Tuesday, July 26, 2016

The best movie trailers previewed at the 2016 San Diego ComicCon

The best movie trailers previewed at the 2016 San Diego ComicCon
by rick olivares

Holy Summer Blockbuster, Batman! Hollywood has taken over comicdom’s biggest event.

Well, it has for years and for sure we’ll get to the comics at some point. For now, the four-day event previewed a lot of new film and television shows and we ranked the five best film trailers — in descending order.

5 Dr. Strange
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Of the five we have listed, Dr. Strange received the benefit of a first trailer months ago. The new trippy cut contains even more footage and is almost totally different. I think that the casting of Benedict Cumberbatch as Stephen Strange is a home run. On the other hand, I am not crazy about Tilda Swinton as the Ancient One as I am not crazy of this forced diversity that deviates from established canon. Nevertheless, I am excited to see this film.

If there is anything we’ve learned from the Marvel Cinematic Universe films, all is not what it seems as well. Maybe I am hoping that director Scott Derrickson who cut his eyeteeth doing horror films will meld the current comic storyline of writer Jason Aaron and artist Chris Bachalo that presents Strange’s world as a mystical superhero version of Harry Potter into this origin re-telling. And I figure the end of the trailer — Strange noting the word “shamballa” on a piece of parchment paper is his ‘mantra’ to which Chiwetel Ejiofor’s Karl Mordo replies, “Your wifi password. We’re not savages.” -  is an indication that this going to be one strange but exciting journey.

For those not weaned on the comics, “Shamballa" is another dimension where Strange ventured into in that incredible graphic novel written by J.M. DeMatteis and painted by Dan Green in September of 1986.

4 Justice League
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Hey! There’s day-glo around this and is so unlike “Man of Steel” or “Dawn of Justice”. Some snappy banter that isn’t Barry Allen at all (okay, they have really gone with a younger character). Ben Affleck as a smiling Bruce Wayne who engages the strikingly beautiful Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman in conversation. 

Essentially, Wayne sans his costumed alter ego is going around gathering warriors to deal with an upcoming and nameless threat. And they fall in. Wonder Woman, the Flash, and Cyborg. The scene where Jason Mamoa’s Aquaman converses with Bruce Wayne reminds me of the Fantastic Four’s Johnny Storm discovering Namor as a hobo.

You know Superman is going to be here for the next cut of the trailer. This one though whets everyone’s appetite. 

3 Lego Batman movie
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From the get-go, this one had me laughing. Imaginative. Funny. It’s nice to see voice actor Will Arnett return however this time with Michael Cera as Robin! I keep thinking of that goofy high-pitched voice of his in “Juno” and adapting that to Dick Grayson is a riot! And this is a first — Canadians playing Batman and Robin! 

2 Kong: Skull Island
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The second of Legendary Pictures’ reboots of classic monster films. They did Godzilla in 2014 that I wasn’t really crazy about. I love Peter Jackson’s 2005 reboot that starred Naomi Watts, Jack Black, and Adrien Brody. For this new version directed by Jordan Vogt-Roberts (The Kings of Summer), Ann Darrow, Carl Denham, and Jack Driscoll are all out. Kong: Skull Island features characters and coincidentally, three of the top stars are all Marvel Cinematic Universe stars — Tom Hiddleston (Loki), Samuel Jackson (Nick Fury), and Brie Larson (who was named in the just-concluded SDCC as the new Captain Marvel). 

Peter Jackson created a frightening Skull Island but Vogt-Roberts’ version as John Goodman’s narration of “Ancient species owned this earth long before mankind” leaves your imagination to run wild. There’s a massive bloody palm on the side of a mountain. Giant skeletons. Painted warriors amidst ruined temples. 

More than a re-make, I love the new angle of the survival of the strongest species. As Jackson’s character of Colonel Packard suggests, it’s “Time to show that man is king.”

Now hopefully, this is better than Godzilla.

1 Wonder Woman
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Given DC Comics’ recent “Rebirth” storyline, I like how this Wonder Woman film somewhat goes back to basics — Paradise Island, Steve Trevor washed ashore, fighting Nazis — well, she was created by William Moulton Marsten in 1941. As for Gadot’s Wonder Woman — wow. I never thought that someone would replace Lynda Carter in my mind as this pop culture icon but the Israeli actress did. 

When WW emerges from the trench (set during World War I), I am reminded of Arthur Machen’s popular legend about the “Angels of Mons” where angels supposedly rescued British troops besieged by German forces during the Battle of Mons in France (August 22-23, 1914). And from there on it’s all action!

Can’t wait for this.

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