This Week In Trailers: The Death of Superman Lives: What Happened?, Batkid Begins, Kung Fu Jungle, Honeymoon
Posted on Tuesday, July 29th, 2014 by Christopher Stipp
Trailers are an under-appreciated art form insofar that many times they’re seen as vehicles for showing footage, explaining films away, or showing their hand about what moviegoers can expect. Foreign, domestic, independent, big budget: What better way to hone your skills as a thoughtful moviegoer than by deconstructing these little pieces of advertising? This week we bring you a Comic-Con debut that involved Nicolas Cage’s mullet, celebrate Batman’s 75th anniversary with a story about a kid with cancer, get hitched and then have our bride lose her damn mind, and cap it off with Donnie Yen doing what he does best.
The Death of Superman Lives: What Happened? Trailer
When we first saw a look at this crowd-funded documentary there were a lot of us who were all in. People gave to this project and helped make the money it needed.
Well, it needs a little more.
The fruits of that campaign are on display and there’s a fantastic jubilation you can feel at the collection of everything that, ostensibly, needed to be filmed in order to bring this story to life. Director Jon Schnepp is looking for any other couch cushion cash you might have laying around to help. Because, what’s here already, is incredible. You have Burton, Smith, Grant Morrison, and a host of others doing one of the best port mortems on a high profile property like this and the trailer tightly navigates this drama in the most engaging way. It shows a great amount of energy by those involved with this, sans Burton natch, and when you soak in the blue sky dreamings of people who were in a position to make it happen you can’t help but feel a little wistful knowing it was so close to being a living piece of film history. Hearing and seeing the tales, though, is a great second runner up.
Kung Fu Jungle Trailer
It’s not often when I get to talk about trailers that are just off the wall nuts. But, this one, about a martial arts instructor who is imprisoned for accidentally killing a man who then is asked by the police for help after a serial killer, wait for it, starts bumping off martial arts masters, is just gold. Director Teddy Chan, who directed 2009’s Bodyguards and Assassins, comes out of the gate swinging with both fists. Bathed in a glorious gold and baby blue color combo that has been used on so many posters it is perfectly suited for this kind of narrative. And while we’re not going to kid ourselves that this story is anything more than an excuse to showcase nothing but pure action there seems to be a little more weight behind what we see. It’s a quick path from beginning to end but it establishes what’s at stake for Danny Yen and what he’s being tasked with actually doing in order to free himself. It’s light, it’s airy but, damn does it look like a lot of fun.
I’m still on board.
When I talked about this trailer a few months ago I only had a vague idea what we were dealing with. This version, though, shows a measured improvement with just how much narrative we’re given but it, smartly, still holds back a little bit. While we see more of director Leigh Janiak’s vision for a story that is really on the weirder side of the prism for modern horror there is a fantastic sense of fun afoot here if define fun as having no G-D idea what is going to come of all of this. It’s thoughtful, and fresh, and evocative in a way that doesn’t feel played out. The music is matched wonderfully to its action on the screen as the bits of story that we do get just help to deepen our confusion about what kind of situation these two find themselves in. Without question, this is one I’m looking to devour when it hits in a couple of months.
Batkid Begins Trailer
This is a tightrope.
Documentary filmmaker Dana Nachman was inspired enough by the plight of Miles Scott and his battle against cancer but it’s a thin line between making a maudlin, sappy doc best left on the Hallmark Channel and one that has something original to say. But she confronts it, she puts it out as the question that we all would reflexively ask ourselves after the world was whipped into a frenzy over this one moment of pure playtime. This trailer defies the usual conventions and, instead, just allows the file footage do its lifting. People can see what became of the hive mind that latched onto this story and blew it up into the consciousness of not only the city of San Francisco, its nexus point, but of an entire world. Kids are dying every day from the ravages of cancer so what made him so special to so many? The trailer begins with that question and hopefully, by the end, the film will reveal a truth about our humanity that will reaffirm your belief we all are capable of so much more than we know.
Nota bene: If you have any suggestions of trailers to possibly be included in this column, even have a trailer of your own to pitch, please let me know by sending me a note at Christopher_Stipp@yahoo.com or look me up via Twitter at @Stipp
In case you missed them, here are the other trailers we covered at /Film this week:
- The Imitation Game Trailer – Thrilled at the prospect of a drama like this.
- Predestination Trailer – So mind-bendingly fantastic.
- Nightcrawler Trailer – Could not be more bought into Jake’s descent into this character.
- Dear White People Trailer – Let the spark turn into a fire. Fantastic.
- Out of Print Trailer – Might be inside baseball but it’s important viewing.
- If I Stay Trailer #2 -I’m sure my 11 year-old will love it.