Trailer Hitch

By Kim Hollis

October 2, 2004

Octopi and squid and sea snakes, oh my!

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There were so many new trailers this week that I'll be splitting this column into two parts. The second half will appear on Sunday, October 3rd.

1) Madagascar

I just love this trailer. The look and feel of the animation is crisp and unique, setting itself apart from the other CGI product we’ve seen recently. The humor is universal, appealing to both kids and grownups. And perhaps most importantly, there are evil penguins everywhere! That’s right. I’m a sucker for an animated penguin, whether it’s Feathers McGraw or Tennessee Tuxedo. These particular guys seem to be descended straight from Tennessee, too, since their fondest wish is to escape from the zoo. I was already really anticipating this film, but I am even more so now.

2) P.S.

A few weeks ago, I checked out the preview for Birth, which is about a woman whose late husband seems to have reappeared in the form of a strange child. P.S. has a very similar theme, but looks to have much better execution of the concept. Laura Linney plays a woman who suddenly encounters a young man who practically embodies a young man whom she had loved long ago, but died. Instead of this person being a boy as in birth, he is almost exactly the same as she saw him years ago, and is played by Topher Grace. The movie looks romantic, quirky and charming. The fact that it’s from the director/writer of 2002’s Roger Dodger sure doesn’t hurt matters any, either.

3) The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie

So far, the SpongeBob teasers and previews have been nothing short of brilliant. This one is no exception, though it goes for a less broad audience and sets the target solidly at fans of the series. The best thing about this is that it means the trailer shows a lot of Plankton, my personal favorite character on the show. The humor displayed throughout the preview is evidence that the quirky, irreverent nature of the show has been kept intact. And really, if Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story didn’t prove to us that David Hasselhoff starring as himself is comedy gold, SpongeBob SquarePants is sure to push that notion right over the top.

4) Seed of Chucky (R-rated Red Band Trailer)

This is a clever, hilarious trailer that shoots straight to the point of why people keep giving these films another go. Though they’re obviously gory and scary, they’re also witty. A guest appearance by John Waters won’t mean much to everyone, but for cinephiles it’s a genuine pleasure. Blowing up Britney Spears, however, might just jam the theaters full of people. Seed of Chucky looks like a lot of fun.

5) Going Upriver: The Long War of John Kerry

This film just started playing at my local arthouse theater yesterday, and I have to admit the trailer does make me interested. Though it does feel like it’s being all too conveniently released as the election approaches, it looks like an interesting story, centering around Senator Kerry’s Vietnam service and his willingness to be outspoken after he returned. It’s probably not going to change any minds as far as voting, but it’s probably an interesting resource for those already voting for the man. It doesn’t hurt to know a little more about his background.

6) Alexander

You know, I’ve seen a number of people talking about how much they like this trailer, but it’s not doing much for me. Part of that is due to the fact that I’ve just never been much of a fan of the genre – I’m no fan of Braveheart or Gladiator – but I think it’s also that Colin Farrell’s line, “Conquer your fear, and I promise you’ll conquer death!” seems too much to me like it’s trying to be the “Is there no one else?!!” of the trailer. Still, there are some great things being done here. The brief shot of the elephant vs. horse battle is great, and Angelina Jolie looks fantastic as always. I just can’t get past Farrell in the lead role, unfortunately. I’ve never much liked him as a lead actor and he doesn’t do anything in this preview to convince me that Alexander is going to change that feeling.

7) Stephen King’s Riding the Bullet

Like the majority of movies adapted from Stephen King novels, this one simply doesn’t look very good. It’s not a total turn off, mind you – I’m intrigued by the usage of a roller coaster as one of the main sources of fear – but when you’ve got David Arquette as your primary baddie, warning signs start to go off. With no huge stars and very little as far as intrigue or suspense or intrigue in the preview, this film looks to have an uphill battle in a fairly limited release. The name Stephen King will be enough to draw the curious, but that might be about it.

8) Christmas With the Kranks

This movie looks dismal to me, but for some reason, people love Tim Allen when you combine him with Christmas. I never quite got the appeal of The Santa Clause, either. Anyway, the only time I laughed during this thing was at a quip by Dewey from Malcolm in the Middle. Oh, and Tim Allen’s name in the movie is Luther. That’s funny too, right?

9) MirrorMask

The people who cut this trailer are smart enough to note from the outset that the film was written by the remarkable Neil Gaiman, so that’s probably going to be adequate enough to draw some curious fans to theaters just by name recognition and anticipation alone. From there, though, what we see is a Cirque du Soleil-esque presentation that really tells us little about the movie itself other than that it does appear that the Jim Henson Company has done a fine job with some of the visual effects. They’re incongruous with some of the other production values that are shown in the preview, though.



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