Film & TV

Super Bowl XLV – The Trailers

I am a self-confessed geek, and therefore most competitive sports are alien to me. However, at this time of year, one would have to be hiding underneath a rock on Tattooine to miss anything about the Super Bowl. Year in, year out it proves to be the most-watched broadcast on American television – and this year was no exception – but the game is not necessarily the only reason why many of us tune in at 11pm on a Sunday night. The Super Bowl is also renowned for it’s entertainment segments, in particular the halftime ceremony, where many popular musicians, including the likes of the Rolling Stones and Bruce Springsteen perform accompanied by an impressive light show and a boost in record sales. This year, unfortunately, we were subjected to a somewhat questionable performance by the Black Eyed Peas, during which, famous RnB artist and Justin Bieber creator Usher had to be airlifted in to save the day.

But I digress, for even the musical aspect of the Super Bowl is of no real concern to me. The main reason why I tune in is for one reason and one reason only – the thirty second trailers for the upcoming big-budget blockbusters. While they managed to squeeze a total of nineteen trailers throughout the many, many commercial breaks, only a few really caught my eye:

Captain America: The First Avenger

First and foremost, this was the world premiere of any kind of trailer for Captain America, and as a fan of the franchise, it’s great to finally see some images from the film. Directed by Joe Johnston (Jumanji, Jurassic Park III, The Wolfman), and starring Chris Evans, Hugo Weaving, Hayley Atwell, Tommy Lee Jones and Stanley Tucci, Captain America is one of the most highly anticipated comic book features of the last decade. After many attempts at adapting the character for the big and smaller screen over the last several decades (including a role in a 1973 Turkish feature, where he is pitted against an evil, bushy-eyebrowed Spider-Man), this is the first that shows some real promise.

Set within the Avengers universe of the forthcoming 2012 Marvel feature, Captain America is the story of Steve Rogers, who is deemed unfit to join the US Army and fight against the Nazis during the 2nd World War. Instead, he enlists in a secret military project that creates Super Soldiers, turning him into the eponymous hero, Captain America. With his new-found abilities, he battles the Red Skull, Hitler’s head of advanced weaponry who has nefarious plans of his own.

Things to look out for:

• Chris Evans’ CGI body – believe it or not, that effeminate, pre-pubescent figure with Evans’ head is not actually him prior to beefing up for the role of Cap’n.
• Hugo Weaving in full make-up as the villain, the Red Skull (shown briefly here at 0:24) –  this was always going to be a major deal-breaker for Captain America if done badly, and by the looks of it, they’ve done the character justice.

Captain America: The First Avenger is scheduled for release on 29th July.

Thor

Another big comic book release this year is Kenneth Branagh’s Thor, as part of the Avengers franchise, starring Chris Hemsworth, Anthony Hopkins, Tom Hiddleston, and current Black Swan Oscar-favourite Natalie Portman. Hemsworth stars as the titular God of Thunder who, as a punishment for his reckless actions, is exiled to Earth and forced to live amongst humans. Thor must learn what it means to be a true hero, and save the planet once it comes under threat from the villain of his home world of Asgard. This is the first feature length, live-action adaptation of Thor, and it will be interesting to see what Branagh does with one of the most enduring characters in the history of Marvel Comics, especially considering his directing experience lies primarily in that of Shakespearean adaptations.

Things to look out for:

• Screen legend Anthony Hopkins playing the role of Thor’s father, Odin. A piece of casting genius.
• Idris Elba (aka Stringer Bell of The Wire) playing Heimdall, omniscient guardian of the bridge to Asgard.

Thor is scheduled for release on 29th April.

Rango

Of the many computer-animated films being released this year, Rango looks to be by far the most original and eye-catching. Directed by Gore Verbinski, known for his work on the first three Pirates of the Caribbean films, this is a further collaboration between him and Johnny Depp. Depp voices Rango, a pet chameleon who finds himself in Dirt, a town somewhere in the Old West whose inhabitants are other desert animals, but are dressed like characters straight out of a Spaghetti Western. Having always aspired to be a hero, Rango establishes himself as the ‘lawman’ of the town, much to the distaste of the other inhabitants. With a star-studded supporting cast including Isla Fisher, Abigail Breslin, Alfred Molina, Bill Nighy, Ray Winstone and Timothy Olyphant, Rango is surely set to be one of the funniest and quirkiest comedies of the year.

Things to look out for:

• A rumoured Hunter S. Thompson cameo – this would not be totally out of place; Depp has already played the famous Gonzo journalist in Fear and Loathing in Last Vegas, and is set to star in an upcoming adaptation of his novel, The Rum Diary. What’s more, the poster for Rango does bear an eerie resemblance to that of Fear and Loathing.
• Timothy Olyphant as ‘The Spirit of the West’ – already renowned for his work in TV’s Deadwood and Justified as a cowboy character, Olyphant can only aid in bringing a Western vibe to the film.

Rango is scheduled for release on 4th March.

And finally;

Super 8

Since JJ Abrams (creator of TV’s Lost and Fringe, as well as director of the 2009 reboot of Star Trek) announced he was making Super 8, details of its plot have been shrouded in mystery and kept tightly under wraps. The speculation at first was that it was to be a sequel, or a prequel to 2008’s Cloverfield, but that proved to be false. The only plot details that Abrams has released so far are as follows: “In 1979 Ohio, a group of six young children use a Super 8 camera to make their own zombie movie. One night while filming near a remote stretch of railroad tracks, the children witness a car collide with an oncoming train leading to a catastrophic derailment. Amidst the fire and destruction, something inhuman emerges”. Abrams is very much set on giving nothing away, including the names of the characters. We do know, however, that it stars Elle Fanning, Kyle Chandler, Noah Emmerich and Amanda ‘AJ’ Michalka.

Things to look out for:

• Anything and everything. The work of JJ Abrams speaks for itself; the monumental scope and success of Lost and Star Trek can only mean that Super 8 promises big things on an even bigger scale.

Super 8 is scheduled for released on 19th August.

Josh Franks

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Film & TVTrailers

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