On the disparity between movie trailers and their movie.

Ben Stiller in a still from The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

One of the best movie trailers I’ve ever seen is for The Secret Life of Walter Mitty.  Watch trailer one here.  Then, watch trailer two here.  They are both remarkably good.  I got this same feeling from watching the Gravity trailer: “That’s either going to be amazing or crap.”

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With Gravity, it turned out to be amazing.  Watching that movie in 3D (something I usually don’t care for) was like being in space for me.  It was terrifying and brilliant.  Sandra Bullock is her usual acting excellence.

The problem with all this is when the reviews start coming in, and it becomes clear the movie itself is a disappointment.  Gravity got a 96 and 97% on Metacritic.com and Rottentomatoes.com, respectively.  Walter Mitty got a 38 and 44%.  Ouch.

Will this stop me from seeing it?  Not at all.  But I will almost certainly wait until it’s in the 2nd run beer theaters before I do so.  I will also lament that this could have been to Ben Stiller what Punch Drunk Love was to Adam Sandler.  When Sandler has a role where he actually acts, he’s good.  It’s a shame he wasted so many years on crap.  Of course, that crap made him rich and famous, but my artistic side still weeps for what sells these days.

A realization came to me this week.  I think Nathan Fillion is the best leading man of his generation.  I was pondering the quality of Firefly and Serenity, and thinking of how Joss Whedon is brilliant when I realized some of his stuff just isn’t on that level.  Dr. Horrible and Cabin in the Woods were excellent, and there’s an argument that his rendition of Much Ado About Nothing is nothing short of the best adaptation of Shakespeare around.  I found myself enjoying Much Ado despite the fact half the language went right over my head.  I should have studied Shakespeare a little better I guess.

Cabin in the Woods I could wax philosophically for hours.  My one gripe with that movie is how they marketed it as a horror film, when it was half comedy, and brilliant comedy at that.  I think I had to convince more people of how good Cabin is, than any other movie I’ve wanted my friends to see.  Most responses were “Meh, it’s just a horror movie, right?”.  I had to suppress my urges to slap people out of their stupor every time I had that conversation.

The-Cabin-in-the-Woods-2011-Movie-Mondo-Poster

But Buffy, Angel, and Dollhouse are just not up to par in my opinion.  His latest collaboration, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., has been really lacking so far.  The second episode was better than the pilot, but overall it’s lackluster for such a promising idea.

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I then realized that Whedon’s best works all have really, really strong actors.  Most of the cast of Firefly were spot on in their roles.  Fillion, Baldwin, Tudyk put in some of the best performances I’ve seen.  In Dr. Horrible, Neil Patrick Harris and Nathan Fillion made the musical extremely watchable.  Harris’ solo song at the end of the otherwise comedy performances still makes the hair stand on end.  The story of a hollowed out man in the making done right.

The Walter Mitty trailer/movie quality disparity gave me another of these revelations (or whatever): if done right, it can really make a trailer memorable.

Hopefully they have the balls to switch up the Walter Mitty movie at the last minute like Toy Story 2 did (they redeveloped the plot in a weekend and it went on to become wildly successful).  Probably not though.  It might just be a case of “it is what it is.”

If you’ll excuse me, I’m going to watch the trailer f’or Walter Mitty a couple more times.  It’s hard to get enough of “Dirty Paws” by Of Monsters and Men.  Who knew that Icelandic Indie Folk music could be done so well?

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