Welcome to our new feature, The Trailer Park, where we’ll be looking back over the past week for a look at the biggest trailers for the biggest nerdy films. This was a hell of a week to start in, with two of the biggest trailers of the year landing over just a couple of days! Let’s take a look.
The first trailer for the new Terminator movie, at the end of last year, worked surprisingly well for me. The idea of retelling the first film from the perspective of Kyle Reese, only to have him arrive in a past that’s already been changed, was a clever concept that really appealed to me. As well as just being a cool time-travel plot, it also seemed like a return to the core concepts of the series after the convoluted nonsense that was Terminator: Salvation.
So it’s a shame that this new trailer largely ignores this cool altered-timeline plot in favour of… convoluted nonsense. It’s apparently not enough that we have old-man Arnie mentoring Sarah Connor, we also have to have her future son travelling back in time and turning out to be evil and also somehow being half a Terminator for some reason.
What’s worse is that this stuff only seems to be in there to give the film some kind of surprise twist – and even that much is pointless, since they’ve totally given it away in the trailer. Add to that the underwhelming action and subpar CGI and, well, I’ve never seen a trailer so completely destroy my excitement for a film before.
Then, on the other end of the spectrum, there’s this trailer, which is such a massive step up from the first Ant-Man teaser that it’s finally piqued my interest in the one Marvel movie I keep kinda forgetting about.
There’s still something slightly off about the tone here, but it’s working a lot better, balancing the superheroics and the humour and finding a decent middle-ground. I love how small-scale everything feels – the stakes only seem to affect a few people, and that seems appropriate for a guy who shrinks.
Speaking of which, the size-shifting fights look incredibly inventive and cool. The tiny-to-big shoulder throw is the kind of thing I don’t think I’ve seen before even in the comics. The costumes look great, too, and it’s nice to see the insect-control powers taking centre-stage.
So the action is cool, and it’s nice to be getting a better idea of the characters and the heist-movie type setup. But the best thing, much like Guardians of the Galaxy, is that it’s self-deprecating and funny. The “steal stuff” line is good, the punch in the face is better, and then Thomas the Tank Engine fell over and I nearly wet myself.
Scream: The TV Series
This isn’t strictly a movie trailer – but it’s a movie-related television trailer and that’s good enough for me. Also I just wanted to include it ‘cos I’m a big fan of the Scream franchise, to the point where I even like 4 and think 3 is better than 2 (which probably makes me a crazy person).
Despite this, I was wary of the idea of an upcoming Scream series, because the format of the movies doesn’t seem like it would translate well to TV. But since the first line in this trailer says exactly that, I feel like they may have gotten away with it.
Beyond that first meta-acknowledgment, though, there’s not much here to recommend the show or make it stand out from the crowds of other similar teen shows. There’s hints of soapy drama and love-triangles and all the usual stuff. It’s enough to make your eyes roll.
But of course it looks like that. If the series is commenting on TV the way the movies commented on movies then of course it looks like the thing it’s commenting on. If this manages to stay self-aware, as that first line suggests it will, I think the Scream series has a shot at being really fun.
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice
Released unexpectedly early, after if was leaked earlier this week, comes the first trailer for next year’s Man of Steel sequel. And it’s… resoundingly ok.
It’s only a teaser, so there’s not a great deal of actual footage here (quite a lot of audio though). What little we do see is striking and evocative and definitely very Snyder-y. Affleck’s Batman, which is the real reveal here since we’ve already seen Cavill, doesn’t get to do much beyond glower and brood but, man, does he sell it. I cannot believe how big he’s gotten for the part – Batman looks huge.
Then there’s Supes. It’s funny how Man of Steel built him up as this symbol of goodness and hope (in the dialogue, at least) where this, the sequel, seems to be going completely the opposite direction. Which, in fairness, is exactly what many if us wanted: some recognition of the destruction and death Kal-El caused in his first outing. But it seems almost like they’re taking that too far – I wanted to see him redeemed, not punished.
Basically, I think the trailer is just trying to sell us a reason for these two to fight, and it does that well. I just wish it didn’t have to be so cartoonishly dark and grim in the process. Zack Snyder is probably the only person who saw The Lego Movie and thought Batman’s “DARKNESS! NO PARENTS!” song was totally badass.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens
This is a difficult one for me. The trailer doesn’t do anything to assuage my serious fears about Episode VII but, on the other hand, that extended opening desert shot is one of the most goddamn beautiful things I’ve ever seen.
The whole first half is wonderful, actually, pulling us in with haunting images backed by John Williams’ score and dialogue from Return of the Jedi. This is Star Wars, it says, and my little fanboy heart skipped a beat. It’s playing heavily on nostalgia, but it’s doing it so well that I really didn’t care – I was on board for whatever came next.
Unfortunately what comes next is just more nostalgia. There’s nothing in the montage of “new” footage that we haven’t seen before. We’ve seen Stormtrooper formations; we’ve seen Sith wearing masks; we’ve seen X-wing cockpits; we’ve seen TIE-fighter hangars; we have seen the Falcon chased through a larger ship’s superstructure. Heck, even that opening shot (which I love) is intentionally echoing the first shot of A New Hope. Then, of course, there’s Chewie and Han (looking, frankly, too old for this shit) which couldn’t be more nostalgia-baiting if it tried.
All this stuff looks fantastic, visually speaking, and the few brief shots of the new characters give me hope. I want to like this film, and there’s enough here for me to believe that maybe I will, but all the marketing is far too stuck in the past. We know that Star Wars is back, guys – we get it. Now show us something new.
Whatever my personal feelings, though, there’s no denying that this is easily the best trailer of the week. By several parsecs, in fact. You can’t really fault it for that.