Tag Archives: Universal Pictures

Pacific Rim: Uprising

 

Outlook: Likely boring with the chance for some eye-candy action.

Release Date: March 2018

I almost exited out of the YouTube page halfway through this trailer. I LOVED Pacific Rim, and was stoked to see that Legendary Pictures released a trailer for its sequel. However, this trailer left a peculiar taste in my mouth: the taste of a forced reboot. The closest comparison I can draw it to is 20th Century Fox’s Independence Day: Resurgence  that came out last year before Saul and I founded Title Roll. If we had been writing reviews then, I would have proudly given the second Independence Day 0 out of 5 stars due to its lead actors’ wooden acting, uneven plot, and obvious forced creation.

new-clip-from-pacific-rim-featuring-a-hardcore-idris-elba-header

Idris Elba in Pacific Rim as Stacker Pentecost.

This trailer smacks of Independence Day: Regurgitation: In both movies, the humans thought they had won a war against an alien enemy only to discover that the enemy was not dead, but came back stronger. The films’ leads were filled by skilled actors (Will Smith in Independence Day and Idris Elba and Charlie Hunnam in Pacific Rim). However, none returned to their respective roles for the sequels. Another similarity that points to lazy writing both Smith and Elba’s characters’ sons are now the main characters, I’m sure seeking revenge for their “dead” fathers. And, of course, both movies’ plots center around “the fate of the world rests on our shoulders” mentality that is now too often voiced in trailers.

Pacific Rim Uprising

John Boyega as Stacker Pentecost’s son, Jake Pentecost.

Even though Pacific Rim‘s plot also rested on “the fate of the world depends on our success,” it didn’t state that fact outright nor did the movie commence with that statement unlike Uprising‘s trailer. Instead, Pacific Rim opened with a rich history about the war between the Jaegars and Kaiju. As the movie progresses, its history becomes more detailed as the main characters fill it in with their respective pasts and how the Kaiju effected or destroyed their lives. I believe this was the movie’s main strength.

Also, the fact that Guillermo del Toro is not in the director’s chair makes me nervous. His movies are always incredibly beautiful which was another major pleasure point of Pacific Rim. This sequel’s CGI pales in comparison to the first movie. It resembles the pitiful, cheap, and light CGI that Lions Gate utilized for this year’s Power Rangers film. I’m not sure if this is due to del Toro’s absence, a smaller budget, or the skill of untested director, Steven S. DeKnight, who is taking over for del Toro. While DeKnight has vast experience as a showrunner for Spartacus and Daredevil, he has never directed a movie nor has he had any involvement with a major motion picture. While this is not a damning factor, it does not bode well for Pacific Rim: Uprising. 

The upsides to this trailer are obviously the Tupac remix, which was fitting for its war filled scenes, but what intrigued me most was the Jaegar v. Jaegar clip. I hope that this means there is some infighting amongst the Jaegar pilots. Hopefully this can lead to character development and a deeper plot that what this trailer revealed.

By Hagood Grantham

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Atomic Blonde (2017) – Teaser

Outlook: Most promising trailer of 2017 (so far)

Director: David Leitch

Cast: Charlize Theron, James McAvoy, John Goodman, Toby Jones, & Eddie Marsan

Atomic Blonde‘s opening fight scene harkens back to the early Bourne movies mixed with the bloody violence of John Wick. Its cinematography blends Zach Snyder’s pre-D.C. movies (Watchmen300Sucker Punch) with the stark quality of Bourne. I’m quite excited for this film because it appears to have a sense-of-self unlike many run of the mill spy/action movies.

The most negative aspect of the trailers is its plot, which appears to be a product of the trite lovers-revenge formula, which would normally be a bummer. However, its intense action and sex, coupled with the possibility of some good, dry British humor make me hopeful. I also enjoyed the neon signage that is reminiscent of Nicolas Winding Refn’s Drive and Neon Demon. Leitch put together a stellar cast that, by itself, does not guarantee success, but it does increase my desire to see it.

The largest unknown for Atomic Blonde is its director. Leitch only has an “uncredited” direction credit for John Wick. His career has  so far largely centered in stunt work where he has been a stunt-man, stunt-coordinator, and action choreographer for 82 titles in movies, TV shows, and video games. His only upcoming title is Deadpool 2, which means Fox has a ton of faith in him to put him at the helm of such a large cash-cow.

I’m choosing to side with Fox & Universal and believe that Leitch’s prodigious stunt experience will produce a quality action flick.

For trailer, see below.

By Hagood Grantham

Super Bowl Trailers

THE BAD

Transformers: The Last Knight

The size of the paycheck Michael Bay sent to Hopkin’s agent in order to get him on Transformers: The Last Knight will be this film’s biggest reveal.

Potential sequel, if Hopkins stays on board, could be Silence of the Transformers: More Bayhem.

Pirates of the Caribbean 5: Dead Men Tell No Tales

Shiver me franchises, Disney is at it again (Pirates will be there 2nd of 5 sequels for 2017).

However, it does seem that this Pirates film may have a slightly darker tone.

With Orlando Bloom back, can Disney find Box Office treasure again?

Furious 7

Next sequel: Furious 8, Vin Diesel packs it in, gets a Prius, and dabbles in microbreweries along the East Coast.

THE GOOD

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

I eagerly anticipate the return of Marvel’s best franchise so far, but this trailer did need a little more Groot.

Baywatch

Biggie, slow-motion, and some pretty funny jokes at Zac Efron’s expense, we’ll hold out hope.

Logan

Logan could be the pinnacle of the X-Men series so far, striking overtones that are reminiscent of The Road,  but hopefully without the whiff of cannibalism.

Mummy (2017) – Teaser

The Mummy starring Tom Cruise, Russell Crowe, Annabelle Wallis, and Sophia Boutella. Directed by Alex Kurtzman and written by Christopher McQuarrie & Jon Spaihts. Out in 2017.

Hagood’s Thoughts:

On first viewing, Saul and I were both skeptical of this movie’s motives. As with most remakes, I assumed Universal Pictures, K/O Paper Products, and the Sean Daniel Co. created this movie with the intent to manipulate our love of ancient Egypt and mummies to raid our wallets. However, now, upon learning that Mr. McQuarrie (writer of Edge of Tomorrow The Usual Suspects) and Jon Spaihts (writer of Prometheus Dr. Strange) are penning the script, I have more hope. I know this puts Saul in a quandary because he hates Strange but loves Prometheus. I’ll hold my breath for this one and pray it does better than Brendan Frasier’s mediocre trilogy.

Saul’s Thoughts:

The first thing that surprised me about this reboot is that is not a period piece. The prior Mummy trilogy have all been set in the first of half the 20th century, while this reboot is firmly modern,

I enjoyed the Mummy trilogy growing up because the period setting had the same sense of adventure and exploration as another great series, Indiana Jones.

Hopefully this reboot does not replace periodic allure with ‘Bayhem’, the technique created by Michael Bay where films revolve around explosions and the demolition of cities. Unfortunately that does seem likely as the Mummy in question is destroying a city area at the end of the trailer.

Update: The first full trailer for The Mummy has been released.

Hopefully, Annabelle Wallis, of principal renown for her role in Peaky Blinders as Thomas Shelby’s love interest, will get some decent screen time. It is clear that she will be playing the love interest in this film, as Tom Cruise sacrifices himself to save her in the trailer.

The switch between male and female for the Mummy this time round is an interesting choice. I wonder if there is any reason for the switch, besides distinguishing the upcoming film from the prior series.

The morgue scene in which the plane crash victims are wrapped in plastic imitates how mummies were wrapped in linen prior to burial. Tom Cruise bursts from his body bag, which is a hint that he may be linked to an artefact or the villain somehow, and hence his survival.

The military convoy in both the teaser trailer and the first full trailer, coupled with the seeming damage to central London means that ‘Bayhem’ is confirmed.

I assume that the presence of the U.S military in discovering the new Mummy is part of some sub-plot to create bio-weapons.

Russell Crowe  will either be an ally to Cruise and Wallis, or a Government agent who joins the Mummy in her quest to outperform Loki, the decepticons, Bane, and all your other villainous pals, in destroying urban architecture.