Been watching some trailers over at Apple's movie trailer site, many of which have been much-discussed in certain circles, you all know the ones. What did I think? Read on, MacDuff.
SIN CITY Fanboys everywhere are holding their collective breath after seeing the trailers and advance images for Sin City. And to be honest, I don't really understand why there's so much apprehension. To be sure, one is immediately reminded of the prosthetic-laden Dick Tracy, which I (incidentally) didn't hate, but it doesn't seem to be as broad and cartoony as Beatty's oddball flick was. The cast looks great and reasonable faithful to their comic-book originals, even Mickey Rourke- who (rumor has it) only needed a minimal amount of prosthetic work done for his turn as Marv. Hee hee. Jessica Alba looks great, so does Rosario Dawson and Bruce Willis, always good to see Frankie Fucking Four-Fingers, I mean Benecio Del Toro, do his thing. I suppose the make-or-break of it will be how positively audiences react to Robert Rodriguez' attempt to ape the conventions of comic-book storytelling in general (a la Ang Lee's Hulk) and Miller's grotesquely blockish work in particular...and as someone who likes, doesn't love, Miller's stuff I think he pulls it off in a lot of these scenes. Now when it's viewed all stuck together, that's a different story. But I like what I've seen so far. I caught the trailer before viewing Constantine a couple of weeks ago, and thought it looked smashing on the big screen. I was a bit surprised to realize that I haven't really had the chance to write about or review anything Miller's done, comics-wise, except a brief post about his DK2 book(which I absolutely despised), because he hasn't put any out since I started blogging! Anyway, I've got most of the single Sin City comics, and like the series overall; Miller's cynical tone isn't as offputting when he's aping Raymond Chandler and I can tolerate his art well enough to remain interested. However, I liked the comic Sin City a lot more at the beginning; the last couple of series have been a slog, especially Hell and Back. I find his art grotesque, but I can't deny his gifts at storytelling. So, while I reserve the right to be skeptical, right now I'm looking forward to Sin City the movie.
CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY is a film that I can't believe anybody was clamoring to see a remake of; leave it to Tim Burton to think he can pull it off. And judging by the hyperactive, singsongy trailer, he just might do it, at that- even though it doesn't look like he's done anything but copy the look of the 1971 flick. Poor Johnny Depp- as gifted and as talented an actor as he is, and he is- he's gotta know that he'll never better Gene Wilder's perfect take on Willy Wonka. What a thankless task. Of course, I know he'll be fine, great even, and will be generously compensated monetarily for his trouble...but I seriously doubt that he'll make anybody forget the original. This is really looking like a rental, unless I figure out a way to get in the theatre free. Here's the official website.
FANTASTIC FOUR is another one that's got the comics community all a-twitter. Frankly, I think this LOOKS like an interesting film. Michael Chiklis looks better than I expected in his lumpy Thing makeup, and the ubituquous Jessica Alba is almost as hot here as she is bumping and grinding in Sin City. The FX I saw from the trailer looked reasonably well-done, as well. I suppose that the script will make or break this one, and if it screws around with the characters too much, or relies on stupid contrivances, or is just plain condescending and campy, then it could be a disaster. I don't think I'll go out of my way to see this one, but if it plays the $1.50 theatre and I have an evening to kill, who knows. I used to love the FF back in the day, the Lee-Kirby days that is, but haven't really been too interested in them since, even though I bought the Byrne run for quite a while back in the 80's. The heart of Lee & Kirby's FF wasn't giant planet-eating space beings or megalomaniacal supergeniuses dressed in armor, it was the personalities of the Richardses, Storms and Ben Grimm that made you like these characters and care about them. Well, that and the fertile imaginations of Stan and Jack, which could put these characters in situations that you hoped they'd be able to escape from. If the filmmakers can manage this trick then this could be good. It looks like they've done the requisite Hollywood tweaking, but I'll try to keep an open mind.
Speaking of Burton, there's also a trailer on the site for his latest attempt at stop-motion puppet animation, a la Nightmare Before Christmas and James and the Giant Peach, THE CORPSE BRIDE. It looks like it could be diverting, even though I think everybody else in the world likes this stuff from him better than I do. There's just something about the visuals that don't quite connect, moreso on this and Nightmare than Giant Peach.
Finally, I checked out the featurettes for CHRONICLES OF NARNIA, and it looks like a lot of skill and care is going into this adaptation. This being said, I don't really think I'm seeing anything that's much of an improvement on the animated version I saw years ago. Out of all of C.S. Lewis' Narnia books, this one (The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe) is the only one I've read. I keep thinking I'll read the others someday, but as with so many things I haven't gotten around to it yet.