It's been a busy week what with Sinterklaas and the news surrounding the Jurassic World trailer (and that other trailer too, which I won't mention here since it's been picked apart frame by frame everywhere else already), so here's a belated crop of this week's news from my hand:
The more I see of this movie, the more I want to see it in theaters. I know I shouldn't get my hopes up since it's by all accounts a rather generic raunchy Hollywood comedy starring all the usual suspects, but still it has piqued my interest. It probably has something to do with my fascination - coupled with a healthy dose of abjection - for dystopian societies, even though this one is sadly all too real. Everything we hear about North-Korea, and not everything being as trustworthy as it is considering the various ideologies at work, makes it sound a very incredulous yet all too actual place. I would never want to live there, but it's so shady and abhorrent there's this vast web of projected fantasies and horror stories surrounding it that remains intriguing. Of course this movie doesn't pretend to tell the truth about the nation, nor does the country ever tell the truth about itself. But it's so inherently 'other' that it's hard to deny its fascination. Even when that's exploited for stereotypical Hollywood jokes. This trailer made me snicker on more than one occasion. Some of the jokes might very well hold an uncomfortable and alarming truth though. But then, so did The Great Dictator in its days, even though the truth in hindsight was far more sinister than the fiction and in many ways, painfully unfunny. It's unlikely The Interview will ever be considered as great a classic as that film, but it's definitely in the same league, though obviously more contemporary.
Why the heck not? As Skyfall showed, the rebooting has already progressed quite far in the 007 franchise, now that old characters appear in new guises (M, Q, Ms. Moneypenny). Much as keeps happening to the protagonist himself in fact, and that has worked out pretty well so far. Why would the same principle not apply to Bond's primary nemesis Blofeld? There's no reason it shouldn't. Of course, the studio has its mind firmly set on a powerful actor who can elegantly balance the precarious line between too realistic and too campy, which is the route the franchise currently seems to be taking, as Skyfall indicated (strong drama and character conflict, but also an outrageous villain and a pit full of Komodo Dragons). Christoph Waltz perfectly fits the bill. It's not the first time he plays an evil character who feels both all too frighteningly actual and totally over the top (e.g. Inglourious Basterds), so he knows the drill. It'll be delightful to see what the new look of the character will be. I doubt the bald head and the facial scar will be as overtly present as on previous incarnations. Probably a toned down version of that. And will the cat stay? If not, it'll definitely be referenced. It should.
For some reason, this just can't excite me. I can't quite put my finger on it, since it has some things going for it that I like, including a full scale alien invasion. Maybe it just looks too generic, maybe the jokes and the bleeding heart message are too bland. Maybe I'm kinda done with Jim Parsons playing a social outcast, even though this is not our society for a change. It could be the trailer just gives away too much of the plot for me to care about the final product. Perhaps the aliens look too much like cuddly toys aimed for selling to kids. I shouldn't judge ahead so strongly, I know, but on all accounts I'm guilty as charged. Wouldn't be the first trailer for which I did so this week, though that other trailer got it worse. Probably because it gave away so little of the plot by comparison.
This movie, too, doesn't excite me that much, but in this case I know where the fault lies. It feels repetitive. It's from the same comic book writer as Wanted, and it has a lot of striking similarities with that title. Both feature secret organisations fighting to keep the world in balance. Both recruit an unlikely regular guy as their new agent and pin a lot of hopes on him because he looks so ordinary but he's oh so special. Both star some grand actors to suck us into the world of the piece. Both feature all kinds of outrageous gun fights and assorted action scenes. The only thing Kingsman apparently doesn't have that Wanted did, is a strong female character - 'twas Angelina Jolie in Wanted's case - learning the upstart the tricks of the trade and giving us a good butt shot in the process. This time we have to make do with the very British Colin Firth to introduce both the young protagonist and us, the audience, into this crazy world. These posters indicate there's still room for some neat female butt though. No firing curved bullets this time, but there's room for other far-out stuff like a hit woman with robotic legs. And what's with the pug? Truth be told, I didn't care much for Wanted, so this movie will be hard pressed to do better.
Don't. Just don't. Please. This movie featured a solid plot that didn't seem to leave much room for more, unless it's more of the exact same. And I don't need a plot regurgitated for me to appear in a new guise for a younger generation. The only way this could be a sequel is if it featured recurring characters, and so far the old cast doesn't seem eager to jump on the same bandwagon again to sing the exact same tune. Even the studio itself seems a little hesitant on this one. First, the production was rescheduled to a full year later. Second, the number of sequels has been lowered from two to just the one. What does that tell you? It just seems nobody's heart is in this. The original 1996 movie really does suffice. If the studio truly does feel like making more dough on this title, just re-release it for its 20th anniversary (preferably not in 3D, but that's not a likely scenario these days). That's really all the celebration we need, for it's still a great thrill ride of a blockbuster flick.
Well, that just looks adorable! Not that I expected otherwise from Aardman, but am I glad their style remains consistent. From the looks of it, it's not the fairly basic plot that counts here, it's the fun to be had out of it, coupled with the wonderful style of animation Aardman always delivers. I do have this unshakeable feeling it looks aimed a little too much at a younger audience, which may mean there won't be a subtitled version in Dutch theaters, only a dubbed one. That would be a damn shame, so I hope it proves untrue. I for one am definitely up for more delightful British humour, preferably in their own language. Then again, language? The trailer doesn't offer any actual lines of dialogue. Nor does IMDb have a cast list available, as if there's no voice acting present. If that's the case, I need not worry about shitty dubbing at all, and everybody is happy. Excellent solution to save on dubbing and subtitling costs, Aardman!