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Trailer Tracker: Summer Blockbuster Blast

The holiday season has become very fruitful very fast for this trailer hunter as after weeks of ho-hum debuts and second trailer rehashes, we’re got six high-profile peaks into films worthy of teeth-sinking.

Though no box-office smash or fan hit, a sequel to G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra was greenlit and now we have the trailer for the grittier and better cast follow-up G.I. Joe: Retaliation. A full decade after Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones last teamed up to fight the alien menace on Earth, they reunite once again for Men in Black III, complete with time travel and interesting comedic additions. The first clip for board game adaptation Battleship left many scratching their heads in bewilderment, and this new one will either send you straight to the loony bin or into CGI nirvana.

Finally, three very difficult comedies round out this weeks docket: DreamWorks’ Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted, The Farelly Brothers modern The Three Stooges take and the Jason Segel rom-com The Five-Year Engagement, also starring Emily Blunt. I’ll be blunt, this week rocks - it’s Trailer Tracker.

G.I. Joe: Retaliation

“Trimming the fat” is a popular expression for removing unwanted or unneeded elements, and it seems G.I. Joe: Retaliation has done just that with the removal of certain actors and filmmakers –  not to mention cutting the cheese, adding some spice and concocting an all-round zestier recipe. I enjoyed the original “G.I. Joe” on one of the most superficial levels I have ever appreciated a film – it’s the true epitome of placebo entertainment.

For this second bout of buff macho-man versus the evil Cobra organization, the focus is on new addition Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and is a perfect fit for this testosterone-heavy franchise. We also get a juicy peek at Bruce Willis’ role as the original “Joe” channelling John McClane to palatable effect, some high-wire sword fights and plenty of Storm Shadow and Snake Eyes. Channing Tatum’s Duke is mostly absent from the trailers indicating he may have a secondary role, dies early on, or his exclusion is just a by-product of Paramount trying to rebrand the series as more mature and less kitschy. Either way, this (shooting past all likely odds) could be better than the original.

Men in Black III

With Will Smith having been absent from the spotlight for what will be a career-high four years, he shall test if his starpower is still intact with Men in Black III, which too has experienced a lengthy hiatus since its predecessor was released. This teaser hints at a time travel storyline whereby a meddlesome time-jumping alien inadvertently results in Agent K’s death leaving Smith’s Agent J to fix the future. This scenario seems decently well suited to this universe (if not by any means creative), but the addition of a young Agent K played to remarkably realistic fashion by Josh Brolin (and comedians Bill Hader and Jermaine Clement) should be good for (at least) some laughs. Upping the quality of the second shouldn’t be too difficult a task, but this entry just jumps out as a poor choice in general for a tentpole blockbuster (just look how Scream 4 performed) let alone Smith’s comeback flick.


After two peeks at Peter Berg’s effects-heavy (heavy in the realm of an elephant standing on your junk) board game adaptation, this is going to be a 2012 summer entry that will have you scrambling to Antarctica in fear or lined up the day before, a case of Red Bull in tow. So ludicrous, so without substance and so poorly scripted (even the ten lines of dialogue in the clip are cringe-inducing) I so want to see how this things turns out – for better or for worse. This has been iterated a number of times before, but if Liam Neeson utters “you sank my battleship” I would be inclined to bump it up an extra point on principle alone (not to mention stand up and clap). I will say its massive $200-million budget looks as if it was put to good use as the effects are quite seamless and the destruction does not appear to be limited to a seaborne setting. But hell, if the first “Transformers” can turn out ok, anything is possible.

Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted

Though it exists as minor praise, I did think “Madagascar 2” was significantly better than its lifeless predecessor and with DreamWorks having upped its ante as of late, I have cause to be cautiously optimistic this three-quel could deliver. The trailer, as it turns out, made me laugh quite a few times (though of course the quality of the humor was nothing close to the level delivered by Pixar). The whole principle cast is back, so of course the vocal talent is there (even if they have been a tad stodgy from the get-go) as are the two consistent highlights of Sacha Baron Cohen as King Julian and the mischievous penguins of Madagascar. I love animation, but there just seem to be far better choices out there each year than the antics of some zoo animals.

The Three Stooges

Exactly what I expected, or bewildering – I still cannot put my finger on how I feel about this modern reimagining of the classic comedy trio. Oddly, the slapstick humour presented in the trailer seems pretty darn faithful to the spirit of the original material but there is just something embarrassingly off about the whole thing. I also appreciate using unknown leads as Larry, Curly and Moe but putting them in a stretched-out story in a nunnery (instead of compiling a number of shorter vignettes) and with writing from the very uneven Farelly Bros. do not inspire confidence. Physical humor is one of (if not the) most difficult type of laugh to pull off and unfortunately, fecal matter gags don’t fit the bill.

The Five-Year Engagement

Fresh off his hit The Muppets, Jason Segel will next star alongside Emily Blunt in The Five-Year Engagement from director Nicolas Stoller (Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Get Him to the Greek) and written by the duo (not to mention produced by Judd Apatow). Following the journey of a recently engaged couple as complications continue to delay their nuptials, this looks like another winner from the Apatow gang. I laughed and I saw the potential for some earnest moments to boot (plus I laughed). Blunt on the other hand has never been the star of a straight comedy, though even her more dramatic roles tend to lean towards mirthful. She has, however, proved herself as a viable leading lady again and again. You don’t have to wait five years for this one, just until April 27.


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