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Trailer Haul: An Embarrassment of Riches



Wow, what a week of trailers. It’s a forgone conclusion that we won’t be able to get through all of them, at least not this week. We have cyberpunk, book adaptations, monster movies and, my favorite, a turn-based tactics game. Without further ado, let’s check out the haul.

Ghost in the Shell: Trailer #1

The history of Dreamworks’ live action Ghost in the Shell film is a long and stressful one, most recently characterised by the casting of Scarlett Johansson as the Major – criticisms of whitewashing abound, as do the defensive comments proffered by the production team. And although it would have made a lot of people pleased to see a Japanese actress as the Major, anyone who has seen or read the previous versions knows that her ethnicity is secondary to her more immediate body-image anxiety. At the end of the day, Johansson makes bank for Hollywood, and without her attached, Ghost in the Shell would still be in development hell.

As for the first full trailer: it looks pretty promising.

Visually, this is the least typical Hollywood movie we’ve seen in a long time that wasn’t directed by the Wachowskis. In fact, it’s great to see that so much of what is shown here looks lifted from the manga page (and also from the 1995 animated movie). From the Major’s ‘shelling’ rebirth (a clip of which is now also online) to a cloaked battle on a flooded street, this could be one of the most faithful visual presentations of an existing fictional universe this side of the MCU.

What’s surprising, then, is that the producers have confirmed that the movie doesn’t follow the Puppet Master storyline made famous by the 1995 movie. In an interview with IGN, Avi Arad said that the Puppet Master specifically felt too much to do in a ‘first movie’.

Without going too far down the critic’s rabbit hole, the attitude that American audiences need several movies to establish and understand a science fiction story like Ghost in the Shell is rather dismissive, if not straight up insulting to their intelligence. Treating anything as a series, with the more interesting storylines coming later on – without knowing how well it will do at the box office – doesn’t bode well for the first movie.

A friend of mine pointed out that the trailer exacerbates this concern by suggesting a Robocop-esque journey of self-discovery and/or existential angst for the Major. This trope, already done to death in cyberpunk, was played with excellently in the original story by being a background element driving the Major’s character growth. If this background element is foregrounded for the majority of the plot (rather than say, any of the other more interesting storylines in this universe), Ghost in the Shell risks feeling much more generic than it has any right to be.

On a similar topic, Ghost in the Shell will have to weather the John Carter problem that I spoke of last week – even though it was the ultimate influence on the creation of The Matrix, those movies have so burrowed their way into the zeitgeist that most viewers are likely to assume the opposite and dismiss the movie as a rip-off.

Even from what is shown in this trailer, that would be a great disservice – because above all else, what is shown here suggests a world as complex, awful and beautiful as the world we live in today. As Avi Arad puts it, they’re not so much about the smooth, spotless Star Trek future, or the grimy hellscape of so many other sci-fi movies, but somewhere in between, making it more real.

A Series of Unfortunate Events: Trailer #2

Contemporary to Harry Potter, though very different in content and tone, the original A Series of Unfortunate Events book series was nonetheless in the same position when it came to adaptation: with such a dense, quintessentially “booky” story, how do you translate what works to the screen?

By the third installment, the Harry Potter films dropped their pretension to bookiness almost completely, instead going with an aloof approach akin to the appeal of a scented candle – by which I mean, the later films are more about portraying the feel than the interesting complexities of J. K. Rowling’s world-building. If you liked the books, you probably liked the movies, and if you didn’t like the books, the movies probably weren’t for you.

The first Unfortunate Events film succeeded with casting Jim Carrey as Olaf but faltered portraying the undercurrent of Gothic menace and themes that came to define the books. Despite excellent art direction and some changes made to squeeze the first three into a single-film story, the movie overall didn’t find its own qualities to replace what was lost in adapting word to screen.

Judging by this trailer for the first season, Netflix’s A Series of Unfortunate Events is trying its hardest to retain the vaguely Edwardian, impressionistic visuals that the 2004 film nailed so well, while at the same time upping the comedy angle to better fit a television presentation. This could prove a strong solution to the loss of literary bookishness, by instead focusing on what that a team of actors, special effects artists and directors can bring to a story.

For example: the Olaf of the books was ignorant, inexplicable and relentless. Neil Patrick Harris’s Olaf, on the other hand, appears to retain the added bumbling schlock that Carrey brought to the role – and therefore plays to NPH’s strengths as a comedic performer. Though this might also lose the series some of its grim punch, the fact that the relatively small books get two episodes each should make sure it doesn’t lose the series’ rich mythology and absurdist subtext.

Netflix have been on a roll with their original content lately, so if this trailer is any indication of quality we’re looking forward to even more great series in 2017. Is it time for another Iron Fist trailer?

Kong: Skull Island: Trailer #2

Creedence is always a win. There may only be thirty seconds of it, but like last week’s Valerian trailer it puts us right in the time and mood for this sequel/reboot/whatever being set in the early 1970s. The rest is underscored by generic, dramatic trailer music, which is fine – but it gets a lot better when the drums are timed to Kong’s chest-beating. They certainly know what parts to show to get the hype-meter rising.

So let’s take a step back: we’ve known since the first trailer that director Jordan Vogt-Roberts wanted to bring in his love of war films, especially Apocalypse Now. In terms of visual language and general color scheme, though, I wasn’t expecting it to be so overt. This might end up working in the film’s favor but it’s always worth remembering that the Pacific coast, jungle setting and military hardware are only set dressing, it’s the emotional content that makes a film.

That content in this trailer feels a little more haphazard. Clearly, Kong is a presence throughout the film, rather than a shark-from-Jaws situation. What makes it feel disjointed are the additional plots around the role of the military in this scientific expedition and the nature of John C. Reilly’s character. Since I can’t find any official source on the name of his character, I’m just going to call him Ben Gunn.

Particularly, Ben’s expositional speech on Kong works, but the sudden reminder that this is a creature-feature seems forced. We know from the original that a giant ape is an excellent device to center your movie around, so saying “and another thing, there are these unrelated monsters that you’ll also have to fight” feels a bit redundant in a two minute trailer.

Yes, this is yet another sequel/reboot/cash-in, if you want to see it that way. But if you think of the classic King Kong story as the Alien of the franchise, it’s completely acceptable that we might have an Aliens on our hands. Please stick the landing guys, Godzilla was alright but we deserve great monster movies.

Dynasty Warriors: Godseekers: Reveal Trailer

I’m not overly familiar with the Dynasty Warriors series, but this is a neat little reveal in a genre that’s on the ascent in recent years: turn-based tactics.

Not a whole lot to dive into here, as it’s a very gameplay focused trailer with just a hint of the characters and tone. Still, if you are at all a fan of either tactics games or Koei Tecmo’s venerable musou series, it looks like it should stay on your radar.

Beauty and the Beast: Trailer #1

Oh boy, this is going to be tough. Please don’t shoot the messenger.

Alan Menken could be an easy shoo-in for Best Original Score next year if the music to this movie is as wonderful as it was in the animated film (ignore the overused ‘soft piano note’ we get at the start, that has been the last few years’ version of the Inception horn). We also can’t deny the power that nostalgia will have over the success of this movie, even with the unfortunate garbage I’m going to dump on it in a second.

Let’s get it over with, then: the visuals, as shown here, are simply awful. And I’m not talking about quality of CG – that can always improve between the trailers and release of the movie. What can’t be changed so easily are the color palette and core aesthetic. It is simply dull.

Were you tired of orange and teal? Well, how about gold and teal?

Where’s the majestic, royal kaleidoscope of the original? Or the rich darkness on the inside of the castle? Does this whole movie take place in a white-out blizzard, lit by a faint blue moon? I count one scene – that’s one scene of some green hills – that isn’t some variation on gold or teal. If you think that’s bad, what about the over-designed servants, whose faces are hidden in baroque nonsense or just painted on the side, rather than actual, living faces.

The Beast himself might represent the worst of this uninspiring mess, resembling some kind of fairy or fawn. Careful, you wouldn’t want someone known as “THE BEAST” to actually look ugly or frightening, it’s not like that’s the entire point of the story.

Deep breath, calm down.

Kenneth Branagh’s Cinderella was not for me but it was very good, and had a masterful command of visual splendor. Disney’s live-action Beauty and the Beast might end up better, but this trailer shows exactly the kind of boring visuals that can sink a film.

No hard feelings if you enjoyed the trailer, though. Why not share what you liked in the comments below?

Oscar Corner

There weren’t only sci-fi and fantasy trailers out this week. If you’d like some coverage of these drama trailers too, let us know and we’ll see you on next week’s Trailer Haul.

Mitchell is a writer from Currawang, Australia, where his metaphorical sword-pen cleaves fiction from reality daily. When he's not writing, he plays video games and watches movies. While thinking about writing.


‘Shenmue III’ Gamescom Trailer Details a Day in the Life of Ryo



The original Shenmue games pioneered the open world genre, in part through their inclusion of many different minigames and side activities. The Kickstarter-funded Shenmue III looks to continue that legacy, as developer Ys Net and publisher Deep Silver have debuted a new trailer at Gamescom 2019 entitled “A Day in Shenmue.”

The developers provided the following description of the trailer via their latest Kickstarter update: “Exploring the town, playing minigames and battling! We hope it feels just how a Shenmue day should!” Sure enough, the footage showcases the series protagonist Ryo participating in a number of minigames, such as a boxing game and a pachinko machine. The end of the trailer also includes a good look at the series’ signature kung fu combat.

Beyond the new trailer, the Kickstarter update also noted that Yu Suzuki, the famed creator of Shenmue, will be present at Gamescom for autograph signings.

After numerous delays, Shenmue III will finally launch on November 19, 2019 for PS4 and PC via the Epic Games Store.

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‘Mortal Kombat 11’ Ramps Up Its Roster With The Kombat Pack



Our favourite brutal and bloody fighting game series Mortal Kombat is back with a new announcement surrounding brand new characters that will be joining the fight in the latest instalment of the franchise, Mortal Kombat 11.

During Gamescom 2019, Warner Brothers Interactive Entertainment and NetherRealm Studios introduced the Kombat Pack via an official reveal trailer. The Kombat Pack will feature six new fighters who will be introduced to the game over the next six months. Shang Tsung and Nightwolf are the latest additions who have already been released but the trailer also shows off four new and exciting additions to the world of Mortal Kombat.

The first up will be the Terminator T-800 who will be released on October 8th 2019 to coincide with the October release of the next Terminator film, Terminator: Dark Fate.  The trailer shows that the character model features the likeness of Arnold Schwarzenegger rather than just going for the Terminator style metallic endoskeleton. This is an interesting choice that leads to an incredibly impressive character model of Arnie. I’m really hoping that he will start to decay into his metal form as he is beaten down in the game but only time will tell.

The next release will be well known Mortal Kombat character Sindel, whose appearance fans have been waiting for after she was confirmed to be coming to the game in late May. Sindel will join the fight on November 26th, 2019.

The next character is another interesting one: DC comics top villain Joker. Joker is a pop culture icon who is no stranger to fighting games so his inclusion isn’t that much of a surprise. His physical appearance is somewhat unexpected however. He seems quite young and dashing, not what is typically expected when one thinks of the Joker. It is always fun to see unique interpretations of well known characters so hopefully the Joker will not disappoint when he becomes playable. This won’t be for a while though as he isn’t slated for release until January 28th, 2020.

The final character from the Kombat Pack will be Spawn from Todd McFarlane’s comic book of the same name. McFarlane already suggested that Spawn would be joining the game way back in December 2018 before Mortal Kombat 11 was even released, so this one isn’t much of surprise. The release date for Spawn is the furthest, coming to the game on March 17th,2020.

One fighter not mentioned is Ash from the Evil Dead, who has been being teased for sometime.His lack of inclusion here doesn’t rule him out of the game just yet. Here’s hoping that on top of the Kombat Pack, we will also get a few extra fighters here and there over the next few months.

The Kombat Pack will be $39.99 (those who purchased the premium edition of the game for $99.99 will have access to this content once it becomes available) to get all six fighters, one-week early access and various skins and gear sets. The DLC fighters as well as the skins and gear will all be available for anyone to purchase following the one –week period of early access.

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Limited Edition ‘Twin Peaks’ Box Set Includes a Whopping 21-Discs




Next year marks 30 years since David Lynch and Mark Frost changed television forever with their groundbreaking series Twin Peaks and to celebrate they are releasing a new, exhaustive box set which collects all of the pieces of Lynch’s quintessential mystery thriller and packs it into a whopping 21 disks.

The set, available only on Blu-ray, includes all three television seasons and the prequel movie Fire Walk With Me, as well as the film’s deleted scenes (The Missing Pieces). It also includes new interviews, behind-the-scenes footage, unedited versions of several musical performances, and so much more!

If that’s not enough, there will also be a special 4K UHD disc included in the set, containing a new ultra-high def transfer overseen by David Lynch of both the American and international versions of the 1990 Twin Peaks pilot, as well as “Part 8” of A Limited Event Series, titled “Gotta Light?” The set will also include all existing special features from the previous releases of Twin Peaks: The Entire Mystery and Twin Peaks: A Limited Event Series.

If you’re not salivating yet, it should also be mentioned that Lynch has confirmed the addition of 20 hours of additional features for die-hard Lynch fans to delve into.

From Z to A Twin Peaks Box Set

Last but not least, the collection comes in a beautiful box which the official press release says, once opened, a depiction of the infamous Red Room is revealed with its brown and crème chevron floor and brilliant red curtains. Sitting in front of the red curtain will be an exclusive die-cut acrylic figure of Laura Palmer kissing Special Agent Dale Cooper.

Fans who can’t afford the set will be able to purchase a more standard collection on Blu-ray and DVD, titled Twin Peaks: The Television Collection which will be released on October 15.

The From Z to A set costs $139.99 and is available for pre-order here. The Blu-ray TV collection costs $91.01, and the DVD TV collection costs $50.99.

While your waiting for your set to arrive, be sure to check out our insanely popular Twin Peaks podcast, The Lodgers, hosted by Simon Howell and Kate Rennebohm.

From Z to A Twin Peaks Box Set
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‘Monster Hunter World: Iceborne’ Trailer Reveals New Monsters and More!




I’m guessing we are not alone in choosing Monster Hunter World as one of the best games of 2018. In our review, Matthew Ponthier wrote, “Monster Hunter World is a hallmark entry into the storied franchise and is a title that will light a fire in the belly of any triumphant Hunter”.

And so, it shouldn’t come as a surprise either that we are hotly anticipating Monster Hunter World: Iceborne, the massive expansion to Capcom’s best-selling game to date. The latest trailer revealed this week during Gamescom 2019 gives a glimpse of returning and new monsters, including a closer look at Velkhana, the mysterious Elder Dragon that’s new to the series. Additionally, new options will be available to help players progress through the main World game and further encourage existing players to aid other hunters in the community.

Monster Hunter World: Iceborne

Iceborne will include a multitude of new monsters and subspecies for hunters to challenge, and now, two more have been confirmed to join the upcoming massive expansion’s lineup. The brute wyvern Brachydios is a returning fan-favorite known for its explosive slime attacks, while Namielle, a mysterious all-new Elder Dragon, unleashes powerful water-based attacks. More details about the new flagship monster Velkhana have also emerged. This Elder Dragon’s icy breath can cause frozen pillars to form on the battlefield, which hunters can use to create exciting opportunities for new hunting strategies.

 A free Guardian Armor set will be provided to all hunters, both World and Iceborne, as part of an upcoming title update on September 4 in time for the launch of the expansion. This upgradable armor set offers increased defense and skills that help hunters survive in the New World. The buffed armor can be equipped from the beginning of the World game, and is especially geared towards newer hunters to help them progress through the main story.

Monster Hunter World: Iceborne

Last but not least, there will be another gameplay feature new to the series that focuses on Low Rank and High Rank player assistance by creating a further incentive for the community to help fellow hunters. Helpful players will get rewarded with exclusive in-game Pendants and Trophies for assisting other hunters in ranks below their own.

The upcoming Iceborne expansion will be coming to the PlayStation 4 computer entertainment system and the Xbox One family of devices, including Xbox One X, globally on September 6th, 2019, with a PC release to follow in January 2020.

Watch the trailer below.

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‘Control’ Launch Trailer Cranks Up The Crazy



With the release date of Control fast approaching, a new launch trailer has been revealed during Gamescom 2019 in Cologne, Germany.

Remedy continues its trend of creating games with mind bending and bizarre realities with Control, a third person action game set in a world where supernatural forces are present. The otherworldly entities take over a government facility in New York tasked with containing supernatural threats known as the Federal Bureau of Control. The player takes on the role of Jesse Faden, the new Director of the Bureau, who has her own personal mission as she sets about finding her brother who was taken by the Bureau when they were children. The trailer shows Jesse as she wanders through the Bureau, set appropriately to Ruelle’s “Madness” as she falls through various dimensions and realities. Jesse has her own powers for the player to play around with as well as a weapon known as the Service Weapon, a supernatural firearm that can transform and change to the wielders will. We get a good look at the Service Weapon in the launch trailer and it looks like a particularly interesting element that make for intriguing shooting mechanics.

To celebrate the games launch, 505 Games will be hosting a charity stream in aid of St. Jude Children’s Hospital, a research hospital for various diseases and cancers affecting children. The stream will run from 8am to 4pm PDT on August 27th. It’s all to raise money for a brilliant cause so to check it out and to donate, go to the link here. Control will also be coming to PAX West next weekend from August 30th to September 2nd, so make sure to check it out if you’re attending.

Control will be released on Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and Microsoft Windows via the Epic Store on August 27th, 2019.

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