This year’s Super Bowl featured—in between some grotesquely sloppy football, a not-bad-at-all halftime performance by Beyoncé, and an extended (rather funny) power outage in the middle of the third quarter—a whole slew of trailers for upcoming movies. And not half bad ones at that. Here then, are the major ones.
The Lone Ranger
Disney is really leaning on the whole “from the people who brought you the [ENORMOUSLY SUCCESSFUL] Pirates of the Caribbean franchise” thing, and why not, really? Director Gore Verbinski seems to have brought the same kind of mega-budget pizazz here that pushed that previous franchise to such height, with the same crazy/funny vibe, and of course Johnny Depp in weird makeup, which is always a fine thing. It also—through all the normal trailer bells and whistles and frantic cutting and so forth—shows a reasonably apt sense of the iconography of Westerns as a film genre, while also being a big, loud fun Pirates of the Wild Wild West kind of thing, which could totally hit the spot if done right. Coming this July 3rd.
Oz the Great and Powerful
This one’s coming out in little more than a month (March 8th), and the spot that aired during the game presented little in the way of new footage yet unseen from other trailers. One thing’s for sure: this movie looks fascinating. Director Sam Raimi is no stranger to big-budget visual spectacle, which this prequel of sorts to The Wizard of Oz certainly is. The trailer doesn’t give much sense of anything other than that spectacle, but it’ll at least have the visuals going for it.
World War Z
From the years of troubling production reports to the first trailer, this problematic adaptation of Max Brooks’ beloved zombie apocalypse novel been making people nervous for a while now. It’s actually a very well-made trailer in the way it presents the movie as a coherent thing with very clear human stakes. But taken in contrast with a lot of the earlier released footage, one thing one can’t help but notice is a distinct lack of zombies in the later versions. There’s a reason for this: they really, really don’t look very good in any iteration we’ve seen yet. And for a summer special effects movie with a gigantic budget that’s, well, not a terribly good sign. Unless director Marc Forster makes the bold decision of cutting all the extremely expensive dud CG zombie effects and fashions a compelling movie out of just the actors and the story. Which is sort of possible. (Out on June 20th.)
Okay, this isn’t SFF, but man oh man oh man. Where do we begin? Tanks crushing cars on highways, Vin Diesel driving cars out the exploding noses of burning airplanes, Gina Carano existing. Why this isn’t screening in competition at Cannes I have no idea, but these kinds of omissions happen. (Releases May 24th.)
“I am better.” “At what?” “Everything.” Well, you’re certainly not lacking for confidence there, Mr. Cumberbatch. The spot for this follow-up to 2009’s Star Trek is typically J.J. Abrams-y: short on specifics but long on eye-popping action and intriguing ambiguity. (And oh, Cumberbatch, you evil evil man.) The fact that most of it seems to be taking place on Earth implies that the trek into darkness may not be in the stars, which is a change of pace to say the least (since tonally it doesn’t appear this borrows too much from Star Trek IV.) But it sure does look like a good expensive action movie, so we’ve got that to look forward come May 17th.
Also in May (on the 3rd in the US, a week after it opens internationally), the return of Tony Stark! The extremely brief teaser that played during the game—also the only new footage in the extended version online, aside from Robert Downey Jr. staring into the camera for almost thirty seconds in his typically waggish fashion—throws our hero into a very tense situation. An airplane has been torn open midair by the mysterious Mandarin (Ben Kingsley), and Iron Man is faced with having to save 13 airplane passengers free-falling toward the Earth when he can only carry four at once. What will he do? I mean, we can pretty sure he’s not going to drop anyone, but it’s a hell of a hook for a teaser. If the whole movie can maintain that kind of breathless excitement, the movie (directed by Shane Black, taking the reins from Jon Favreau) should be a blast.
Anyway. Those were the trailers, which were a great deal more fun than the football. What do you all think? Let’s talk.