Trailers of the Week: Pacific Rim, After Earth, Man of Steel, and More

Note: This will be our last Trailers of the Week of 2012. We thank you for tuning in for more than 50 trailer roundups with us this year, and can’t wait to get back to overanalyzing (Dan) and always being afraid of everything (Rembert) in 2013. — Dan and Rem

Pacific Rim (July 12)

Silver: If I ever had to be placed into a medically induced coma because my cine-geek meter went into overdrive, I truly believe that Pacific Rim would be what I’d dream about. And this got me thinking, Rem: We’ve been buddies for a while now, but how well do you really know me? Let’s find out.

I’m most excited about this movie because …
A. It contains giant fracking monsters fighting giant fracking robots
B. It’s the first Guillermo del Toro move since 2008
C. By casting Idris Elba, Charlie Hunnam, Ron Perlman, and Charlie Day, it’s clear that Guillermo and I like and watch the same TV shows
D. All of the above

My favorite part of this trailer …
A. Glimpses at all of the original del Toro creature/robot designs
B. Giant frackin’ robot-rocket-propelled punch
C. Idris Elba’s reboot of Bill Pullman’s “Today is our Independence Day” speech
D. All of the above

Upon release of this trailer my wife …
A. Was annoyed with me because I couldn’t stop exuding random guttural pleasure sounds or screaming “Yes!” and “Oh, hell yeah!”
B. Was annoyed with me because I watched the trailer eight times in 30 minuntes — on my iPhone, my iPad, my MacBook, and in ginormous and glorious HD via my Apple TV
C. Told me I was nuts for looking to see if tickets were already available for pre-sale
D. None of the above. She was doing all of the above right alongside me because she’s as big of a geek as I am.

Browne: First off, IDRIS.

OK, your questions:

(1) D, (2) D, (3) D

I WIN, I WIN, I WIN.

 

Oblivion (April 19)

Silver: Joseph Kosinski’s Tron: Legacy is best experienced as a hyperbolic version of a screen saver, playing in the background with the film’s sound off (unless you’re listening to the film’s soundtrack by Daft Punk; then you’re OK). It’s a visually stunning but ultimately vapid film. So despite a Yankee cap–wearing Tom Cruise (who still looks badass and fully committed even while falling on his face and getting dragged down a hallway by his ankle), my expectations for Oblivion are not very high. The vast, barren, daylight-soaked exterior landscapes are reminiscent of Prometheus, and the stark whites and the phallic-looking spacecrafts are just a little too Kubrick-ian to be taken seriously. So what did I like about this trailer? I’d watch an entire movie about Morgan Freeman wearing sunglasses, sitting in the pitch black, lit only by match light, and speaking in platitudes. And it’s nice to see that the sand people from Star Wars (@ 1:55) are finally getting some more work. It’s been a hard last 40 years for them.

Browne: I was hoping you’d bring this up, Dan:

Screen Shot 2012-12-14 at 9.38.07 AM

But you forgot about this one, too:

Screen Shot 2012-12-14 at 9.39.09 AM

Bye-bye, Lucius Fox; hello, Grandpa Blade Trinity.

I’m weirdly excited about this. Tom Cruise is going to be doing a great deal of “Tom Cruise Running,” which is something I just can’t get enough of, regardless of the plot. But I’m also moderately into the plot. So yes, my interest is officially piqued.

 

After Earth (June 7)

Silver: My love of M. Night Shyamalan’s films (Up to The Happening) is hard to explain. His visual composition, pacing, and tone pluck a very specific, and unidentified, cinema nerve. Why do the images of the alien walking past the birthday-party kids in Signs and the creature hovering silently being Bryce Dallas Howard in The Village terrify me so much? I honestly don’t know. But they do, so I’m a fan of his, and am always rooting for him. After Earth has a bit of a Planet of the Apes–meets–Fantastic Voyage–meets–10,000 B.C. feel to it. And although I believe Night (I can call him that since I’m the only person who legitimately liked Lady in the Water) is at his best when he’s dealing in smaller, more intimate narratives (The Sixth Sense and Unbreakable), this film’s singular focus on a father and son’s struggle for survival may be the perfect counterbalance to the massiveness of action set pieces, and could help Night avoid the traps he fell into with the structurally messy The Last Airbender. And having Will and Jaden Smith along for box office insurance doesn’t hurt. Jaden is more than worthy of the accolades and stardom about to be thrust upon him. Soon enough, this kid is going to be a bigger star than his dad.

(Side note: Is it me, or does Will develop a strange accent over the course of his voice-over in this trailer?)

Browne: A few things. One, congrats to Dan on naming every single one of M.’s (I can call him that since that’s what I have him saved as in my phone) films in one paragraph. Two, “Soon enough, this kid is going to be a bigger star than his dad” is something you just said and I just don’t know if I can look you in the eyes ever again. Three, a friend of mine described this trailer best by noting it’s hilarious to think of this as the sequel to The Pursuit of Happyness. Very true. Nothing is funnier. Four, Will’s accent:

Somehow, over the course of the trailer, he goes from Will Smith to Forrest Gump. The line, “we-ah are-ah going to-ah survive this” could not be a more “I’m ah-trying to ah-mimic a suh-ther-ren accent” on the part of Willard. This movie looks weird, but I’m going to see it, because I still love Will Smith. I’m just really hoping the soundtrack to this is a series of father-son duets. You know, “Just the Two of Us After Earth Just Trying to Survive and Whatnot.”

 

The Lone Ranger (July 3)

Silver: The first 0:16 of this trailer makes The Lone Ranger feel like a twisted Mark Romanek–style Western, the next 0:19 brings back memories of Cowboys and Aliens, and the remaining 2:00 reveal the film to be Pirates of the Caribbean Episode 5: Sans Water, Plus Trains OR What Becomes of Jack Sparrow After He Becomes Spiritual and Riotous. Is this a comedy? Because there are enough Armie Hammer muggings and one-liners to fill up a “this is supposed to be serious, but isn’t” Nicolas Cage movie. And since I’ve memorized my Verbinski/Bruckheimer User Manual, at the end of the trailer, when a piece of train debris was seen flying through the air, I knew it was either going to land right between Hammer and Depp or between one of them’s legs. Which would then lead directly into the snap neck turn/startled eye lock. So glad I studied.

Browne: Silver, I lost my manual years ago, and I still knew where that piece of shrapnel was landing. At this point, Depp’s been in more Disney movies than Mickey Mouse, so it’s no surprise to see him pop up for his every-two-year tour, but I’m quite surprised and pleased with Armie Hammer. I think the guy’s got a crazy amount of talent, is very non-threatening, and can co-carry a film. Just glad to see him truly blossom beyond his Winklevoss stage.

 

Man of Steel (June 14)

Silver: With the majority of Man of Steel’s pedigree being made up of folks named Nolan, Goyer, Roven, Thomas, and Zimmer, I should be Pacific Rim–level dorked out over this film. But this trailer’s deeper look at the film plants a seed of doubt in me, and challenges my previously held optimism that Chris Nolan and his Über-producer wife Emma Thomas are going to be able to stifle Zack Snyder’s “visual masturbator” default setting. I simply love the “folks won’t understand, and will most likely be afraid of your powers, so it’s better to stay in the shadows” motif hinted at throughout the trailer, most notably in the exchange between Clark and Jonathan Kent, when Jonathan suggests that it might have been better for Clark to have let his schoolmates die in a bus crash rather than save them. But this moment, and the other more human- and character-centric ones, are ultimately swallowed up by large-scale destruction and eye-candy mayhem played out over seemingly recycled Gladiator music cues. I really want this movie to be great. And I’m going to do my damnedest to stay hopeful by avoiding any airings of Sucker Punch on cable.

Browne: I’ll be honest, I thought Superman was an all-but-dead (for now) franchise. Even though, yes, Batman is a superior superhero, in the Nolan Dark Knight era, I didn’t see Superman becoming relevant again for another five to 10 years. Glad to see that I was wrong about that, because this trailer is pretty incredible. I don’t see them messing this up, I really don’t. And COSTNER. I’m all in. Dan Silver–Pacific Rim–level dorking out right now.

 

Welcome to the Punch (March 13)

Silver: The three things I’ve made no attempts to downplay in these weekly posts are my uncompromising love of Jason Statham movies, British gangster films, and my deep-seated and unshakable desire to see Liam Neeson and Jason Statham fight each other on-screen (preferably in a British gangster movie). And after much consideration, I’m officially adding another obsession to the list: Mark Strong, the raspy and gravelly-voiced British badass whose menacing stare could scare a lump of coal into a diamond, and who always commands attention when on-screen. So placing aside the distracting overabundance of blue light filters (did the Welcome to the Punch filmmakers raid the Underworld lighting truck?) and the “Aww, silly rabbit” feeling you get from watching the boyish James McAvoy try to play an adult, how can a British gangster film heavily featuring Mark Strong not be awesome?

(Side note: So the dream now is to have a film where Liam Neeson and Jason Statham play rival hit men who hate each other — forcing them to fight at least once in the first third of the film — but who then have to team up to battle a mutual foe played by Mark Strong because he’s kidnapped Neeson’s daughter and totaled Statham’s favorite motorbike. And the climactic scene in the film is when Statham and Neeson, who now have a mutual respect for each other, are captured and forced to fight gladiator-style in a pen while high above them Mark Strong questions their manhood.)

Browne: It’s sad, Dan, that someone’s going to steal that idea from you, tomorrow, and take it as his own. I’m sorry that’s about to happen to you, Dan. You deserve better.

As for this film, I’m not as geeked as you, Dan, but what I did love is the song used, which totally amplified the excitement: “The Wolf” by Fever Ray. Two years ago, it was misused in the Red Riding Hood trailer, but now it’s back in a more appropriate place, which is men chasing each other with guns through city streets. But yeah, intrigued, but not losing my mind over this film.

Filed Under: After Earth, Jason Statham, Johnny Depp, Liam Neeson, Man of Steel, Movies, Pacific Rim, The Lone Ranger, Trailers of the Week, Will Smith, Zack Snyder

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Rembert Browne is a staff writer for Grantland.

Archive @ rembert