Mon
Feb 7 2011 11:21am

Super Bowl Sunday in Movie Trailers

Super Bowl Sunday is a many-splendored thing, and like many days of great pageantry, the thing that started it all—football, or “handegg” for those who prefer their footballs to be round, directed with the feet, and fired into goals by thin men with nice hair—is but one thing by which to be entertained. This should come as a great relief to the large percentage of you for whom I’m sure sports hold little to no interest, and so let us proceed without further ado to the discussion of the movie trailers which aired during the Super Bowl broadcast.

With the exception of one movie where Bradley Cooper and Robert De Niro talk tensely while Kanye West plays on the soundtrack (and which I am more than a little embarassed to admit I thought looked interesting), nearly every single other trailer shown was for an SF picture (or potentially relevant to SF fans’ interests).

The Cowboys vs. Aliens trailer was, easily, the best of the lot. It featured a bit more quick cutting than the earlier, longer trailer, and accomplishes the truly impressive feat of seeming even more giddily awesome than its predecessor. This is not simply for featuring what appears to be a nude scene from Olivia Wilde; while such a scene displays excellent taste on the filmmakers’ part, it is still of decidedly secondary importance to the fact that Daniel Craig and Harrison Ford are going to be riding around on horses fighting aliens, which is an idea that makes my brain short-circuit and start shooting sparks.

Following a close second is—please hold the eye-rolling and accusations of idiocy—Transformers: The Dark of the Moon. I am by no means saying that the Transformers movies have been any good: The first one achieved a state of boring sensory overload and was utterly forgettable, but the second one was a terminally crazy, post-rational, fascinatingly insane experience that was, while it was by no means a good movie and in fact a bad one in several dozen ways, unforgettable. The two different trailers for the third movie aired during Sunday's broadcast were quite different: one more conventional, highlighting the BIG LOUD SPECIAL EFFECTS, while the other at first seemed (almost) like it was supposed to be documentary footage, until the robot throws the guy. Sure, they both looked kind of dumb, but if we’ve learned anything from the Transformers movies is that they’re dumb in a way and on a level few things in this universe are, and this—to my way of thinking, at least—warrants further study.

The trailer for JJ Abrams’ Super 8, while still a bit inscrutable as to what the picture’s actually about, still looks quite cool, although the ET-ish music was an odd choice. Odd music or no odd music though, I’m very interested to learn more about this movie. In the meantime I'll content myself with studying Abrams’ brilliant ability to promote movies without telling anyone anything about them until they've already been #1 at the box office for two weeks.

The Thor trailer very nearly made me throw a full can of beer through my friend’s television. I resisted the urge to do so and merely cursed loudly and said unkind things about Kenneth Branagh. To paraphrase the gist of all that unkindness and profanity, I will say this: if this Thor is a god, I’m an atheist. This is unfair, to be sure, and most decidedly a knee-jerk reaction based on a far too small a sample size. I would very much like for this picture to be good, because I prefer movies to be good than bad (unless they’re Transformers movies, in which case I absolutely insist that they be as bad as possible). But this trailer . . . well, perhaps the less said the better.

The same goes for the Captain America one, only more so. The lighting is weird, they have Cap on quite a serious steroid regimen, and little else can be gleaned. This is, ultimately, the problem with teaser trailers: you learn more about your own interest in the movie than the movie itself. Oddly enough, though, even though my first reaction to the Thor trailer was violent anger, that actually gives it a better chance of being something I like than Captain America, which elicited a shrug.

Then there’s the Pirates of the Caribbean trailer, which brought back fond memories of the previous post I did on it. The Pirates of the Caribbean movies are critic-proof. If you like them, you like them, and if you don’t like them, saying so just annoys the fans. I think the idea of having a movie where Johnny Depp and Penelope Cruz run around with swords looking pretty is one that should be supported unconditionally. If they can keep that ship afloat, godspeed.

Now, the other Johnny Depp trailer they showed was this bizarre animated thing called Rango. Kung Fu Panda 2 is what it is, and that Rio thing made me frown, but Rango looks genuinely, interestingly strange. Lizards in a Western? Sure, I’ll have that.

In between all these trailers was an extremely uninspiring football game which, I'll admit, may have colored my critical perception. But still, there are quite a few interesting-looking pictures on the horizon that I look forward to seeing. Something, after all, has to fill all those hours in which I won’t be watching football.


Danny Bowes is a playwright, filmmaker and blogger. He is also a contributor to nytheatre.com and Premiere.com.

13 comments
Patti Taylor
1. sapience14
I think Limitless (the Cooper/De Niro flick) is actually a science-fiction film at least in premise--the idea is that someone is giving the ability to access the rest of their brain...
Danny Bowes
2. DannyBowes
Apparently it is. I was annoyed enough in the moment that they were using that Kanye song so obviously that I blocked it out, but it looks like it's about Bradley Cooper doing future coke and discovering some kind of intrigue. So it's SF (ish) as well!
Nick Rogers
3. BookGoblin
There was also a trailer for "The Adjustment Bureau" which is based on a Philip K Dick short story. It was the one with Matt Damon as a nice guy running for senator and Terence Stamp and John Slattery looking menacing in an "evil government agency" kind of way. Most definitely sci-fi.
Sheila McEvoy
4. SuffatheDamane
My understanding of Thor is that they are playing up the notion that the Asgardians are more... um, extradimensional beings/aliens than actual deities, but their technology is so advanced that is, as they say, indistinguishable from magic.

However, the actor playing Thor.... well,... gasp. Where was I?

Oh yeah. In fact, they are sorta pretending that these beings were adored as gods by the Norse cultures. It should also be noted that they cast a black actor as Tyr, thereby enraging white supremacists everywhere. Love. It.

Captain America shows dweeby Steve Rogers being administered the 'super soldier serum' that turns him all buff and beefy.
bloggeratf
5. bloggeratf
There is no way this won't be a blockbuster. I mean it has Cowboys AND Aliens.
Bradley Beek
7. beeker73
I can't wait for the sequel - Cosmonauts and Indians
Evan Langlinais
8. Skwid
beeker73 has won today's internets!

More seriously, though, the previews and commercials for Pirates 4 have been anti-interesting, to me; each one having diluted my interest more than I had going into it. But the revelation that the movie is based (in part, at least) on a Tim Powers story is very interesting, indeed!
Ben H
9. dripgrind
The film where the Kanye soundtrack apparently sent you into some kind of brief coma is called Limitless. It seems like a movie adaptation of Understand by Ted Chiang.
Danny Bowes
10. DannyBowes
Either that or the novel The Dark Fields by Alan Glynn. Though imdb's been wrong before.
bloggeratf
11. Neon Sequitur
No mention of Battle: Los Angeles?
bloggeratf
12. omega_n
This is not simply for featuring what appears to be a nude scene from Olivia Wilde; while such a scene displays excellent taste on the filmmakers’ part, it is still of decidedly secondary importance to the fact that Daniel Craig and Harrison Ford are going to be riding around on horses fighting aliens

No, no. You see, what would actually display excellent taste on the filmmaker's part is a nude scene from Daniel Craig while Olivia Wilde rode around on a horse fighting aliens.

But we just can't leave the fanboys out in the cold, can we...
bloggeratf
13. Edgewalker
Why should you be embarrassed to say you thought Limitless looked interesting?

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