Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Tru(ly Unnecessary) Grit

Before we get into talking about WHITE HOUSE DOWN, I just wanted to do a quick run-down of the trailers that came before it.

I actually adore trailers. As somebody with a short attention span and love of drama, trailers are perfect for me. They pack in all the best parts with stirring music and even if I don't end up thinking I'll like the movie, there's usually a part of me that's a little wistful about missing out on what looks like a fun adventure.

Boy howdy, not this time.

The trailers that preceded White House Down were some of the most joyless gutpunches I've ever seen. They all looked depressing, every single one of them. I often question this trend of "gritty" movies and reboots - does something really have to be gritty in order to have gravitas? 

The first trailer was for THE WOLF OF WALL STREET, which is going to be an interesting sequel to THE GREAT GATSBY. All you need to know about this movie is that if you hate rich people, then fantastic, because this movie hates them even more than you do.

The next trailer was for a poker/crime movie named RUNNER, RUNNER. Every few years someone gets it in their head to make a huge gambling-based movie, and it just never pans out. Gambling, like computer hacking, is not interesting to watch. This one is attempting to up the ante (oh ho ho) by also making it the kind of crime movie where people scream at each other to "JUST SHUT UP AND GET THE JOB DONE!!!!" and cartoon villains prance around cackling after shoving people into alligator pits. No, really.

After that came a trailer for THE PRISONERS, a cross between THE SECOND HOUSE ON THE LEFT and I KNOW MY FIRST NAME IS STEVEN. Basically, the most unpleasant movie you could possibly think of. I cannot imagine who this movie is intended for. Child abduction/abuse is viscerally awful to even think about, and this movie is exploiting it to make a tense action thriller. 

Remember DISTRICT 9, the movie that everyone agreed was very well done and then never watched again? ELYSIUM is its sequel in aesthetic. It's hard-boiled post-apocalyptic sci-fi where the masses are trodden under heels of the greedy rich... wait, where are you going? What do you mean you've seen this movie already? Thirteen and a half times?

Even the trailer for THOR 2 was dispiriting. Partially because it was meant to be serious and dark (both literally and figuratively - I already thought the first movie wasn't lit well enough, so this does not bode well), but also because the plot is an exact retread of X-2, up to and including Magneto - whoops, I mean Loki - trapped in a glass cage and debating with the hero.

I am tired of grit. Movies that don't flinch away from portraying the dark side of human nature certainly have their place, but they don't need every place. A movie isn't good just because it's grim. And for the love of Batman, stop trying to sell me every superhero movie as ~a shocking expose of the troubled underbelly of a superhero~.

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