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Trailer Tracker: Man of Steel, Cloud Atlas and More

Many of us wish Zack Snyder’s Superman reboot would arrive faster than a speeding bullet, but we can at least be momentarily satisfied by two teaser trailers which were released along with The Dark Knight Rises last Friday and aptly showcase the new look of the Man of Steel. Also breaking was the extended trailer for the time-jumping, hugely ambitious adaptation of Cloud Atlas starring Tom Hanks and Halle Berry from the Wachowskis and Tom Tykwer.  

Then, two of award season’s heavy-hitters reveal trailers for their next films this week on Trailer Tracker and though very different beasts (with one featuring actual beasts), expect big things from Ang Lee’s The Life of Pi and Paul Thomas Anderson’s The Master. 

 

Man of Steel

Blurry glimpses of Superman’s return were seen floating around the web courtesy of the Warner Bros. panel at Comic-Con, but those were all but yanked by the studio in the hopes that some mystery could remain intact. Now that The Dark Knight Rises has arrived (and with it a trailer for Man of Steel) we now have a clear look at how Clark Kent’s alter ego will be interpreted this time around. It’s clear from the opening shot this is a very down-to-earth, realistic approach. It’s in no way outwardly gloomy or overtly gritty like Nolan’s Batman films, but neither is it as bright as Bryan Singer’s Superman Returns. We should be in for something special. 

Warner Bros. has taken an interesting approach to these trailers, opting to debut two at the same time: one with a voiceover from Clark’s biological father, Jor-El (Russell Crowe), and the other with dialogue from Jonathan Kent (Kevin Costner). In both instances, the speeches offer fatherly advice to our future guardian of Earth, with Jor-El explaining the responsibilities he must execute (think “with great power comes great responsibility”) and Jonathan waxing about how Clark must find his own path. It’s an interesting approach and seems to promise some mature themes will be at play. Concluding with a tease of Superman blasting through the sound barrier, these trailers only serve to make me hungry for more. 

Cloud Atlas

One of the infamous “unfilmable” novels of the 21st Century, David Mitchell’s Cloud Atlas from 2004 weaves multiple narratives in different periods of time, from the South Pacific in the 1800s, to a post-apocalyptic future, chronicling how different ages are all connected and how one event can ripple throughout time. Tom Tykwer (The International) joins famed directing duo Lana and Andy Wachowski (The Matrix) for this ambitious adaptation and the extended trailer they’ve brought us is nothing short of stunning. It’s clear the complexity on display and only time will tell if it was executed effectively (and if it will find an audience considering its heady themes). Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Ben Winshaw, Jim Broadbent, Jim Sturges, James Darcy and Wachowski regular Hugo Weaving all star. 

The approach of an interwoven narrative stretching across time calls to mind the masterful Intolerance from D.W. Griffith way back in 1916 and that’s high praise to receive. I’ve had this film on my radar for some time now, but more for the involvement of The Wachowskis (who haven’t directed a movie since the 2008 flop Speed Racer) than the actual source material, with which I am unfamiliar. Well, consider me intrigued now as this epic has easily risen to the top of my most anticipated movies for the remainder of 2012. With its October release, it is likely being positioned for awards consideration and this is the type of grand presentation The Academy adores. We will soon see if such praise is in the cards for Cloud Atlas.

The Life of Pi

Speaking of awards consideration and adapting difficult novels, Ang Lee is looking for the return of the critical lauds he garnered with Brokeback Mountain by bringing the long-gestating The Life of Pi to the screen after over a decade in development hell. “Pi” tells a tale of a young boy who becomes trapped on a life boat with a Bengal tiger, a zebra, an orangutan and a hyena after a shipwreck leaves him the lone (human) survivor. M. Night Shyamalan, Anfonso Cuarón and Jean-Pierre Jeunet (Amélie) were all attached to helm the film at some point but dropped out for different reasons before Lee finally got the project under way, and it certainly appears like it was worth the wait. 

This is a gorgeous-looking film with some pretty spooky imagery toward the beginning and expectedly bombastic visuals throughout. The CGI tiger looks well realized as well, and actually the delay likely helped in that regard (I’d expect some pretty shoddy graphics if this had been made in 2000 when Fox first acquired the rights). I really didn’t know what to expect from this project when I first heard of its bizarre plot, but we can be certain Lee will treat to something unique, whatever that might entail. 

The Master

Like Ang Lee, cinema buffs are always looking expectantly at Paul Thomas Anderson and seeing as he hasn’t made a movie since 2007’s There Will be Blood, you can bet his fans are dying for a fix from the five-time Oscar nominee. In The Master, a young drifter (Joaquin Phoenix) becomes the right-hand man of a cult leader (Phillip Seymour Hoffman) who begins to question his loyalty to “The Master” as the following grows. Amy Adams also stars, so for acting pedigree we’re looking at some heavy-hitters. The trailer itself is an odd one to be sure, but it effectively captures the 1950s setting and paranoid tone that Anderson seems to be going for. At this point, it would be unfair to expect anything but greatness from the acclaimed auteur and considering his track record at the Oscars, expect to hear a lot more about The Master.

 

 

 

 

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