It’s been far too long since I posted movie trailers. In part, I’d like to say, because of the lacklustre performance of recent storytellers. I have no interest in a movie where Jessica Alba plays a woman unable to get a date for Valentine’s Day. Really, it’s not even funny, the woman can’t act. The latest Robert Zemekis abomination even stars Jim Carrey; barely palatable when he’s not a pointlessly-CG old man playing Scrooge. Nor do I, in a particularly twisted piece of irony, want any part in promoting a disaster film that appears to be one long VFX shot set in the year 2012. There may be people in there somewhere, but they’re hard to see, and I doubt anyone cares if they’re saying anything. Apparently watching a digital California crumble into the ocean is more important than a good story. On second thought, I’ll probably watch that. I hated LA.
(no offence to my friends that live in CA, of course, nor any future employers located there; who I am sure are awesome enough I can brave unbearable heat and deadened landscapes without so much as a whimper of despair!)
The other part of the blame, of course, rests with me. I missed a few cool trailers in the past few months, such as Daybreakers (Sam Neil is a vampire, and so is most of earth’s population), Zombieland (America’s own Shaun of the Dead cult classic), and The Men Who Stare at Goats (George Clooney, Jeff Bridges, Ewan McGregor, and Kevin Spacey all in one film!).
Anyway, there are a two trailers that caught my eye this week. First up is a new trailer for Prince of Persia. I normally wouldn’t give this much more than a cursory glance, but the Prince of Persia series (on the original Xbox) is one of the few xbox games I’ve ever owned. Sure, I love a good game of Halo with friends, but on my own? It’s pretty much the only console title to ever hold my attention. Back in 2004, it was, well, kinda beautiful! And now? It’s going to be a film. Don’t get me wrong, that’s usually a horrific proposition, but Prince of Persia should have some decent story arcs to play off of, and given some good writers, the right actors, and action packed cinematography, it could pull off a feat that no one has, to the best of my knowledge, pulled off before; a decent film based on a computer game. Unfortunately, I do have a lot of issues with the cast. Somehow they skipped a thousand actors better suited for the role, and hired Jake Gyllenhaal as the lead. Sir Ben Kingsley is even deplorably typecast as a bad guy. But it’s sometimes hard to tell how things will come together based only on the trailer; can’t say this will actually pull through, but I’m hoping it’s cool.
DreamWorks films are hardly a shining example of animation or even basic film making – compared to Pixar (the end-all/be-all of good storytelling … and they’re pretty good at 3D animation too), the films from DreamWorks Animation just don’t measure up. Maybe they’re not quite as family friendly, maybe the animation quality isn’t as good, maybe the story isn’t worthwhile, maybe they’re just dumber … usually it’s all of those issues and more. Of course, any diatribe of mine against Dreamworks must be prefaced with an acknowledgement that I really liked Shrek. Yes, it had many of the aforementioned issues, but I found myself identifying personally with the whole pretty/ugly dichotomy (probably why I loved Hellboy so much as well!). I enjoyed it enough that I even like the second film a little. And to be very honest, I did watch Kung Fu Panda. Not a great film, but the character rigging really stood out – as someone who’s done 3D for a wee bit of time, good character TDs are unsung heroes.
Well, enough of that, and now that my soap box is handily stowed away in an easily retrievable location, I can finally get to the trailer for How To Train Your Dragon. A DreamWorks film I may not hate! It’s written and directed by some of the same people that did Lilo and Stitch, not a favourite movie of mine, but strangely charming. I’m hoping we get something similar from this film – a little odd, just enough quirkiness to be endearing. I’m actually looking forward to how this turns out! Be it the dragon design (more unique than most, I would say, even cat-like), the overly dry comedic delivery (heck, Craig Ferguson is involved, clearly recognisable in the trailer!), or the wetter, grayer palettes employed by the look department. Of course, it’s also being made for stereoscopic projection. That’s a whole other diatribe, and there’s just not the time. At least, not right now. Maybe the next blog post.
For now, let me know your thoughts in the comments!