It’s been a weird week for trailers. Most of the film promos have been for smallish horror films, and haven’t been all that good, but there’s been loads of really great TV trailers released instead. Most notably there were two separate trailers for two separate shows based on DC comics – and it continues to look like TV is the format where DC have actually got their act together. We’ve got both of those here, along with another new series and a couple of the better looking film ads from this week.
With the revived popularity of the Muppets, following the two latest movies, it was basically inevitable that the fuzzy weirdos would return to their original roots and star in a television series. What wasn’t inevitable, though, was that the trailer would make it look so great!
The best part of The Muppet Show was always the behind-the-scenes chaos as they tried to organise the on-stage stuff. It seems such an obvious concept, now that it’s in front of us, to update that format to a modern kind of behind-the-scenes doc. It’s a little unclear what it is that we’re supposed to be behind the scenes of, exactly, but it captures the fly-on-the-wall style of these shows perfectly. And, even better, these characters slot into that format effortlessly, with Gonzo doing cutaways and Swedish Chef monologuing to camera.
Also so obvious that it’s genius is the idea of Kermit trading in Miss Piggy for a younger model. Because of course he would: he’s a movie star! It’s stuff like that that really makes this trailer work – there’s just a tonne of great ideas and gags here. The only question is whether The Muppets can maintain that level of comedy and energy through a whole series. They’ve done it before, though, and after this trailer I see no reason to doubt they can do it again.
Of all the underwhelming film trailers that came out this week, this one – for a film I’ve never even heard of – jumped out as something special. The way the tone hovers somewhere between comedy and good ol’ western tragedy is impressive. It’s pretty funny, but it’s also pretty clear that not everyone is getting out of this alive – there’s barely a single shot in here that doesn’t end with someone raising or firing a gun.
If westerns are your thing, in other words, then this looks very much like your thing. But if westerns aren’t your thing, it’s possible this may still be your thing anyway. It’s a pretty standard setup, from searching for someone to being followed by bandits, but there’s enough unusual touches here to make me think it won’t stay standard. There’s obviously something shady going on with Michael Fassbender, for one thing. Incidentally, he makes quite a convincing cowboy, and it’s nice to see him using his natural Irish accent.
A lot of westerns can feel slow and overlong, but the way Slow West is cut and edited looks, ironically, much more propulsive. I particularly like the quick-cutting between the various bandits and posters in the middle. The only question is whether this quick-draw speed, which for me is a big part of what works here, is indicative of the final product, or if it’s only been done that way for the trailer. If it’s the former, then this could be really exciting.
Is this even technically a trailer? It’s, like, seven minutes long, so it’s actually more like a short film – giving us basically every major beat of Supergirl’s origin, and of what feels like the whole first episode.
And it seems like a pretty good episode! We get a good feel for Kara Danvers (formerly Zor-El) and her life and relationships. I like how upbeat she is about this whole hero thing, and I love the way she just throws herself into it – flying and punching and walking into gunfire without really knowing if it’ll work. There’s a joy and enjoyment to it that I always miss in darker shows like Arrow or Daredevil. It looks like she gets her secret-identity issues out of the way quickly too, which is a big relief and a tactic many superhero programmes could benefit from.
Mostly I’m on board, but there’s a few nagging issues as well. The cheesy music choice is one, but also the military involvement, the constant allusions to Superman (without ever actually saying it outright), and there’s some strange gender stuff going on too. It’s clear that Supergirl wants to address the more sexist aspects of the character, but it ends up only highlighting those aspects and treating them as a joke – like the weird “girl” discussion or the first costume attempt. Maybe it’ll work better in the series, but it doesn’t work here.
As for the costume she ends up with, it looks great. It’s simple, it’s iconic, it’s surprisingly tasteful (considering how horrific it’s often looked in the comics), but the best part is actually that they’ve changed the colours of her “S” logo. Giving it a blue background, instead of Superman’s traditional yellow, sets her further apart from her cousin and marks Kara out as a separate hero in her own right. It’s only a little thing, but it’s one of the things that makes me most hopeful about this show.
Guillermo del Toro is at it again, and back in the realm of horror, with this tale of a seriously haunted house. Apparently del Toro couldn’t find a house creepy (or spiky) enough, so he actually had one built on a soundstage instead. That decision seems to have paid off, as every shot of this place is spooky and oppressive and absolutely gorgeous.
It’s the colours – I seriously can’t remember the last time I saw a horror film with this much colour in it. From the deep blues and sickly greens to the ever-present reds, every moment looks sumptuous and striking. There’s shots in here that I’m fairly certain are supposed to look exactly like paintings – and they totally do! But nothing else even comes close to the amazing image of blood-stained snow surrounding the house.
Visually it’s already an absolute treat, but it’s pretty strong in the other departments too. Mia Wasikowska looks like a strong lead, investigating whatever’s happening despite the pretty clear danger, and Tom Hiddleston is almost charming enough to convince me that he’s not totally evil. If there’s any argument to be made against this, it’s that maybe this trailer shows us too much – revealing the ghosts (or creatures) almost completely. I’m not sure how much that argument works, however, since that shot of the thing crawling down the corridor never stops being terrifying, no matter how many times I watch it.
Objectively speaking, this is probably the worst trailer on this list. The premise is forced, the effects are dreadful, everything looks really cheap and tacky, and every single actor is hamming it up something awful. I should be saying it looks terrible – and yet I absolutely love it!
Unlike Supergirl, which is produced by a different network, Legends of Tomorrow is clearly designed to tie in with Arrow and The Flash – and it wants you to know that from the start. In fact, apart from Hawkgirl (who we barely see, unfortunately), everyone on this team was introduced in one of those two programmes. Here we see them brought together, against their better judgement, by the leads of the other two shows, and Arthur Darvill’s new guy Rip Hunter (what a name). I’m not sure if it’s ridiculous or wonderful that the guy from Doctor Who is playing an English “Time Master”, but either way it should be fun.
As well as the Doctor, we also have two supervillains, half of a superhero (somehow), a former Superman in an Iron Man suit, a ninja who used to be dead (is that a Lazarus Pit she’s bursting out of?) and a reincarnated warrior with giant bird wings! It’s such an amazing, thrown together, kitchen-sink approach that I can’t help but be impressed. Then you find out the team will be travelling through time to fight an immortal villain called Vandal Savage – someone that a quick bit of research reveals is literally a caveman from the dawn of time! It’s a story ripped straight from the silliest pages of a comic, with all the bright colours and manic action that goes with that. It just looks like so much fun!
And then there’s a giant robot. It’s like they made this just for me.