How are we feeling about these? Benicio del Toro gives us furry wolfman action here. And over here, Apple has the first trailer for James Cameron’s mega-hyped, long-anticipated, titularly-conflicted “Avatar.”
I wasn’t exactly slobbering with impatience for either of these, and after seeing the trailers, I’m still not. Judge for yourselves though.
Regarding “Avatar,” the internet is resounding with cries of “Looks like a video game!” and “I thought this was supposed to be all realistic and whatnot!” Cameron had promised a “game changer” and some kind of next-level FX, but… Playstation 3 vs. Playstation original this is not. Many have rightly pointed out that the effects for Davy Jones (two years ago) and Gollum (EIGHT years ago) were more convincing – not to mention, better-designed. Apart from the effects, I’m getting a serious FernGully-meets-Dark Crystal feeling from the whole thing, and though I still harbor some affection for the latter, I don’t see how that’s a good vibe for an enormously expensive summer blockbuster that probably needs to clear well over $300 million before it breaks even (the production budget alone, not including predictably huge advertising costs, is rumored to be around $200 million). Is 3-D the sales pitch on this movie? If so, Cameron should mail 3-D glasses to the fanboys before posting his next trailer online; in 2-D it’s just not that impressive.
And “The Wolfman”: well, it hardly looks bad, but I was waiting for something to jump out and grab me, maybe sink its teeth into me lycan-style. Instead I found that del Toro looks a bit out of place with all those Brits and period details, and visually the thing is pretty in exactly the way you’d expect – lots of blue filter for night scenes, lots of sweeping CGI-enhanced sky, and lots of computer effects for the wolf (and they even had access to Rick Baker, who was responsible for the best wolf transformation ever committed to celluloid). I’m an easy mark for this kind of movie – just don’t have the wolf doing kung fu in bullet time and I’ll probably want to see it – but this trailer makes me think, “Eh… maybe throw it in the Netflix queue.” Hmm. Will have to re-evaluate when round 2 comes along.