that point, however, I don’t know if I’ll ever see the film because I’m extremely nervous that it won’t meet my standards for this text, which is astronomically high. The trailer, however, is fantastic.

Hemingway & Gellhorn (HBO: May 28)

Silver: Hemingway & Gellhorn is an example of a recent trend I am a big fan of — films with “adult” subject matter being produced specifically for HBO. Someone very smart at HBO took a look at their business (subscriber-dependent, not beholden to ratings or advertisers, a direct distribution to a loyal audience in the target demographic) and the cinematic landscape where financiers and studios spend excess amounts of money to theatrically release and market “adult” or “Oscar-caliber” films. For what? Awards? Best Picture nominee Hugo cost $170 million to make, lord knows how much to market, and has only made $165 million worldwide.

I’d argue that more people tuned in to Temple Grandin than saw Carnage, or that Game Change had a greater impact on a wider audience than did Ides of March. This is not a comment on the quality of these films at all, this is about how films traditionally targeted at “grown-ups” have recently struggled to break through in a crowded, blockbuster-focused cinema landscape.

Kidman’s won her Oscar, Clive Owen is a highly regarded actor, and Philip Kaufman is a legitimate and Oscar-nominated director. Why struggle when they can make Hemingway & Gellhorn they way they want it, have it make a splash on HBO, and then add Emmy Awards to their mantles? And all HBO had to do was put up the production budget and minimal off-channel marketing dollars. It’s a win all around.

Mark my words. This trend is only going to expand and grow. In 10 years, The Hours, Doubt, and The Reader will all be made for channels like HBO.

Browne: I’m glad the film world is finally accepting the fact that Ernest Hemingway is the original “Most Interesting Man in the World.” He would never drink Dos Equis, though. Definitely a SoCo-and-lime kind of guy. But yeah, Silver, this looks phenomenal.

Snow White and the Huntsman — Preview of the Preview (June 1)

Silver: Now here’s a trend I am not a fan of — teaser trailers for trailers. Not every trailer is an event. Isn’t the teasing of a trailer what shows like Entertainment Tonight and Access Hollywood are produced for? I really don’t care about Snow White and the Huntsman at all. It looks like a bad blend of Lord of the Rings, Thor, and 300, but will no doubt be a solid VOD rental for my wife to love and for me to ignore while playing Draw Something on my iPad.

Browne: Oh NO, this is completely unacceptable. Don’t lure me into this fantasy world of witches and battles and Hemsworths, and then club me in the face with an ad for The Voice. If they don’t release an “apology for the teaser trailer for the trailer” by Monday, I’m definitely making my own “demand of an apology for the teaser trailer for the trailer” next week. Mark my words.

Filed Under: Battleship, Snow White and the Huntsman, Trailers of the Week

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Dan Silver is the director of development for ESPN Films.

Archive @ danielsilver11