Not done just yet with the news of last week. Let's get that out of the way fast, since this week's news begs attention as well.
Titel eerste Star Wars solofilm bekend
I suppose this was last week's bit of 'breaking news' (insert exclamation mark or two). Even though the Star Wars spin-off films aren't nearly as hugely anticipated as the upcoming Episodes proper, they're still Star Wars movies. The title of the first solo feature, as directed by Monsters Man Gareth Edwards, is now revealed to be Rogue One. Still no plot synopsis, but if the name is any indication, it will undoubtedly involve the famous Rogue Squadron pilots, of which Luke Skywalker was once a member in the Rebel Alliance, before his status as a Jedi Knight took precedence. Rogue One is generally the call sign of the X-Wing Squadron's leader, so could it be about that? With Felicity Jones as the protagonist, will she play a tough female fighter pilot kicking some Imperial ass all over that galaxy far, far away? Sounds a bit like Starbuck on Battlestar Galactica, but hey, that show took a hint or two from Star Wars itself. Maybe the title is simply a huge misdirect and the movie will actually be about something entirely different. Could be, considering the persistence of those bounty hunter plot rumours. But maybe they keep on popping up because people want a bounty hunter movie, as nearly everyone had hoped this first solo feature to be a Boba Fett flick. Doesn't mean that project is off the table if Rogue One is really about Rogue's pilots, since this certainly won't be the last Star Wars spin-off. From the talented Edwards, I'll take any Force filled Fighter fest I can get, rather than facing the inevitable letdown that's gonna be Abrams' Episode VII...
Nieuwe trailer San Andreas
Speaking of letdowns and things resembling other things, this trailer just screams 2012. The plot looks very much like that of Earthquake, except with one main character rather than multiple. I just can't understand why this hugely expensive project was greenlit so soon after 2012's release. Do studio execs really think Dwayne Johnson's presence and lots of visual effects are enough to entice audiences to go see it in theaters? Though I like rampant destruction as much as the next man, to my mind there simply seems little appeal to this film. The devastation scenes are gonna be fun at best, but never original or inspired, while the rest of it just seems utterly dull. Maybe someone in Hollywood knows something the general audience doesn't at this point, and the long expected big bang is finally imminent on the American West-Coast. A big earthquake with lots of property damage and huge numbers of fatalities won't be fun, but would make the film a hot current event at least. But other than that, I can only see this movie being shattered and crushed by the success of others at the box office.
Nieuwe trailer Inside Out
In terms of originality and box office success, I have more hope for this film, Pixar's latest. First of all, it has the Pixar name going for it. It may have taken a dent or two lately because of the lack of inspired projects, but it's still strong enough to stand out amidst a crowd of animation competitors. Second of all, the plot seems much more thoughtful than in the case of most animated features of late, and finally hails another Pixar original rather than a dreaded sequel or spin-off. Lastly, considering the success of characters like the Smurfs and the Minions, clearly colour coded little entities with distinctly different personalities are sure to appeal to kids everywhere en masse, so positive box office results are more or less guaranteed. The only thing in that regard I would have done differently is push the release date back a few more weeks, to stay clear more of the Minions movie and avoid animation competition, but otherwise Inside Out will do just fine. Will it be on the same creative level as the Pixar greats of the previous decade? I dare not speculate. It sure has a unique premise it seems, but whether it will connect to audiences without degenerating into a mindfuck? Probably, but certainly not a given as of yet.
Eerste trailer Hotel Transylvania 2
And here's a less original animated feature for you. An unavoidable sequel from a lesser studio, it's hard to deny. Doesn't mean it will be bad, per se. After all, everybody loves monsters, animated or otherwise. The success of the first film clearly established that, otherwise this sequel would not exist. So far, Hotel Transylvania seems to stick to relatable events, family squabbles and such. No creatures secretly controlling our minds, evil characters hellbent on taking over the world, or other grandiose plot points in this franchise. The plethora of strange and spooky creatures ensures the visual impact needed, while the plot keeps it much more down to Earth. Dracula's daughter has married an outsider (an everyday human) and spawned a halfbreed kid, and now his family, including his overly oldfashioned and conservative father, must learn to cope with current events. Hardly an unrecognizable problem. Just with unusual characters, vampires and werewolves and stuff. I like that notion of turning things upside down. Hopefully Hotel Transylvania 2 will acknowledge the potential of this emotional plot and not let the monstrous take priority over the human aspect.
Meer character posters Avengers: Age of Ultron
Speaking of inhuman characters, here's two of them. Mutants really, though that term is taboo in Marvel Studios's canon. Obviously the new Avengers were the last ones to get their own character posters, since the studio considers the popular returning characters the big audience draw, while these two still have to prove themselves. Quicksilver already turned out a great character in X-Men: Days of Future Past, but that of course wasn't 'Marvel's' Quicksilver. It's gonna be a challenge starting from scratch with the same powers and adding a distinct separate personality on the same creatively enjoyable level. Hopefully the sibling relationship with Scarlet Witch is utilized to maximum effect to make this Quicksilver a decidedly different and original take on the same character. Considering the simultaneous release of these character posters, it seems to be what Marvel is aiming for. After all, they could have mixed things up and paired either one of these with the posters for other newbies like Ultron or Vision (the latter still unaccounted for), but they didn't. Of course, the big question then is, will Olsen and Taylor-Johnson show the necessary chemistry between them to make us like these siblings? I saw the new Godzilla again this week, in which these actors played husband and wife. Can't say they did a particularly compelling job in that role. Hopefully brother and sister suits them better...