Trailer Hitch
By Kim Hollis
September 25, 2004

Being a superhero has fringe benefits we mere mortals never consider.

We're getting close to the holiday season, and as such, the previews for the big movie releases for that time frame are starting to roll out.

1) Incredibles

Though this second trailer for the upcoming Pixar superhero film isn't quite so much fun as the first one, it's still terrific. This preview focuses a bit more on the man of the house - Mr. Incredible - but we also get plenty of great glimpses of the eye-popping visuals that are by now Pixar's trademark. It's a kinetic, fast-paced trailer that packs a huge amount of action and humor into a very short time span. My only complaint is that they never show enough of the villain, but
then again he might be being held back intentionally. The character looks like a lot of fun.

2) Blade: Trinity

I've really enjoyed the Blade films so far, and this trailer looks terrific. It does an outstanding job of emphasizing the qualities that made the first two movies so successful, but even more importantly, it skillfully introduces the two new primary characters (Ryan Reynolds and Jessica Biel) as the vital portion of the story that they are apparently going to be. The movie looks to be action-packed and smart - and that's despite the presence of the WWE's HHH, whose brief face shot in the film did nothing but make me giggle. My biggest complaint, though, is that there were no noticeable shots of Dominic Purcell (John Doe).

3) Surviving Christmas

This preview is surprisingly funny. When I first heard the premise basically a holiday revision of last year's Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star - I held out little hope for this movie's prospects.
Somehow, though, the combination of the arrogance and goofiness of Ben Affleck with James Gandolfini's stodgy grumpiness works really well. Catherine O'Hara's presence always adds to the pedigree of any comedy, and Christina Applegate's humor has really grown on me over the years. And though it was in the teaser, too, the shot of Gandolfini hitting Affleck over the head with a shovel should continue to go a long way toward building audience good will.

4) Silver City

Chris Cooper appears as some sort of amalgram of Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush in this comedy about a Colorado politician running for office even as a body has been found on his property. The film looks funny and intelligent, and also looks to be chock full of acting talent. Seeing the name John Sayles on the screen adds indie cred, too.

5) Flight of the Phoenix

This preview essentially makes The Flight of the Phoenix look like Survivor in the desert with an airplane. It's also awfully similar-looking to J.J. Abrams' new television series Lost, though
there is no monster here. Instead, the conflict comes from the cast's attempt to build an airplane to escape a scorching heat that is almost sure to lead to death. Some natives of the terrain show up to complicate things, too. It's interesting to me that no mention is made of the fact that this movie is a remake of a 1965 film by the same title.

6) Unleashed

I love Jet Li, so I'm willing to give this film just a little leeway. Listening to the dialogue as the preview unfolded, all I could keep thinking was "Is this a Luc Besson script?" Lo and behold, it is. It's talky and quick, with a premise that is extremely strange. Li is basically a slave to Bob Hoskins, who is allowed to speak in his natural Cockney accent for once. Hoskins enters Li in fights with other strong men, then takes him home to his dog food and treats. Li somehow manages to break free, where a kindly Morgan Freeman teaches him to play the piano. It doesn't really look half bad.

7) The Polar Express

The first trailer for this Robert Zemeckis film looked so much better than this newer one. The latest preview emphasizes wonder and happiness and is so sugary sweet your teeth might rot after watching it. Where the first one made great use of music and coordinated its various scenes with the melodies, the newest one just doesn't match up properly. The movie still looks fine, but this one is clearly targeted more to children than adults.

8) Vera Drake

This very serious-looking film just won the big prize at the Venice Film Festival, so it doesn't come without some buzz. However, this trailer doesn't really do much to distinguish the movie from a host of other serious Academy Award contenders. It looks to be a weighty, thoughtful story about a kind family woman who is treated as a criminal because she assists young women in getting abortions when such practice is illegal. Imelda Staunton is a name to watch come awards season.

9) Shall We Dance?

The preview for Shall We Dance? might be one of the worst ones I have ever seen. It's all about Richard Gere and his escape from his drab existence by attending a dance class. Making matters worse, Jennifer Lopez is here, too. There's just nothing redeeming about this one whatsoever.