Tag Archives: Zack Snyder

Real Batman vs Superman Trailer Review

Now that my snarky first thoughts are out there and done, let’s take a look at this first trailer for the upcoming DC Justice League tentpole flick.  The trailer is already drawing some ire, but is that for the trailer itself or because of its association with the attached comic book properties?  Check out the trailer below and let’s really delve in after the jump.

It’s SO ANGSTY!!  This movie makes Romeo + Juliet look like a pair of rational adults discussing fourth quarter earnings around the watercooler.  It’s so dark and gritty – almost like that ought to be the two-word moniker for the tone of the DC movies in general, particularly the ones they are doing again.  #DGR

Serious breakdown time.  We start with the normal BWAM BWAM we’ve come to know and love from the Dark Knight and Man of Steel’s composer.  Starting at 0:10, we get seven seconds of monologue over a perfectly black screen.  It has become a pretty standard way of starting at trailer and it helps set the serious tone the film.

Let’s cut to the chase.  What makes this trailer interesting is the sound editing.  Snippets from several different conversations are cut together in a way that makes it flow like one consecutive monologue.  Particularly interesting is the overlaying of words at key moments to demonstrate the varied opinions on the otherworldly superhero.  A very neat effect, it definitely lends itself to a Youtube screening rather than one in a theater seat.  It seems to necessitate multiple consecutive viewings in order to understand what is being said, rather than a one-time experience in a theater shown before the content you really came to see.  Only by watching it several times can you get a good grasp on the interplay of the language, which seeing it in a cineplex just doesn’t allow for.  I feel like this might quietly prove to be the amongst the final straws for the death of the Cinema viewing of the trailer, and the rise to prominence of our culturally watching trailers online.  We will have to wait and see.

Back to the sound editing, it gives a very nice Spoken word feel – adding cadence to an otherwise boring set of shots.  The team did a great job building in the negation of the expected outcome of each sentence – “We are talking about a being/alien…” – that works to great effect.   It’s an interesting concept I haven’t seen executed before and I think it works rather well here.

Two more brief thoughts before we talk about the split.  The left/right mixing of the monologue is very cool.  Particularly towards the end (around 0:40), they split up lines from Luther (Eisenberg) which creates an audiotory shift, again giving movement to an otherwise simple shot.  Second, more of a potshot, the “False God” CG statue looks like its from Bioshock 1, and not a good way.

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Now let’s look at the second trailer.  This happens a lot in the modern trailer: the first minute is its own separate thing with goals and rhythms, and then there is a clear break into the second trailer for the latter minute and a half.  The deliniating moment for the BvS trailer is our man Zimmer’s plinking piano score (a concept pulled from the third Dark Knight Rises trailer).  The first half was a genuine teaser; the second is more of a trailer proper.

The main difference between the two halves is that the first focuses on an interesting audio mix, whereas the second relies more on the editing of footage (which sometimes works and sometimes doesn’t).  Suddenly we are seeing many more shots and particularly some interesting juxtapositions of them creating new “third” scenes just for the trailer.  I’ll get to that in a second.

We start on a very long shot (nine seconds) of our first look at the new Bruce Wayne.  Admittedly, I’m not much of an Affleck fan, so to me this shot is held on way too long.  His eyes just look dead and he barely seems conscious, let alone engaged.  Yet, I can see what the trailer-makers are doing – they clearly focus on revealing the new Batman they have been teasing for months.  In that sense, fan-boys and girls I’m sure loved pouring over the new caped crusader in what might be his new Batcave.

And to this end, they then follow up with a great shot of the new suit – holding just about as long on it as they did on Clooney-fied Batfleck (six seconds).  Say what you will about the design, this was a smart choice by the marketing team to put up this new iteration of the iconic outfit for your visual perusal.

From there we get into some shots that telegraph the film’s visual tone (Batman in the Destroyed museum), some new Bat-tech (which is remarkably explodey in this new universe), and a couple of nice pandering shots of our dearly beloved Dark Knight.  Then we get into the final act of the trailer which again shows some very smart decisions from the Trailer team.

We start with the reveal of Iron Monger Batman, in a “scene” which I believe is chopped up from other scenes, or at the very least is not the climatic moment before the big battle.  It looks like they took a sequence where the two talk things out, add over the lines about “Do you bleed?”, and made it seem like the ultimate showdown moment.  I love recontextualized moments like this, ones that after you see the movie and come back to the trailer, realize they gave you some important information but still kept some elements from you so the scene would still be surprising and new in the theaters.  Maybe I’m wrong, but I cannot wait to see where those shots actually feature in the final product.

Next we get the new Batvoice and, before you or I make any comment about how silly it is, let’s look at the function served by putting it in this trailer.  Of course the composers of this trailer knew it would stir up controversy, of course Zack Snyder knew he was taking a risk making the new voice similar to but different from the Nolan/Bale creation, but that is exactly why it debuts here.  Remember Bane from the Dark Knight Rises teaser?  They put it out early to get feedback on it and thus make changes before the final product is put out.  The masses spoke and declared Bane’s voice hard to make out, so Nolan and Co. went back to the mixing room and tweaked it to make it a bit more palatable.  JJ Abrams is doing the same thing with the cross-guard lightsaber in Star Wars: The Force Awakens (trailer review pending, I promise).  Smart marketers and filmmakers use trailers for these big properties to test out new ideas and bounce them against the audience to make changes before release day.  It’s a smart move and one you should be on the look out for; I expect it will happen more and more in the future.

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And thus we end on the logo, with the Superman symbol getting overshadowed by the Bat-signal (metaphor for cultural popularity and public opinion, mayhaps?) and the title screen.  Overall, this is a very effective first trailer.  Yes, we all have a lot of thoughts about the dark, gritty tone, the silly new voice, and Ben Affleck’s acting abilities.

But ultimately that is exactly what this trailer is about – it is meant to drum up as much buzz about the film as it can, while trying to garner some genuine feedback for the production team to make last minute adjustments before release.  Imagine if the first trailer for the Phantom Menace had highlighted how big a role Jar Jar would have, and if there had been the system and culture of social media feedback.  Think about how different the prequels might have been.  I am loving the wonderful development occurring where feedback on a trailer can affect how a movie ultimately ends up.  It means people are finally beginning to recognize and appreciate what a trailer can be and how to recognize good ones from bad ones.

Whether the film will be any good remains to be seen.  But for me, it will be seen because this trailer is making all the right moves to get people talking about the film and drum up some buzz for the DC Cineverse.  If nothing else, I’m glad it doesn’t use music from freaking Pinocchio.  Seriously Marvel.  So dumb.

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Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice: Master and Commander: Far Side of the World: Colon

First trailer for BvS was released……

Three thoughts:

1.  DC’s serious tone doesn’t seem to be going anywhere but into a darker corner of the hole it has dug itself into.

2.  Bat-fleck looks like they’ve tried to Clooney-fy him…but not the cool Oceans or even OG Batman Clooney.  No, he looks like Descendants Clooney.  And the suit….it looks like he had a bad wiff of a fart right when they did the face-mask casting.  #BatWrinkledNose.

3.  New gritty Bat-voice.  Joy.


Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep

This is the most convoluted universe I have ever seen in a movie or game series.
This is Kingdom Hearts:

This is the trailer for the most recent….part of the Kingdom Hearts series, Birth by Sleep, and boy is it….yeah. In brief, the story of KH involves the hero’s journey of Sora, going from kid on an island…with no parents…to an interplanetary champion of love, hope, and the ever clear Light! (whatever that means).  Basically the ambiguity of Square Enix’s “good vs evil” collided with the stock Disney “Believe and Trust your Heart” – which leaves us with a very basic (VERY BASIC) battle of light and darkness.

And that really doesn’t make a lot of sense.  You are fighting your rival at the end of the first game and all seems lost…but then you “believe and the power of your heart saves you!!!” ….whatever that means.   Now, I am an optimist and I do believe in magic that underlies the world (at least in the magical qualities) so I really like that “light v dark” stuff. However, this series goes to a ridiculous point – PARTICULARLY after the second game. But I wont get into that. Let’s get to the trailer….

Basically I would say that this is the Zack Snyder of Trailers — it looks amazing and really focuses on that.  It is a gorgeous trailer!  Some moments (o:29, 0:35, 1:07) look nigh on live-action, which is incredible for animation made in 2006-7.  The set-up is beautifully haunting and draws us into wondering “what is going on”.  Then, of course, the fight is masterfully crafted, showcasing the years of experience Square Enix brings to the series.  Combat plays fantastically, quick and intense, and best of all – it builds up the story rather than replace it.

That is what is best about this trailer:  it has a narrative story that almost follows a three act structure.  First to be clear, this is actually two teasers in one video.  The first is the secret ending of KH2 and the second is the original teaser for the game (split is at 1:26).  The narrative part is actually across both

Starting with the introduction of the three heros in the Secret Ending, we start to see the world in which this all occurs.  The second teaser begins with the villain’s entrance and at about minute 2 we shift into Act II.  The shift is subtle but we move from the exposition of characters to the actual fight itself. Then final Act begins at about 3:30, about the time that the Bald guy enters the fight.  The shift here is from mindless violence and fighting to a more personal side of thing.  We start to see who we are dealing with people (who might or might be recognizable) and it becomes all the more real.

What doesn’t work about the trailer is the music.  It is nice and it hits the beats, but it doesn’t enhance the trailer. It just exists to fill the gap of sound and for no other purpose, which is a shame because it could have been spectacular.  Oh, well…

Overall, I am drawn to answering the BAZILLION questions I have about the series and where it is going, so I have to give this trailer a solid:

Rating = 5/5

If you want to look more into the series and the super convoluted storyline, check out the Kingdom Hearts page on Square Enix’s website.  It at least puts them in order 🙂 and God knows we all want them to just MAKE KH3 and get on with it already!

Thanks for hanging in there with me this week!  Crazyness happens when you are two weeks into your Junior year of college.  I promise to be more punctual with stuff in the future weeks.  And speaking of, tune in next Friday for Melancholia – already promising to be a fantastic film!