Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Movie Trailers: Clash of the Titans and More

The holiday season is on us, and that means one thing: shopping. But if it meant two things, the second thing might be new movies, because this is one of the busiest seasons in the cinematic year. And a slew of new blockbuster films means an equally large helping of new trailers, as studios want to get their hot properties for 2010 in front of as many turkey-sated viewers as possible. That, of course, means a third thing -- a batch of new Movie Trailer reviews from the Vault.

As usual, we'll be reviewing how effective and interesting the trailer is first and foremost, and the content of the movie second, as making a good trailer is an art form in and of itself (as the great trailer for the horribly bad Pearl Harbor proved). Up first on this month's docket: the high budget, high profile remake of Clash of the Titans!

Clash of the Titans
Scheduled release date: March 26, 2010

Fans of a certain age will fondly remember the original Clash of the Titans, a sprawling 1981 epic that featured state of the art stop motion special effects that now, of course, could be easily duplicated by a six year old on a iPhone. Still, the movie had a certain je ne sais qois that has endeared it to fantasy lovers over the years.

Well, judging from this preview, it doesn't appear as though effects will be an issue this time around. Dialogue, of course, may be, as evidenced by the oddly jarring modern jargon emnating from the mouth of the legendary Pete Postlethwaite. The editors behind this clip, therefore, were probably wise in making that the only dialogue in the trailer, crafting the rest as what appears to be a frenetic Mastodon music video.

This does have the unfortunate effect of relegating stars (and seeming box office draws) like Liam Neeson to blink-and-you'll-miss-it cameos, but other than that odd choice, this is a pretty effective teaser that should get the younger crowd invested. I guess all those part about plot and character can be fit into a later trailer down the road if for some reason they think that sort of thing is necessary.

My Grades: As a teaser goes, this one is pretty good. I'm not sure about the dialogue, but since there's too little to judge, I'll have to give this an B+. I'd already rather watch this movie than see 300 again, that's for sure.

Prince of Persia: Sands of Time
Scheduled release date: May 28, 2010

Looks like we have a theme going: two trailers, two big budget fantasy epics. Unlike Clash of the Titans, though, which features current It-guy Sam Worthington in the lead role, Prince of Persia has made the curious decision to have the googly Jake Gyllenhaal star as its action hero.

So how does that work out? Well, the trailer does have one thing going for it: it does, in fact, look a lot like a video game. Whether or not this will make people want to watch a movie, of course, rather than just fire up their console, is a different question, but the CGI towers of the city resemble nothing so much as a cutscene from the game, a feeling only heightened by the swooping camera work which is reminiscent of a player rotating the vantage point to get a better look at the next tricky jump.

As for Jake the Snake, well, he seems to have a fake accent for reasons that currently escape me, which is okay because everything that happens in this trailer is helpfully narrated by the female lead. IN other words, it's a totally by the book trailer filled with "dazzling" action shots, wads of exposition and an overview of the entire plot. Is it by Disney and Jerry Bruckheimer by any chance? Oh, look, it is.

Least surprising credits ever.

My Grades: All things considered, the trailer for the video game is actually better than the one for the movie. That's not a good sign. This gets a C-, which would be lower if the bad guy wasn't being hammed up by Ben Kingsley in full BloodRayne mode. I'll probably take a pass on this one unless I am reallllly bored next summer.

Scheduled release date: April 16, 2010

Hey, look at this: an actual comic book movie based on an actual comic book! That's almost too topical for The Vault, but at the risk of being predictable, I'm going to take a look at it anyway. As a bonus, I've managed to avoid reading the actual comic, which, to be honest, isn't the worst policy when it comes to Mark Millar. Yeah, I know, some people think he's the third coming of Jesus, but he's pretty hit or miss with me. For film people, he's also behind Wanted, so that should tell you something; whether that something is good or bad I'll leave up to the individual to decide.

I have to admit, though, that as far as trailers go, this one is a pretty solid hit. Instead of a stream-of-conscious montage of unrelated images like many trailers, this one starts with one sustained scene that takes up half the trailer and nicely sets the tone and presents the concept of the film while still being mildly entertaining in its own right. Then we do get a couple brief scenes and intros to other characters, just enough to whet the appetite without blowing the whole gig.

I'm not sure this clip is kick ass, but it's not half bad, anyway.

My Grades: This is an effective and memorable trailer. It's not Gladiator, but it's pretty good. A-.

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