Trailer Update

Not a particularly big week for trailers, but here are the highlights.

Thor: The Dark World

Thor: The Dark World is the sequel to Thor, the Kenneth Branagh film about the Asgardian Marvel super hero from 2011. I really enjoyed the first one. More than I thought I would even. I enjoyed it so much I immediately went to see it again the next day. A couple weeks later while waiting in line for the midnight screening of Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, I decided to see it again because much to my surprise nobody else was there at 10am for a midnight screening. (In comparison, for the midnight screening of Pirates 3, there was already a dozen people or so in line at 5am at the same theater. I guess Jack Sparrow’s popularity waned a bit since then.)

This teaser is pretty effective in conveying that the story they’re telling in this one is probably a lot darker than the first film. It gives us a glimpse of the villain of the piece; Malekith, leader of the Dark Elves of Svartalfheim, portrayed by Christopher Eccleston(Doctor Who, 28 Days Later). We also get a healthy dose of some characters who are returning from the prior film: Jane Foster (Natalie Portman), Odin (Sir Anthony Hopkins), Loki (Tom Hiddleston) and Sif (Jaimie Alexander). Set piece-wise it looks to be a much bigger scale (and a bigger budget) than the first one. I am really looking forward to this movie. 🙂

Thor: The Dark World releases to theaters on November 8th 2013 in North America.

Monsters University

*sigh*

First of all, let me state that I am sure I will enjoy Monster University. It looks like an entertaining and funny movie, much like most Pixar films. However, telling the story of how Mike and Sully became friends through a Scare Competition in college certainly seems pointless given the end of Monsters Inc., which I won’t spoil here in case some of you haven’t seen it. (If you haven’t seen it, rectify that immediately. One of the best Pixar movies. I would rank it up there with The Incredibles, Up, and Wall-E.)

The good news is John Goodman and Billy Crystal are reprising their roles as Sully and Mike Wazowski respectively. There’s no way this film would work without their talents so I’m glad they came back for this. Also reprising their roles are Steve Buscemi as Randall and Frank Oz as Fungus, Randall’s “assistant”. John Ratzenberger will be in there somewhere too as he is Pixar’s apparent “good luck charm”.

Monsters University releases to theaters on June 21st 2013 in North America.

The Bling Ring

Emma Watson is in this movie.

The movie comes out some time in June. Dunno. *shrug*

Ratchet and Clank: The Movie

The Ratchet and Clank series of video games is one of my favorite series of all time. Though the last couple of entries in the series haven’t been as good as previous games in the series, I’m still hopeful that Insomniac Games will make the games about Ratchet and Clank again, instead of Ratchet or Clank. You see the last couple games (All 4 One and Full Frontal Assault) have been more about co-op rather than a single-player experience with an emphasis on both platforming and shooting. I really hope once Insomniac is done testing the multiplatform game market with their upcoming game Fuse, they will return to the series that really matters most to their fans.

In the meantime, Insomniac Games and Sony have partnered up with Rainmaker Entertainment (formerly Mainframe, creators of Reboot) and Blockade Entertainment to produce a film based on the Ratchet and Clank games. Apparently the first one will be a retelling of sorts of the first game in the series, Ratchet and Clank. The plot of the first game involves Supreme Executive Chairman Drek plotting to create a new planet for his race, the Blarg, after their planet becomes uninhabitable due to excessive pollution. Clank, a robot created by “accident”, seeks to thwart Drek’s evil plan and gets help from his soon-to-be friend and crime-fighting partner Ratchet, a Lombax from the planet of Veldin. They visit various planets and seek help from the most popular hero of the galaxy, Captain Qwark.

The film is being written by T.J. Fixman, the current writer of the Ratchet and Clank video games so it seems as if the story is in good hands at least. The film comes out some time in 2015. I hope this means that we’ll be getting a new Ratchet game, possibly on PlayStation 4, to coincide with the film’s release. Keeping my fingers cross on that one. I really do want a sequel to A Crack in Time, which is pretty much the best game in the series at this point, Up Your Arsenal coming in a close second.

That about wraps it up for this week’s trailer update. Next week Iron Man 3 comes out so I’ll probably have an Iron Man 3 review for you at that point. I’m really looking forward to it. Shane Black is the writer/director so I’m expecting great things. We shall see. 🙂

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Oblivion

Aliens have invaded the Earth and we defeated them with nuclear weapons. The Earth is a wasteland and man has packed it up and colonized Titan, one of the moons of Saturn. Meanwhile, one ship (the Tet, which I assume is short for Tetrahedron, because the ship’s physical shape is that of a tetrahedron) stays behind to do clean-up. This involves protecting these large autonomous platforms from the remnants of the alien invaders known as ‘Skavs’. They suck in the Earth’s ocean water to be used by the human colony on Titan. This is the story told to us by Jack Harper (Tom Cruise) via voice-over at the beginning of the film, part of the clean-up crew. Assisting him in this task is his controller Victoria (Andrea Riseborough) with whom he is romantically involved. He will soon come to realize that everything he thought he knew was true is not quite what it seems.

Oblivion_01sm

Oblivion, directed by Joseph Kosinski (TRON: Legacy), is what I would describe as a hard-core science-fiction movie. A lot of people think all movies with spaceships and advanced technology are science-fiction, but this is not the case. Science-fiction is a method of storytelling where you tell human-interest stories (morality plays if you will) among a backdrop of futuristic tech and worlds. Star Trek: The Original Series was science fiction. As an obvious example, the episode ‘Let That Be Your Last Battlefield’ involves two aliens who want to kill each other. Bele is black on the right side and white on the other (the master race) while Lokai is black on the left side and white on the other (the slave race).  Clearly this was a story about racism and hatred. There was even a bit that touched on, in a roundabout way, the Vietnam conflict as well. The writers of that episode took an issue relating to the human condition and wrote a tale that puts the issue in another light. In this case in a future where the Federation was free of racism and could not immediately see the distinction in skin color between Bele and Lokai.

Oblivion uses this method of storytelling to explore the theme of human identity. What is it that makes us who we are? Is it our genetic background, our experiences as a person, or perhaps, metaphorically speaking, our soul? The backdrop might be a planet that has been laid waste due to war and conflict, but the story is that of a human, Jack Harper, and who he is and what makes him human.

There are parts of the film that are intended to make the general public not be bored by such a tale. There are action scenes meant to get the viewer’s adrenaline pumping and to introduce a feeling of conflict as well as some brief nudity to amuse the adolescent audience. However, these events are all necessary in order to show who Jack is and his place in the world. And then when something happens to put his worldview in question, he embarks on a “hero’s journey” to come to terms with how this affects his place in the world and what he is willing to do to save humanity from extinction as well as the person that he loves. Make no mistake, this is definitely a science-fiction film and one of the better ones in recent memory. I highly recommend it.

Trailer Update

Some new trailers hit the web this week. Here’s the ones generating the most excitement with my friends and other movie fans across the internets.

Man of Steel

First up is the third and final trailer for Man of Steel, Zack Snyder‘s reboot of the Superman films. Rumor is this will be a set up for the Justice League movie, but I’m taking those rumors with a massive grain of salt for now. To be honest, previous trailers for the film made it seem a bit too dark to be what I would consider a proper Superman film. But there’s enough awesome in this trailer to at least give me a little hope that it will turn out well. Buzz from some preview events is strong with some people predicting it’s the best movie of the year. So we’ll see how it turns out. I hope it’s as good as everybody thinks it is. I really want a good Superman movie.

Star Trek: Into Darkness

Next up is Star Trek: Into Darkness. I will be completely honest here. I was not a fan of the 2009 Star Trek film by J.J. Abrams. Actually I’m underselling that quite a bit. I HATED that movie. HATED IT! I have been a Star Trek fan since the 70’s and the most important thing about that franchise is that it is science fiction. In fact, many episodes of the original series were written by actual science fiction authors like Harlan Ellison and D.C. Fontana. So what does Paramount do? They give the franchise to someone who had never seen an episode of Star Trek and had it written by the two guys who gave Devastator a scrotum in Transformers 2. No, I was not a fan of that movie at all. And prior trailers for the upcoming Into Darkness had me thinking that I was gonna get more of the same terrible writing in the second one. But this time they have Damon Lindelof helping them out on the script. So maybe it won’t be all bad. Now that they’re done with that whole business of creating an alternate universe for them to make new Star Trek movies in (which they did incorrectly), perhaps they can just focus on telling a good story this time around. This new trailer is quite a bit better than the previous two, but I can tell already there won’t be any science fiction in it. It’s just gonna be an action movie in space like the last one. Except this one has Benedict Cumberbatch who is a terrific actor and absolutely brilliant in Sherlock. Everybody should see that if they haven’t already. Also he’ll be playing Smaug and The Necromancer in the upcoming The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug. Can’t wait for that one. I hope we get a trailer for it soon.

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

The Hunger Games surprised me. I am a huge fan of Battle Royale and a lot of people were drawing comparisons between the two, so I was indeed skeptical prior to seeing the film. And you know what? Other than a couple slow parts and some over-dramatization of some character’s deaths, I liked it quite a bit. So I am definitely looking forward to this one. And more Jennifer Lawerence isn’t a bad thing either. 😉

Gatchaman

So there was an anime in Japan called Science Ninja Team Gatchaman. It was originally brought over to America as the show Battle of the Planets. They butchered the original show in order for it to air as children’s programming. They also added a couple new characters in 7-Zark-7 and 1-Rover-1. These segments were done not just to add cute lovable robots to the show, but to explain to the kids that all the explosions and people screaming didn’t involve people dying. No, instead, the early warning system detected the invasion and everybody was evacuated safely. Yeah, no. In the original anime they showed people being ripped apart by carnivorous plants and blood and body parts being thrown all over the place.

So awesome.

Anyway, now they’re dong a live-action movie in Japan. I hope it’s good. I don’t expect it to be as violent as the original anime, but definitely not as tame as the Battle of the Planets version.

Also, bit of trivia. The animation studio that did the 7-Zark-7 and 1-Rover-1 segments was the same studio that did the animated Tony the Tiger in the Frosted Flakes commercials of the 70’s.

And now you know…

Evil Dead

Thus follows the ramblings of a gore hound who has seen the Evil Dead remake, written and directed by Fede Alvarez, twice. Said gore hound (i.e. me) was disappointed to hear, perhaps a couple years ago, that plans were underway to remake one of his favorite horror films of all time; not Army of Darkness, but the original Evil Dead. But of course, once he saw the Red Band trailer, he was quite pleased and expected to be thrilled and entertained by buckets of blood and gore.

And boy did he get it. ^_^

Our story starts typically enough, with a group of younger people, friends, all meeting up at a cabin in the woods.

So far so good. Bwa-ha-ha-haaaa…

These friends are here to help Mia (Jane Levy) quit drugs. So she flushes them down the well and all should be right with the world. But then Mia is freaking out about a terrible smell and they discover the cellar and there’s all sorts of gross things down there like dead animals and stuff.

So awesome.

Anyway, there’s also a book. And one of the friends is a nerd science teacher and opens the book and reads from it because he’s a dumbass science teacher and opens the gates of hell (not literally) and then Mia is possessed and starts doing bad things to herself and her friends and then it rains blood (literally) and more cool stuff happens and then it’s over.

So awesome! ^_^

Hard to explain how awesome this movie is without spoiling the whole thing, but trust me, it is awesome. There is a ton of blood and gore. I personally didn’t think it was scary, but others may disagree. There’s definitely some parts that will make you jump out of your seat, those types of things. But as far as real scares go, I really don’t think it’s that scary. *shrug*

Now, that being said, I fully expect to like the director’s cut more. After all, their initial submission to the MPAA landed them an NC-17 rating, so they clearly had to cut something somewhere. I have no idea where considering how bloody and gory this film is. But I’m definitely looking forward to seeing what it is.

One slight issue I had with the film is how funny it is at times. This is supposed to be a remake of the original Evil Dead, which was not funny. In fact, it originally received an X rating, which they then released Unrated. There were no characters who spoke sarcastically or sardonically. So, perhaps they were trying to put a bit of Evil Dead 2: Dead By Dawn into it for comic relief because the filmmaker (or the studio) thought it was just too violent and scary. Perhaps they chose wisely because both audiences I saw the film with (one of which was predominantly college students) really ate it up. And, frankly, I’m embarrassed to say, so did I.

I am hearing some complaints from other movie reviews that a lot of the film is cliché and the typical “cabin in the woods” type of things happen in it. Well, yeah, where do you think a lot of those clichés started? They started with the original Evil Dead, of which this film is a remake. So of course there will be things you have seen before. But this is definitely a different take on the original source material and definitely a film well worth watching in a theater with friends. So go see it now. You will thank me later.