Welcome to “Trailer Park,” our regular Friday feature where we collect the week’s new trailers all in one place and do a little “judging a book by its cover,” ranking them from worst to best and taking our best guess at what they may be hiding. We’ve got six new trailers this week, with an emphasis on family-friendly fare. Check ’em out after the jump.
Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace 3D
This new trailer for the first of George Lucas’ upcoming “let’s squeeze a few more bucks outta this thing” 3D re-releases of the Star Wars movie accomplishes one goal cleanly and without question: it serves as an effective reminder of exactly how fucking terrible Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace is. (And it doesn’t even have to show us Jar-Jar to do it!) So yeah, remember how crushingly disappointing this movie was back in 1999? Now you can experience that all over again, for a few extra bucks, in 3-D. Yipee.
Hey, guess when this one’s coming out? It’s almost like if they’d released a movie called Valentine’s Day just in time for… oh, wait a second. Anyhoo, if you didn’t get your fill of numerology-based scares from The Number 23 a few years back (and seriously, who didn’t?), here comes this 11-based thriller from Darren Lynn Bousman — “director,” the trailer clunkily informs us, “of Saw II, Saw III, and Saw IV.” (Yay?) The premise: there’s all these sinister connections to the number 11, so “it is believed that on November 11, 2011, a gateway will open…” Yeah, we’re pretty sure the only “gateway” opening on that day is the doors to the theaters showing this tepid-looking movie, and we’ll be surprised if anyone actually goes through that gateway. (Nice to see that trailer editors are still ripping off the opening credits of Seven, though.)
Universal Pictures animation subsidiary Illumination Entertainment is, thus far, seen in something of a distant third in the computer-animation derby, far behind Pixar and Dreamworks; their films to date (Despicable Me and Hop) have been charming, innocuous, and mostly forgettable. Somebody had their thinking cap on when they locked into Dr. Seuss, who carries instant family cred and the kind of storytelling skill that their previous pictures have lacked. So, on the plus side, we’ve got a beloved story and some sharp-looking animation. On the negative: seriously, guys, Zac Efron and Taylor Swift? Those are the personality-charged voice talents you employed for your leading roles?
In the Land of Blood and Honey
It is, we must admit, a little jarring to see the words “from writer/director Angelina Jolie,” but kudos to her for tackling some weighty subject matter her first time around. No need to ease yourself in with an easy, dialogue-driven character drama, eh Angie? No light rom-coms for you, am I right? The trailer for this December release looks as thought it were genetically engineered to generate Oscar talk (war-torn storyline, dramatic music, agonized glances), and it does so well enough that it might just work.
Antonio Banderas is on quite a little run lately, what with his nuanced and charged performance in The Skin I Live In and his witty voice work in Puss in Boots. He’s also the character lead in this new epic from French director Jean-Jacques Annaud, whose eclectic filmography includes The Bear, The Name of the Rose, and Seven Years in Tibet. Early word is that it’s something of a Lawrence of Arabia by way of There Will Be Blood, which is a tempting proposition; so is the supporting cast, which includes Mark Strong and the unreasonably beautiful Freida Pinto. It could turn out to be a big, bloated mess, but there’s some promise here.
The Secret World of Arrietty
Disney’s relationship with Studio Ghibli, the Japanese animation studio behind Spirited Away and Princess Mononoke, hasn’t always been smooth sailing, but they’ve put together a charming little trailer for the American version of Hiromasa Yonebayashi’s adaptation of Mary Norton’s The Borrowers (regular director Hayao Miyazaki co-wrote the script). The film was released in Japan clear back in the summer of 2010, and became that country’s biggest grossing film of the year; the US version includes the voices of such Flavorwire faves as Amy Poehler, Will Arnett, Carol Burnett, and Hanna badass Saoirse Ronan. We’re definitely in.