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Anatomy of a Film Franchise – Disney’s Tron Legacy

Admittedly, I might not be the ideal blogger to provide you with the inside scoop on Walt Disney Pictures’ upcoming action film, Tron Legacy.  After all, I never saw the original film, which hit theaters back in 1982, and starred that guy who played The Dude in The Big Lebowski.

Jeff Bridges

I did recently catch the original trailer on YouTube, however!  I found it highly amusing . . . though probably not for the reasons its creators intended.

Was this a comedy?

Given that the film is heading into its late-twenties, I expected the special effects to be more than a bit dated.  What I didn’t expect was the unintentional hilarity of Cheesy TV Announcer Guy.  Seriously, this guy should do stand-up!  Take, for example, this gem-like line from the trailer:  “Trapped inside an electronic arena, where love and escape do not compute.”  (Now, if only I could find an excuse to make use of this awesome phrase, in my day-to-day life . . .)

“Hi, you’ve reached TV Recappers’ phone.  I can’t take your call right now, because I am trapped in an electronic arena, where love and escape do not compute . . .”

But, before I go any further, perhaps I should give you the opportunity to enjoy the 1982 trailer for yourself . . .

Cheesy and over-dramatic as it may seem now, apparently, THIS was the film that paved the way for all of the CGI graphics and high tech special effects we take for granted today.  It also spawned a commercial EMPIRE, including a line of toys;

a cavalcade of super sexy fan geeks;

Yum!

and, perhaps, most importantly, a video arcade game featuring lots of PRETTY COLORS . . . and . . . not much else.

But, believe it or not, all this 80’s themed goodness, is NOT what prompted my interest in Tron Legacy.  Rather, it was my, way too late, introduction to THIS GUY .  . .

Meet Garrett Hedlund, age 25,who will be starring alongside Jeff Bridges in the NEW Tron Legacy.  Although the actor has been mistakenly tauted as a “newcomer” by members of the American press, he’s not.  Here’s a picture of Garrett in the 2004 film Friday Night Lights (on which the successful NBC TV series of the same name was based).

And here’s a picture of Garrett chilling with Mark Wahlberg and Tyrese, on the set of the 2005 film Four Brothers.

Here’s a picture of Garrett in that Ridiculously Bad Lindsay Lohan movie, Georgia Rule  (although, I imagine he would prefer we just forgot about that one . . . ).

“Hey, baby!  I’m thirsty!  How’d ya like to pour some beer on my SCRAM bracelet!”

Finally, here’s a screencap of Garrett taken by yours truly from the Tron Legacy trailer that aired during the movie, Inception.  It was this picture that prompted me to fall in love with Garrett, and, eventually, write this blog post . . .

Sigh!

But, perhaps you aren’t as shallow as I am.  And the appearance of Garrett alone isn’t enough to make you see this film. 

I know, Monkey.  It doesn’t make sense to me either .  . .

Well, it also stars the  Olivia Wilde, a.k.a. that enviably attractive, intimidatingly cool, and unfairly talented lady, of House and The O.C. fame.

Remember that time when she made out with Mischa Barton?

Good times!

But Tron Legacy not only has a stellar cast, it’s also absolutely destined to have an amazing soundtrack!  After all, Disney hired none other than Daft Punk to pen the film’s score.

Now, even if electronic music is not really your thing (and, I admit, it’s not usually mine), you have to appreciate the talent of a band like Daft Punk.  Technologic remains my favorite workout song of all time!  Try listening to this song and NOT getting pumped up.  (Note:  I WOULD have embedded the video for Technologic in this post, but the creepy Robo-Baby in it scares me.  Click on the link, and you’ll see what I mean . . .)

Another cool Daft Punk song is Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger.  Unlike Technologic, this one has a very cool, non-scary, music video accompanying it.  Therefore, I will post it here for your viewing pleasure:

Along with a fabulous soundtrack, to promote the film, Disney will also be releasing a brand new, slightly less rainbow-y, video game, entitled Tron Evolution, as well as some brand new toys!

Most notable, among of the toys, of course, is the Sam Flynn / Garrett Hedlund ACTION FIGURE!

Sexiness that fits in your pocket!

Now THAT’S something I’d buy!

As for the trailer itself, it’s pretty intense.

“Look at me!  I’m intense!’

The basic premise of the film is that Garrett’s character, Sam Flynn, enters into the computerized world of the first film to retrieve his father, Computer Genius, Kevin Flynn (Jeff Bridges), who he hasn’t seen in 20-years.  And, let me tell you, they’ve got some good botox in Computer World, because the first time we see “The Dude” in the trailer, he looks like THIS . . .

But then, later in the film, the Botox must wear off, because he starts looking like this . . .

So, without further adieu, the trailer for Tron Legacy . . .

Not enough Tron Legacy goodness for you?  You can catch the other two released trailers for the film here and here.  You can also learn more about the film, here.

Tron Legacy hits theaters December 17, 2010.  Will YOU see it?

[www.juliekushner.com]

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Anatomy of a Trailer – Super 8

Say what you will about J.J. Abrams, but the man is a Viral Marketing Genius!  Back in 2007, he orchestrated a very effective “candy for nerds” series of trailers, videos, and websites for his “Aliens Attack NYC” film, Cloverfield.  Talk of the film spread through the country, like a virus; even though, at the time, the film wasn’t due out for another YEAR! 

The movie itself received mixed reviews.  But even its detractors would give the marketing campaign for it a solid A+.  For a trip down memory lane, check out its website, which features the corresponding trailer for the film, here

That same summer, Abrams promoted the upcoming season of his hit series Lost, by using an online “game” of sorts.  The “game” was indirectly advertised through television commercials airing throughout the summer.  It promised to give fans who played an inside scoop into the mysteries of the island.  It didn’t.  But the concept was interesting, in a sort-of geektastic way . . .

 Plus, the “game” rewarded players with a lot of tangential island-related information that they could brag about to their friends.  ABC has since disabled most of the sites related to the game, but you can get the Cliff Notes version here.

Well, it appears that Abrams and Co. are at it again.  Any of you out there who have seen Iron Man 2 in theaters, have probably already seen the trailer, which airs directly before it. The film is being directed by J.J. Abrams (duh) . . .

 . . and produced by . . . get this . . . STEVEN SPIELBERG! 

But even if you’ve seen it already, it’s worth watching again . . . . (and again, again . . .)

(Special thanks to MyIdealsPrecious, for the HD version of the trailer, and the ability to embed it in this post.)

Now, I may be going out on a limb here.  But something tells me that those “materials” they are referring to, never made it to that “secure facility” in Ohio.  Just a hunch . . . 😉

Of course, even before the trailer ran in theaters, it was leaked online.   And, inevitably, the speculation ball got rolling.  Regarding the “plot” of the film, there were three main schools of thought, which were not necessarily contradictory to one another.

1) The movie is intended to be a homage to popular Spielberg films of the ’70s, most notably, Alien and Close Encounters of the Third Kind.

2) The movie is meant to be some sort of Cloverfield 2 or prequel to Cloverfield.

3) The movie involves a group of midwestern kids, growing up in the 1970’s, who are playing around with an old school Super 8 video camera, when they accidentally catch on film some disturbing alien footage.  (Hence, the film’s title, Super 8.  This would also sort of explain the old school rapid- display video camera sequences that are shown, toward the end of the trailer.)

J.J. Abrams quickly stepped in and debunked “school of thought #2,” claiming that this film was in no way related to Cloverfield(Smart man.)

A picture of what J.J. Abrams might look like in about 20 years . . .

What initially struck me about the trailer (mindblowing special effects aside) was how few “words” were in it.  Aside from some garbled “walkie talkie” talk at the 18, 27, and 37 – second marks, respectively, and the terrified “Oh my god,” at :42, the almost two-minute long trailer was essentially void of human language.  (Note, I said “human.”)

Fans have already begun to break the trailer down frame by frame.  And, for those of you who are into this sort of thing, apparently, the real “goodies” can be found during the last 20 or so seconds of the trailer.  That time frame is more or less comprised of the footage from the Super 8 camera. 

 On first view, I actually got very little from this footage.  This is most likely because the strobe light effect on that part of the trailer, made me a little nauseous.  (I was sitting in the third row of the theater, after all.)  However, apparently, there is A LOT there.  And thanks to some intrepid computer geeks, we can see it all.  Over on the message boards down at IMDB, someone was clever (and generous) enough to provide us with frame-by-frame screen shots of this portion of the film.  You can find them all here.  I was particularly creeped out by this one . . .

 . . . which appears in the trailer around 1:24, and pretty clearly shows a child’s face.  The rest of the shots were a bit less clear, to me, anyway. 

The other major little goody provided by the trailer, came at around 1:26 on the clock, when words appeared across the Super 8 screen.

(Thanks Super8News.com for posting this . . .)

Well, I still couldn’t read it, but apparently it says “scariest thing I ever saw.”  And lo and behold, there is now a website called www.scariestthingIeversaw.com.  Much like the site for the original Lost game when it first appeared on the web, this site, at first blush, features little more than an old fashioned computer screen, and a lot of techno jargon.  I played with it for a while, but didn’t get very far.  Plus, with all those “download” screens running in sequence, without prompts by me, I kept worrying that it was somehow installing a virus on my computer.  It wasn’t.  (At least, I don’t think it was.) 

Anyway, given my own ineptitude and impatience, it was nice of the folks over at Super 8 Film News, to do the heavy lifting for me, by walking me through the site and its purported “easter eggs.” 

To be honest, there’s really not much there . . . yet.  But, I am willing to bet that the site will continue to be updated, as the time clock ticks closer to the film’s release date.  Until that time, us nerds will just have to continue to speculate . . .

Super 8 invades theaters Summer 2011.  Will YOU see it?

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Filed under Movie Trailer Recaplets, Spoilers and Sneak Peaks, Super 8

It Was Not Your Mother’s Golden Globes . . . (But It Might Have Been Your Dad’s)

For all you guys out there who complain that award shows — with their pretty dresses, teary-eyed acceptance speeches, and penchant for period piece films — are the primetime equivalent of a “chick flick,” the 67th Annual Golden Globes ceremony seemed determined to prove you wrong.  In fact, this year, it actually may have been the women viewers who felt a bit neglected and unloved by the festivities . . .

This boys’ club atmosphere began on the red carpet, where it just so happened to be heavily raining.  This undoubtedly put a literal damper on the female actresses’ dreams of having their painstakingly coiffed hairstyles gushed over by Joan Rivers and her minions.  The lucky ones stood under umbrellas that obscured most of their features during the interview portion of the evening.  As for the others . . . well, needless to say, the “wet look” will surely be making a comeback this year.

And yet, wet or dry, the women were not the ones who the fashion pundits were focused on during this particular awards ceremony.  Rather, all eyes were on the stylings of the men, or rather, the lack thereof.  After all, who could forget Paul McCartney’s sparkly vest, which made him look like an amalgamation of a waiter at TGI Fridays, a boy scout, and a “Rhinestone Cowboy?” 

Perhaps you may also have noticed the unusual abundance of facial hair at these awards?  This year’s “Razor Haters” included: the typically impeccably groomed George Clooney and Jon Hamm, Hamm’s Mad Men costar Vincent Kartheiser (Pete Campbell would not have been pleased), Jeff Bridges (who will forever in my mind be The Dude from The Big Lebowski, and, today, looked the part), William Hurt, and Golden Globe host Ricky Gervais, who, in true frat boy fashion, spent most of his time on stage swigging from a tall mug of beer.

Even the award winners themselves were a decidedly masculine bunch.  First, there was the aforementioned Dude, Jeff Bridges, beating out the Clark Gable-esque Clooney and Mr. Darcy himself (Colin Firth) for Best Actor in a Drama Film.  Next came, Robert Downey Jr., who was awarded Best Comedy Film Actor for his turn as the hard-drinking, slightly slovenly, always ass-kicking Sherlock Holmes, in the male buddy comedy of the same name.  The Best Supporting Film Actor award went (quite appropriately, in my opinion) to Christopher Waltz for his turn as Colonel Hans Landa in Quentin Tarantino’s World War II-themed Inglourious Basterds

Kevin Bacon earned nods for his performance in the also war-themed Taking Chances.  The serial killer drama Dexter swept the television drama actor categories.  To top things off, the geeked-out 3D sci-fi fantasy Avatar beat out the somewhat romantic coming of middle-age tale, Up in the Air in both the Best Director and Best Drama categories. 

But perhaps most shocking of all was the award for Best Comedy Film, which went to, of all films, The Hangover, a buddy film about a bunch of guys who get so wasted at their friend’s bachelor party they end up spending the whole night drinking, screwing, getting beat up, and hanging out with Mike Tyson, although not necessarily in that order.  (For those of you who haven’t seen it, I sincerely apologize for spoiling the ending for you.)

Heck, the Cecile B. Demile Lifetime Achievement Award went to Martin Scorcese tonight!  And, seriously, could there be a more masculine director out there than Marty?  (Tarantino is a contender for this category as well.  But I think he probably takes a close second.)  I mean, this is the guy who directed Raging Bull, Goodfellas, Gangs of New York, Casino, and The Departed for crying out loud!

In addition to being a night that celebrated men, masculinity, and over-abundant facial hair, this was also a night of appreciation for new talent:  with the outstanding freshman ensemble cast of Glee winning Best Television Comedy, and Julianna Margulies, of the new series The Good Wife, picking up the award for Best Actress in a Television Drama.  And yet, while this year’s Golden Globes definitely appreciated new talent, it showed a certain impatience for talent of the non-celebrity variety.  While the producers of the awards allowed some of their A-list actors to drone on endlessly during their acceptance speeches, those same producers often rudely silenced screenplay and song writers with orchestral music, just seconds after these equally-deserving individuals found their way to the stage.

Although not without it faults, one thing could be said about the 67th Annual Golden Globes ceremony, it was certainly not predictable.  And when it comes to an institution that often gets bogged down with pomp and circumstance, it is unpredictability that keeps viewers coming back year after year . . .

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