Thursday, February 14, 2008

The Wanted Trailer

As usual, I am always late to the party. This blog is a lot of things, but timely is not often one of them. Sorry.

That said -- the trailer for Wanted, a film based off of the comic book by Mark Millar. A few observations.

Instead of looking like Eminem, which would obviously be dated, our hero looks like a young Josh Charles, from Sports Night. An odd choice. His earlier credits include Mr. Tumnus the Faun (not making that up), and British murder mysteries. Very odd.

Freeze the trailer at the 25 second mark and check out that eyebrow - eyeliner - forehead action. Crazy.

"He could conduct a symphony orchestra with [this gun]" is a really odd line. Obviously we are supposed to notice the skill involved in both, and think of shooting it instead of, you know, waving it around. But still. I am distracted by the thought, that in a pinch, you could conduct with a pistol in your hand instead of a baton.

"If no one ever told you that bullets fly straight, what would you do?" This line bears more than a passing resemblance to the "do you think that is air you are breathing" from the Matrix, and not only because it is being delivered by the wise old black man stereotype. Following it up with the image of the wise black man offering the young white guy the chance to leave his cubical existence behind and join a brotherhood of super-soldiers engaged in a secret war -- and you are sunk. Later in the trailer, the new guy DOES get it on with the girl who has already been a member for some time, just like Neo and Trinity.

I would think that a crazy talented assassin would be offended by the gimmick-ey tech of a gun that pivots 90 degrees and gives you camera view of your target in the sights. Freeze the image and tell me it does not look like a lame toy. I would think it would take all the fun out of killing. Look how bored she looks as it goes off. Her body language and facial expression make it look like she is using a pricing gun at the egg store. This is a story about shameless pleasure.

"Our purpose is to maintain stability in an unstable world. Kill one, save a thousand." How is this different than the American military? Or any military for that mater? Or the police? The whole point of the comic book was that super-villains had taken over the world and done EVIL things, like re-written reality to make Batman into a paunchy 60s has-been actor, and leave Superman in a wheelchair. (In spite of how offensive he is being, Miller offers a weird kind of compliment here, suggesting that Christopher Reeve on some level really IS Superman). Obviously, the film is going to have to change things since it is not a comic book. I get that. But it removes everything striking and what remains is only a warmed over version of The Matrix, which came out almost a decade ago and has been much warmed over since.

But as my friend Erin says -- Angelina Jolie is awesome, and, hey, good for the children of Cambodia, since that is where her money goes anyway.


Madd_Hadder said...

Ever since I watched The Last King of Scotland I have said that McAvoy looked like Josh Charles but no one around me knows who Josh Charles is, so I couldn't be sure if I was just crazy. Thanks for proving I am not crazy.

As for the trailer, I have not read the comic but as a pure action movie, I thought it looked fun. It looks less serious than The Matrix.

hcduvall said...

I don't think the bullet flying round things is supposed to be tech, I thought it was just costumeless powers. But I suppose I might be needlessly connecting it to its source material.

I'm going to assume that despite the fact they're all antiheroes that randomly assassinates people (Authority maybe?)'ll be revealed that they're bad and that the lead and Jolie end up taking everyone out anyway.

It does look like dumb fun. Not too far from Millar then.

Matthew J. Brady said...

Yeah, the trailer looks enjoyably dumb, if pretty removed from the source material. I'll probably see it (on DVD).

As for James McAvoy, he's a rising star or something right now, especially after Atonement. My wife definitely thinks he's hot. I never thought of Josh Charles, but now that you mention it, I definitely don't think you're crazy.

Voice Of The Eagle said...

This looks AWFUL.

I wasn't the biggest fan of the comic book either, found it mean-spirited and smug.

James said...

hcduvall: I'm pretty sure Geoff's talking about the gun Angelina uses in the store (at about 1:15), which is actually a real thing.

I've not read the comic. Should I?

Geoff Klock said...

James: Wanted, the comic book, is drawn by JG Jones, and you cannot deny that the thing looks good, so there is that. As for the story, it takes the superhero as power fantasy and jacks it up in some dark directions -- darker than the Authority -- which is something, and exuberance counts for me, as it always does. There is a scene where our hero (if you can call him that) tries to rape someone, and there is the Superman-Batman thing, mentioned above. But HCDuvall is right that it is also mean spirited and smug. The much discussed last page of the comic, for example, tries to break out of the dark escapist fantasy and comment on the real world with a kind of sucker punch that does not really connect, in part because of the book's hypocrisy. In short some of the nastiness is fun, but some of it, the more realistic, ground level stuff, just feels wrong, feels like it comes from the wrong kind of place. It is a mixed bag.

James said...

Geoff: Sounds like it's probably not for me. I flipped to the last page in the store because of all the hoo-ha, but obviously without any context I couldn't judge it one way or the other.

"It is a mixed bag" seems like a good way to describe Millar's body of work. I'm looking forward to your review of Fantastic Four #554 (assuming you got it).

hcduvall said...

Oops about the gun. I watched the trailer a while ago and didn't rewatch it this time, so I guess I only remembered one gun scene.

Voice of the eagle is the one who called it smug and mean, though I certainly agree. Geoff's description is pretty spot on, and as he says, the last page is a bit of a "screw you" even for less picky fans.

Matthew J. Brady said...

I don't know, I always thought people were kind of misinterpreting or overreacting to the last page. For one, a lot of people confused the character with the creator, thinking Millar was telling them he [SPOILER] was fucking them in the ass. I took it as the character being a villain and reveling in his evilness, extending his misanthropy beyond the world he lived in to the real world. It was kind of funny, in that way that Millar tries to do when he is going for controversy, but I didn't think it was horribly offensive or anything. Of course, I also didn't pay for the comic, so maybe I would have felt differently if I was shelling out my own cash for the experience of having the comic castigate me for buying it. But I still think it was kind of silly that so many people got upset about it.

hcduvall said...

That's a good take, actually. The thing of it is, with Millar's pronouncements about his indy set of books that he was releasing at the time, and the celebrity lookalike lead, I think Millar is clearly addressing the audience directly. It's just his style to do it. You're probably right that it'd be an overreaction to get upset over it (I wasn't, but then, I didn't pay either), but it's just sort of Millar's style to do something like that, whereas your take (a smart one I think) doesn't feel right with the persona Millar pushes, and the jovialfun-rutting of his books. Maybe that's not fair to the comic.

Voice Of The Eagle said...

I like the irony that the most purely evil character (Mr. Rictus) is really the HERO. He's the one who wants to give magic back the world.

Erin said...

that eyebrow forehead thing is great. chick action heros never really look kick ass enough facially- there's often this tangle of tai bo and the face above is smoothly concerned. angelina and buffy always look resolute in a way i appreciate.

i think it's going to be utterly unlike the comic, which i think i'm going to like. i read it a while ago but as i recall it was unbearably whiny at the beginning- isn't evvybody picking on poor widdle guy, so guilty wheee! when he becomes a twelve year old with a gun. My sympathy for cube slaves is low. The rest of it just didn't grab me- so much not snappy dialogue about golden/silver agers 'daringly reimagined.' mark millar should stick to relentless violent escalations- i think meta is better left to his betters.

i see your point about the matrix but the one sentence summary of the first of that trilogy was: 'take back your rebellion, consumerbots,' and i think this is going to come closer to the tried and true ends not justifying the means thing. I'm already anticipating being super irked 4/5 in when the hero courageously takes the sort of moral high ground and is confronted with evidence of his collusion in evil he knew not the extent of!

But but! it's totally directed by the night watch guy! and so who knows! it could be amazing!

and: if i never got anything out of this blog beyond the revelation that the same man who i lusted after in atonement was the one that creeped the living crap out of me in TLTWTW it would all have been worth it. thank you geoff.