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Trailer Tracker: Pacific Rim, Man of Steel, After Earth and Oblivion

In time for the release of fantasy epic The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey this weekend, studios have released first looks at a slew of upcoming and hugely anticipated sci-fi efforts. Hot off the presses, so to speak (or whatever film comes off of), is Guillermo del Toro’s Pacific Rim, which offers more than a passing glimpse at the promised smackdown between giant monsters and equally giant robots. Equally capable of making fanboys scream is Man of Steel,which has unveiled its full-length trailer after a duo of Comic-Con-fuelled peaks earlier this year. 

Then Will Smith returns in his first original starring feature since Seven Pounds with After Earth (in which his son Jaden also stars), a dystopian adventure directed by the now-notorious M. Night Shyamalan. Finally, but certainly not least, is Tom Cruise’s Oblivion, an equally apocalyptic actioner from the director of Tron: Legacy that may offer a tad more than the basic premise the trailer suggests. Get ready, because Earth is in for a pummelling this week. This is Trailer Tracker. 

Pacific Rim 

The monstrous other-dimensional Kaiju square off against the behemoth, human-piloted Jaegers in the first trailer for Pacific Rim, a unique blend of J-horror classics like Godzilla with everyone’s desire to see colossal gun-toting machines a thing of reality. Starting off a trend present in these trailers, leads Charlie Hunnman and Idris Elba provide voiceovers in the form of context/setup and epic rallying cries respectively. Like the best trailers, the straightforward nature of the plot description blended with the stunning big-budget action can’t help but entice. 

As is usually the case, the trademark style for which director Guillermo del Toro is heralded remains intact, hinting at some fantastic creature design, robo-rendering (rocket punch ... enough said) and action offering “slow motion” not for a flourish but to stage the action from the perspective of a human: two towering entities slugging it out in bone-crushing fashion. With CGI polishing still to come and far from all the Kaiju unveiled (despite this revealing look), Pacific Rim no doubt has a slew more to offer both lovers of summer cinematic fun and those sick individuals who would want to see the world near an end just to see this film unravel in real life.

Man of Steel 

Superman gets a legitimate origin story in Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel, a more grounded and moody interpretation of the legend that nevertheless provides everything needed to make a movie (or comic) nerd involuntarily void his or her bladder. Although the actual threat may exist only in flashes (i.e. Michael Shannon’s General Zod) and in our hero taking both an emotional and physical beating, the stakes seem infinitely higher than anything we’ve seen from this character.

Also made easily apparent is Henry Cavill’s ability to fit the role, at least from a physical perspective. Very much a teaser and featuring little more than groundwork, Man of Steel’s first full (ish) length look is immensely exciting, both for its fresh look and for the glimpses of what’s to come in this reboot. 

After Earth 

1,000 years abandoned, our world has been replaced with a more Earthly Pandora (though Will Smith still remains, thankfully!). His name is (shockingly) absent from this trailer, but After Earth comes from the much-maligned M. Night Shyamalan, who has seemingly learned his stamp carries the opposite effect of what is used to.

Man behind the camera aside, After Earth offers a thrilling blend of primal adventure, a philosophic Smith (carrying on the voiceover tradition) and a number of CGI threats. Accompanying his father is Jaden Smith, a young man still intent on becoming as big a star as his father. Solid in action-comedy fare such as The Karate Kid, this could prove to be the first test of his acting chops as he strikes out from his downed spacecraft on Earth to save both himself and father from certain demise.


Facing threats more of the extraterrestrial kind (or is that the only threat?) Tom Cruise’s Jack Harper pays a visit to a ravaged Earth that may hold more secrets than he was previously privy to. A flash-bang of promised twists, action and slick imagery is about all we get with this first trailer for Oblivion, but the tease that this is something more than your average “visit to a destroyed Earth” flick is certainly a promising thought.

Morgan Freeman also stars in this sophomore effort from Tron: Legacy’s Joseph Kosinski who interesting also wrote the graphic novel from which the film is based. It’s safe to say waiting for a more revealing trailer will be the only way to decipher exactly what’s going on, but interesting questions such as Harper’s age (per his inexplicable memories of a baseball game) and who this mysterious woman he rescues is, and what larger role she has in humanity’s fate. Oblivion lands in theaters Apr. 12.





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