Movie commercials offer us a great service; they not only show us which upcoming movies look good, but also which ones to avoid. And if one looks closely, they often reveal more than intended about the film in question. In honor of this profound art, I give you TRAILER TRACKS, an examination of upcoming movie commercials: What they say, what they don’t say, and what they say on accident about the product being sold to you, the excited chump.
After Earth (Dir. M. Night Shyamalan)
Few things are better than the end of the world. Films can come at this momentous occasion a number of ways. We can witness events that lead right up to our doom without ever showing it, like in Rise of the Planet of the Apes. Then, of course, directors can show it in all its glory, like in Beneath the Planet of the Apes. There is a third method, however, which instead visits our world after it has already ended, like the original Planet of the Apes (directed by Tim Burton). Guess which angle After Earth takes.
The Set Up:
A sexy middle aged robot and his young male model ward have run away from Male Model Topia where they spend their days standing still for long, aching periods of time, looking fierce.
They’re just robot models, however, so their escape is rocky. Not only do they leave an easily traceable warp trail, but they set a course for the wrong Earth. They think they’re going to the highly populated Earth2 where they hope to find some rich old ladies to set them up for life. This is why we see the old robot teaching the young robot how to pretend to breath in the beginning of the trailer.
But then the robots’ model pimps catch up with them and shoot them down onto Earth2’s surface. Except it’s not Earth2. It’s Earth1, the Earth from such classic films and Wall-E and the not yet released Tom Cruise movie Oblivion. An Earth on which all the planets revolted and emitted a toxin that made humans commit suicide.
So, the male model robots think, “Hey, maybe this isn’t so bad.” Perhaps they could seek out some sort of life on abandoned Earth1. Unfortunately, having spent the last million years or so without humans screwing everything up, Earth1 has had a lot of time to evolve in ways aimed specifically at killing humans if they ever return.
Instead of making oxygen, and in addition to “kill yourself gas,” the trees make unbreathable farts. Most of the animals are bulletproof. Water is acid. Stuff like that.
The robot male models are not human, but they are close enough that Earth1’s wildlife mistakes them for such and tries to kill them. According to the trailer, this is done primarily with baboons. The fart trees and kill yourself gas won’t bother the robot male models because they don’t breath. The acid water doesn’t bother them because they don’t drink or bathe. But these bulletproof baboons present a serious problem. You may think baboons are no big deal, but they will hand you your ass and the ass of everyone you ever loved before you can say “Donkey Kong sux.”
So, in summation: I believe this is a major tentpole studio film in which two robot male models must run for their lives from a planet full of bulletproof baboons. And later bulletproof zebras. And bulletproof sabertooth tigers. It looks like the kid male model robot even gets chased by a bulletproof hawk at one point.
Here’s where things get exciting. After probably about two hours of these two male models screwing around swinging from vines and falling off waterfalls to escape these dumb baboons, their male model pimps will finally arrive on the planet’s surface to reclaim them.
Now these jerks are not robots. They are instead exploitive humans. So one by one we see them succumb to fart trees, acid water, and, of course, bulletproof baboons. It’s kind of like Home Alone, but Kevin McCallister is played by an entire ecosystem.
The two robot male models watch this massacre with a kind of joy, but they’re not off the hook yet. A bulletproof baboon breaks loose from the main group and bites the older male model’s face off, leaving the younger one alone to fend for himself and his youthful hotness.
As his circuits go down, the older male model’s brain starts shorting out, leading him to monologue about the imaginary nature of fear and solace found within the Church of Scientology.
After hearing this, the younger male model expels his thetins or something and becomes lord of the bulletproof baboons or something as a result.
Two forces are at work here: The superstardom of Will Smith and the quality poison known as M. Night Shyamalan. Which will come out victorious? Hard to say, but things don’t look good. Even the trailer tries to have a twist ending (“Oh crap! They was on Earth that whole time!?”) despite giving away that twist in the title. That’s a bad sign. Having said that, I’m seeing this movie just as soon as I can. You never know. It might be as amazing as The Happening.