Quote of the Day

"We're only here briefly, and while I'm here I want to allow myself joy. So fuck it."
- Amy, Her.

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Trailer Tuesday: Man of Steel

Hot on the heels of the huge release of The Dark Knight Rises comes next year's Superman Reboot, Man of Steel, which now has two separate trailers to tease the hell out of you. Starring newish Brit actor Henry Cavill (Immortals) as the legendary hero/bumbling reporter, Clark Kent, and Amy Adams (The Muppets, The Fighter) as the legendary love/kick-ass reporter, Lois Lane, this incarnation of the Superman story is rumoured to be taking the gritty Batman Begins route. With Zach Snyder (300, Watchmen, Sucker Punch) at the helm as director and The Dark Knight trilogy's very own Christopher Nolan on producing duties, Man of Steel is shaping up to be next Summer's most anticipated superhero blockbuster.

And for those unfamiliar with the origin story of DC's iconic character, here's the Wikipedia synopsis for the film (boy, do I know how to treat my readers!):
"Clark Kent is a journalist in his twenties who was adopted as a child by Martha and Jonathan Kent after he was transported to Earth from the dying planet Krypton. Raised with the values of his adoptive parents, he feels alienated because of his unique super abilities and struggles to find his place in life. When the world is attacked, he becomes the hero Superman to protect its people."
 Now down to the trailers. While both contain identical footage, each have a different voice over; the first from Clark's real Kryptonian father, Jor-El, played by Russell Crowe and the second featuring Clark's adopted Human father, Jonathan Kent, played by Kevin Costner. They're both bundled together in this video (720p!):

Dialogue Breakdown:
1) Jor-El:
"You will give the people an ideal to strive towards. They will race behind you, they will stumble, they will fall. But in time, they will join you in the Sun. In time, you will help them accomplish wonders."
2) Jonathan Kent:
"You're not just anyone. One day you're going to have to make a choice. You have to decide what kind of man you want to grow up to be; whoever that man is, good character or bad, he's going to change the world."

Both speak of the impact little Kal-El's presence will have on the human race, both highlight his extraordinary existence and both sound pretty moving. But in terms of differences, there are many. For one, Jor-El sounds like the pushy Dad forcing him to be good, whereas Jonathan with all his home-grown human sensibilities lends Clark the choice of who he wants to be. It seems this whole Father-Son relationship of how he is the product of both worlds will play a major part in his character development toward the hero the world needs him to be. Jor-El's piece even has some subtext of how Superman as an icon has been seen throughout the decades: "an ideal to strive towards". Mega kudos to David S Goyer, writer of the film and subsequently these snippets; they really hit home emotively on how truly epic and important Clark's journey is going to be -- but what else do you expect from the guy who brought us the stories for all three of Nolan Bat films?

Footage Breakdown:

  • 0:09 - Lot of jeans. Lot of blue - a significant colour, perhaps? 
  • 0:10 - And we pull back to see that the washing line belongs to a coastal house; could the origin story have been changed from Kent Farm, Midwest Smallville to Clark growing up instead on the Kent Farm, By The Ocean?
  • 0:16 - And kick in with the score, pinched in fact from Lord of The Rings. This piece, The Bridge of Khazad-Dum, was used when Gandalf is supposedly killed by the Balrog. But before you write this one off as a "cheap re-use because they couldn't be bothered to make their own music", bear in mind that composer Hans Zimmer (also from Nolan's Bat) has only just come onto the project to score, hence the re-use. It happens. But rest assured, with Zimmer on board, the score is likely to just transcend into greatness. 
  • 0:18-0:28 - Aha, boats and docks and a fisherman Clark, lending itself more and more to the "Coastal Kents" theory. Working the sea as opposed to working the land. OR maybe just a stepping stone in Clark's journey, who knows?
  • 0:33 - Memories of Clark's, winning the science fair with his Dad. Let's not forget (as people often frustratingly do) that Superman is also a highly intellectual being with smarts aplenty, which from this suggests that the film will make a point of. And of course, the Father-Son stuff again.
  • 0:35 - A young Clark, foreshadowing the future with the red cape, which comes off astoundingly bright in the greyish tone of the trailer. If there's one thing that Snyder can nail 100%, it's the visuals on a unique and unprecedented scale.
  • 0:39 - Alien Hitchiker -- Clark's on the road, but rejected by a passer-by. This poses a lot of stuff; why is he trying to hitch-hike when he's got super speed? Does he lose his powers? Is he still learning his powers? Is he trying to fit in with humanity to better protect them? And the rejection promotes another part in Clark's journey: not all humans are good, but he must strive to see the best in them as to remain a constant beacon of hope for everyone. A challenge as good as any foe...
  • 0:48 - Ah the Yellow Sun, the source of all of Superman's power. Could the Sun play a pivotal part in the plot outside of this mere concept though? And what's this misty land below? I see houses, perhaps Kent lands again? 
  • 0:56 - Young Clark once more, but this time with a dog. Fingers crossed for Krypto the Superdog nods (ONLY nods, mind, in this decidedly realistic universe).
  • 0:59 - Capes and reds again. Like I said, Snyder knows how to put on a show using colour and lighting and imagery to really make his films stand out, something that will give Man of Steel the visage it needs to distance itself from the previous Superman movies.
  • 1:08-1:14 - And finally, just to give a single glimpse of Supes in action comes this shaky-cam style shot of a super-speed, costumed up, flight into the skies. The wobble and zoom and "slow miss" screams the realism and angle that Snyder and Co are coming from. It's akin to a rocket taking off, but gives no close-ups on Clark's face as he does this, as seen in Superman Returns etc.  Plus, imagine THIS in IMAX.
  • 1:20 - Blocky, broody, metallic, beat-up, gritty, moody, darker title image with the iconic 'S', and a 2013 release date is all they're going to leave us hanging on. It'll be June 14th 2013, to be precise.

Final Thoughts? Wow. Now that is how you do a teaser trailer. Snips, just tiny minuscule details that reveal near-to-nothing story-wise but pose hundreds of questions to speculate on in the coming months. I've usually got a string of comic-book stories that I can use to shed light on some influences the narrative may take, but I'm happy to see the team keep as tight lipped as possible through this to the point where I've no solid clue where they may draw from. I'm blown away with how much more I want to see now that this edgy, new approach has finally been seen. There's some Nolan elements in there, especially in the earthy presentation of it all -- you may not even think it was Superman until that last shot -- which is risky but potentially great. Imagine, in a world where everything is not-camped up and realised as a cynical, 'closer to reality' place, then the fantastical elements will just be made all the more awesome and incredible. Hell, I'm just gonna go ahead and say it; as of now THIS is my most anticipated movie of 2013. Faith in Nolan. Faith in Snyder. Faith in Goyer.


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