...And the Hits Just Keep On Coming

Fall/Winter 2018 Trailer Collective, Part 2

Part one of our Fall/Winter Movie Preview covered us on genre flicks (and a few others of note) up through the end of November. Now it's time to get through everything of interest in December. And, wow, are there a lot of movies, most of them bunched up right at the end. Like, seriously, how is anyone supposed to see all the movies opening December 21st in a single weekend?

While I figure that out, let's continue the "trailer" round-up. The films, in order of release date, are:

Spider-man: Into the Spider-Verse
Comes Out: December 14, 2018

When it was announced that Sony would make an animated Spider-man movie that existed outside of the MCU continuity, I was perplexed to say the least. As I mentioned above, Sony's track record with Spider flicks is not great, and having two competing Spider films all out, not to mention the also unrelated Venom, it just felt like Sony spreading themselves too thin.

And yet, I have to admit the first trailer for Spider-man: Into the Spider-verse looks pretty epic. Produced by Miller and Lord (the geniuses behind The Lego Movie and Clone High before that), Spider-verse has a clear vision for itself, one that actually makes a good case for standing apart from the MCU.

Following the second Spider-man, Miles Morales, this film looks to be an origin story, one tracking how Miles got his powers and then, eventually, received training from the original Spider-man of this particular version of the universe. The trailer goes out of it's way to show that this movie takes place in a different universe but, more importantly, it hints at the dimension hopping to come by having Gwen Stacy's Spider-woman show up as well.

Sony has already revealed that other Spider-people will be in the film as well, from Spider-Man Noir to the Amazing Spider-ham, so this film clearly is going to have the right sensibility to it (if for no other reason than everyone loves an appearance from Spider-ham). The animation style for the film is interesting, a kind of CGI/comic hybrid, the story looks fast-paced, and the trailer does a great job of selling it as a rollicking good time. Here's hoping Sony doesn't some how mess this one up.

Mortal Engines
Comes Out: December 14, 2018

I know a lot of geeks put Peter Jackson on a pedestal, giving him all the praise ever for his Lord of the Rings films. Personally, I thought those movies were fine, but not something I'd go back to over and over again (I'd rather go watch one of his earlier flicks, The Frighteners, instead). And then, of course, he made the The Hobbit trilogy and I checked right out. Gods those movies are bad.

So now we have Jackson doing another fantasy-lit adaptation, this time of a YA series. Mortal Engines is the first of four books and, presumably, the first of four movies to follow suit. In the trailer we learn that Earth was essentially blown to hell and back by humans years ago. The survivors took to great, rolling cities to continue mankind's existence, and now the cities are at war or something. It's kind of hard to tell from the trailer, to be honest.

As it's a YA story, there's of course the female hero with a secret, Hester Shaw (Hera Hilmarsdottir), and her love interest who doesn't realize he's the love interest, Tom Natsworthy (Robert Sheehan), who have to work with a band of rebels to eventually save all of mankind three movies later. It's like a film designed the check every YA trope off a list, with an aesthetic that borrows from anime mechs, The Matrix, and that one episode of Doctor Who where the 11th Doctor and Amy end up on a spaceship colony representing England where we learn that each country blew off from Earth to find new life among the stars.

Seriously, this movie looks awful. The only reason I'm even listing it here is because it's sci-fi which means, sooner or later, I'll get around to watching it. I'll probably skip the theatrical run, though, and wait for it to come out on Netflix instead.

Aquaman
Comes Out: December 21, 2018

After seeing what Marvel was doing with the MCU, DC decided "we want that too". After the relative success of Man of Steel, the decision was made to flesh the universe of that film out into the DC Extended Universe. The thing was, though, that DC didn't really learn the lesson of Marvel. Instead of spending time introducing each of the heroes, one at a time, in their own movies so that we could learn about Supes, Bats, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Cyborg, and the Flash slowly and carefully, DC charged ahead with the terrible Batman v Superman crossover film and then followed that the decent, but not well received, epic crossover Justice League.

Needless to say they put the cart before the horse. Justice League underperformed, even in comparison to the stand-alone Wonder Woman. Reconsidering their option, the studio then decided to go back and do the stand-alone flicks afterwards (essentially closing the barn doors after the cows have all left). We'll see if this strategy pays off when Aquaman comes out around the holidays.

Certainly, in some respects, Aquaman is a corrective on the terrible films that came before. Lighter, brighter, ad funnier than BvS, this certainly looks like an enjoyable little romp in its first trailer. Not all it sunshine and roses though, and the film also looks cheesy as hell. It might just be fun cheese, but it certainly doesn't look like a smart film in the least.

Additionally, the CGI effects just are not good yet. I'm assuming the CGI is unfinished, as this trailer is three months old and the movie is still close to two months away, but what we see of the underwater effects are underwhelming. People seem to be oddly floating, and there's just not enough texture, or bubbles, for it to look like anything other than actors in front of a blue screen on wires. So, you know, exactly what Entourage made the production of an Aquaman film look like when they mockingly made one back in the first season of that show.

I'm cautiously optimistic about this one. I don't expect it to be any good, but I am at least hoping it's stupidly fun.

Bumblebee
Comes Out: December 21, 2018

I am not a fan of the Transformers movies. It's not because I feel they somehow "killed my childhood" as I was way more into TMNT and Castlevania and barely watched the Transformers cartoons at all. No, I hate the movies because I expect certain things from my cinema: story, likable characters, decent direction, comprehensible filming. I don't feel like any of those things are too much to ask, and yet they are hard to find in the five (really, five?!) TF movies to come out so far.

So, suffice it to say I am not the target audience for Bumblebee (although considering how little film five, The Last Knight made in comparison to the previous films, I'm not sure who the target audience is anymore). The full-length teaser trailer that came out a few months ago was cute enough even if, like all teasers, it barely said anything about what the plot of the film was going to be. A girl and her transformer, from the look of it -- and, just saying, if it was a robotic, distaff film remake of A Boy and His Blob, I would actually watch that.

More recently, the actually trailer for the film came out, and... well, I still don't really know much about the story. A girl buys a car, it turns out to be a robot, and then other evil robots come to Earth to find said robotic car and kill it. That's not really a long enough plot for a movie -- maybe an episode of the old cartoon -- so I still don't know if I'm supposed to care about this movie or not.

The best that can be said is that, by all evidence, Michael Bay has almost nothing to do with this movie. I say that because things were clearly shot and I could easily tell what was going on. That automatically makes it the best film in the movie series to date. I still won't watch it until it's on DVD, though.

Holmes and Watson
Comes Out: December 21, 2018

I'm iffy on whether or not a site, such as this one, dedicated to geekery of all kinds really needs to be concerned with the various productions of Sherlock Holmes. That whole series feels outside the bounds of "genre" productions -- sci-fi, fantasy, superheros, horror, and the like -- and more in-line with other mysteries and "cozy" books. Of course, the second I decided to cover Elementary, that ship sailed for me, so here we are.

The latest production is Holmes and Watson, a comedy from the creators of Taledega Nights and Step Brothers, two movies I didn't see because, frankly, they looked idiotic. The friends I have that tried to convince me to watch those films always commented, "sure, some sections were dumb, but there were a few good jokes," which never struck me as a truly rousing endorsement. Still, trailers are there to try and sell me on a film, so I figured I'd give this flick and chance and see if this trailer could sell me on Holmes and Watson.

Short answer: it did not. Pitching itself as a send-up of all the self-serious Sherlock Holmes productions to come out recently, especially the BBC Sherlock and the Robert Downey, Jr. Sherlock Holmes films, we find a Sherlock that can calculate anything, find any clue, see any detail, and yet still manages to bumble through everything. That concept has merit, and I certainly think the current trend of making Sherlock a dashing and debonair computer on legs has crawled far up its own ass and deserves to be taken down a peg. This movie, however, doesn't really seem to know how to do that in a funny way.

I get that I'm probably not the target audience for this film either. Someone will probably love to bumbling, doofy, fairly anachronistic shtick the comedy duo of Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly provide. It didn't entertain me and, in all honesty, if I can get away with not having to watch this film for this site, I'm going to skip it. Sorry.

Mary Poppins Returns
Comes Out: December 21, 2018

And speaking of films I probably wouldn't cover on this site, we come to our last trailer: Mary Poppins Returns. Disney movies are, generally, fantasy films as those are their bread and butter (most of the Princess films are based on fairy tales, after all). Plus, really, it's Mary Poppins, and who doesn't like that dame, right?

Certainly, the film seems to be shaping up as a worthy successor to the Disney original. I won't try to claim it has anything to do with the books upon which the character, and first film, are based (I seem to recall there was a movie about the production of the original film, and how the author was not pleased with all the changes they were going to make to her books), but if we are just counting the first film, and this new one, the sequel seems to be right in the same vein as the original.

Maybe too much so, in fact, as the scenes we see -- an underwater adventure, and bunch of working-class folk having a big dance number, and adventure in a hand-drawn wonderland -- seem note-for-note like the original. We're not going to see Mary take her charges on any kinds of new adventures as this is Disney and the studio doesn't like to rock the boat (really, they could use a Mary Poppins around the studio to give them a jolt and help them find a new path).

What does work wonderfully, though, is Emily Blunt. Taking over the lead role, Blunt has that right mix of reserved British steel and Disney whimsy to really carry off the role that Julie Andrews originated. Plus, of course, she has the pipes to pull off the required singing. Really, it's hard to think of an actress better suited now to carry on the Poppins characters than Blunt.

I'm not expecting anything new from this movie, but I do think it'll be a worthy successor largely on the power of Blunt in the lead. It'll be safe, and predictable, but also probably enjoyable for what it is. Maybe that's enough to carry it.

Notes:

We were also going to cover Alita: Battle Angel but the release date for that was pushed into February, 2019 (which then pushed Dark Phoenix off, which then pushed Gambit off, although Gambit will never happen). As such, we'll cover that movie in our Winter Movie Guide at the start of 2019.

I also noticed that the second Fantastic Beasts movie somehow didn't make it onto my list. That said. I haven't even seen the first one yet, and all the reviews (and comments from my friends) have said that movie was pretty terrible. If I do eventually end up covering the Harry Potter movies on this site, the Fantastic Beasts films will be sure to follow, but we'll see how long that takes.