Went to see Thor: Ragnarok, which was big and loud and lots of fun; Cate Blanchett makes a great death goddess, and the art department was respectfully faithful to Kirby’s visuals. The friend I went with pronounced it “the stupidest movie I ever saw,” which demonstrates two things: You can’t please everyone, and he hasn’t seen many movies. It wasn’t particularly dumb. (It was his first Marvel movie. His kids had dragged him to it.)
However, this post isn’t about the feature, but about the seven trailers that accompanied it. (Yes, seven seems to be the new standard.)
First, let me remark that all seven were annoyingly loud. If the feature had been that loud I might have walked out, but fortunately it wasn’t even close. And I’m old enough that (a) my hearing isn’t as sensitive as it used to be, and (b) I spent part of my youth listening to really loud music. (b. may be partly responsible for a. Particularly a Jefferson Airplane concert in 1969; it took days before I could hear clearly with my right ear after that.)
So, the trailers: First up was Black Panther, which, like Ragnarok, looks big and loud and visually stunning. The trailer was very choppy, edited into virtual incomprehensibility, just coherent enough to convey, “There’s this young king and lots of high tech and big cities and African imagery.” Since I’m familiar with the history of T’Challa, king of Wakanda, from the comic books I could make sense of a lot of it, but if I weren’t already a Marvel fan I think I’d have found it more off-putting than appealing. I hope to see the film when it hits the theaters because at this point Marvel’s track record is really impressive.
I’d already seen the latest trailer for Star Wars: The Last Jedi online, but it was cool to see it on the big screen. Of course I want to see it.
The New Mutants looks as if they’re remaking X-Men as a horror film, with a bunch of young mutants trapped in a haunted house/hospital. I hope that’s misleading.
Pacific Rim: Uprising was covered in my previous blog post, though I think this might have been a different trailer. Or not; I’m not sure. If so, it wasn’t all that different. I did notice this time that there seem to be robot-on-robot battles as well as kaiju vs. robot fights, which leaves me wondering about the storyline.
The trailer for Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle was the first time I’ve seen anything about the film that communicated more of the premise than, “It’s a sequel to ‘Jumanji’!” It seems that the board game from the previous movie has mutated into a video game, and four people get sucked into it, into the game’s four player-characters — which do not correspond all that well to their real-world selves. It’s a different premise than the game intruding into the real world, but it looks as if it could be fun, and it’s well-cast, so I’m tempted. We’ll see what the buzz is once it’s released.
Downsizing looks a bit weird. It’s science fiction comedy — or science fantasy, if you want to get picky. In the not-too-distant future a way of permanently and irreversibly shrinking people is developed, and “downsized” people are able to live very cheaply because they require far fewer resources — less food, less space, etc. People volunteer so they can live in relative luxury in downsized communities. Our protagonist and his wife sign up — and then our guy wakes up five inches tall, only to find his wife chickened out at the last minute. This trailer was the first I’d heard of it, but it looks decent. Comedy is so idiosyncratic, though.
12 Strong is the only one of the seven that’s not fantasy of some sort — except that it’s a Jerry Bruckheimer film. It claims to be a true story, and my companion remarked that “‘Jerry Bruckheimer’ and ‘true story’ do not belong in the same sentence.” So it may be fantasy in that sense. Mostly, though, it’s about twelve Americans sent to fight in Afghanistan in September 2001, before the U.S. had time to mount a serious war effort. It’s very hard to judge how good it is; about all you can say is, “It’s a war movie.” I’m not fond of war movies, so I’ll pass. It doesn’t look terrible, though.
You know, there are so many new SF/fantasy/superhero movies coming out these days I can’t keep up. It’s overwhelming. I remember when one big-budget SF movie was a good year! Nowadays my only complaint is that I don’t get to half of them.
And this batch of seven — I definitely want to see two, and four more look promising, which is a much better average than usual. Good stuff is coming!