So I went away for a couple of days, and apparently in that time every movie coming out next year released a trailer. Or at least that’s what it felt like. I had a lot of catching up to do, so it only made sense to do said catching up with all of you. There are seven trailers to dissect below, and while breaking down the minute details of each and every trailer would take far too long and probably bore most of you, what I’ve tried to do is give some overall thoughts on the effectiveness of the trailer and some key moments from each. Some are ‘teaser’ trailers, some are designed to be full trailers, but all have one thing in common: They’re here to get us talking and to get us interested. Do they do that? Let’s find out.
The Fate of the Furious
If there was any question as to whether the franchise is still a big deal after Paul Walker’s death, you just have to look at how they released the trailer – by shutting down Times Square today to hold a viewing event. It’s a big bombastic spectacle for an equally big and bombastic series. Given how ridiculous this franchise is, both in general and specifically in their naming conventions, I feel there’s a missed opportunity here in titling this ‘The F8 of the Furious’…but that’s just me.
The trailer itself does a good job of establishing the basic concept of the next movie. Dom has turned his back on the family for reasons that will become clear later, and to stop him the family has to team with the antagonist of Furious 7, Jason Staham’s Deckard Shaw, also probably for reasons. They obviously need to do something different in the wake of losing franchise star Paul Walker after he passed away, but going this route without Walker there seems like something of a missed opportunity.
It’d be easy to argue that the plot seems pretty stupid, but who are we kidding, that’s the Fast and Furious M.O, and the plot has always been little more than a connecting point between big action set pieces. It’s also the kind of story that might help to give the movie a fresh coat of paint eight movies in. The big moment of the trailer is clearly the submarine, which doesn’t quite match up to dropping cars out of planes or jumping them across the Etihad Towers in Abu Dhabi, but it should still be good for a bit of fun. I’m sure the movie still has plenty up its sleeve too.
I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t excited for this movie – they know exactly what the series is and what the fans want from it at this point, and that’s a strong position to be in. It’s also a really well cut trailer, using the beat of the backing track to move between cuts and scenes in a rather enjoyable way.
War for the Planet of the Apes
I’ve honestly felt that if this movie delivers, then the modern ‘Apes’ trilogy could get ranked among the best trilogies out there – but it needs a great 3rd movie to reach the heights of the Star Wars holy trinity, the Lord of the Rings, The Godfather and the Nolan Batman movies.
This is a trailer that gives us exactly the right amount of information to work with without going overboard and spoiling the movie. There is a clear natural progression from ‘Dawn’, and I’m curious to see where the humanity from the last two movies sits here. We see the little girl pop up occasionally, but one of the stronger parts of the previous two movies has been the positive human influences on Caesar.
The CGI, even in the trailer (which sometimes aren’t ‘finished’) continues to look utterly incredible, and is a benchmark for other movies to reach. And Andy Serkis’ performance as Caesar goes beyond the brilliant mo-cap – I love the voice he uses, and when Caesar speaks you’re constantly drawn in and feel his leadership – even with just the snippet we get here. Also, apes with guns and apes on horses continues to be cool.
I’m digging the ‘Aliens’ inspired corridor scene in the cave, and Woody Harrelson as the antagonist should be a lot of fun, even if his speech in the trailer was probably meant to feel more impactful than it did. I like how the trailer was kind of split in two, broken between Caesar and Woody’s monologues. I was pumped for this movie before, I’m still pumped after the trailer.
This looks like it could knock it out of the park with the character of Peter Parker. We know trailers can be deceptive but already it appears that the movie will be juggling the issues comic Peter always faced between trying to be both a hero and a normal teenager. It also included plenty of genuinely funny moments without making it look like a straight up comedy. Also, more Robert Downey Junior as Tony Stark is always a good thing, especially in this kind of role. The whole car scene was just great, and a wonderful encapsulation of both characters.
The opening bank robbery with the Avengers’ masks was the perfect way to start the trailer, right down to the identity fraud poster in the background. Vulture looks good, and though I’ve never been a huge fan of his that could change with Keaton in the role. Really there’s not a lot to dislike about this trailer. My only nitpick is the webbing on the Spidey-suit that looks like it’s there to help him glide looks kind of stupid. I know we’re in a superhero realm here but no way does that keep him gliding through the air. But Marvel look like they’ve knocked this one out of the park, and seems primed to battle Wonder Woman for best superhero movie of 2017.
I don’t know what I was expecting, but going into this trailer all I knew was Dwyane Johnson was in it. I really like the pairing of Dwyane and Zac Efron, both have proven they have a good feel and track record for comedy, and I think they’re going to mesh well as a duo. It’s the kind of buddy cop pairing that just makes sense.
This definitely feels like it’s going to be next year’s big comedy flick, and the trailer gives me some 21 Jump Street vibes even though the narrative will be totally different. It is also clear that this movie isn’t afraid to go ‘full Baywatch’ and provide copious amounts of fanservice, no matter your preference of male or female (though it is crazy to think The Rock spent a large chunk of his career performing in something more revealing than Baywatch clothing…).
Add up all of that and it probably means Baywatch will do decent numbers. Hard to say whether it’ll be great though, not all of the jokes in this trailer really landed for me, and there’s a definite possibility that it ends up swinging to mostly unfunny rather than mostly funny. Comedies are notoriously tough to pick from trailers though, since a lot of them pack in a lot of their better jokes within the two minute ads. Still, the pairing has the potential to carry even a mediocre film.
No this isn’t a reboot of the Brendan Fraser series, but instead the start of a planned ‘Monster’ cinematic universe owned by Universal – because shared cinematic universes are all the rage now thanks to Marvel. Most of this trailer is set around a single scene where Tom Cruise’s plane gets taken out of the sky, thanks to what we can assume is thanks to the Mummy’s supernatural powers.
I’m sure it’ll end up being a decent action movie at least, but I honestly wasn’t very excited by the trailer. I suspect we’ll get a lot of Mission Impossible style action scenes laced through this, but I’ll need to see more before I put it on my must watch list. It’s also going to confuse a lot of people who will be thinking or expecting this to be in line with the Fraser Mummy movies, which felt very different to what we’re getting here.
Transformers 5: The Last Knight
This is a tough one to properly judge because I couldn’t care less about the Transformers movies. I’ve never enjoyed them and flat out didn’t bother with the fourth, despite liking the franchise as a kid. This one doesn’t make me second guess my presumptions that I won’t be bothering with this one either, but at least it feels like they might be trying something new here.
Yeah it’s still clearly a Michael Bay Transformers movie, but a potentially evil/corrupted Optimus Prime (maybe Nemesis Prime?) will at least provide the movie with a bit of a different direction. The fact that it looks like we might be getting Unicron (or at least something like Unicron) eating a moon means this could actually do a good job of upping the stakes here – and that scene in particular has a grand sense of size these movies have struggled with (surprising given it’s a giant robot franchise). It hasn’t won me over to Transformers, but it’s gotten me more interested than the blatant Dino-bot fanservice of the last movie’s trailer. I might have to keep an eye on this moving forward.
Guardians of the Galaxy 2
I know the Baby Groot bandwagon is probably at maximum capacity already, but I think the MVP of this trailer is Drax. Bautista’s portrayal of him is positively delightful and far better than I ever would have expected from the ex-wrestler.
This is the one trailer on this list I had seen and had time to think on, and it’s probably a good thing. My initial impressions were that the humour here didn’t hit quite like I was expecting, especially given how much I enjoyed the first movie – which I still consider to be top 3 from Marvel. On later viewings though I found myself liking it more.
It’s still got that fun campy space pulp adventure feel which is exactly what I want from this series, and the trailer gives little away as to what the story will be. Instead we just get a collection of moments and jokes which are meant to get you interested. There’s a definite focus on Baby Groot, who I expect to be at front and centre of the advertising campaign…and of course he would be, just look at how cute he is! There’s plenty of colour and excitement laced through this trailer, and it seems remember what made the original so loved. And at the end of the day, I’m interested in another round of Guardians.