[Editor’s Note: With this post, we welcome High-Def Digest Blu-ray reviewer M. Enois Duarte (we just call him “E.”) as a regular blogger here in The Bonus View. For his first post, he’s going to introduce a new feature that looks at trailers for upcoming movies. Be sure to give him a warm welcome. –JZ]
This Christmas, moviegoers can spend the holidays with the two biggest names in Hollywood. Steven Spielberg adapts the children’s novel ‘War Horse’, which follows the adventures of a horse surviving World War I and its friendship with an adolescent boy. A week prior, Tom Cruise accepts another mission full of ridiculously impossible stunts in the fourth ‘Mission: Impossible’ movie. How many more times can a one-of-a-kind secret agent be disavowed and forced to prove his innocence?
Ever since ‘Jaws’ effectively made audiences scared to go into the water, the name Steven Spielberg has in many ways become synonymous with good quality filmmaking. Of course, as we all know, this is not entirely accurate. The man, however talented at conveying some terrifically impressive imagery, is also responsible for some pretty bad movies. One thing which can be said with slight confidence, however, is that he’s statistically a safer bet than most filmmakers working today. Yet when I see the preview for his latest epic feature, the confidence just isn’t there as it once was.
Hitting theaters in December, the week after another big-budgeted Spielberg voyage, ‘The Adventures of Tintin‘ (which also doesn’t encourage much enthusiasm), ‘War Horse’ seems terrifyingly dull. Granted, the war sequences look stunning and grandiose – gorgeously ambitious, in fact! But they’re juxtaposed with overly sentimental scenes of a boy we can safely assume probably raised the horse before it was enlisted to fight in WWI.
Accompanied by an emotional musical score from John Williams, the movie suddenly becomes a generic story about the relationship between a human and an animal. I admit that my personal dislike of animal movies probably plays a big part in my unease towards this picture, but I’m pretty sure most will agree this looks like standard melodrama trash. We’ve seen this countless times before, and we know how it all ends. Spielberg is no different, according to this trailer. Someone, most likely the animal, will die in a gut-wrenching manner meant to make you cry.
‘Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol’
Also erupting on the silver screen this December with hot, steaming espionage action is another Ethan Hunt adventure featuring unbelievably improbable but still very cool stunts. I don’t hide the fact that I’m a ‘Mission: Impossible‘ fan. I’ve enjoyed all three prior films as decently fun escapism. Yes, that includes John Woo’s over-the-top, balls-to-the-wall spectacle of absurdity. (What else could be expected with Woo attached, except slow-motion, operatic violence?) J.J. Abrams brought the series back to reality with the third movie, which was something closer to what Brian De Palma envisioned in the first, only with Abrams’ own slicker, stylized version of that vision.
For the fourth installment, Abrams puts on his producer cap and hands over the reins to… You ready for this?…Brad Bird.
That’s right! The director of such animated favorites as ‘The Iron Giant’, ‘The Incredibles‘ and ‘Ratatouille‘ is making his live-action debut with a Tom Cruise actioner. The best part is that the trailer has me very curious – except that several plot points revealed in those two minutes feel oddly familiar. Hunt is once again disavowed, very likely due to some nefarious conspiracy committed by someone on the inside. And once again, the IMF team goes rogue and is forced to perform crazy bat-shit stunts because the info needed to clear their names is kept in a place with the most preposterous security system ever devised.
The preview is rather silly with the sort of hackneyed techniques meant to draw viewers in by misleading them. You know the type, where we’re made to wonder what it’s all about as some mysterious voice (in this case, Tom Wilkinson) explains the basic setup. Meanwhile, the main star of the movie remains conveniently unidentified as everything around him explodes. “Ooh, this looks interesting, honey. Hey, doesn’t that kinda look like Tom Cruise?” Then, when the time’s right and Wilkinson utters those famous words (“Your mission, should you choose to accept it”), the scene cuts to Cruise’s face and his perfectly combed hairdo. It’s definitely a roll-your-eyes type moment, but it made me chuckle nonetheless. I only hope that the rest of the movie won’t do the same.
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