– By Paulie Spiceflow –
Here is a compilation of trailers that premiered at or just before Comicon 2016 in San Diego. This is not a complete list of all the trailers. There were a few I left off because I wasn’t sure they were speculative fiction, or they looked absolutely awful and uninteresting. Here is what I found along with some of my thoughts.
Kong: Skull Island
Peter Jackson did an amazing job rebooting the classic monster franchise back in 2005. The giant ape came to life thanks to 21st century technology and Andy Serkis. It was definitely too long (3 hours, 7 minutes) and dragged out the ending but overall it was quite an experience. The one thing that struck me the most about that movie was Skull Island. It is a fucking nightmare! Seriously, at every turn something different is trying to kill and eat you in the most gory of ways. Forget research or monitoring, just nuke that place!
The new movie appears to be a sequel and takes place a few decades after the first film. It is going back to that nightmare place with better technology. Of course, the savagely primitive world will knock them down a peg or two. A great cast with a new director and new writers, so do not expect the same feel as the 2005 film. This is a fantasy franchise that is extremely old but still terrifies us through its suggestion that we are not the masters of nature.
Blair Witch Project was a phenomenon back in the day: a movie with no special effects, no budget, yet terrified millions. In an era where everyone thinks you need to “go big or go home,” Blair Witch showed that fear and terror can come from what is not seen. Sadly, someone took the story and made several awful sequels, abandoning its original format and adopted the go big or go home philosophy. This new one is written by Simon Barrett, who doesn’t have anything big or special on his list of credits. The director is also relatively limited on notable credits. This could be their breakthrough however.
It looks like this one goes back to the original handheld camera approach, which is good. It also appears to be limited in budget, with no CGI or supernatural light shows. The original movie was extremely creepy in that you could not see the witch or monsters but you knew they were there. Fear the unknown and the weird. And for fuck sake, stay out of those damn Maryland woods!
King Arthur: Legend of the Sword
A movie no one is asking for. This apparent revision of the King Arthur legend has all the makings of a bomb. A magazine cover boy, hyper-masculine hero with all sorts of mythical poetry spoken in British accents over tons of fantasy action. This could be Dracula: Untold all over again. Not interested, moving on…
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
J.K. Rowling brings us a new story from the universe of Harry Potter. Magical creatures roam free in America and it is up to Eddie Redmayne to recapture them all safely. We see Colin Farrell and Jon Voight are part of the fun as well. There is some risk here, putting a lot of time and money into a wizard movie without Harry Potter, Hermione, Weasley, or Hogwarts. This movie will test the world’s appetite for more children’s magical fantasy and determine whether it’s all about the magic or the characters.
More superhero fun. It’s CW on Fox with a bit of an edge and a young Bruce Wayne. I do not watch personally but hear good things. Looks like they are stepping it up a notch. Hopefully they won’t confuse special effects with ideas like some other superhero franchises.
This movie should’ve been released before Batman vs. Superman. For some reason DC Comics decided to do the franchise building backwards, starting with a big grand movie with a bunch of characters then moving on to give each superhero their own movie. Granted Batman and Superman technically got their own movies first (although I don’t think they are bothering with the Christopher Nolan Batman story line), we got glimpses of the greater Justice League with no context. Wonder Woman got a couple scenes but hardly enough.
Of all the Justice League characters not named Batman and Superman, Wonder Woman probably has the largest potential fan base. The Flash has built an impressive following thanks to his successful show but I still think Gal Gadot has a chance to overshadow all the TV superheroes. Cyborg and Aquaman will have to establish their own presence in the upcoming movie but I would not hold my breath. Neither are all that interesting.
As excited as many are for this long delayed film, it looks kind of ridiculous. The premise, the special effects, the lasso, it all just looks like it could be in trouble. The director is Patty Jenkins who has not done a movie like this in her career. The writer, Allan Heinberg, worked on Gray’s Anatomy, Scandal, the O.C., Gilmore Girls, Sex and the City, and Party of Five. Not exactly a comic book action pedigree. This movie will be an experiment in many ways that were unnecessary. I understand that this is the origin story and that it should not be changed much, but I am definitely worried this could bomb. I hope I’m wrong though.
You knew it was coming. Zach Snyder and Co. are at it again bringing us their version of the Avengers. My feelings on Batman vs. Superman aside, this one might be different. They seem to be showing more of a lighter, fun side. It appears from online customer reviews of Dawn of Justice that the producers probably did not get the response they hoped for and realized they need to make some adjustments. Not sure who the villain is, but it is rumored it will be the Joker.
From the trailer, it doesn’t seem to show how Aquaman really fits in to all this. His superpowers are the most problematic in terms of integrating them into a legit story. When does talking to fish or controlling the seas going to factor into a big superhero showdown? Unless it is on the ocean, of course.
What started as a darker version of The Avengers, seems to be moving towards Fast and Furious. A group of criminals who are actually heroes somehow. Director and writer David Ayer has done some good work in the past including Fury, End of Watch, and Training Day. No comic book or sci fi/fantasy background from what I can tell. If they wanted to move towards Deadpool as was rumored, I don’t see it. The trailer screams anti-hero bad ass, explosions, cars, beautiful women, etc.
I will go see it but it looks like it will be different than the other comic book movies of the past couple years. That could be a good thing, or a failed experiment.
I am pscyhed about this one. We got some Marvel with Inception. Benedict Cumberbatch is a superstar and can definitely pull this off. As for the rest of the movie, I did hear of some disappointment in changing The Ancient One character from an Asian man to a white woman. Other than that, casting looks to be amazing. Scott Derrickson is director and producer, and comes from a horror background. He definitely has a knack for dark visuals and suspense. The trailer suggests a dark magic feel to it rather than a conventional Marvel superhero feel like the Avengers. Also looks like this might turn into a light show rather than a movie with a story.
Overall, this movie has a lot more going for it than against it. Can’t wait!
Extremely popular show that I don’t watch. Never got into the character and tend to avoid CW. Still, this got a lot of hype.
The Walking Dead
I saved the best for last. The best show on TV that left the audience hanging on the question: who did Negan kill? From the trailer, the world of the dead is about to get a lot bigger. We know Negan’s army is much larger than a few dozen. He is a warlord with maybe hundreds loyal to him. There are a few new characters and a bigger conflict to come. King Ezekiel has a tiger. Jesus will factor in to events to come, and potentially more factions that might join Alexandria in ending Negan.
As much as I love the show, the last few episodes were pretty underwhelming as the writers tried to repackage some of the same PTSD drama from season’s past or have our heroes make stupid uncharacteristic mistakes. Walking Dead rarely relied on having the protagonists make stupid decisions in order to produce story lines. The zombie apocalypse supplied more than enough surprises and material. Lately, it seems they are bending my beloved heroes to do things that just don’t make much sense. They claim to have enough material for 3 or 4 more seasons but from what I saw at the end of last season, I am not convinced. Like Breaking Bad, I’d rather see Walking Dead end the right way rather than drag on as the writers run out of ideas, or worse, jump the shark. I’d be happy with two more seasons.
Or maybe the end of last season was just a bad rut that they can pull out of this next season. There is plenty of time to make amends. This trailer has me ready to go. Let’s get to it!
Paulie Spiceflow is a regular contributor, movie reviewer and unbelievable smart ass. He prides himself on his excessive knowledge of movies, TV, books, internet memes, and pop cultural references. During college, he spent minimal hours studying but took full-advantage of the free internet and lack of bills to broaden his knowledge in numerous genres including spoof comedy, fantasy, Shakespeare, military history, zombies, and cartoons.