TRAILER REVIEW: ‘Trail(er) Blazing’ with Chappie, Cinderalla & Pitch Perfect 2

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With the continued growth of Youtube and other online platforms people are becoming less and less interested in making the extra effort to see the trailers before the start of a movie – “We’re not late, there’s still trailers” You often hear friends say. Having said that, a few interesting and exciting trailers were released in the past week or so, showing 2015 to be a very promising year for both original and secondary films (sequels, prequels, remakes and spin offs).

The first is Neil Blomkamp’s new film, Chappie. After the fantastic film that was District 9 and then the so-so effort that was Elysium, many fans were excited to hear about NB’s next project, which tracks the life of Chappie, a robot looking for his place in the world. Blomkamp has introduced us to a new variation of the sci-fi genre. It’s a science fiction with the dirty, gritty feel that sets it apart from the clean, white and grey pallets that seem to define these future films (think Star Trek, The Island and Aeon Flux). His films, like most great sci-fi films, also have a heavy socio-political aspect to them: District 9 provided such an interesting lens with which to look at the Apartheid system, in a way that didn’t feel preachy or like a high school text book, and Elysium reminded us of the world’s 1%, and how the separation of classes, though a part of our past, could still possibly determine our future.

From the trailer, Chappie looks to do the same, providing its audience with a fresh look at the story of the outcast, whilst still being funny (look out for that line by the title character about being ‘cool’), inspiring (the music in the trailer just makes you want to save the world) and (in true Blomkamp fashion) a great deal political – how safe are we with ‘artificially intelligent beings’, or what any one of us might call ‘the other’ (someone different from us)? None of these elements are overtly original, yet Blomkamp is able to blend them together like a master chef blending ingredients that would, at first glance, seem like an odd combination. It’s also exciting to see a film that has both a local and international reach, with talent like Yo-Lande Visser and Ninja, of Die Antwoord fame, as well us Blomkamps’ favourite, Sharlto Copely, being combined with the likes of Hugh Jackman and Dev Patel. It’s important for us as South African’s to be finding our own signatures in the films that we produce, shattering the moulds of Hollywood stereotypes and conventions, Chappie seems as though it will do it nicely (though it must be pointed out that Yoland Visser’s accent makes it sound like we South African’s don’t really know how to speak properly, but that’s a debate for another time). Chappie reaches us around March next year.

Disney released a trailer of their own in the past few weeks, a remake of their 1950’s animated classic, Cinderella. After Maleficent and Oz: The Great and Powerful, the family-orientated powerhouse will release a remake of this well-known story with fresh faces and (we hope) more well-rounded, developed characters. The trailer plays heavily on nostalgia, bringing back much of what made the animated film a classic in the first place – Ella befriending the mice, the Fairy Godmother using the mice as horses, and of course the glass slipper. The trailer had a tough job to crack, it had to show its audience that it was like the original, but also brought something new to the table, then, had to show some of these new elements to wet our appetite whilst reserving some surprises for the actual film. The trailer was a little heavy-handed, and I half of the films’ special moments were already revealed to us (see the Fairy Godmother’s transformation for example). But when all is said and done, the trailer manages to make us believe (as only Disney can do) in magic. I look forward to this one too, that reaches us also in March next year.

The sequel to the acca-awesome, smash hit Pitch Perfect was also dropped this week. The stakes are raised in this one, and the Barton Bellas not only have to beat out their regional and National competition, but the whole of freaking Europe and the rest of the world too at the World Championships. The trailer teases us with everything that made the original so successful and enjoyable: music, laughs, Fat Amy (Patricia) and that wickedly catchy Cups song (now sung by the entire cast). When studios announce sequels to films that originally weren’t intended to have any, I always get a little bit sceptical – have they thought this through? Where are they going to take the story, and develop it in such a way that it doesn’t feel forced or unnecessary? From what the trailer shows, Pitch Perfect 2, seems to avoid that trap for the most part, and will hopefully provide us with a pitch perfect sequel that will make old fans remember why they loved the first one so much, and make new fans along the way. Pitch Perfect 2 is scheduled for international release on May 15.

What did you think of the trailers? Are you excited to see them all? Which one is your favourite? Are there any that you hate? Let us know in the comments below.

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