Saxon Bullock

Writer, Journalist, Copy-Editor and Proofreader

Category: Videos (page 1 of 4)

Video: Star Wars Uncut

Once again, the Internet and the fans give me a reason to care about Star Wars again. One of those crazy projects that seems completely demented until you see the final product and realise that yes, people actually did this, Star Wars Uncut is a crowd-sourced version of the entire original 1977 film that takes a Be Kind Rewind ‘swedeing’ lo-fi approach to expressing love for the classic SF adventure, and did it by inviting fans to remake the film however they liked. The only rule? Each group of amateur remakers only got to tackle 15 seconds of the original movie. The result is a barking made patchwork-quilt of live-action, animation, glove-puppets and the truly unexpected that all holds together a lot better than you might think. Two hours of sheer Star Wars nuttiness awaits…

Movie Trailer: The Dark Knight Rises (2012)

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Blimey. Okay, given that I’m not going to be seeing the prologue for at least the next few days, this is my first proper glimpse of Christopher Nolan’s upcoming third Batman film The Dark Knight Rises, a blockbuster for which the phrase ‘hotly anticipated’ is an insane understatement. Nolan set himself a huge hurdle to leap with The Dark Knight, and it’s perfectly possible that the ludicrous levels of expectation may in some terms end up working against the film – but the trailer has gone live over at Apple (and is available in an embed below, which may or may not get yanked soon…) and what we’re seeing so far looks pretty damn impressive; certainly a massive improvement over the “Oh crap, we’d better throw together a couple of shots along with a sequence of Gary Oldman mumbling incoherently in a bed” teaser trailer we got a few months ago:

From advance reaction to the prologue, it looks like one of the more divisive elements (unless there’s some serious fiddling happening in the next few months) is going to be Bane’s voice – and the one line we get here isn’t exactly the model of intelligibility, but I’m willing to give it the benefit of the doubt.

And while we don’t get a full look at that controversial costume, we do get to see Anne Hathaway in action as Selina Kyle (including an oh-so-appropriate mask), and as I suspected, whatever she may be wearing, it looks like Hathaway is going to be giving a seriously impressive performance as Catwoman. There’s eye-candy here, and spectacle (which promises to be pretty amazing in the IMAX format, especially considering the film will feature almost fifty minutes of IMAX footage) – although, as with the first The Dark Knight trailer, and almost all the publicity for Inception, there’s very few signs of exactly how this all fits together – but what’s really surprising is exactly how political that speech from Selina Kyle feels. It’s one of those moments where art accidentally coincides with real life (after all, the screenplay for The Dark Knight Rises would have been finished long before the Occupy movement got going), but it certainly looks like Nolan isn’t backing away from melding real life issues with superhero action in the same way he did with The Dark Knight. On top of everything, there’s some very interesting hints at how time has moved on for all the characters, and a general sense that whatever happens, even if The Dark Knight Rises doesn’t top The Dark Knight, Nolan is currently at the top of his game and would probably have to really try hard to completely mess this up. Whatever happens, July 2012 feels like a very long time away right now…

 

Movie Trailer – The Hunger Games (2012)

If you haven’t heard of The Hunger Games yet, treasure that feeling – it’s unlikely to last very long. With the Harry Potter series having come to an end, and the death-rattle of the Twilight Saga already beginning with the release of Part 1 of Breaking Dawn, Hollywood is desperate to generate another hugely popular multi-volume teen franchise. Given the excitement that already exists around teen dystopia series The Hunger Games (and its two sequels), the upcoming movie adaptation isn’t much of a surprise, and anyone following movie news websites for the last twelve months will have been deluged by reports and rumours about casting of the various characters, making it pretty certain that even if The Hunger Games isn’t the next Twilight (in terms of impact), it’s going to be pretty damn close.

Now, the first trailer is out for the movie adaptation, directed by Gary Ross (who hasn’t directed a film for nearly nine years (horseriding drama Seabiscuit in 2003), although he’s had a major reputation as a screenwriter ever since 1986’s Big)… and I’m actually kind of impressed. The story of teenagers chosen by the government to compete in a fight to the death, it’s essentially a teen-centric fusion of The Running Man and Battle Royale, and there’s certainly a healthy dose of kookiness in the costume design and general appearance of The Hunger Games’s future world (especially in the wonderfully eccentric names – with everything from Peeta Mellark to Haymitch Abernathy). The trailer certainly isn’t without its cheesy moments, but the casting looks pretty strong – especially Jennifer Lawrence, who was exceptional in the drama Winter’s Bone and did a wonderful job as a youthful Mystique in this summer’s X-Men: First Class – and the restless, hand-held visual style actually looks like it’s going to give the film a healthy amount of edge. The fact that it’s aiming at the Twilight-related market means there’s going to be a number of people lining up to rip the hell out of The Hunger Games at the first opportunity, but I’m now genuinely interested to see how it turns out. The only question is – do I read the books first to see how it measures up, or leave myself unspoiled? Only time will tell…

Movie Trailer: The Thing (2011)

<a href='http://http%3A%2F%2Fmovies.msn.com%2Fmovies%2Fmovie-trailers%2F%23%2Fvideo%2Ff749b83d-e1d0-4983-a918-a9c3914b03c0' target='_new' title='&#39;The Thing&#39; Movie Trailer' >Video: &#39;The Thing&#39; Movie Trailer</a>

I’ve been intrigued by the idea of this film for a while – it’s a risky idea, but then this does seem to be the era for receiving unexpected sequels/prequels to Eighties films that flopped on release, but built up a major cult reputation in the years that follow. It counts for Tron – but John Carpenter’s version of The Thing is a different kettle of fish, a film that isn’t just remembered well out of nostalgic affection but is a genuinely brilliant, savagely nasty piece of horror filmmaking that was simply not released at the right time. It’s still an amazing piece of work – tense, dark and claustrophobic, and what’s really impressive is exactly how well the truly insane creature effects have stood the test of time, simply thanks to the demented imagination of chief make-up effects guy Rob Bottin. Attempting to even equal that, let alone better it, takes a hell of a lot of nerve – and what we’ve ended up with the 2011 incarnation of The Thing is a rather odd example of a prequel that essentially looks to be a loose remake (in the way that most horror sequels were, back in the Eighties) but which does fit into the timeline of the earlier film, essentially showing us what happened at the Norwegian base where the shape-changing alien monstrosity was first uncovered.

Of course, just to make this even weirder, this means that in certain ways, this’ll actually be closer (at least in its opening sections) to the 1950s original The Thing from Another World, which the Carpenter film itself was a remake of. And, just to make things extra-confusing, they’re basically selling it as a remake and calling it The Thing. Considering it’s a story about an alien that turns itself into what it consumes, all this duplication is probably fitting – the trailer is not bad, and certainly makes clear that they’ve at least well-cast the film, with Mary Elizabeth Winstead looking like a good choice for the lead, and Joel Edgerton being the sort of excellent and rugged-looking character actor that John Carpenter would have stuck in a film back in the Eighties. The screenplay is from Battlestar Galactica mastermind Ronald D. Moore, so there’s at least a good chance that this will be a respectful attempt to measure up to the 1982 original. For fans of the Carpenter film, there’s of course the danger that this could end up as a carbon copy – certain shots in the trailer are note-for-note duplicates of shots from the 1982 original – and the real test is going to be the creature effects, which they’ve sensibly kept under wraps in this trailer. At the least, this could be a fun bit of pastiche that’s actually attempting to capture what made the original great (unlike the Assault on Precinct 13 remake, which completely missed the point), and again it’s amazing to see another under-appreciated gem from my childhood getting a multi-million dollar remake/follow-up. However, it’s going to have to have a lot more than funky visuals, and if it’s a missed opportunity I don’t think anyone’s going to be as forgiving as they were with the fun but deeply flawed Tron: Legacy…

Movie Trailer: John Carter (2012)

Hmmm. That’s my main reaction to the first trailer to John Carter, Disney’s upcoming adaptation of the classic Edgar Rice Burroughs novel A Princess of Mars (the first in the John Carter of Mars series). It’s not a negative hmmm, but it’s not a completely convinced hmmm either, and that’s mainly because this is a project I’m going to have a hard time being objective on. Burroughs’ pulp SF adventures have been massively influential over the years – they don’t quite have the atmosphere and weird poetry of something like Robert E. Howard’s Conan stories, but they’re still a brilliant example of early 20th century high adventure, packed with colour and adventure and one man battling against strange foes. They’re also books that were read to me by my father starting from when I was five years old – we got through almost half the entire series, and so there are chunks of the John Carter saga that are indelibly imprinted on my imagination.

This adaptation has been in the pipeline for decades, and became much more likely with the rise of CG – there was a version with the director of Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow attached which never happened (and some might say that’s a good thing), while the most recent director to walk was Iron Man helmer Jon Favreau. However, it’s finally happened under the directorial eye of Andrew Stanton, the helmer of Pixar films Finding Nemo and Wall-E, making his live-action debut on a movie that’s also the first live-action Pixar co-production (alongside Disney and – gulp – Jerry Bruckheimer Productions), which is certainly promising (even if, in a fit of nervousness, they’ve lost the ‘of Mars’ from the trailer). And the teaser is intriguing in a whole number of ways, from the lush design to the opening scene that shows they’re keeping the framing device intact – the classic pulp trope of having the tale of wild adventure be a discovered manuscript bequeathed to or discovered by the author. Of course, for anyone who suffered through X-Men Origins: Wolverine, the fact that they’ve cast Taylor Kitsch (aka Gambit) as John Carter and Lynn Collins (aka Wolverine’s immensely forgettable love interest) as Martian princess Deja Thoris is a little less reassuring. Also, it’s not quite as pulpy or as – frankly – Martian as I expected, with a lot of shots looking a bit too Earth-like for my preference (I mean, I know it was shot on location in various US desert areas, but it’d be nice if it looked a bit more alien), while the fragments of dialogue we get here are a tad clunky out of context. This is a teaser, of course, that’s simply out to set the scene and get the 99.99% of the audience who aren’t seriously into Edgar Rice Burroughs adventures excited. I’m going to be really interested to see exactly what they pull off here – my fingers are crossed, but it’s going to take a little more than this to completely blow me away…

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