Welcome to “Trailer Park,” our regular Friday feature where we collect the week’s new trailers all in one place and do a little “judging a book by its cover,” ranking them from worst to best and taking our best guess at what they may be hiding. This week, we’ve got eight new trailers, from filmmakers as distinguished as Brad Bird and Steven Spielberg to, um, the guy who did the Resident Evil movies. Check ‘em out after the jump.
The Three Musketeers
There are few things this world needs less than yet another remake of The Three Musketeers — but that’s only one of the many, many reasons to steer clear of this September release. It is also the work of director Paul W.S. Anderson, whose distinguished filmography (Mortal Kombat, Death Race, Alien Vs. Predator), let’s be honest, doesn’t scream “Dumas adaptation!” It features Orlando Bloom in a major role, and yes, I know, he’s pretty, but so is the new Ford Shelby GT500 — that doesn’t mean it should be given lines and allowed to appear in major motion pictures. And last but not least, it is in 3-D — dark, muddy, unnecessary 3-D. That’s how we felt about the movie before watching this trailer, and it’s done absolutely nothing to provoke second thoughts; this thing looks terrible, from the giant zeppelins to the Matrix-y action scenes to the jumping-away-from-fireballs stuntwork. And apparently the kid playing D’Artagnan just isn’t gonna bother with an English accent? (“It’s up to us to put an end to the Carrrrdinal’s plawt.”) Blech. Boo. Stay home and rent the Richard Lester version.
Spy Kids: All the Time in the World
Robert Rodriguez is a talented filmmaker who remains the go-to guy for modern exploitation flicks (Machete, Grindhouse, etc.) He also has a dual career making dopey kids comedies like the Spy Kids movies and Shorts, and who knows, maybe the family audience he’s gearing them towards genuinely enjoys them. But wow, is this a cringe-worthy trailer for a franchise that was lifeless and withered well over a decade ago. Throw in the wooden line readings of Jessica Alba (“I love mah work”), a clearly embarrassed Joel McHale, and the regrettable decision to let Jeremy Piven overact as much as he’d like (we’ve only seen a few seconds of this performance, but it makes Gary Oldman’s villainous turns seem subtle and nuanced in comparison), and you’ve got what looks like an utter train wreck. Maybe kids’ll like it, though, we guess?
Tarsem Singh is one of the few filmmakers out there who has honestly earned the moniker “visionary” — based solely on his two pictures to date, the haunting 2000 film The Cell and its long-awaited 2006 follow-up, The Fall. So why on earth is he bothering with what appears (from this trailer, anyway) to be an utterly uninspired 300 knock-off — from the producers of that film, even? We’re gonna hope, for his sake, that he managed to smuggle in some of his customary ingenuity and visual wonderment, but we’re at lot less excited about a new Tarsem Singh movie than we were a minute and fifty seconds ago.
It’s been a less-than-stellar couple of weeks for Pixar; first, the seemingly-infallible studio released Cars 2, which made plenty of money, sure, but was greeted with reviews far below the normally rhapsodic notices the company is known for. And attached to that Larry the Cable Guy vehicle was the trailer for their next effort, Brave, which looks… fine, we guess? Sure, the animation is impeccable (do you expect less?), but we kept waiting for even a hint of the Pixar heart or humor. Brave looks handsome and distinguished and more than a little boring — in other words, like the kind of ‘90s-era Disney movie that Pixar was such a refreshing antidote for.
Steven Spielberg’s adaptation of Michael Morpurgo’s novel (which also inspired this season’s multiple Tony-award-winning Broadway play) is his big Oscar contender this December —and boy can you tell from this trailer, which is drenched in awards-bait music, imagery, and sloganeering (“Far from home… across all borders… hope survives”). Don’t get us wrong, it will probably be a fine film. But if ever a trailer looked as though it were created for Oprah’s Book Club, this is it.
We spent the first half of this one thinking, “Good God, when are they gonna stop with the Transfomers trailers — it’s out, already!” But that’s not what we’ve got here — this is the “what-if” moon landing horror riff that the Weinstein Company has bumped from four previous release dates (it was originally to hit theaters back in March) to, finally, this September. So that’s never a good sign, and the “found footage” horror subgenre has been pretty much beaten to death at this point. But truth be told, we’re intrigued; this is a modestly creepy trailer, and the vintage-style footage looks remarkably well-done.
Mission: Impossible- Ghost Protocol
Why, it was just the other day that we were singing the popcorn praises of the original Mission: Impossible film, but its sequels have been a bit more rocky — John Woo’s Mission: Impossible 2 caught that distinctive filmmaker just as he was veering into self-parody, and the J.J. Abrams-helmed Mission: Impossible III was basically just a long episode of Alias. But the notion of hiring Brad Bird, the animation genius behind Ratatouille and The Incredible, was an inspired one — particularly since, as our friends at I Watch Stuff noted, “Who better than the director of The Incredibles to handle exciting scenes featuring a powerful, aging family man desperate to stretch out his action-filled career just a little longer?” You can snicker at Cruise all you like (and we all do), but this is an exciting trailer, and the ace supporting cast (including Tom Wilkinson, Jeremy Renner, Josh Holloway, and Simon Pegg) locks it for us.
Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
Hey, more spy stuff! And with Gary Oldman, Colin Firth, John Hurt, Tom Hardy, Mark Strong, and Toby Jones — Jesus, the last time we saw this many distinguished British actors, they were all focused on a young wizard. This spy thriller, from a novel by John le Carré (there’s the least surprising bit of information in the trailer), looks moody, taut, and tense, what with all those English guys sitting in rooms and glaring at each other, trying to flush out the mole in their midst. Could this be a real thing? A thriller for grown-ups?