Another year, another Super Bowl not watched. I know lots of nerds are actually into watching the Super Bowl. I could never get behind watching a game I don’t play, played by people with whom I don’t have very much in common. I suppose there are passionate regional loyalties in play, plus genuinely interesting strategic calculations. That must be why there are all those sub-menus in Madden.
It matters little. What I do watch, after the fact, is all the expensive SF movie trailers that get aired during the Super Bowl. A rundown is below. (By the way, my colleague James Poniewozik has heroically reviewed all the ads that ran during the Super Bowl, including the trailers. I’m just re-reviewing them here. Because that’s what we’re about here at Time: massive redundancy.)
In no particular order:
1. Angels and Demons. The Da Vinci Code prequel. I can’t tell if this is SF or not — it looks like a remake of Hudson Hawk. Which by the way is a seriously underrated movie. David Caruso in silver body paint.
2. Year One. Speaking of remakes: it’s Life of Brian Two: Revenge of Biggus Dickus! Except I can’t make fun of this, because I laughed at Michael Cera’s sword gag. Though at the same time I got that horrible feeling that maybe I’d just seen the one funny line in the whole movie. But still: I laughed.
3. Land of the Lost. What’s wrong with me? I laughed at this too. I’m sure I’ll laugh again five years from now when I watch it high on Ambien during a long-haul flight to Australia. Looks like they saved money by shooting it on the same backlot as Year One. I really hope they spent some of that extra money to license Nerf Herder’s excellent “She’s a Sleestak.” Ich darf nicht essen … die toten Katzen …
3. Star Trek. Nothing much new here. Well, there is, actually — io9 has the breakdown of exactly what new footage this ad contains, because they don’t just work harder than me, they work smarter.
4. Up. Pixar’s so confident you’ll go see Up, they don’t even need to show you any new footage, except for that GPS gag at the end. At this point I would say that I doubt anybody’s going to go see a movie about a crusty old man, but then again I said they wouldn’t see a movie about a cute robot. And now look. (In other animated kids’ movie news, I finally sat all the way through My Neighbor Totoro yesterday, with my daughter. It really is the greatest movie ever.)
5. Monsters vs. Aliens. A couple of months ago I went to a demo/lecture by Jeffrey Katzenberg in which I tried out the new 3D technology they’re using for Monsters vs. Aliens. Which was, truly, incrementally better than other 3D technologies that have come before it. We saw a scene in which the president attempts to communicate with an alien spaceship 2001-style, using a Casio keyboard. He starts with the theme from 2001, which then segues into “Axel F,” to which the president break-dances. It was funny! For old people.
6. Race to Witch Mountain. I remember watching this movie in Room 8, the movie room in my elementary school. I’m not sure I enjoyed it that much even then. Though they seem to have the right spirit, and I always find the Rock somehow … touching. And I rarely get tired of watching SUVs smash into invulnerable, immovable children, even if that gag was swiped from the train crash in Hancock. Fortunately I won’t have to sit through the whole thing, since I’m way too old for this movie, and my daughter’s a smidge too young.
7. Transformers 2: Revenge of the Fallen. What’s the rule of thumb for sequels? 30% more CGI, 30% less at the box office? Which given Moore’s law still translates to profit. They seem to have successfully carried forward the core mechanic of Transformers: robots, turning into cars, while moving forward rapidly. I can’t wait for the moment when Witwicky discovers that he himself is a robot, and that his whole life has been a sham, whereupon he goes mad, transforms into a Volkswagen Jetta, and drives off a cliff into the Grand Canyon, exploding before he hits the ground.
p.s. I saw a Watchmen screening on Friday. Can’t talk about it yet though.