Sunday, May 2, 2010

Movie Trailer Special: Jonah Hex

Fans of DC's classic supernatural western hero Jonah Hex have been talking about movie possibilities for close to 40 years. The character, after all, bears more than a passing resemblence to Clint Eastwood's Man With No Name so it's only logical that back in the 70's, Eastwood was the center of the Hex film speculation. Those days are long gone, of course, but when DC and Warner Bros. announced a year or two ago that they had tapped Josh Brolin for the role, fans were hopeful. Pretty good casting, who knows. Maybe this will be a winner.

The only fly in the ointment? The fact that the film, which is set to open on June 18 (moved up from an original August release date), somehow still hasn't had a trailer released. Think about it: less than two months to go until what is supposedly one of WB's summer tentpoles, and not a single bit of publicity in the form of a teaser or commercial has been released. That's what we in the business call a bad sign, as is the fact that this delay was supposedly due to massive rewrites being filmed post haste by a new director brought on to salavge the project. Again, not the best sign of things to come. How they expect to build buzz for a movie without actually promoting it is a puzzler.

Well, finally -- FINALLY -- Warner Bros. has released their official trailer. Let's take a look at it together and discuss on the other side:

Okay. Where to start. I guess let's look at the positive side of things: as far as trailers go, this isn't a total trainwreck. It gives you the flavor of the film, who the characters are and what the plot is without totally ruining the story. So that's a plus, although I suspect a lack of story to ruin may have played into this approach. Essentially, this is a solid, professional trailer. I did think it was a little heavy with the Quentin Turnbull flashbacks -- the bad guy gets introduced twice, which is probably one more time than strictly necessary -- but while the finished product is a bit chaotic, overall it's fairly effective. If you like this sort of movie, it's saying, than you'll like this, because it's that sort of movie. You dig?

Unfortunately, what this type of movie looks like is a really crappy comic book adapatation that seems to also be channeling the especially rank Will Smith flop Wild Wild West. Brolin looks as though he's doing his best to elevate some serious nonsense -- which is more than I could say for the similarly horrifying Ghost Rider, where Nic Cage just wallowed in it instead -- but based on this trailer, it appears to be a losing effort. Gatling guns? A Q-style weaponsmith crafting anacrhonistic crossbow cannons in his barn? Really, guys?

I'm not going to bother saying anything bad about Megan Fox; the weird thing is, this is probably going to be better than Transformers at least (whoops, that might have been something bad about Megan Fox). But pretty much everything about this trailer makes me want to cry blood. And that's not even getting into some obvious changes they made to the character, which, whatever. It happens. But if they're going to change the dude, it should at least be in service of improving the movie rather than devolving the audience.

My Grades: As a trailer, this gets a B-. Trailer editors can only work with what they are given. For the content, this gets a D, only saved because Brolin still seems like a good choice; the rest of it looks horrible. I so hope I am wrong about this one, but just in case, I am saying my goodbyes to the ten bucks its going to cost me to find out.

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