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Trailer Tracker: Thor, Transformers, Pirates and More

Our featured trailer this week is — wait, who needs a featured trailer? When a week this awesome for trailers come around we do things full force; Christmas came early this year on Player Affinity with the release of clips for Marvel’s Thor and Michael “explosion” Bay’s Transformers: The Dark of the Moon. Captain Jack Sparrow returns in Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, the next instalment in the “Fast and Furious” franchise, Fast Five, burns some rubber and finally some more robots do battle (this time in the boxing ring) in Real Steel. Put down that Christmas cookie, it’s Trailer Tracker. 

 

New Trailers This Week:

Thor
Transformers: The Dark of the Moon
Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides
Fast Five
Real Steel

 

 

Thor

The road to The Avengers continues for Marvel with the next instalment in their growing series of superhero movies with Thor the Norse god of thunder, cast to Earth as punishment. Though the original comic had mythological origins, this rendition of Thor seems to indicate that he is not a god but rather an alien (sans green antennae of course). The brief shot of the palace of Asgard in the clip shows two planets (moons?) in the distance indicating not a fantastical place in the sky but a distant, sophisticated race of extraterrestrial beings. The explanation that “[our] ancestors called it magic and you call it science” is also a tweak to make the character fit in the grounded universe that is being established; a good call in my opinion.

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Chris Hemsworth will portray the warrior Thor and considering his brief (albeit scene-stealing) work as George Kirk in Star Trek, he should be up to the task.  Kenneth Branagh will direct and it will be interesting to see if a man originating in stage and Shakespeare adaptations can handle a big-budget action extravaganza. I stand optimistic about the end results of Thor, and the clip has grown on me after repeat viewings. What will be my greatest hope is that Marvel will not continue using these films as extended commercials for The Avengers, though considering what just happened with John Favreau, it doesn’t look like they will be changing their ways any time soon.



Transformers: The Dark of the Moon

And everything under the sun is in tune/But the sun is eclipsed by the moon … oh whoops, you mean this isn’t a Pink Floyd documentary? Of course, it’s the third (and reportedly final) instalment of Michael Bay’s “Transformers” series and despite the jab, I am glad he chose to go with something other than “Transformers 3.”  Title aside, Bay has constructed a mightily impressive extended teaser trailer, and although my promise to never trust the ads again after the eventual mess that was “Revenge of the Fallen,” he has my interest piqued yet again.

Set during Apollo 11’s 1969 moon landing, as the astronauts are about to “lose their signal” as they are forced to the dark side of the moon (NASA actually switches off their transmission so the millions watching will be none the wiser), it is revealed their true mission is to investigate a crashed autobot spacecraft. It’s a nifty premise that seems likely to be worked into the actual narrative of the film, though if the entire film will end up being as clever is a question all in itself. The geek world has since erupted with speculation as to what Transformer was the unlucky passenger of the downed craft, though it seems to have come down to Alpha Trion or Unicron (if that means anything to anyone). Expect a full length trailer soon which will undoubtedly shed some light on all these questions. 

 



Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides

Jack’s back. Although with a bit of a facelift for the franchise including a new director (Rob Marshall), no Orlando Bloom or Keira Knightly and the addition of the famed pirate Blackbeard, Johnny Depp returns as Captain Jack Sparrow in this fourth Disney adventure. After continually diminishing positive critical reception and a series-low domestic gross for “At World’s End,” execs have apparently chosen to scale this instalment back because they “can’t get bigger” and hope to get the series back to its roots. Hopefully this is the case and looking at the trailer alone, it certainly looks like a fun offering and as long as they tone back the zaniness of the Sparrow character and let Depp do his thing, trim down the double-crosses and make more of a linear and less jumbled narrative there is no reason why this can’t be successful.

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“On Stranger Tides” will take the crew of the Black Pearl to the fountain of youth, where along the way they encounter mermaids, zombies (the occult kind not the brain-eating kind) and of course Blackbeard, played by the talented Ian McShane. Penelope Cruz also stars as a past love interest of Jack’s so she should be able to bring the requisite sexiness to the production. Wish some fresh blood and removal of dead flesh, so to speak, May 20 of next year may yet have something to look forward.



Fast Five

After the surprise success of the fourth film in the (at the time) sliding franchise, which obliterated the box office with a $70 million opening thanks to the return of Vin Diesel and Paul Walker in the lead roles, a fifth was all but certain. And here it is, Fast Five which goes even further in bringing back Tyrese Gibson from 2 Fast 2 Furious (who will have a huge 2011 between this and “Transformers 3”) along with all the principle stars, and then further yet by snagging Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson for a lead role. If this offering can’t deliver your required supply of petrol-laced adrenaline, then nothing will.

Fast and Furious, despite its returns, was a weak entry featuring strange videogame-like sequences and pointless repetition in the car chases. I’ve got to hand it to the trailer editor at least, but Fast Five looks fairly awesome for what it is, the clip is packed full of revenge, heists, chases, explosions and gunfire; what more could you want? Johnson won’t be a new addition to the team of thieves but will play a dedicated federal agent named Hobbs (not associated with Calvin) tasked with bringing all those involved to swift justice. I’m in for any flick with The Rock so along with him and generally optimistic expectations that this entry will bring the series back to the basics of what made it popular, I’ll be getting in gear on April 29.



Real Steel

Ever wanted to see “Rock-‘Em Sock-‘Em Robots: The Movie”? Well, you’re in luck because I think Real Steal is as close as you’ll be getting to that dream. Hugh Jackman stars as Charlie Keaton, a former boxing champion who thinks he’s found a champion in a discarded robot and trains him (it?) in the hopes of finding glory in the futuristic sport of robot boxing. The premise sounds awesomely stupid and seems like the kind of movie that will deliver either guilty thrills or turn out to be a total abomination; consider me undecided at this point.
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The effects in the trailer are obviously unfinished and the many quick cuts seem to indicate that this film has a lot of touching up to do before it can become a viable Transformers-esque blockbuster. Shawn Levy directs Real Steel and he is as odd a choice as the theme of the film itself, having mainly helmed kids feature’s including Night at the Museum and The Pink Panther. The story comes from a Richard Matheson short story called Steel and was previously adapted for television by Matheson as an episode of The Twilight Zone. Fitting. Let’s hope “Steel” doesn’t end up as disappointing as the last film based on a Matheson story, last winter’s Richard Kelly film, The Box.



 

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