The Trailer Park: Monsters, Spies & Hobbits

The end-of-the-year cinematic lineup promises some thrills, adventure and lots of escapist fantasy. Yet only one new trailer has me convinced to pay the theater price to watch its movie on a big screen.

‘I, Frankenstein’

I’m a dork for all things ‘Frankenstein’-related, and this trailer makes me feel like the world’s biggest dork ever, because I actually want to see the movie. The story, based on an unpublished graphic novel by Kevin Grevioux of the ‘Underworld’ franchise, seems like total comic book horse manure, yet I can’t help myself. It features the monster as some sort of reluctant antihero caught in the middle of massive war between supernatural beings, for crying out loud! Seeing as how it’s set to be released in January, I have a feeling that this will be a disappointment on the scale of ‘League of Extraordinary Gentlemen’, so I’ll likely wait for the Blu-ray.

‘Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit’

This preview for the latest installment in the Jack Ryan film series comes on the heels of Tom Clancy’s passing. While that’s rather sad, the movie actually looks promising. From appearances, this will be a bit more action oriented than the previous installments, which were more political thrillers and suspense mysteries. I wonder if the filmmakers are aiming for an American version of James Bond, with Kevin Costner doing a combination of the M and Q roles? Chris Pine doesn’t strike me as the suave Bond type, let alone fitting in the shoes of Jack Ryan. Nonetheless, I’m willing to give him a chance in theaters this Christmas.

‘The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug’

After the somewhat disappointing and over-long first ‘Hobbit’ movie last year, I’m a bit hesitant to run to theaters for the second chapter of this planned trilogy. However, the trailer shows enough to whet the appetite and tempt me into considering… maybe… seeing this on the big screen, especially for the scenes with Smaug and Bilbo. But then I’m reminded that this will likely be another nearly three-hour adventure with lots of added material and creative license, like we saw in ‘An Unexpected Journey’. Evangeline Lilly as Tauriel is already evidence of this, as her character is rumored to be a romantic interest to Orlando Bloom’s Legolas. I’ll try to reserve judgment until we’re closer to release date and after reading a few reviews.

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  1. Its definitely being pushed to a more action oriented franchise, however, this trailer seems to plant to the seeds of how and why this will happen. It starts with Ryan stating “somebody tried to kill me” in exasperation, while showing the battle between him and a behemoth of a man. He struggles, but ultimately perseveres, he then tells Costner’s character that he sold Ryan on a “desk job” but Costner retorts that Ryan is “operational” now. Ryan is no longer just an analyst but rather a covert agent and an insanely smart one at that. I just rewatched Hunt for Red October and this isn’t too far from it, Baldwin’s Ryan was an analyst who got pushed into the field and when it came down to it, he did some badass shit when necessary. He plunged into the icy Atlantic to get aboard the Dallas and gets in a firefight with the Red October’s saboteur. Theres also a line that Ryan was at the academy to become an officer in the Marine core until his chopper went down, killing everyone except Jack who received a bad spinal injury. I’m wondering if they’ll leave the spinal injury by the wayside, making a more physically powerful Jack Ryan or if its simply that medical technology and techniques has allowed better healing and while Ryan made the choice to become an analyst, he could still be an operative. I think its also implied in the trailer that Ryan’s wife isn’t very pleased by him being an operative/ working for the CIA, so its possible he took the analyst position because of her predisposition against violence/ the CIA. Either way, I think the trailer is showing us why and how Jack Ryan is more physical/ different from the previous iterations, or at least different to the original Clancy formulation and Harrison Ford’s stint.

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