Cats, Top Gun & His Dark Materials
It has been a big day for new trailers hitting our screens. Or YouTube. Hot on the heels of Wednesday's The King's Man first look, today we have the first look at both Tom Hooper's Cats and the long-awaited Top Gun sequel, as well as the San Diego Comic Con trailer for His Dark Materials. So, without further ado...
This trailer was teased with a behind the scenes yesterday, but that featured the actual actors talking about the film, this is our first peek at them in all their feline glory and I am, well, a bit confused. I understand using motion capture and CGI to turn the actors into the cats they are playing, but why not actually turn them into cats? They appear to have created anthropomorphic hybrids, which is fine except it is what the actors in the stage show look like. That begs the question, why not just use costumes? I imagine it's because they would not look as good on screen, but if that is the case and you are going the CGI route then why not create something different?
For the uninitiated, who are (quite reasonably) asking what on earth they just watched, Cats is based on the Andrew Lloyd Weber musical, which was itself inspired by TS Eliot's Old Possum's Book Of Practical Cats. This collection of poems described a number of different types of cat, all of whom are fitted into a show which turns into a charming of showcase celebration featuring wonderful dance and character but literally no discernible plot. The film appears, at a glance, to have crafted together slightly more storyline. The cast is great, featuring an array of top quality dancers and bolstered by big names including Sir Ian McKellan, Dame Judi Dench and Jennifer Hudson.
Top Gun: Maverick
Tom Cruise is back. In a fighter jet. That is basically all you need to know about this long-awaited follow-up to this 1986 action film. The original saw Cruise's Maverick go head-to-head with Val Kilmer's Iceman to see who was the best pilot at the Top Gun Academy - spoiler, it's Kilmer.
Now, three decades later Cruise is back and still flying planes upside down and racing on motorbikes like nothing has changed. To be honest, not much seems to have changed; he is still being dressed down by grizzled senior officers, watching the sunset over airfields, having singalongs in bars and grinning like a tit at things which aren't that funny. But as long as there is flying, mile-high egos and Kenny Loggins' Danger Zone, then you can count me in.
This did also get me thinking, Cruise could have hit on a brilliant new sequence of films here: catching up with his classic 1980s characters 30 years on. I would watch that. I want to know if Brian Flanagan is successfully juggling the Cocktails & Dreams franchise with fatherhood and family life. Is Jerry Maguire still happily married to Renée Zellweger? Does Charlie still visit Raymond? Let's be honest, we all know far more than we ever needed to about what Ethan Hunt has been up to for the past few decades.
His Dark Materials
The first trailer for the HBO and BBC adaptation of Philip Pullman's fantasy trilogy appeared a while ago, but this new Comic Con version gives us a better look at the story and characters. And it all looks good.
I am still struggling to see Ruth Wilson as the friendly facade of Mrs Coulter, but that's because she's so wonderful when she's cruel and cold that my mind skips ahead to that bit. The sets looks lavish, the performances (in these snippets) are good and Iorek Byrnison is a perfect example of how you should do a CGI anthropomorphic animal. Can't wait.