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, including new vehicles for The Rock, Kristen Stewart, and Jonah Hill (and an old one for Eddie Murphy); check ‘em out after the jump.
A Thousand Words
Well, if you’re bummed about Eddie quitting the Oscars, have we got a consolation prize for you — the trailer for his long-delayed third collaboration with Brian Robbins! That’s right, straight from the Paramount shelves (where it’s languished for a good three years) is that latest from the team that previously brought you the comedy classics Norbit and Meet Dave. And it looks… well, terrible—corny, laugh-free, and a wholesale rip-off of Liar Liar. Murphy and Robbins, you’ve done it again. (Is it too late to revise this list?)
Journey 2: The Mysterious Island
Did you see the Brendan Fraser vehicle Journey to the Center of the Earth 3D? Yeah, me neither. But apparently someone did, because here we have a sequel, this time with such disparate talents as The Rock, Luis Guzman, and Michael Caine stopping in to pick up a paycheck. Not sure what looks less appealing here: the video-game level CGI, Guzman’s shameless mugging, the requisite tween romance, or the continuing decline of Mr. Rock’s projects. On the other hand, though: 3D! ”Hey Mavis! Watch out fer that berry!”
Snow White and the Huntsman
The “Snow White” story is inexplicably being “re-imagined” for something like twelve different projects right now, in a nice two-pronged example of the total disinterest in new ideas that defines our current Hollywood. Contrary to the earlier version of this post (apologies), this is not the work of Tarsem Singh (his “Snow White” pic is “Mirror, Mirror”), though director Rupert Sanders’s lush imagery could certainly be mistaken for Tarsem’s; the trailer’s also got plenty of vampy Charlize Theron and barely mentions Kristen Stewart. So, nice work, marketing team! On the other hand, it does also blast that it’s “from the producer of Alice in Wonderland,” conjuring up visions of not only that particular Tim Burton bucket of swill, but of Stewart’s Twilight director Catherine Hardwicke’s unfortunate Red Riding Hood. Point is, these “dark twist on a fairy tale” movies have a tendency to be, well, awful, but maybe this one can play.
21 Jump Street
Hard on the heels of the red-band trailer comes the new, slightly sanitized teaser for Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum’s comic riff on the goofy, Johnny Depp-launching Fox cop show. You have to dock it at least a couple of points for not trotting out that legendarily synthed-up theme song, but that complaint aside, we’re doubling down on our original judgment: this looks like a funny movie, gigglingly self-aware, with the possibility of hitting the same action/comedy/buddy sweet spot that Jonah’s buddy Seth Rogen did in Pineapple Express. Sure, we’re as tired as anyone of the TV-show-turned-feature-film trend. But maybe, just maybe, with the right people involved, it’s possible to get some popcorn fun out of a campy, dated TV series.
One of our favorite documentaries from the New York Film Festival gets a great trailer — no surprise, since the exploitation pictures its subject cranked out were often made with more interest in how the preview would play than the movie itself. Roger Corman produced more than 300 films for American International and later for his own company New World—biker movies, teen pictures, women-in-prison epics, car chase extravaganzas, cheapo sci-fi, and on and on. Alex Stapleton’s affectionate tribute rounds up most of his all-star alumni: Jack Nicholson (whose wisecracks and surprising emotion provide the movie its heart and soul), Martin Scorsese, Ron Howard, Peter Bogdanovich, Jonathan Demme, John Sayles, Joe Dante, Dennis Hopper, Peter Fonda, Bruce Dern, Pam Grier, and many more got their start at the Corman factory, and here offer great stories and real homage to the man who gave him their big breaks. It’s a movie that makes you want to make movies, and this is a trailer that makes you want to cut trailers.