Two of this decade’s most hotly anticipated films released new trailers this week. 2-3 minute long trailers, with plenty of spoilers it would seem. There has been increasing media attention on spoilers in trailers in recent months, with some critics believing they are going too far. Not that this would put off any Alien or Batman fans one bit...
In case you’ve been in stasis in outer space for several light years, Ridley Scott is returning to sci-fi with Prometheus, a project that started off as a prequel to his own Alien. Then it wasn’t a prequel, then it was, now it officially isn’t. But it does inhabit the same world, and will explore the planet and the dead alien race that the crew of the Nostromo first encounter in the 1979 film.
A stellar cast was assembled, namely Noomi Rapace, Michael Fassbender, Guy Pearce, Idris Elba, Logan Marshall-Green and Charlize Theron, all of whom have been in some of the most memorable film and TV in recent times.
Prometheus looks set to be a film you can watch even if you haven’t seen any of the Alien movies (unlikely amongst Starburst readers), but if you have the following might make a bit more sense.
As an Alien fan finding out that the movie would not feature the dreaded xenomorph, I was wondering where the horror was going to come from. I anticipated a sci-fi/adventure for most of the film, with a facehugger cameo and/or something nasty at the end. But then I saw the most recent trailer, and any doubts I had (which had already dissipated with each new viral campaign) were gone.
As well as featuring some new nasties, notably some kind of intergalactic cobra and a face-eating/DNA altering entity or two, we also have the beings Scott promised to reveal more of – the ‘space jockey’ race that has kept fans talking for over 30 years. In the trailer we learn that they ‘are leaving’ – for Earth. Do they know what’s already there, or coming, or are they just unsocial and hell-bent on interplanetary domination? We know they are stopped – but by the Prometheus crew, the xenomorphs, or both? Perhaps it is the humans’ fault that the bane of Ripley is unleashed on the planet in the first place? The music sounds incredible, the art design is true to Giger’s original vision, and the planet created seems just as mysterious and spectacular as it was in Alien.
There is also some more insight into the characters.
Elizabeth Shaw (Noomi Rapace) is obviously the new Ripley, an enthusiastic archaeologist who becomes a reluctant warrior; although Rapace stated that she was her own character.
David (Michael Fassbender) is the obligatory android, who seems to be a Bishop but could easily turn out to be another Ash.
Peter Weyland (Guy Pearce) makes his first appearance (although his descendants have been in the other Alien movies), and it’s no surprise to learn that he’s got something of a God complex. Although not in the feature length trailer, he has his own viral campaign in the recent futuristic TED conference video. According to Pearce, he’s ‘only in the film for a minute’, so we may have even treated to his entire performance already. Perhaps we’ll see Yutani at some point too, Weyland’s future partner and the other half of one of the most evil corporations in movie history.
Meredith Vickers (Charlize Theron) seems to be the amoral corporate presence on board (and perhaps another android?), similar to Ash, Carter Burke or Weyland himself.
Janek (Idris Elba) is the ship’s captain and has already been likened to Captain Dallas from Aliens, although like Rapace has distanced his character from the other.
Of course at least one of the other character’s will be meeting a gruesome and untimely end (the trailer certainly suggests so), but perhaps not due to a post-dinner chest complaint unless Scott wants to get a bit postmodern and in-jokey. Doubtful.
Scott won’t be resting easy though; he’ll soon be working on the prequel/sequel/remake (not this again) to his own Blade Runner, another sci-fi epic. And with Scott, you can count on there being no crystal skulls in sight.
THE DARK KNIGHT RISES
Not to be outdone, the caped crusader has a new equally long and spoilerific trailer out this week too. In case you’ve been living in a bat cave for the last year or two, Christopher Nolan is bringing his take on the Batman franchise to an end with The Dark Knight Rises, as well as his own take on the Bane (Tom Hardy) and Catwoman (Anne Hathaway) characters, and the alleged introduction of Talia Al Ghul (Marion Cotillard), return of Ra’s A Ghul (Liam Neeson) and Scarecrow (Cillian Murphy) once more.
The rumour mill was in full motion for some time, with many fans expecting The Riddler to appear (and to be played by Johnny Depp), and a hope for some unexplored characters to finally make the big screen, with Dr. Hugo Strange a frontrunner at the end of 2010. While there are still rumours and question marks over several characters and the role they will play, the plot seems pretty well known already. Well, to an extent.
The film is partially based on graphic novels Knightfall, No Man’s Land and The Dark Knight Returns. The main arc of Knightfall is Bane, a muscle-bound terrorist with a strength-inducing serum who has the brilliant idea to break all of Batman’s foes out of Arkham Asylum to weaken him. When the time is ripe he breaks him, literally. In No Man’s Land an earthquake hits Gotham City, isolating it and resulting in gang warfare breaking out. In Dark Knight Returns, an older Batman comes out of retirement to fight crime once more, without the support or want of the government or Gotham City Police Department. Dark Knight Returns was the original inspiration for the originally intended relaunch of Batman under Darren Aronofsky, with Clint Eastwood rumoured to be playing the retired hero.
It is already well known that Bane is the central antagonist and most of the viral campaigns, from the initial picture of Bane on Twitter to every recent trailer focusing on him. Although not quite as huge as he is meant to be, he is still big and strong, a military strategist/terrorist who instead of a strength serum has some kind of anaesthetic/steroid release attached to him to alleviate pain from an old injury. Which handily will make him impervious to pain in hand to hand combat. Scenes of chaos and gang fights have been shown, and in the most recent trailer we see a bridge to Gotham being destroyed, although not by an earthquake, with the main suspicion resting on Bane. After all, we’ve already seen him watching over the destruction of a football field in a trailer that many fans believed contained clues to the first appearance of Robin in Nolan’s Batman world. Although Robin seems to be a cop played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt.
It has already been made obvious that at some point Batman loses a fight to Bane, and leaves Gotham for some time, linking in to the Ra’s A Ghul angle, possibly returning to where he first escaped to and trained after the death of his parents. Lots of chanting and mystery in the trailers has fuelled speculation that the League of Assassins will also be appearing.
So, to catch up, so far we have Bane, broken Batman, gang warfare in Gotham, Batman retiring/returning, and anywhere between 1-5 foes to fight and a possible sidekick or two. The biggest spoiler and game-changer in the most recent trailer is the emphasis on Catwoman. A surprise addition to the ‘final’ film (and originally rumoured to be played by Cher at one point), she was first portrayed as a villain but now seems to be an ally. But anyone who knows Catwoman knows she can switch allegiances in the time it takes you to say ‘Whiskas’. She may also be a love interest, harking back to the Burton films and the more graphic depiction in the recent DC Catwoman comics.
Let’s also not forget an ageing Commissioner Gordon (Gary Oldman), Lucius Fox ( who said he wouldn’t help Bruce Wayne anymore in the last film) and a flying Batmobile and it’s enough to make you as emotional as poor old Alfred (Michael Caine).
The Dark Knight Rises on July 20th / Prometheus lands June 1st.