Trailers of the Week: The Hobbit, Gambit, 42, and More

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey — Trailer no. 2 (December 14)

Silver: My geekdom regarding the Lord of the Rings/The Hobbit films was quite well-documented when I gratuitously picked apart the first trailer back in December, so stating my overwhelming excitement for An Unexpected Journey is unnecessary. I will say this, though: My one concern about The Hobbit now seems to be dissipating. In the first three LOTR films, Frodo, Sam, Aragorn, Gandalf, and the rest of The Fellowship were battling to save their world, but The Hobbit, as written, doesn’t contain the same lofty stakes. Although it takes place in Middle Earth and contains some of the same characters of LOTR, The Hobbit is a much simpler and more straightforward adventure tale. So my unease with The Hobbit was, put simply: How was Peter Jackson going to transfer the dramatic weight from LOTR to The Hobbit? His solution was hinted at in December’s teaser trailer, but is established much more clearly here. By sprinkling in Tolkien’s appendices, The Hobbit will act as a direct lead-up to the events of LOTR. It’ll be a … dare I say … prequel trilogy (gulp). I have faith in Peter Jackson that his prequel will be something more than the toy commercial George Lucas put together. And if all else fails, at least we get Ian McKellen as Gandalf for three more films.

Browne: I’m so happy you brought up the appendices. I couldn’t sleep last night, because I was worried that you would fail to mention J.R.R.’s appendices. Thank you, Dan Silver, for never letting me down. As for the film, it’s going to be perfect, just like the other three. If there’s one thing Peter Jackson knows how to do, it’s to somehow make me interested in science fiction/fantasy. It’s truly amazing.

Skyfall — International Trailer (November 9)

Silver: Believability is not something that actors have had to worry about when playing James Bond. After Connery and all the way through Brosnan, it felt like they’d even been asked to play the role with their tongues firmly in their cheeks. But upon being asked “What do you know about fear?,” Daniel Craig responds “Everything,” which is both chilling and utterly convincing. In his Bond’s eyes, I see all the death and heartbreaking losses that this character has gone through. The action looks appropriately grandiose (Bond and an excavator battle on a speeding train), and Bardem’s villain harkens back to memories of Dr. No and Chris Walken’s Max Zorin (in A View to a Kill). But for me, the best part of this trailer was the heavy use of the Bond theme. Nothing gets me more pumped for a Bond film than hearing John Barry’s score over a guy kicking ass in a suit.

Browne: I agree with everything you just said, Dan, but my favorite part is the very end, when he does the most Daniel Craig–Bond thing ever, that being jumping inside a moving train, and then smoothing his suit before he begins his next killing spree. That is the thing that separates him from the other Bonds. SUIT OVER EVERYTHING.

Greetings From Tim Buckley (TBD)

Silver: Knowing very little about Tim and Jeff Buckley’s music, and knowing even less about Penn Badgley, I screen this trailer specifically looking for ways to mock it for being typical emo-indie schlock. And while there are a slew of moments in this trailer that fit this description, I’d be lying if I didn’t fess up and say I was pulled in by the story of this young man and his complicated relationship with his deceased father. And after establishing this young man’s feeling of abandonment so nicely in a brief two-plus minutes, the flash-back moment at the end in which the father looks lovingly at his baby, mixed with the acoustic guitar, gave me a bit of a throat tickle. I still don’t think this is enough to get me to see the film in the theater or even remember to place it on my Nextflix queue. But when I eventually bump into Greetings From Jeff Buckley on HBO on a Sunday afternoon with nothing to do, I know I’ll be intrigued enough to give it my full attention.

Browne: I’m all in on this story. I’m nervous about whether or not the acting will equal or surpass the screenplay, but based on this trailer it looks as if there’s a chance. With all of that said, if this film doesn’t have “Hallelujah” in it 37 times, I will be disappointed.

Beautiful Creatures (February 13, 2013)

Silver: Twilight + True Blood + two Oscar winners + one melodramatic pop song = Beautiful Creatures. (Snore.)

Browne: This felt like a Disney horror film, which is a hilarious thing for a movie to feel like. Viola, why are you in this movie? These are the ones you pass up and give to NeNe.

Great Expectations — UK Trailer (TBD)

Silver: Every few years this Dickensian tale pops back up onscreen in one way or another. This latest iteration plays it “traditional” and opts for the stuffy period piece route. Mike Newell, director of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, appears to do his best to make this film look Potter-esque, just sans magic, even going so far as to cast Potter alums Ralph Fiennes, Helena Bonham Carter, and Robbie Coltrane. It usually takes a lot for me to sit down and watch a period drama; I’m just not a fan. And from what I saw in this trailer, Great Expectations is a film I can easily skip.

Browne: Just because something is a book that people read doesn’t mean it needs to become a movie that people won’t watch. With that said: THE GIVER 4D (2016).

Sinister — Red Band Trailer (October 12)

Silver: After seeing its more conventional first trailer, I was sold on Sinister. And yet, my expectations have been raised further after seeing this all-too-brief 2:11 concoction of sound, music, tone, atmosphere, and deeply disturbing visuals. I rarely like to see horror films in the theater. I much prefer watching them by myself in my darkened apartment. It’s much scarier to know that I’ve willingly let the terror “invade” my safe place. But I have a feeling seeing Sinister opening weekend with an eager audience will be a lot of fun.

Rem … you want to come with me? Or are you still going to be cowering in a corner? This trailer must have petrified you.

Browne: A “red band” horror trailer is my idea of being killed, brought back to life, shown a video of my death, and then killed again. So yeah, I’m pretty shaken up right now, and I watched this in a room with great light, both artificial and natural. WHERE IS THE LES MIS TRAILER?

Nature Calls (October 4 — VOD / November 9 — Theaters)

Silver: This trailer would have been much funnier if it were a fake Funny or Die short. Instead, just knowing that someone spent a significant amount of cash to stretch this narrative and these jokes into 90 minutes just makes me sad. My unrequited love for Patton Oswalt and Johnny Knoxville isn’t even strong enough to get me to sit through this. And how long was this film sitting on a shelf if the late Patrice O’Neal is co-starring in it? Oooofff.

Browne: I know, I know … it looks too silly, but consider this: Rob Riggle yelling and kicking lamps is amazing, angry mom mobs are always great, and this:

C’mon, Silver. This image alone is worth a viewing. I want to know everything about why this poor kid is carrying a cross through the woods. Everything.

Gambit (TBD)

Silver: This one’s really rather simple. There’s no way I’m missing a zany über-English caper comedy with a screenplay by Joel and Ethan Coen. Firth and Rickman should do more comedies because they’re hilarious. And don’t sleep on Diaz — she’s really quite good when she’s being super silly (There’s Something About Mary) or super weird (Being John Malkovich), and her character here looks like a combination of both. My anglo-Spidey senses are tingling for this one. Can’t wait.

Browne: While my initial disappointment that this wasn’t an X-Men spinoff starring Riggins was rather intense (I threw my computer out of the window, then threw myself out of the window, both luckily into a field of Tempur-Pedic mattresses), this trailer won me over by the end. What made it all worth while, though? The last-minute addition of STANLEY FRIGGIN’ TUCCI. The man can do no wrong, especially when he’s doing things like holding magnifying glasses and continuing to be bald.

42 (April 12, 2013)

Silver: This one’s a doozy because Jackie Robinson’s story is one that’s on the pedestal of, “If you’re going to do it, you’d better do it right.” With the glut of biopics Hollywood studios seem to churn out each year (and then rehash a few years later), it’s hard to believe that Robinson’s story has only been told on the silver screen one other time (that was nearly 63 years ago in Alfred E. Green’s 1950 The Jackie Robinson Story, in which the title character was actually played by no. 42 himself.) Although slightly too melodramatic for my taste, this first glimpse at 42 was a solid one. The visuals pop off screen like old LIFE magazines or Norman Rockwell paintings come to life. It’s evident that the film’s team of legendary (literally and figuratively) producer Thomas Tull and Oscar-winning writer/director Brian Helgeland understood the gravitas of their cinematic undertaking. Relative (at least to film) newcomer Chadwick Boseman, who plays Robinson, also portrayed footballer Floyd Little in similarly themed The Express (the story of Ernie Davis). Let’s sincerely hope that this film does not share that film’s lamentable fate.

Browne: The use of Jay-Z’s “Brooklyn Go Hard,” including the line about Jackie Robinson (“I jack, I rob, I sin”) really doesn’t work for me in this trailer. Actually, to take it a few steps further, it ruins what is visually a really stunning teaser for a story I’ve been dying to see told on the big screen. I really hope the second trailer doesn’t play “Big Pimpin'” after Jackie signs his first big league check. That, too, would be bad.

Les Misérables (Christmas 2012)

Silver: Wow. So IN. Just wow.

Browne: I have no pulse. I don’t know how I’m even typing this, because I’m dead. I really hope there’s a midnight showing in heaven, because if not this was very poorly executed on my part.

Filed Under: James Bond, Les Miserables, Peter Jackson, Skyfall, The Hobbit, Trailers of the Week

Rembert Browne is a staff writer for Grantland.

Archive @ rembert