Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Trailer Roundup: 'Tomorrowland' and 'Inside Out'

Two new trailers from the Mouse House have landed this week: One for Brad Bird's next epic, the other for Pixar's next epic!

Tomorrowland's trailer debuted yesterday, and I apologize for not covering it right away, this has been a rough week so bare with me here...

So... Tomorrowland's first (and hopefully not last) official trailer is the best piece of marketing for this upcoming Brad Bird film, but that unfortunately isn't saying much, for the previous pieces... Well... Weren't very good. Now I am very much looking forward to Mr. Bird's film, because it's a Brad Bird film. How does one in the know not get excited for a film by one of the best filmmakers out there?

I think the teaser and Super Bowl spot fail because they don't tell people who don't know who Brad Bird is why they should get invested in the world of this film. Cool visuals aren't enough when it comes to films like this. You have to give audiences a reason to care: What are the stakes? Who are the characters? What's going on?

This trailer partially succeeds... We get to see more of Tomorrowland itself, which looks fantastic. Bird and his crew have knocked it out of the park here, turning the aesthetic of the park into a very imaginative, retro-futuristic city that's loaded to the brim with tons of great details. (Look for Space Mountain in one shot!)

It also tells us a little more about the main character, but why is she the "chosen one"? Is she really brilliant? Does she have some kind of ability? Why are they looking for her? All they say is "you can change the future" or whatever, the typical destiny stuff. Immediately it's "Why do you need me? Did something happen? Something bad?!" Right to the conflict! What's the threat? All we see are a bunch of threatening bad guys, but why are they after her? Or George Clooney's character? Or Tomorrowland? Is it "for the evils"? Probably not. This is where the trailer fails in my opinion. Instead of really establishing some things, it instead decides to sell the film as another blow-em-up, loud, crazy action film. Well, we'll only care about that action - and the action looks INCREDIBLE, pun shamelessly intended - once we care about the characters and everything else! There are hints of things scattered throughout the marketing (the real world becoming absolute chaos, Tomorrowland being the possible solution, etc.), but again... We have to care.

I hate to be a pessimist, but I don't know. I really don't know. I'm still excited about the film, because I know who is behind it and I just know it's probably going to be great. However, if I was just your average moviegoer who didn't know who Brad Bird was (even the though trailer flat out tells me who it's from, which is never enough unfortunately), I probably wouldn't be saying, "I definitely want to go see that!"

On the bright side, this film has something John Carter of Mars and The Lone Ranger didn't have. The park itself. John Carter's sands, swords, spaceships and aliens only reminded general moviegoers of Star Wars and Prince of Persia. Not too many people are familiar with the source material or its major influence on sci-fi and fantasy works over the decades, sadly.

The Lone Ranger just looked like "Pirates of the Wild West", and we all reckon that a lot of people under the age of 30 or so aren't too familiar with The Lone Ranger. Everyone knows Tomorrowland, right? Well, that name alone could possibly help considering that... Well... Who doesn't love going to Disneyland or Walt Disney World? But at the same time, the marketing isn't really doing its job. It's not making you care about what's going on, regardless of whether it's based on a beloved theme park or not. That's a problem.

Audiences can be fickle, and when your film looks derivative or run-of-the-mill, opening weekend numbers aren't going to be very high. The ever-so-bloodthirsty press will be all over your film in an instant, they'll try their damnedest to make people think that because it didn't make too much money, it's a turkey. You know, forget about the film growing legs (a la Edge of Tomorrow) and ultimately getting a decent amount of money in the end. It's all about NOW, NOW, NOW! It made $30 million on opening weekend? FLOP!!! A good amount of people also assume that a flop is a bad movie.

It reminds me of something Brad Bird himself said on Twitter not too long ago...


I want to be wrong. I want to eat crow. I want all this worrying to be all for naught in the end. There's still time between now and May 22. Disney can very well release a second trailer, one that can be attached to Avengers: Age of Ultron, that will really succeed in making audiences want to see the film. I still see mixed reactions to this film, and that's not good. It's telling me that the new trailer isn't doing its job. I want this film to be a hit, because Bird deserves success for his high quality films and if it does well, we might see more live-action Disney films like it see the light of day.

Again, the park it's based on should help it. I mean, that alone is a good selling point. A film based on a part of Disneyland/WDW that's from the Incredibles and Ghost Protocol director! I hope that's more than enough, but again, I want to see a trailer that really, really works.

In the end, I wish this film will be extremely successful.

Now the other trailer that was unveiled today succeeds... The trailer for Pixar's next, the new original story Inside Out!

Pixar, or whoever puts together their trailers, can get away with making bad trailers. However, this new trailer was pretty good! It's a bit fast and frenetic, but most trailers are, because telling enough and getting people interested is a bit tough to do in two and a half minutes!

First off, this looks super-creative. The teaser and first trailer only give us a good idea of what the film is about, this trailer dives into the film's more surreal aspects. The world of Riley's brain is very imaginative, clever, and eye-popping. The color work, the structures, all the little details, it looks amazing. I like that they showed some of the different areas of the mind, such as the massive library of long-term memories and the dream production studio in Imagination Land (love how it resembles a film studio!), but there are quick scenes of other things that suggest how out-there this film will be.

To sum it up, the film just looks awesome. It's Pixar, why wouldn't it? Brave and Monsters University, while very good, are pretty conventional and light. This looks like WALL-E or Up, in fact I'd argue that this is their most creative project yet considering that they had to build the world of the brain and its inner-workings. With many of their previous films, they were working with things in the real world like toys, along with bugs and fish and rats. The Cars is our world, but with everything we know being car-ified. WALL-E gave us a post-apocalyptic earth and a really cool intergalactic safe haven where the humans lived. But this film? It truly gives us a new world, it's akin to Pixar making a film set on another planet or in another universe. Again, they did that with Cars, but that was really a version of the real world but with cars. This is more like Disney Animation's upcoming Zootopia, a whole new world!

I can't praise this upcoming film enough, and the trailer itself mixes story bits, funny bits, and even emotional moments (because it should) quite wonderfully without ever being a chore to sit through. Judging by a few shots, this is going to be a massive tearjerker. Why wouldn't it be? Pixar, Pete Docter directing, the story being about your emotions. Yes, I expect my gut to be punched. According to someone who recently saw a test screening, it pulls an Up in its first 5 minutes.

In all, it looks fantastic. Through and through.

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