Trailers for 'The Avengers' and 'Frankenweenie' make for a nice antidote to awards season

Posted by · 1:12 pm · March 1st, 2012

Now that the Oscar dust has settled and the early-year dumping ground has come to a close, studios are beginning to float materials for their (hopeful) moneymakers out there. Two trailers have dropped this week, for “The Avengers” (opening May 4) and Tim Burton’s “Frankenweenie” (which doesn’t hit until October).

On the former, I have to say, I’m on board. I have a built-in sense of caution when it comes to Joss Whedon, though, and I have to admit, as much as I don’t mind seeing her face in, well, anything, Scarlet Johansson seems incredibly pointless to that enterprise. Nevertheless, my fingers are crossed Marvel pulls this off.

Robert Downey Jr. called it the real “most ambitious film” of the Hollywood system at Comic-Con two years back (amid similar talk surrounding “Avatar” at the time). Marrying these properties together, getting it to come off without an ego hitch, it’s daunting. And there are money shots in the trailer that have me stoked. It should be an awesome way to kick off the summer movie season.

On Burton’s latest, wow, it’s been forever since I saw his 1984 short film “Frankenweenie” (which, by the way, features a very young Sofia Coppola in its voice cast). I used to have a VHS of it, I think. I was a fan. And there always seemed to be the possibility that he’d some day develop it as a feature length motion picture. While director is, more and more, wallowing in the typicalities of “Tim Burton cinema,” I guess it makes sense that he’d go there now. Along with “Dark Shadows” the film will mark a double-dip for him this year, much like the one-two punch of “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” and “Corpse Bride” in 2005 (both of which landed Oscar nominations).

It’s basically a teaser trailer, since we’re a ways off here. And it looks, well, harmless enough, I guess. I tend to champion Burton and his sensibilities, even if I am getting a bit bored by his great settling as of late. After all, few filmmakers have such definable an aesthetic, and sometimes that aesthetic makes for breathtaking results. This year’s Best Cinematography Oscar winner Robert Richardson invoked Emmanuel Lubezki’s work on “Sleepy Hollow” when we spoke a few weeks back, still enamored by that film’s beauty. (Indeed, it’s one of my favorite Burton entries.)

The only 2012 movie I’ve even seen so far this year is “The Grey,” which I loved. There isn’t much coming immediately that I’m all that interested in. We’ve all heard about the train wreck of “John Carter.” “Silent House” looks intriguing for it’s “single take” dynamic if nothing else. We’ll all be hearing plenty about “21 Jump Street” out of SXSW (and by most early accounts, it’s fun, but I still don’t find myself all that interested.

I caught “Free Men” at the Santa Barbara Film Festival and, along with my fellow jury member, decided on it as the best of that fest’s international competition. It’ll be opening in limited release later this month. As will “The Raid: Redemption,” which I saw at Sundance and liked even if I did become exhausted by it. And I don’t imagine anyone asked for “Wrath of the Titans,” so who’s going to see it?

April brings “Titanic 3D,” which I may just see in 2D, as well as Richard Linklater’s “Bernie,” which I’ve heard falls short but I like the filmmaker so I’ll be there. Not much else, though. Then, finally, “The Avengers” blows up the box office to announce the summer season. Then comes Cannes (which Guy will be covering, as always), a few more months of popcorn fun and before you know it, Venice, Telluride, Toronto, the season. The season!

Okay, not yet. For now, though, check out the trailers for “The Avengers” and “Frankenweenie” below to wash down the season we just finished.

For year-round entertainment news and awards season commentary follow @kristapley on Twitter.

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