James Moore & Jobe Close take a look at the massive variety of trailer releases from the last fortnight.
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
The chance to see the Harry Potter universe transplanted to the New York of the Roaring Twenties is nothing if not an exciting prospect, a concept not lost on this trailer for the first of a brand new trilogy inspired by J. K. Rowling’s 2001 spin-off book. The crowds of Potter fans that flock to see this will be exploring “a new era” and an exotic locale. Indeed, what we see of the city and its people is sumptuous in its period detail. Yet pleasingly, it seems to have retained a measure of the Englishness that gave the original series so much of its charm. Golden boy Eddie Redmayne stars as Newt Scamander, the former Hogwarts student and “magizoologist” kicked out of school for causing a spot of mortal bother with a magical beast (which seems harsh considering what Harry got away with). He arrives in New York looking and sounding like some sort of wizarding 1920s Hugh Grant. With only hints at the titular beasts that will be the central narrative drive, we get to preview what could be the stranger-in-a-strange-land, Englishman-in-New-York, beating human heart of the story. And with Rowling making her solo screenwriting debut, we have every reason to hope for something a bit more thoughtful to compliment the guaranteed platefuls of magical creature-related exploits. I’m in.
The Neon Demon
Like the idea of Black Swan 2? Or should it be Perfect Blue 3? Either way, The Neon Demon looks like it can be carried by its aesthetic alone. From Nicolas Winding Refn, director of Drive, described by Roger Ebert as ‘elegant exercise in style’, this certainly looks to continues that trend. Just take some time to admire the composition of this trailer. That gorgeous contrasting lighting alongside such a rich colour palette doesn’t often look this good. Cutthroat professional competition in the entertainment industries makes for a strong thriller with a wide appeal, and like Perfect Blue it looks like a little bloodshed will make its way in. With a strong cast featuring Christina Hendricks, Elle Fanning and Keanu Reeves The Neon Demon is shaping up to be a striking visual experience.
Makoto Shinkai, director of The Garden of Words and 5 Centimetres per Second, returns with another film full of stills ripe for a desktop wallpaper. The story seems to be a typically simplistic body swap, but knowing Shinkai he’ll turn it into a tear jerker. The studio, CoMix Wave Films, works almost exclusively on Shinkai films, and consequently all his films carry his distinct style, and this one is no different. Of the lead voice actors, Mone Kamishiraishi is a newcomer to animated films, but Ryunosuke Kamiki has worked on studio Ghibli films Howl’s Moving Castle and Spirited Away, as well as Mamoru Hosoda’s Summer Wars. Shinkai is one of the top anime directors out there at the moment, and his films are always a compact, emotional, experience. This one isn’t too different to what we expect form Shinkai, but that’s just fine.
A Silent Voice
A redemption story about a boy who bullies a deaf girl out of his school is the latest venture from Kyoto Animation, makers of The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya. KyoAni are unusual as an anime studio. Most studios work with many different directors from outside the studio and contract in freelance animators: KyoAni don’t. They work almost exclusively with in-house staff, many of whom they have trained themselves, and with source material they publish themselves. Because of this model, KyoAni has a reputation for a consistent style and high quality production values. A Silent Voice has a distinct ‘soft’ art style that fits perfectly with KyoAni’s famously blobby characters. The script is being written by Reiko Yoshida of The Cat Returns, Tamako Love Story and the K-On movie. Directing is Naoko Yamada also of K-On and Tamako Love Story and character design is from Futoshi Nishiya, of KyoAni hits Hyouka, Nichijou and The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya.
This is a little different. It’s more of a teaser than a trailer, and I am teased. In a time when trailers are often criticised for giving away too much this gives away just the right amount. I can gauge what sort of film this is and the beginnings of the plot, but who is Oscar Isaac and why is he destroying his house? A trailer that makes me ask questions is almost always better than one delivering answers. Lightningface is a new short film from actor, writer and director Brian Pestos, and the third collaboration of Pestos and Isaac. Short films may not make it to your local cinema, but many great directors prove their worth and break through with standout shorts. Darren Aronofsky worked on shorts for 10 years before Requiem for a Dream. Wes Anderson’s Bottle Rocket was first released as a 13 minute short. Scorsese, David Lynch and John Ford all began releasing shorts. When a short like Lightningface comes along, with a captivating premise, proven actor and as bizarre a trailer as this, it might be time to watch this space.
All above by James Moore