Friday, July 03, 2009

The end is nigh, Bri

It's not that we're ever at a loss for entertainment here in this household. Indeed, we spent a thoroughly enjoyable quarter of an hour earlier this evening watching a couple of bats in the backyard. I mean...bats! How cool are bats!?

Well, they're much cooler than you non-bat-watchers think they are.

And then, at those times when it gets too dark for those of us without echolocation to really enjoy the outdoors, I tend to turn into a bit of a film trailer addict. I admit it.

And I ran across a couple today that made me actually look forward to going to the cinema. Which doesn't happen all that often.

Now, Roland Emmerich is, I think, one of those very particular directors who manages to make that elusive creation, the good bad film.

I mean, yes, his films have implausible storylines, thin characterisation, sometimes questionable politics and interludes of often tiresomely preachy dialogue.

But he destroys things in wonderful ways.

And he apparently has a new film coming out in which he destroys...well, everything apparently.

But...'the government is building these ships'.... Yeah, whatever.

On with the breaking of stuff:

I find that to be a particularly nice touch at the end: having the White House (so memorably exploded by an alien death ray in Independence Day) be crushed by an aircraft carrier named the John F. Kennedy.

For a somewhat more intimate form of apocalypse, we have the upcoming film version of Cormac McCarthy's The Road. I have mixed feelings about this, as the book (like a lot of McCarthy's writing) had something powerfully bleak that I'm not sure can be transferred to the screen. The trailer shows this to be a bit more of an adventure story than it actually is, but, you know, trailers can do that.

It still looks pretty damn bleak.

But for a truly disturbing film, I think we're better served by Cat Ladies. It manages--with nary a special effect, apocalyptic Mayan legend or hungry horde of cannibal rednecks--to truly send chills down my spine.

And if that's not enough for you, check out a selection of the fifty greatest trailers of all time.

(Cat Ladies and trailer collection via David Thompson.)


Geoff Coupe said...

I fear that the trailer for The Road signals a change from a bleak, sparse fable into (as you say) a mere adventure story. Pity.

As for the Cat Ladies - what's the betting that each and every one of their brains are riddled with Toxoplasma gondii?

J. Carter Wood said...

I'm willing to give the film a chance (I'm definitely going to see it), but I'm going to have to appreciate it very much as something a bit disconnected from the book.

(As Dale notes, there is something very open about his writing.)

The images in my head from The Road (which, even long after reading it, will just not go away) were something far more drastic than what appears in the film. The ash everywhere. The utter stillness. A vast emptiness. Weirdly, I think the images I had were more reminiscent of the best of anime than anything more real-world.

There was something so abstract about the book, while also utterly immediate.

I'm not sure any film could live up to that.

The trailer may be deceptive. It may be that 'The Road: There is No Hope' or 'The Road: The Universe Doesn't Give A Damn About Us' aren't the kind of marketing campaigns that are going to get people flocking to the cinema.

I think Mortensen is a good choice. I don't have a problem with expanding the backstory on the wife/mother character. And it looks like the film has a strong visual grimness.

Maybe...we'll be pleasantly surprised.

I'd like to see a film of Blood Meridian. That would be a challenge.

I think that one would even put the Cat Ladies in the shade, as far as the fright-factor is concerned.

And thanks for reminding me how much fun it is to say the words 'Toxoplasma gondii'.

Riddled with it. Definitely.