Remember when set photos of the new Robocop suit came out and everyone was complaining that he looked like shit? Well, fuck that noise! This trailer for the Robocop remake is fucking badass and the suit looks absolutely fantastic!
Those of us in the tokusatsu fandom know to never judge a suit by a photo alone. There are plenty of busted ass looking Kamen Riders that are completely awesome. And some awesome looking ones that are hella lame.
It doesn’t seem like this new version will have the same sort of biting social commentary as the first one, but it still looks like a lot of fun.
It’s rare that I am able to convince friends to come with me on a midnight journey to see a film on opening night, especially when we all have to go to work the next morning. Yet there we were, five intrepid souls siting in extra comfy seats waiting with great anticipation to see ten minutes of Star Trek: Into Darkness. Oh, and The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.
Let me get this out of the way now. Tolkien’s universe is devoid of minorities and extremely light on female representation. Were it up to him, The Hobbit would be a homogeneous sausage-fest of dude bros. The screen writers saw fit to include Galadriel in the film in a scene that doesn’t happen in the book just make believe that women had a place in Middle Earth. Cate Blanchett completely owns the screen, but for the most part, this is a movie about dude bros bro-ing out as hard as they can. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a lot of fun. It’s not like I spent the entire film yelling at the screen for not including any women or minorities in the cast. But in a magical world of fantasy, it’s a little boring that aside from height variations and clothing, all of our heroes kind of look the same.
With that caveat, here are my thoughts. There my be some spoilers, but really, this book is 75 years old, there’s the cartoon movie from 1977, and you’ve probably read it in your mythology classes at some point.
Story Within a Story
One of my favorite literary devices is when characters tell each other stories. It happens a few times during the course of the movie. The film opens with the older Bilbo that we met in the Lord of the Rings trilogy, played by Ian Holm, sitting down to write about his first great adventure. It’s a wonderful way to tie the character to the Lord of the Rings.
Later, on the trail to the Lonely Mountain, Balin tells the story of how Thorin got his title “Oakenshield.” It’s my absolute favorite part of the movie. It’s a powerful story that explains a great deal about why I want to call him Thorin Evergrim. The guy never smiles.
We get another story from Radagast the Brown, a wizard who watches over the green forest. He recounts his encounter with an evil force that heralds something much darker than anyone can imagine. But these are rumblings of things to come in the next two films.
Hobbits Are Invisible
Though the book and this movie are both ostensibly Bilbo’s tale, I really felt more of a connection with Thorin. This seemed more like Thorin’s story than Bilbo’s which speaks to one of the major problems of this film. It felt a bit sprawling and unfocused and Bilbo kind of got lost in all the confusion. Certainly, his scenes with Golum are the stuff of performance legend, but even then, Golum stole the spotlight away from our clever, yet trixy hobbitses.
Still, I think Martin Freeman is perfect as Bilbo. I love his facial expressions. You can see the internal conflict in his eyes, that desire to live a simple life battling with the pull of adventure. I’m hoping he’ll take more of a central role in the next film because he’s doing some amazing things with Bilbo.
Baaaa, baba baaaa, baba baaaa, Duna naaaa, nana naaaa, nana naaaa
Though we don’t get to hear the fanfare from the Lord of the Rings trilogy that I’ve been humming the entire weekend, some of the audio cues hearken back to that original trilogy. The violin solo we hear whenever anyone talks about the ring itself finds its way into The Hobbit. And the dark horn call we hear when the uruk hai are on screen is echoed when we see warg-mounted orcs.
The main theme is taken from the song the dwarfs sing in this trailer:
It’s haunting and sorrowful. But it swells with power that seems so appropriate for the dwarfs.
There’s a scene when the party runs away from all the goblins and I couldn’t help but thing, “haven’t we seen this before?” It will be a nice kind of book end that will visually tie this movie to the The Fellowship of the Ring, but I kind of felt meh about the bit. Also, the heavy use of CG in some parts jumped me out of the experience. I don’t know, maybe it was the fact that it was about 2:45am when it happened. Maybe it will be less annoying when seen altogether with all six movies (oh man, that’s going to be so much fun!), but it seemed a little, I don’t know, forced?
An Unfinished Journey
Overall, while I really enjoyed the movie, I felt like I didn’t see a self-contained film. Lots of dangling threads to tie up in the next two. I wonder what it was like for people who are completely new to the entire Tolkien film world because I just can’t judge it on its own. The end of the film didn’t really feel like an ending, more like a chapter break. And while I think it will work amazingly well when all three are seen in one nine hour marathon when they’re all complete, it left me wanting. I guess that’s a good thing because it virtually guarantees that I’ll be in line for a ticket when The Desolation of Smaug drops sometime next year.
With all its warts, I definitely think it’s worth seeing in the theater. The IMAX 3D experience is absolutely wonderful. It really draws you into the world. I didn’t see it in the new frame rate so I have no idea what that’s like. But this is the kind of movie that must be experienced in a theater. Perfect fun for the holidays.
I suspect that seeing this trailer in the theater would give me all sorts of nerd chills. I definitely like the internal struggle that’s being set up here. It’s chilling when you hear a young a Clark ask if he should have let his classmates die and Jonathan Kent replies, “Maybe.” Pre-Crisis, pre Zero Hour, pre New 52 Pa Kent would have unequivocally have said, “Yes” and maybe have punctuated it with “because ‘Merica!” But this isn’t the bright and shiny super boy scout of our younger years.
While that certainly makes for a more mature Superman film than I would have ever expected, there’s something missing. Superman is essentially goodness incarnate. He saves us from the alien scourges and still has time to get cats out of trees for the kiddies. He is the embodiment of hope and light. We get none of that hope or light from this trailer. It’s actually quite depressing. And it’s not just the subject matter. They’ve sucked out all the color and painted the piece in swaths of dirty grays. I understand that Warner Bros is trying to tie this in with their Dark Knight franchise somehow, but Smallville and Metropolis should not feel like Gotham.
Still, it looks quite good. Hell, I didn’t even mind the really annoying texture of the suit. And it looks worlds better than Returns. Will this be the non-Bat flick that establishes a DC movieverse to compete with Marvel’s movieverse? Or will it be too serious and dark that it will fold in on itself due to the weight of its self importance?
Still no Cumberbatch ass, but this teaser trailer for Star Trek: Into Darkness has all the signs of a darker, more gritty sequel. When the first “BWAAAAAAAAAHHHHH” hits, you know some shit is about to go down. Cumberbatch’s voice over makes me really excited to hear him as Smaug in the upcoming Hobit movies. It also appears that JJ Abrams has a fever, and the only prescription is more lens flair! Very excited to see this cast back together.
Here’s the latest post for Man of Steel, the Superman reboot. It probably goes without saying that anyone doing a Superman movie will have tremendous pressure put upon them by Warner Bros, DC Comics, and the fans. I imagine that anyone working on the production would feel terribly confined by all the pressure coming from the various factions that have an interest in the film. Of course, you have to answer to the studio because they’re the ones funding it. But you also don’t want to disappoint the fans because they’re the ones who can make or break the movie at the box office. There are so many forces pushing and pulling at you with such a high profile project that I can easily imagine the production feeling trapped, chained if you will, by all these external factors. Could this feeling have subconsciously factored in the design for this poster?
I guess the bigger question is, does this make you want to see the film? Certainly, seeing Supes in handcuffs is provocative. Who can chain the Man of Steel? Are those handcuffs made of Kryptonite? Is he willingly giving himself up because he did something unforgivable? So many questions. But are they compelling enough to make you want to see the movie?
Paramount just released this poster for Star Trek: Into Darkness and though it definitely sets a mood, I can’t believe they threw away the perfect opportunity to show off some Benedict Cumberbatch man ass! It’s clear he’s wearing tight leather pants. Why hide the goods with that formless future trench!
Fail, Paramount! You didn’t even try!
Um… still pretty excited to see this. I hear we’ll be getting a teaser by the end of the year so maybe we’ll get to see some proper Cumberbatch leather clad ass after all.