February 4, 2012 at 11:04 am #23494
How about a thread to share new trailers?
Here’s the newest trailer for The Hunger Games. Yeah, this is one I’m totally looking forward to seeing.February 5, 2012 at 11:28 am #23503
Peter Fenzel OTI Staff
As somebody who has not read the books, I have to say that this movie confuses me. I mean, not really… I get it on an intellectual level… I know what it’s about… But when I go to my gut on it and try to admit to myself what I would think if I were coming to this cold, I don’t think the marketing of this movie would work for me at all.
For one, the trailed is definitely already assuming that this is something you understand and are excited to watch.
For another, the name of the movie doesn’t communicate much about what is going on or match up with the key marketing images. That’s is fine for a book, but not really fine for a movie. If _Man on Fire_ hadn’t been done so recently, I’d say _The Girl on Fire_ would be a much better name for it.
For a third, they are really heavily leaning on this girl being pretty. It’s basically the only thing in any of the advertisements other than the name of the thing.
If I had to guess, before I saw this trailer, and temporarily forgetting what the Hunger Game books are, I’d say it must be a _Falling Down_-esque movie about teenage girls with eating disorders taking vengeance on society. I guess.
With the trailer, it looks like a slower, prettier, less interesting _Running Man_ – without the latter’s tone of frenzied consumerism and survival.
I worry that because the movie has such a built-in audience and is marketing to girls that it will get lazy in communicating the urgency of what is happening.
Of course, this is all from a quadrant that isn’t the target of the movie – but Harry Potter movies are four-quadranters. Everybody could conceivably want to see them. This movie seems to be sacrificing male viewers over the age of 17 unnecessarily – especially since the actual concept (which the trailer doesn’t really bring out in full relief) is more male-movie-watcher friendly than Harry Potter was.
Honestly, I think they are overestimating how many people actually read books and taking their built-in audience for granted.
It will probably be successful regardless, but it _should_ be _phenomenally_ successful.
I think they’re leaving money on the table here, and I don’t like whatever agencies are working on this.February 5, 2012 at 12:20 pm #23504
Fenzel, to help you out, the trailer(s) are trying to be story trailers that outline the opening ceremonies of the titular “Hunger Games”, which are basically a competition for 24 youth to kill each other in a grisly Roman gladiator-esque spectacle for the citizens to watch. The opening ceremonies are conducted in each of the 12 “districts” of a Pangeaic New World where in the center, “The Capitol” shines in stark contrast to the rest of the country (named Panem). What we see is the pivotal moment where the main character (Katniss Everdeen) sees her litte sister Prim drawn as the female tribute to the hunger games. Katniss does alot more screeching than nessecary and she volunteers to compete instead. The first two books of the series are very compelling and well written stories, but this trailer lacks the exposition to make this story clear. It is hinging alot on it’s built-in audience (mainly females, for some reason), and is expecting word to spread. I have read the entire trilogy, and I liked it alot, but this preview is turning me away from the movie alot. It all feels fake, looks like it’s shot terribly, as in every second shot someone passes in front of the camera. The main actors performances seem dry, but I would like to see more of Effie Trinket, who seems to be cast and costumed perfectly. The principle actors don’t exactly match the characters, as Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) looks like this giant beefy guy, and Katniss (Jennifer Hudson) seems to have zero confidence in anything she does. I don’t like the flashing pace at which the trailer goes, and I couldn’t follow anything that was happening. This is a perfect example of an adaptation gone horribly wrong, and if Lionsgate knew what it’s principle demographic would be, I want to know if the actual Hunger Games will focus on the violence and survival aspect, or the developing relationship between Katniss and Peeta. There will be no balance, I can almost guarantee it.February 6, 2012 at 9:34 am #23525
Wow, I came to post the Avengers Super Bowl spot, and I see there’s actual discussion. Huzzah! :)
I can’t help but notice how all the footage they’ve released so far has focused on Stark. Because I know it’s from Cappy’s perspective. I’m afraid they’ve already shown the best Stark moments to the world by putting them in the trailers. And during the party I was at when this was aired, someone asked a very simple question to which I was unable to respond (in part because of my state at the time): “If Thor is an immortal GOD, why does he need all these other people to help him?” Someone else said, “Because he has to fight his brother and it makes him sad…?”
But actually… is that so far off? ;)
Re: Hunger Games
Fenzel, what makes you believe it’s being targeted at girls specifically? I’ll admit, I read the book and loved it, so mayhap I’m biased, but I see plenty of action and potentially-suspenseful situations in every clip they’ve released. And this most recent trailer shows a lot of the male lead, including shots of him doing act.
When it comes to the story, Ted’s right in that they’re mostly just trying to set up the Games themselves. From the trailers, you see that a name gets drawn to participate in a battle to the death and our main character volunteers to take the place of her sister. That’s actually the basic, skeletal point. I imagine if this was on cable and you read it’s TVGuide summary/ cable “info,” that’s pretty much what it would say. “A young woman volunteers to participate in a battle to the death against other youths in place of her sister.” They may add something to the end about how it’s a post-apocalyptic world or whatnot, but you can also sort of get that much from the visuals, too.
And Ted, part of what makes Katniss such an… interesting… character in the books is that she is so unsure the whole time of her fate. She was terrified, and she’d often be surprised when things went her way. She sold it for the cameras, but she wouldn’t have the steely I’m Awesome face every moment- so if Hudson can swing back and forth between terror and confidence, she’d be doing it right. Maybe I just want it to be awesome, but I see a bit of both in the trailers. And as for the story, I agree, I wouldn’t want all of the action to get trumped by the dialogue- but I don’t think the character development should take a backseat to the violence, either. The latter is what drives the former, after all, so they need to be done in tandem.February 6, 2012 at 12:11 pm #23526
Peter Fenzel OTI Staff
Why do I think the Hunger Games movie is targeted at women? Well, it’s obvious to any dude that it is, but I suppose just as dudes don’t realize when the things they love turn women off, it works the other way too.
The big reason is that the readership of the books heavily skews toward women. Women in general have picked up on the Adults-Reading-Young-Adult-Fiction trend much more than men have, driven primarily by the Twilight series. The whole Twilight phenomenon is seen as grossly offensive and idiotic to the overall male demographic. Anything associated with Twilight is fighting an uphill battle with dudes – and right now “fantasy influenced young adult fiction telling a coming-of-age-story about a young female protagonist against the backdrop of a toned-down version of a story men like” is riding the Twilight wave.
But also, men and women have long leaned toward particular types of genre fiction in different proportion. It doesn’t mean nobody reads a genre from the other gender of course, but there are tendencies. And the generic “young adult” category is primarily for women. Men of that age are more likely to read genre fiction like sci fi, fantasy, sports fiction, historical fiction, or just stuff off the literature shelf. If you actually look at a “young adult” shelf in a bookstore, it is basically a shorthand for “books about sisterhood, female friends, and girls going through puberty.”
The story of The Hunger Games isn’t particularly novel – but from how I understand it (again, not having read the books), this version is much, much, much less brutal and violent than the versions men have been reading and watching in movies and on TV for decades. From what I hear, they basically took the Battle Royale tropes, added some future rural dystopia stuff (which is also very common in men’s genre fiction and movies), toned them down enough that they would disturb women a little, but not too much, and put them agaist the backdrop of a story about a girl coming of age.
So, you can see from there that the books are aiming at a female audience (not that men don’t read it, but that’s the target). By extension, since the marketing is clearly leaning on its built-in audience, it is leaning on women to see it.
As for the specific trailers, even standing alone it would be obvious this is geared toward girls and women — primarily because the sisterhood story is brought so specifically into the foreground. There is a particular trope in women’s literature that Sisterhood is this super-special relationship that trumps all other relationships in its sacredness and solemnity — and that associates Sisterhood with authentic experience of struggle and the human condition.
This is of course roughly equivalent to similar gender-normative on the male side of the divide — the idea that your brothers in arms or buddies or teammates are special friends and no one on the outside will ever understand how much you mean to each other.
I don’t find this offensive per se. It’s fair, it’s fine. I have four sisters, and I can say that hollywood/literary sisterhood is misleading mostly in its homogeneity, I find a dull, soft similarity in fictional Sisterhoods that runs very much counter to my own experience of sisterhoods being just as varied and complex and full of ups and downs, heats and colds as other relationships. There is intimacy, but the conflict of it in real life seems far sharper and less metaphyisically uniform than in TV or movies. But it’s fiction – it isn’t bad just because it isn’t fully representational.
What it is, though, is exclusive. By saying that Sisterhood is this profoundly meaningful thing that makes all other things look meaningless by comparison, you’re basically letting the men know they don’t have to stick around, because this is a worldview in which they are only going to participate as objects, obstacles or goals for the female characters.
And unlike women, who for some reason tend to watch a whole lot of stuff where they are treated like crap, men generally don’t watch television or movies where the male characters don’t get to participate or that send the message that they are not important.
This is of course why male-targeted movies dominate the blockbusters – because girls will watch movies for boys in which they are treated like objects, but boys simply will not watch movies for girls in which they are treated like objects. It’s the same as with news anchors – women will defer to male news anchors, but men will not defer to female news anchors. It’s in the market research, and a mathematical reality producers need to deal with in making their programs.
So, you position this Sisterhood, which by all accounts seems a familiar gauze-wrapped Hollywood Sisterhood (at least from the ad, I have no idea what it’s like in the book or movie) front and center — the message is “This is woman time. Go do something else.”
The action does not look actually exciting – it looks like tame action meant not to scare away people who don’t like action movies. Also, most of the action shots with men in them are shots of super-effeminate looking boy-toy sex object teenagers, which is pretty much the last thing any guy in my demographic wants in a movie. Obviously there is tons of this symmetrical phenomenon in male-targeted action movies, where the men don’t realize that a big part of why the scene they are looking at is exciting is because of the attractive woman, so they don’t understand why a straight woman watching it might think it is stupid or unexciting.
But yeah, female-targeted book in a female-dominted genre, relying on its existing audience, making up a decaf or toned-down version of a story men are used to seeing told with more brutal intensity, in which the love between sisters is the most special thing ever and the dudes look fresh out of a boy band started by the Disney channel and the action, while having a certain vague sense of alarm, is not up to speed with what male-targeted action movies are doing.
Does that cover it?February 6, 2012 at 3:28 pm #23527
I actually am pretty concerned about the lack of violence in the film; I honestly don’t think it’s toned down in the slightest in the books but I don’t know how they’d put that on film and still reach their target demographic (under 18). That’s been my wariness since first hearing that it was getting the Hollywood treatment, and this trailer does nothing to assuage my fears.
Gab, I’d agree that the bit about the sister *might* be what one would find in a TV Guide synopsis… but, much like the relative accuracy of most of their synopses, I would argue that it’s not at ALL a valid plot summary. The sister thing is most certainly Katniss’ impetus, and the story circles back to it briefly, but other than that, it doesn’t much inform the plot… and I’d argue that there’s much less of a genuine “sisterhood” vibe, and quite a lot of mixed motivation including the general selfishness of not wanting to be stuck home alone with her mother, knowing how useless the woman would probably become with her little sister gone. (also, I’d say that the LITTLE sister issue is a much more typically male-identified motivation – that desire to be a “protector” – whereas in female-centered “sisterhood” stories, that concept is framed more as a “we’re equals” kind of thing – “sisterhood” of the “traveling pants” variety, which this definitely is not)
Most importantly, though, I think that it’s stupid for them to lead with that, whether it would be the TV Guide-type summary or not, for all the reasons fenzel gives. Privileging that detail over the rest of the plot does have an effect on the sort of story they will end up telling, whether they mean to or not.
I went just now & checked out the trailers from films that I find relevant: Mad Max and, more importantly, Rollerball. The Mad Max trailer talks about him having to protect his family, and has a sympathy-inducing shot of a baby… about halfway through. It doesn’t lead with that info. Rollerball is all about the game, which really is what this trailer should be (to be fair, I haven’t watched the other Hunger Games trailers)
Most importantly, though, the books are about how we consume media, and I have a LOT of doubt about the ability/willingness of a major Hollywood studio to allow that sort of content into the film version. In my mind, the ONLY good trailer for the Hunger Games would read as a commercial for the Games themselves… but, y’know, society isn’t fond of criticizing itself, generally…
I’m really interested, fenzel, in this notion you put forward that YA literature is “code” for YA *girl* literature. If that’s true, then there’s a lot of teenage boys out there missing out on some stellar work aimed directly at them. Stuff like Cory Doctorow’s “Little Brother” is very unapologetically YA, and would certainly be shelved as such. That probably belongs as a separate topic under “Books” though, heh!February 6, 2012 at 3:48 pm #23528
OH! Gab, re: the Avengers trailer…
Three points regarding Thor’s “god”-ness.
1)If that conception of “god” were accurate, then Loki wouldn’t make a very beatable villain, would he?
2)The modern idea of “god” is pretty far removed from the old Norse concept (they aren’t actually “immortal” for one thing). Marvel’s treatment of Thor actually holds pretty accurately to the source literature.
3)You just never know when Thor is going to wander off to fight frost giants. He’s not exactly a dependable sort of guy. Even if he were immortal/invincible/whatever, he’d need a team to keep him focused &/or cover for him when he wasn’t around.
Anyway, it makes a LOT more sense than the Justice League…February 6, 2012 at 7:03 pm #23531
Genevieve, you did a much better job at articulating what I would have said in response (about how the “sister” thing is an oversimplification and such), so I’m just going to not say anything other than, PROPS! And also that I did the plot a disservice in my own oversimplification, which I humbly concede. Mea culpa.
Oh, AND, I used the wrong version of the i-t-s combo. That could go on another thread…February 6, 2012 at 10:41 pm #23532
To sway the conversation over to “The Avengers”, I agree that the trailer focused on Iron Man, Captain America, and Thor just a bit too much, while The Hulk, not to mention those not fortunate enough to get a movie of their own got pushed on the back burner. It is obviously scary that the whole movie will do this. I have not seen Captain America or Thor, but I do know that in Iron Man, Tony Stark is a jackass. How much time do you think the movie will take to delve into each of the character’s personality again, and to reflct on how they work as a team? (For those who don’t watch the individual movies this would be useful). What prombelms or pairings may arise from this grouping of Earth’s mightiest heroes? The 2 or 3 who did not get a film would band together as the awesomely-not-bankable-properties and harbor a resentment toward the stars of the film.
Iron Man: Seriously, you’re an archer? That’s primitive!
Archer Guy who’s name escapes me: My intention is to kill my enemies, (yelling) not to blow away an entire city block, Stark!
It’s bad writing but you get the idea. Hulk will probably stay to himself in order to keep struggling with his anger, too inhibited by his promblems that he won’t go out for drinks with Cap and the gang. Iron Man and Cap however, are going to be the best of friends and do everything together while, like Genevieve said, “You just never know when Thor is going to wander off to fight frost giants. He’s not exactly a dependable sort of guy.” I would love to see this scene in the actual film, where Thor wanders into little Norway and finds some New York Frost Giant gangsters.
Anyway, not only was the “We have a Hulk” line totally out of context with the preceding dialouge, it also sends a disturbing message about the tone of the film, as the next two shots are of Hulk charging through a bunch of glass, (Awesome!) and then leaping out of a building and crashing into two helicopters (poor Hulk) which must hurt like hell. Any idea why the shot of Hulk being severely injured ended the trailer? I hope that the film will take a more serious or dramatic tone as opposed to the happy-go-lucky, I-know-he’s-going-to-win template every other super hero film abides by.February 6, 2012 at 11:04 pm #23533
My Turn! My Turn! My Turn!
Yes, I went there! Battleship!
This is an… “interesting” looking movie, but a few things in the trailer are itching at me. First of all, the kid. He is the first one that communicates the threat to the audience, aka: As far as we know, he saw it first. Is this kid going to be our link to the plight of the land folks? Or does he serve as exposition to show the immediate threat and what the Navy now has to fight?
Which brings me to the biggest hole in the film so far. Why is the Navy fighting a threat that first hit land, and continues to do so. Why will the film center on the stranded Naval crew who are impossibly outnumbered and out awesomed by the Aliens when the Military are no doubt shooting away millions of dollars on land?
And how did Liam Neeson get sucked into this?
The reason I posted the “Adaptations of Popular Materials into Film” thread and asked for your input was precisely to avoid this:
“Get off u’r ass hollywood and come up with some original ideas…”
Get off u’r ass and learn how to spell!
So a movie based on Battleship is a bit of a stretch, but his name is NASCAR4ever, so I’m sure he isn’t the biggest film connoisseur and has no idea of a film’s potential. So, if you feel like it, I’d appreciate if you dropped your thouhts, and I will definitely respond as best I can. Thanks (and sorry about the plug.)February 7, 2012 at 7:24 am #23536
Ted, that “We have a Hulk” line bothered the crap out of me, too! It felt like they were planning to just use him as a weapon to throw at stuff, rather than as an actual character.
Interestingly, I think the Hunger Games discussion dovetails nicely into the Avengers one, because I think the problem with both trailers is the same: failure to reconcile their *perceived* target demographic with their *actual* target demographic. Or wait, maybe that’s too many words. Their *target* demographic vs their *actual* demographic? Hmmm, depends on where in the process they went wrong. ANYWAY, with Hunger Games, it’s an issue of the trailer appealing to teenage girls (who – if they’re looking at the Twi-hards – are not at ALL their demographic) and to people who’ve already read the books (who’d be happy to see more footage no matter how it was framed) and completely ignoring the death match, dystopian future, political commentary fans who would actually enjoy it if they gave it a chance.
With the Avengers, they’re assuming that their demographic will be the general population of “anyone who saw and enjoyed any of the prior movies,” while completely ignoring the demo of True Believers. Any actual fan (or, you know, maybe it’s just me) will be really frustrated by the failure to defend adequately their use of the Hulk. As past attempts have proven, the Hulk is a REALLY hard property to translate successfully to film. Only ONE movie so far has gotten it right, and (as I understand it) they decided not to invite Edward Norton back to this project, because he was “too hard to work with.” Well, DUH! Did they consider that the only reason that movie was any good at all was because Edward Norton was a True Believer who didn’t want his fandom getting all f’d up?!? That without him there being “difficult,” this movie might end up as yet another in a long list of movies that gets the Hulk wrong?!? (and didn’t he look a little small when they were all standing there in a circle?)
We need proof that they aren’t going to screw him up again, and this trailer only made those fears worse.
FWIW, though, I can’t imagine Stark & Cap being best buds. Aside from the inevitable ego clash, I think Stark is a little too filled with a healthy cynical disdain for all things overly (& overtly) patriotic, and I think Cap is a little too straight-edge to be patient with Stark’s shenanigans. To be fair, though, I didn’t seen the Captain America movie, so I’m not sure what angle they’re taking on him.February 7, 2012 at 9:11 am #23539
Mark Lee OTI Staff
I think Stark is a little too filled with a healthy cynical disdain for all things overly (& overtly) patriotic, and I think Cap is a little too straight-edge to be patient with Stark’s shenanigans.
Another way to put it: Stark/Iron Man is America’s idealized non-state actor who solves world problems outside of the traditional security apparatus. Rogers/Captain America is America’s idealized state actor who solves world problems within the traditional security apparatus (the US Army).
I do hope the new Avengers movie recognizes and plays off this tension.February 7, 2012 at 10:58 am #23540
Battleship: Liam Neeson is a conundrum. Not really sure why he’d do this. Then again, he also did Clash of the Titans, so I wonder if he’s actually just another Actor That Works and just happens to be of such great esteem because of roles he’s been able to land in the past.
Interesting ideas about the kid, though, Ted. I’m wondering if this kid will follow the trope of “Snarky genius kid that gets it but nobody takes too seriously (except in the end when their idea saves everybody’s arses)” a sort of Cassandra-type character.
I’m of the belief that Whedon will use the perspective of Cappy to critique that very idealized state actor, Lee, by showing how that ideal is perhaps not so ideal in today’s global society. Perhaps not even through Stark, though. I could see being lawful good as a problem when dealing with, say, Hulk.
And yes, I agree (everyone), that Hulk seems to be vastly misused thus far. And if so, what a poor waste of talent with Ruffalo.
Now, for another comic movie that has been somewhat sporadically on the radar:
Oh my goodness, so much backstory in there, aye? I’m not familiar with the Spider-Man comic enough to know if this whole Peter’s-dad-made-the-spider thing is new to the movie or not. Anyone able to answer? Maybe this is better for the comics forum…
Anyway, regardless, they’re definitely going for the somewhat snarky, ultimately optimistic and not, it seems, going for “gritty,” as the original artwork and shots seemed to hint at. From this, it seems as though while it won’t be light as a feather, it won’t be nearly as gritty and raw as Nolan’s Batman movies. Which is probably a good thing. Going for its own space, its own name.February 7, 2012 at 12:28 pm #23541
I guess that Cap and Iron Man shouldn’t be close compatriots, but that’s how the trailer painted them to me.
Do we really need more gritty Superhero movies? Nolan didn’t, but inevitably could have started a Marvel/DC movie backlash where Aquaman is painting the seas red with the blood of innocents. The reason Nolan’s Batman films are successful is because being a creature of the night and scaring the pants off fo thugs is Batman’s thing. So naturally, when you have something that is basically a modern gothica horror show, gritty is obviously the way to go. If you look at any Batman materials, you’ll see a Caped Crusader looking gloomy and mad in the night. Not Spider Man, who’s Sam Raimi adaptations may have taken the wrong turn into moody, angsty territory. What I hope to see with The New and Improved more Amazing-er than ever Spider Man, is a return to form for movie trilogies. There are franchises on the cusp of Six installments and beyond that show no sign of stopping. For instance, Fast and Furious. The Second and Third Installment go completely away from the actors who were in the original, and then returned to them for the Fourth and Fifth movies. Anyone know if these characters are in an elaborate arc? Do the Second and Third films have anything to do with each other? The first three Spider-Man movies did the same thing, and seemed to be just individual stories. The 2nd and 3rd Spider-Man movies became bogged down with emotion, which sucked alot, while the 1st movie had to up it’s pace because of the Omnipotent origin story, which was virtually the whole first act of the film. (About a half and hour)February 7, 2012 at 2:37 pm #23542
OK, first I have to say that whenever someone calls Captain America “Cappy,” I get confused and think I’m reading a post about GREEK. Which was an AWESOME show and I’ll shiv anyone who says otherwise! …although Cappy was a ridiculous man-child, and I much preferred Rusty.
AHEM. Right. Movies, not TV.
I saw that Spidey trailer earlier today, and I actually thought that it was a bit *too* dark and gritty – although, tbh, I didn’t bother watching more than half of the 2nd Raimi installment, and didn’t see the 3rd at all (though 3 was about the symbiote, right, so that kind of had to be dark and moody and angsty, to follow the story line). So, maybe this new version is LESS angsty than Raimi allowed his to become… but I still felt like I was watching a trailer for a Batman film.
There’s this… essence to a lot of comic books, PARTICULARLY Spider Man, because of the character’s inherent qualities, that’s really hard to capture on film… and, not to beat a dead horse, but it ties us back around to the Hunger Games, really, because it cuts straight to the heart of what it means to be a teenager. There’s this juxtaposition that I think we cease to understand fully as adults, where yes, everything is angsty and moody and all of those emotions that we no long want to cop to are ratcheted up several notches… but it’s NOT dark or broody, which is often the only way that we as adults are capable of filtering our emotions. It’s still vibrant and garish and offensive to the senses. It sometimes makes kids seek darkness, but even when they do, it’s a “goth” ouvre of the Robert Smith variety – all blues and purples and stark contrast between black & white. It’s a time when they’re still trying to decide who they are, and every attempt is as bold and brash as possible, so they get all of the positive and negative responses and can decide whether it works. Even when they’re trying to blend into the woodwork. Even when they’re crafting a secret identity.
Spidey’s suit was created to hide his face, not his personality. It wasn’t dark and practical, it was garish and alive, in the way only a teenager can accomplish. His major arcs do, after all, take place in his teenage and very young adult years. He’s in high school, college, fresh on the job market – he’s not an adult, like Batman or even the other major Marvel heroes. Imagine, for example, if they did a Teen Titans movie that was as dark as Nolan’s Batman. No, right?
I’m intrigued by this backlash against extensive installment films. I’m with you, Ted, about the Fast & the Furious stuff. Sure. I’m wondering, though, if it might just be the best way for comic book movies to proceed. The entire genre is dedicated to the extended serial, and to characters that hold their own and maneuver deftly between different artists, writers, and storylines. I think the movies could only benefit from embracing that reality, and letting the different series traipse along indefinitely, sometimes sucking hard, and sometimes being awesome, depending on who’s cast and who’s at the helm. Maybe they won’t always make money, but when they do it’ll be off the charts.February 7, 2012 at 4:57 pm #23545
I really don’t think this version is going to be brooding, though. In the trailer, he does a lot of joking around and makes a number of sarcastic remarks, and even while in his costume. So it may be dark around Peter, but his approach is anything but broody or angsty. That’s what I was trying to say. And I think that’s what’s necessary to do his story justice. The impression I get of the Spider-Man mythos is one of the things that makes Peter Parker such an endearing and enduring character is how he maintains what could be called “childlike innocence” in the face of the things he encounters. He stays funny and brightly charismatic, even after going through the Sadistic Choice situation, battling people he used to hold dear, etc. Not to say he is static or external factors don’t affect him at all, but he maintains a core essence that is almost a contrast to his surroundings.February 7, 2012 at 8:37 pm #23549
The only thing, Genevieve, is that while an extended set of movies that could carry on indefinetely, each movie would have to be done as perfect as the best in the series, (which could change throughout the series) or else the audience, in my mind, would become easily bored. They would be sick of the same heroes, and side characters. Perhaps, what Superheroes should aim for is a Television series. I think that would solve alot of people’s promblems. Imagine settling in every Thursday for an hour of Nolan’s Batman Universe? Do you round up the baddies at the end of each week, or take advantage of your medium and drag things out a la The Walking Dead. (Which I love). Of course, a balance between the two is your best bet. A happy ending every time for casual viewers, and for hardcore fans of the hero, extended story arcs over several episodes. As for teens assuming their identity, why must we do the coming of age story through the eyeholes of a superhero mask? What makes it more beleivable/engaging/relatable? Or is it being an exaggerated version of everyday life, that makes the superhero so compelling. While I’m not saying that I don’t like Superheroes, they do make me envious when I look back on movies about them. In Spider-Man, (the first Raimi movie) Peter’s school life becomes alot easier. He beats the bully, gets the girl, and passes is courses (Which is apparently the last thing on his mind). Peter’s social life is great, and his powers make him a real awesome sauce around the school, but his personal life gets complicated. Between Mary-jane, Aunt May, and various Super doofuses trying to kill him, Peter has alot on his plate. I assume that Peter is in his graduating year in the film, as he goes to college in the next installment. This growing up story arc is lost on the third film, which leaves us with a less than stellar ending to the franchise, is the kind of thing that Superhero stories seem to thrive on. Yet, the hero seems to be so wrapped up in his Hero endeavors that the implications of this on his social and personal life are ignored (in film at least). I like the direction Spider Man 2 took with Aunt May’s house being forclosed by the bank. It showed Peter having to be himself, restrained by civilian limitations, which is not entirely uncomfortable for him. Then, when it’s time to spring into action, he is ready, but at what cost? He just left his Aunt May. Would she scold him about it later, upset that he left her, a frail old lady, behind while some madman tore apart the bank? “Why can’t you be more like that Spider-Man fellow?” she’d say. And, furthermore, why does the bank just forget about Aunt May after the robbery happens? I understand that they would have to rebuild and everything else, but a bank really can’t shut down indefinitely, can it? Holding everyone’s money, dogging some people for more, such as Aunt May.February 7, 2012 at 9:31 pm #23555
I wonder about the television option. It’s only in the last few years that we’ve finally gotten to the point where TV shows can rival feature films, and it’s still only the rare few (I LOVE that Lost had a full soundtrack, recorded by a full orchestra…) – it would be really, really cool to see superhero properties take advantage of that. However, I think that it’s actually easier for movies to soldier on indefinitely than television shows, because there’s more freedom for variation (unless you’re Dr. Who). Typically, TV shows (or at least characters) end whenever the actors are sick of it, and if they don’t, the viewers don’t take too kindly to the “new Becky” syndrome. Actors don’t like getting roped into long-term contracts like that.
As for the coming-of-age thing, yeah – I think it’s just one more way in which superhero stories are tied into our own dreams and desires. Who didn’t, as an awkward teenager, wish for some useful super power to make it all OK? …and who didn’t actually secretly hope that those *with* super powers were actually as stressed out, angsty, and messed up as the rest of us?February 7, 2012 at 9:38 pm #23556
Oh, Gab – I get your point about the humor. I feel like maybe a different actor might have pulled it off better? Whoever that guy is, he seems awfully pretty. I guess the days when the Tobey McGuires of the world could play super heroes (even the dorkiest super hero in history) are long past. His looks somehow make his humor seem less defensive and more aggressive to me…February 7, 2012 at 9:51 pm #23559
Just to keep the conversation fresh, compare these two trailers for big hit films. Which style do you prefer?
There are a few things different. In the Back to the future spot, we see a very explanatory trailer, that gives cast and crew information through the narrator as oppossed to text between shots. The trailer also uses longer shots, or longer consecutive shots as they are in the movie. The most strikingly retro feature is an omniscient narrator who gives out plot points while the characters also help tell the story through peices of dialouge. The dialouge is mostly story related, while even the trailer for Back to the Future Part 3 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UQXOx2lYnA4) has changed to include more action shots and has forgone story directed narration to a more stylistic guided interpretation of the in-movie dialogue. The trailer gives more jokes than story details, even though it does potentially spoil the hell out of the movie. The downside of this type of trailer is that it would not work as a movie trailer today, because it can be watched so many times online that all of the clips it gives out acould easily allow fans to write the movie before it releases. Of course our Transformers trailer has shades of BTTF Part III in it.
The Transformers trailer gives vague plot points in order to generate interest in the story. The first minute and forty five seconds are a loose leapfrog between various plot points, none of which give away many major details. Then, it devolves into a series of short shots that are almost indescernible from one another of the multiple action scenes in the movie and funny/interesting shots of people and CGI robots. The big difference of this trailer is that it uses text to deliver it’s information (“Most have come to destroy us” “Directed by Micheal Bay”) as oppossed to the narration we saw earlier in the BTTF trailer.
What kind of trailer do you prefer? Do you enjoy a story revealing trailer, or one that shows several flash-bang action shots, and you can look up the story online later? Also, what are your thoughts on the evolution of the movie trailer? What led to it, and where will it go?February 8, 2012 at 10:43 pm #23587
Howard Well Actually
So, I’m going to go back to The Hunger Games for a second. I agree that the trailer puts too much emphasis on the initial setup, where Katniss takes her sister’s place (which happens in the first chapter or two of the book). The trailer is half over before anything else happens, and by the end, it’s still not clear what the Hunger Games are. I thought the first, full-length trailer was better in that regard. Both trailers, though, take footage entirely from maybe the first third of the movie, before the Games actually begin. It works for people who have read the books, but it’s just confusing for people who haven’t.
On the Avengers, I’m not very familiar with the Hulk, how should he be portrayed? I’ve always thought of the Hulk as an updated Jekyll and Hyde story, about the idea that we have a bestial side that we have to control. The Hulk as a hero is channeling that side into something positive, so I don’t have any issues with that line in the movie (also, it looked to me like the Hulk was smacking a jet out of the air at the end, not getting hurt).
Judging from the previous movies, I would say that Tony Stark and Thor should get along pretty well, as would Captain America and the arrow guy, and maybe Black Widow. I have no idea how the Hulk fits into this picture. Given that the number of comics fans is much lower than the number of people who have seen the various Marvel movies, making the Avengers movie comprehensible to that audience would seem to be more important.February 9, 2012 at 7:26 am #23594
Oh, hey, Ted – I meant to respond to your post & never came back! I think the question of trailer “types,” and the “evolution” of the trailer is a really fascinating one, and I’d love to see even more types explored in the future. For now, though, I feel I have to admit that the Transformers trailer really did have some sort of visceral affect on me. I can’t break it down into words just yet, but I have never seen – and more importantly have never WANTED to see – that movie… but that trailer kinda made me want to see it. That was really odd for me.
The BTTF trailer, on the other hand, was an equally odd viewing experience in a totally different way. I haven’t seen that movie in years, but it holds a really special place in my heart and memory as a childhood favorite… which was why it was really strange to me that I barely recognized half of the scenes in the trailer. I was very confused, frankly.
Now, in an ideal world, I think I would want some combination of the two. The Transformers trailer could, I think, have been viscerally appealing and engaging *without* revealing what I assume (based on other trailers for action movies I HAVE seen) are the most significant and memorable scenes. The BTTF trailer, on the other hand, I’m certain could have been just as enigmatic without being quite so dry.
It seems like too many movies are moving in the direction of “montage of the most exciting bits”-type trailers, which (conceptually) I hate, but which (viscerally) work. I feel like the Hunger Games trailer here is *not* in that category – it’s more like an updated version of the BTTF one, only using dialog to do what voice-over used to accomplish.
I don’t like either one.February 9, 2012 at 9:47 am #23595
Howard Well Actually
Oh, a couple other things on The Hunger Games. (Well actually) It’s Jennifer Lawrence, actress from Winter’s Bone and X-Men: First class, not Jennifer Hudson, actress from Dreamgirls and finalist on American Idol. And Peeta kind of is a big beefy guy. His talent that he shows off is basically being strong. Maybe you could raise issue with his height (which I don’t remember)?February 9, 2012 at 12:45 pm #23597
Nice thoughts on the Hulk Howard, I completely agree with the Jekyll and Hyde stuff. I have no issue with the line in the movie, but just the way the dialog was structured in the trailer. And, the way the Hulk was going through the air, I have do doubts he took down one if not both jets, but it seemed like if you innocently jogged across the street and a Smart car ran into you. It would hurt like a bugger, and the car would likely be totaled (Sorry if that offended any Smart Car drivers).
Genevieve, you’re right. Trailers do give away the biggest moments of the movie. The Pirahna trailer shows the last shot of the movie, (a guy being eaten) and the BTTF 3 trailer I posted easily gives away the SPOILER: Flying Time Train if you look closely. You can see the train tracks, and the shot of Doc on the train you’d send fans into specualtive frenzy if the movie were being newly released, and the trailer was seen on YouTube or something like that. I personally don’t like trailers like the Transformers one, mainly because when the T.V. spots are on all the time, (which is mainly where I see film trailers), I am treated to a seizure-inducing flurry of images that I can’t process into cohesive story.
Though, a well done trailer can communicate alot about a film’s subject matter, if not plot, and will make people want to see it, like the The Woman in Black trailer did for me.
I’m not a fan of scary movies, but I want to see this movie. I didn’t even know it was Daniel Radcliff until I read a review. That’s something I expected the movie to publicize heavily after finding out, but for some reason, it never said “Go see this movie, it’s Harry Potter!” The poem that the little boy recites is very well done, and the images that the trailer shows with the words made me interested in seeing this film without having to tell me the story. Trailers are a fickle thing. So easy to get wrong, and hard to get right. One of the worst things a comedy trailer does is give the title, credits, and then show one last joke before it cuts to black. Comedy trailers also show more humour than story, and even then, some show more montage clips than an action movie, and you get one 7 second clip of a full joke, and then you get tired of hearing it.February 11, 2012 at 10:39 am #23648
So…. Genevieve, you said Twilight fans aren’t quite the same demographic as Hunger Games ones? Well…
Now, I agreed with you, I didn’t think the kind of young person The Hunger Games was meant for would be in all aspects the same as a Twilight target. But this actually makes me wonder not whether that’s incorrect, but actually if the story is going to be catered toward the Twihards. And if that’s the case, it’ll definitely lose something.
I really want to see The Woman In Black, as well.
Here’s an interesting project. This movie blog compiled a bunch of trailers featuring Jay-Z and/or Kanye West in them. Going through, the titles alone seem to fit the films. I hadn’t seen the one for the G.I. Joe sequel yet, and I love how meta it is- Dwayne Johnson specifically quotes the song, for crying out loud.
I suppose this just bleeds into my overarching curmudgeony rant about trailers in general. They’re their own artform, and the people making them really deserve a lot of credit. That probably runs entirely counter to some of your ranting, Ted, but it aligns with when you say, “So hard to get right.” A good trailer can convince you a movie is something completely different, or at least much better than it actually is.
And the trailers in that link mostly feature previously recorded music, there are, indeed, studios out there specializing in trailer/ short spot music.
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