Hello, everyone! It’s One Of Us’ weekly article series, “The Weekly Wrap-Up.” Covering everything from film announcements to comic books, “The Weekly Wrap-Up” ensures that the biggest stories of the week are analyzed and discussed by our team of writers. This week we cover the Big Trouble in Little China remake, Pixar’s first trailer for The Good Dinosaur and the highly anticipated sequel to XCOM, the trailer for Steven Spielberg’s latest and the potential future for the James Bond franchise.
The Good Dinosaur Teaser
While the next few weeks will mark the release of Inside Out, the first Pixar film since 2013’s Monsters University, it isn’t the only film the studio is putting out this year. Marked for a Thanksgiving 2015 release date, The Good Dinosaur asks the question of what would have happened if the giant beasts that ruled the Earth 65 million years ago weren’t destroyed in mass extinction by a comet, but instead continued to live on? The teaser trailer reveals little, but the plot will mainly focus on a young apatosaurus named Arlo who gets separated from his family and his interaction with a young human cave boy.
The road to The Good Dinosaur coming out has been a long and winding one. Originally scheduled for release on May 30, 2014, the film went through substantial changes including the ousting of director, producer and composer that eventually delayed it to the new release date of this Thanksgiving. While this sort of restructuring isn’t new for Pixar, it does oddly mirror the same production problems that lead to Brave, which I’d personally consider one of the studio’s weakest efforts. Still, the teaser itself boasts some gorgeous animation of these behemoths and a solid visual gag with the comet itself passing these casual dinosaurs by. This and the rather tremendous early word of mouth for Inside Out seem to boast a potential comeback for the slump Pixar has been in since the release of Cars 2. Of course, as long as Larry the Cable Guy doesn’t voice a T-Rex, it’ll definitely be better than Cars 2.
Josh Trank on Quitting Star Wars
Rumors and speculation have circulated around Josh Trank’s departure from the 2018 Star Wars Anthology film for some time. Many have guessed the supposedly troubled production of 20th Century Fox’s Fantastic Four reboot were to blame, with Disney and Lucasfilm growing concerned over the rumors. The fact that Trank failed to appear at his own Star Wars Celebration panel in April alongside Director Gareth Edwards and Producer Kathleen Kennedy weeks before his departure spurned further talk that Trank and Lucafilm were not getting along. After weeks of silence on the subject, Trank has finally come out to set the record straight on why he left the Star Wars Anthology project.
In an interview with Hero Complex, Trank claims he left the project because he simply did not want to take on such a large-scale film so soon after Fantastic Four.
“I want to do something original after this because I’ve been living under public scrutiny, as you’ve seen, for the last four years of my life. And and it’s not healthy for me right now in my life. I want to do something that’s below the radar. … I have a great relationship with everyone at Lucasfilm and with Lucasfilm VP of Development Kiri Hart. And they all understood it because this whole experience for me has been very psychologically hard.”
Fantastic Four Producer Simon Kinberg (X-Men: Days of Future’s Past), voiced his own concern over the accusations being leveled at Trank.
“I’ve been around some version of this for a long time. This, I would say, is particularly cruel. I haven’t really seen this level of vehemence against a filmmaker. And it’s surreal and unfair.”
Fantastic Four will hit theatres August 7, 2015.
XCOM 2 Trailer
Though much attention was given to the release of Bethesda’s trailer for Fallout 4, publisher 2K Games also revealed the first trailer for XCOM 2, the sequel to the critically acclaimed turn-based strategy game. Taking place decades in the future, humanity is now under the occupation of a powerful alien civilization. The official synopsis for the game is as follows:
“Twenty years have passed since world leaders offered an unconditional surrender to alien forces and XCOM, the planet’s last line of defense, was left decimated and scattered. Now the aliens rule Earth, building shining cities that promise a brilliant future for humanity on the surface, while concealing a sinister agenda below and eliminating all who dissent from their new order. Only those who live at the edges of the world have a margin of freedom. Here, a force gathers once again to stand up for humanity. Always on the run, the remnant XCOM forces must find a way to rise from the ashes, expose the insidious truth behind the occupation, and eliminate the alien threat once and for all.”
Along with the trailer, Firaxis, the developer of XCOM, has announced a plethora of new game play mechanics and modes that will be added to the sequel. Soldiers will now be highly customizable with a multi-tiered skill tree and players will be able to create their own custom maps and campaigns, providing infinite replayability.
As excited as I am to see a sequel for XCOM in the works, I’m disappointed that the announcement also included news that the game would only be coming to PC. Both XCOM: Enemy Unknown and XCOM: Enemy Within were huge critical and commercial successes on PC, though they failed to generate sales on consoles. It’s due to this fact that Firaxis has decided to concentrate exclusively on the PC platform.
XCOM 2 will be released sometime in November.
Dwayne Johnson to Star in Remake of Big Trouble in Little China
Hot off the box office success of the disaster porn extravaganza San Andreas, Dwayne Johnson is prepping himself for a disaster of a different kind; a remake of a cult classic from John Carpenter. The Hollywood Reporter announced that the actor is in talks for a remake of the Carpenter sci-fi fantasy comedy Big Trouble in Little China, which featured Carpenter regular Kurt Russell as Jack Burton, a would be action hero who stumbles upon an ancient mystical forces in Chinatown. This adaptation will be written by X-Men First Class scribes Ashley Miller and Zack Stenz & produced by Johnson as well as producing partner team Dany & Hiram Garcia.
This is a bad idea for multiple reasons, mainly being that Big Trouble in Little China has never been that huge of a name. It bombed in its initial theatrical release and only managed to get a decent cult following on home video, which makes it doubtful that a modern audience would latch onto it. Speaking of modern audiences, the depictions of Chinese culture seen in the original film may be seen as offensive in a modern context, which would likely mean a watering down of the mysticism that gave the original such a memorable aesthetic. Also, the genius of the original film was that despite Jack Burton’s machismo attitude, he wasn’t a hero; he was a just an idiot truck driver with a genuinely competent best friend Wang Chi. He doesn’t even get love interest Kim Cattrall at the end, subverting the tropes of many an All American action hero of the time. While Dwayne Johnson will likely keep things comedic in some fashion, I doubt the studio will let him be the satiric depiction of Jack Burton that Carpenter and Russell envisioned, which removes the entire point of the original. Any way one slices it, this just looks to be a bad idea.
Bridge of Spies Trailer
Directed by Steven Spielberg, Bridge of Spies follows real-life attorney James B. Donovan (Tom Hanks) as he represents Rudolf Abel, a captured Soviet spy in 1957. Though losing the case, Donovan is asked on behalf of the United States government to act as mediator in a tense negotaiton with the Soviets, which involves the exchange of Abel for U-2 Spy Plane Pilot Francis Gary Powers, who was shot down in 1960. The film was written by Matt Charman and Joel and Ethan Coe. It co-stars Alan Alda, Austin Stowell and Amy Ryan.
Though I can’t say I’ve been a fan of Spielberg’s work for over a decade, this trailer for his latest film does pique my interest. I like the fact that the film is not only focusing solely on Donovan’s mission to East Berlin, but is also covering the immense physical and emotional trauma that he and his family suffer during his time as Abel’s defense attorney. Plus, the fact that Donovan is being played by Hanks certainly helps, and as the trailer suggests, he’s as charming and dramatic as ever, talking about the democratic rights everyone should be entitled too.
Bridge of Spies will premiere in theatres October 16, 2015.
Sony to Potentially Lose the Rights to James Bond after Spectre
Looks like Mr. Bond will be needing a new home after the release of his upcoming 24th adventure. Sony has released all of the Daniel Craig era Bond films with MGM, helping the fledgling studio following their multiple brushes with bankruptcy. However, Variety reports that following the release of Spectre, their contract ends and negotiations will start once again for a new distributor for the legendary franchise.
The rights issues with Bond distribution and character rights have been in constant flux for ages. It’s interesting all this is happening around the release of Spectre, which is the penultimate film on Daniel Craig’s Bond contract. Sony to their credit has managed to keep the series alive, especially when MGM filed for bankruptcy in a way that delayed production on Skyfall for quite awhile. Still, perhaps it is time for a new distributor to take the reigns and release these films.