Trailers of the Week: Fast & Furious 6, Aftershock, Red 2, and More
Pacific Rim — WonderCon Trailer (July 12)
Silver: There’s a great Monty Python sketch in which a writer creates a joke so funny it’s lethal — so deadly that during WWII both the Nazis and the Allied forces attempt to weaponize it, but as a precaution, can only translate the joke one word at a time.
This is my fear when discussing, much less seeing, any footage from Pacific Rim. There are far too many goodies involved with this film that target the deepest parts of my gooey geeky center. So as not to place myself in harm’s way, the following is an appropriated version of the Python “Funniest Joke” strategy (because as we all know, the best advice and life lessons come from Monty Python).
Guillermo Del Torro; giant robots; Charlie Hunnam; “pilot-to-pilot connection engaged”; giant monsters; “two pilots mind-melding through memories with the body of a machine”; Charlie Day; robot heads; “Your orders are to protect a city of 2 million people”; night battles in the rain; giant monsters leaping out of a river onto a giant robot; “They came from deep beneath the Pacific”; winged monsters; “Their sole purpose is to aim for the populated areas and take out the vermin … us”; Ron Perlman; dojos; Idris Elba; “Today we face the monsters that are at our door. We are canceling the apocalypse!”; giant robot double-fist punch to a giant monster’s face; and A FRAKKING SEA TANKER BEING WIELDED AS A BASEBALL BAT!
Oy. I said too much. I think … I’m goingngn … tooooo … fai …
[Sound of a body hitting the floor.]
Browne: I was trying to focus on this trailer, but kept getting distracted by the faintest of spots on my ceiling. It’s unclear exactly what it was that kept me so uninterested: the dry, monotone narration or the plot of humans in robots fighting giant water aliens. It just feels like a really bad cartoon that has come to CGI life.
But Idris is in it. So I’m torn.
Aftershock — Red Band Trailer (May 10)
Silver: Rem, no joke. I enjoyed this Aftershock trailer as much as I did the Pacific Rim one. Just on a very, very different level. While I marveled at the sheer awesomeness of the narrative scope and execution in Rim, I’m agog and aghast at the gratuitous and excessive debauchery and death portrayed in Aftershock. This film is one part European vacation sex comedy, two parts natural-disaster thriller, sitting nicely between two slices of horror-flavored bread, with two heaping mounds of blood and gore poured on top. And don’t forget your tsunami-flavored soda to wash it all down.
And since I can only speak in movie references right now because the part of my brain designated for productivity is busy trying to determine who on earth would actually want to see this splatter fest with me, all I can really say is that I cannot wait to see this Escape From New York meets The Evil Dead meets Hostel meets Earthquake meets The Impossible mash-up.
Browne: This was the exact opposite of Pacific Rim for me, because I was very focused on the happenings and intrigued at how ridiculous the events could get by the end of the trailer. I’m pretty sure the final image was the winner:
A tsunami? Why not?
Prince Avalanche (August 9)
Silver: It’s not entirely a warm blanket, but the trailer for Prince Avalanche is certainly comforting.
Writer/director David Gordon Green’s first four films — George Washington, All the Real Girls, Undertow, and Snow Angels — made it clear that he could extract enormous human drama from the seemingly tiniest narratives. These films were quiet, but delivered an emotional wallop. Because of this, I didn’t hate on Green for trying his hand at lighter fare with projects like Pineapple Express and HBO’s Eastbound and Down. These are the only two projects, I might add, that kept him somewhat in my good graces during his cinematic rumspringa, when he pinched out such memorable wastes of time as Your Highness and The Sitter.
Prince Avalanche does appear to dwell in lighthearted territory, but its minute scale and narrow character focus provide me hope that the Cassavetes-esque filmmaker I’d come to admire in Green is not completely lost.
Browne: It’s too early to predict how this turns out, but I’d be quite pleased if Paul Rudd and Emile Hirsch were the only two characters in the film.
Fast & Furious 6 — Final Trailer (May 24)
Truth: There has never been, and never will be, a series of films with so many hard bodies — both human and automotive.
Truth: There has never been a series of films that have so nimbly crafted themselves to fully exploit their self-aware nature (i.e., screw praise, we’re hitting the NOS button and driving you to Fun Town).
Truth: Fast and Furious (the fourth film in the series) was good, and would have kept this series chugging along with a $300 million–plus worldwide box office take off an $85 million budget. But the reason Fast Five leapt to $626 million worldwide off a $125 million budget, thus launching the series into the box office–behemoth stratosphere, was because of one guy: the Rock. His massive biceps glisten with his charisma and sweat. And if that weren’t enough to convince you, here’s what Jeff Kirschenbaum, co-president of production at Universal, recently told The Wrap about the Rock’s worth ethic:
He wakes up at 4 a.m. just so he can eat protein … He goes back to bed for an hour and at 5 a.m. he works out — when most people aren’t even awake. He woke up an hour early just so the protein is already there to build muscle.
So set aside the fact that the dude’s a talent and, dare I say, a legit movie star. He also outworks — and would probably eat — us all.
(Sad but Possible) Truth: Paul Walker has made so much money off this franchise that he now owns his own island filled with bros and bras who wait on him hand and foot.
Honestly, I could go on and on with these truths. But why bother? The truth that outweighs them all is that as long as Vin Diesel doesn’t keel over from a ’roid OD, then these films are just going to keep coming at us, and we’ll just keep going to see them.
Browne: Bronze medal — the Rock flying in midair.
Silver medal — Tyrese flying in midair.
GOLD MEDAL — VIN DIESEL AND MICHELLE RODRIGUEZ FLYING IN MIDAIR.
The History of Future Folk (May 31)
Silver: The tagline sums up my thoughts on this little indie pretty nicely: “Probably the only alien-folk-duo sci-fi-action-romance-comedy movie ever made. Which totally makes it the best alien-folk-duo sci-fi-action-romance-comedy movie ever made.” It does look adorable though, don’t it?
Browne: I want this film in my life. Oh, man. Too cute for school.
Girl Most Likely (July 19)
Silver: I was really expecting something that felt more distinctive from Shari Springer Berman and Robert Pulcini, the talented directorial duo behind American Splendor, The Extra Man, and HBO’s Cinema Verite. Girl Most Likely presents itself too much like every other quirky indie comedy out there, trying to dupe audiences into thinking that a plodding attempt at an idiosyncratic character piece is actually just like that other mainstream film with broad appeal starring so-and-so that they saw and liked. Nope. Unfortunately, even with the inspired decision to cast Annette Bening as Kristen Wiig’s mom, and Matt Dillon’s callback to his There’s Something About Mary character, Girl Most Likely looks more The Nanny Diaries (Berman and Springer’s other stinker).
Browne: I love Kristen Wiig more than EVERYONE, so I’m really hoping this isn’t the first warning shot in a Sandler-esque streak of horrible films. Because this looks bad, mainly in the sense that this movie is made every three years.
White House Down — Trailer #2 (June 28)
Silver: The most tenuous career trajectory point for an actor/actress on their rise from simple performer to bankable movie star is the two to three films that follow their first big success. These are the films where story execution is negligible, and the only thing that matters is that said star is prominently featured.
In the parlance of golf, these films need to be pars, not bogeys, i.e., the films need to be good enough for the performer’s path to temporarily plateau until the next hit, not dip down. One could either be Leo with The Man in the Iron Mask, post–Titanic and Bradley Cooper with Limitless, post–The Hangover; or regrettably, one could simply just become early Colin Farrell post–Tigerland (sans Minority Report).
After hits like The Vow, 21 Jump Street, and Magic Mike, Channing Tatum is on the precipice of megastardom, and although White House Down’s paint-by-numbers plot is somewhat nauseating, it doesn’t look like it’ll have a The Chronicles of Riddick–style negative impact on Tatum’s career. And based on this trailer, the film might just succeed on the rapport between Tatum and Jamie Foxx. But regardless of how well the film is made, the fact that he’s not only the primary hero, but a John McClane type who’s saving POTUS is a great step up for him.
Browne: Really, Dan? Not going to mention anything about Jamie Foxx as an Air Jordans–wearing President of the United States of America? That was really all the swaying I needed to call this a “must-see” film.
Red 2 (July 19)
Browne: Dan, what repulses and excites you about this film? All I could think about, after watching the trailer, was that there were some things that probably repulsed you, while others? Pure excitement.
- Everything about John Malkovich. I generally love the guy, but I find myself choking back vomit when I hear him deliver lines like “You haven’t killed anyone in months” and “What happens in the Kremlin stays in the Kremlin.” (Note: Are there any bylaws that allow the Academy to repo an Oscar?)
- Anthony Hopkins’ “crazy scientist who’s along for the ride because he’s the key to saving the day” character intentions/purposes feels an awful like John Hurt’s in Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. And I don’t think Red 2 wants to elicit memories of that woeful endeavor.
- I’m sad to see that Helen Mirren’s Victoria is now a rival spy, and not working with Willis and Co. The best scenes in the first Red were between her and Malkovich.
- Byung-hun Lee is a big downgrade from Karl Urban.
- Bruce Willis’s “I ♥ Paris” T-shirt.
- Even in this brief 2:30, it’s evident that all these folks had a blast working together. And that’s always fun to watch.
- Slow-motion Helen Mirren action. Always a bonus.
So there you have it. If I were a lovesick single in a Hollywood rom-com putting together a list of pros and cons to help determine if I should date Red 2, then based on the above it’s a pass. Sorry Red 2, I’m going with the mousy misfit who simply needs to pull out the scrunchie and remove her glasses (i.e., Only God Forgives, opening the same day).