Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (Super Bowl Trailer)
Sunday 5th February 2017 was an important day for many American sports fans: the 51st Super Bowl was underway, with Lady Gaga waiting in the wings for her half-time performance, while an athletic showdown between the Atlanta Falcons and the New England Patriots proceeded to take centre stage. With a grand total of 111.3 million viewers, along with 1.72 million people streaming the event online, the viewership undoubtedly consisted of more than just regular fans of the NFL.
Naturally, as with all preceding Super Bowl events, film fans gathered to catch new glimpses of movies set for release during the rest of the year, all presented to us in the form of intermittent trailers framing the main event. One of these highly anticipated trailers was sneak peak no. 3 into the continued adventures of the Guardians of the Galaxy. With teasers released during the last few months of 2016, the Super Bowl trailer was set up to deliver something big.
Flushed with a delightful daze of colour, the trailer does not fall short of depicting a psychedelic universe to act as a backdrop for our main characters’ missions. Having lost Vol. 1’s cinematographer, Ben Davis, to the unrelenting clutches of Doctor Strange (2016), Henry Braham took over as director of photography for the second instalment in the Guardians series. Yet the tone still appears consistent, if not even more enthralling, as we are treated with a multitude of interesting shots that clearly enhance the vibrant settings found around the universe. From the gold and blue, art-deco inspired location seen at the start of the trailer, to the warm and cool toned backdrop of the Guardians’ conveniently arranged formation at the end, there’s one thing for sure; we might need a Starlord helmet of our own to shield our eyes from the kaleidoscopic colours that this film delivers.
In relation to said formation, it goes without saying that we must address the changes made to our spacefaring family of misfits. With Vol. 1 presenting the initial evolution of the Guardians team – Peter Quill/Starlord, Gamora, Drax, Rocket and Groot – it seems natural that the line-up has matured to a total of 8 for the second film. Groot, of course, has been reborn as a tiny tree now known as ‘Baby Goot’, yet seems to deliver just as much attitude as his previous form. Gamora appears to have recruited her former opponent and adoptive sister Nebula, whilst Yondu seems to have left the Ravagers behind to join the Guardians full time – complete with his whistle-controlled arrow. Lastly, trailer 2 introduced us to a brand new character not previously seen in the first film. Mantis, played by Pom Klementieff, is a bug-eyed being, complete with antenna, that has empathetic powers and was seen exposing Quill’s love for Gamora in the second instalment in our trio of trailers. But in trailer no. 3, Mantis fronts the formation, striking a pose of temporary elegance, before being hit by a small asteroid – a moment that highlights Drax as the main potential source of comic relief.
Exhibiting a newly spruced up title design – in blue rather than the previous gold – the trailer achieved what many others fail to do: it introduced new characters, gave a taste of the settings, used comedy to persuade the masses and revealed a small portion of the overall soundtrack, yet did all this without revealing too much about the plot.
For those eagerly awaiting the arrival of this film, it is scheduled to be released in the UK on 28th April 2017, surprisingly before its initial release in the States. So update your calendars, bring out the popcorn and I’ll see you at the cinema for this long awaited feature that is surely set to thrill.
The Handmaid’s Tale
The hugely popular novel by Margaret Atwood is getting a Hulu TV adaptation – and judging by the small snippets of action we see here, it’s going to be brilliant.
Whether it was homework for English or it’s a recent addition to your collection following the post-inauguration surge in popularity of dystopian novels, if you’ve read The Handmaid’s Tale, you know the story of an oppressive patriarchal regime will work amazingly on TV. And, given the echoes it has of things happening in the USA right now, there’s also an interesting political element to this trailer’s Super Bowl premiere.
The Handmaid’s Tale is set in a near-future American dystopian society where fertile women, or ‘handmaids’, are forced to bear children to upper-class men and their infertile wives. The story follows Offred, a woman who is one of the fertile few – but she had a life before this, with a different name.
The trailer gives us little more than this information, and that’s part of the beauty of it. We see ominous clips of someone being dragged away by force, of a swinging noose, of violence and gags and the warning that “better never means better for everyone”. But we have no real sense of the plot of the series, so unless you’ve read the book, that’s all there is to entice you in – which is more than enough. As a trailer, this is beautifully and cleverly edited – too much more would spoil the story, but this draws you in without giving anything away.
As someone who has read the original novel, I can say I am very excited for this. I don’t know how closely they will keep to Atwood’s plot, but from what’s there I can already tell it will be brilliant. If you like dystopias, watch it. If you like mysterious, slow-revealing narratives, based on the novel you should enjoy this. And if you’ve read the book (even if you hate it because you had to write essays on it), take a look at the trailer and make up your own mind. But I’ll definitely be watching when it airs in April.
From social media to smartphones, it’s hard to imagine our lives without casual dependency on modern day technology. Chances are, right in this moment, you’re reading this review off a phone, tablet or computer screen. Now imagine this: you’re being watched.
Based on the international best-selling novel by Dave Eggers, The Circle explores the relationship between humanity and technology with a sense of unease. In this case, the plucky individual that gets a chance to shine is Mae Holland (Emma Watson) who applies for a job at a revolutionary technology company: The Circle (surprise, surprise). However, while things start off wonderfully optimistic with charismatic CEO, Eamon Bailey (Tom Hanks), assuring us that “the possibilities are endless” with a company that actively wants to tackle mutating diseases and resolve issues like world hunger, naturally, there’s a catch. The catch is put forward by Holland’s fellow co-worker Annie (Karen Gillan) who naïvely chants along with everyone else “sharing is caring”. Now, maybe this is just me, but, when you’re a little kid that mantra is cute, but, let’s be honest, when it comes to a multi-million-pound technology company – sharing definitely isn’t caring. Bailey’s plan is to bring transparency to the world with cameras situated across the world and in homes.
Yes, the movie offers a kind of familiarity with Orwell’s 1984 slogan “Big Brother is watching you” and Charlie Brooker’s successful dystopian series Black Mirror, but The Circle goes a step further. The technological paranoia stems past webcam hacking and phone monitoring but platforms global issues such as events of police brutality and various forms of social misconduct. No doubt, there’s a question of ethnics within the company and we’re all backing Holland’s camaraderie with co-worker Kalden (John Boyega) to take on the company’s breach of privacy. Yet, this doesn’t seem to be all there is. With only two trailers released and both containing very similar content it isn’t entirely clear what further threat lies ahead for the characters but Kalden gives slight insight, claiming: “the circle has the power to change everything”. I must admit, this does have a tinge of purposeful irony given the trailer’s ending with Bailey’s closing line: “Knowing everything is good, but, knowing everything is better”. What this “everything” is remains open to speculation and if you want to know you’ll have to wait until premiere day.
Personally, I cannot wait for the arrival of the movie – it offers a relatively fresh topic reviving classic science fiction tropes of paranoia of the unknown and fear of modern day technology and its consequences.
The Circle debuts on the 28th April 2017 (USA) while the release date for the U.K is yet to be confirmed.
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