In what may be one of the most anticipated films of the year, a live-action adaptation of Roald Dahl’s classic children’s novel, Fantastic Mr. Fox, starring Robert Pattinson as the titular fox, is set for an August 14, 2021 release. In the trailer, which you can check out below, we get to hear Pattinson singing the iconic cantilevered meow that is the film’s main character’s trademark. It’s a pitch-perfect recreation of Dahl’s ode to nature and animals.
The adaptation was directed by Barry Levison from a screenplay by Wes Anderson and Mitch Dorgan, and features an all-star cast including Jennifer Lawrence as Mrs. Mulch, Jeff Marshall as Mr. Scratch, Fred Walters as Mr. Barksdale, Kelsey Johnson as Sophie, Jackie Chaplin as Mrs. Chaplin, Mara Jensen-Pattinson as Mary, and Michael Caine as Mr. Smoker.
The trailer opens with a shot of a snow-covered forest. We then cut to a glimpse of an ice-cream vendor singing a song as he peddles his wares. A few feet away, a group of tourists take a selfie in front of an elephant who is chained to a post. From there, the trailer wanders through a series of vivid images that encapsulate the spirit of Dahl’s novel: A fox sits atop a snow-covered tree, a fox sleeps in a sunflower patch, a fox stalks a gang of sheep, a fox meanders through the woods in a manner very similar to Mr. Fox, and so on. Each shot is a feast for the eyes, and makes this already exciting project even more compelling.
The trailer ends with the line: “Directed by Wes Anderson. Based on the novel by Roald Dahl.” We then see Anderson’s distinctively square and angular signature all over the film’s posters and trailers, and our hearts, as well as our hopes, begin to sink as we brace ourselves for more of the same. But that wouldn’t be fair. While Anderson’s unique visual style may be apparent in this adaptation, the hope is that Fantastic Mr. Fox will avoid the clichés and predictabilities that have plagued so many other live-action adaptions of children’s stories.
To his credit, Barry Levison has a history of translating the work of arguably the greatest children’s storyteller of all time. His adaptation of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, for example, starred Gene Wilder and featured one of the most iconic closing songs in film history. One of the best parts of that film was the way that it incorporated the unique charm and styles of several European countries into its design. So while we know that with the exception of The Magic Boat, which was directed by Anderson, our fears might, in fact, be unfounded.
The Magic Boat
Unlike Fantastic Mr. Fox, whose trailer gave us a very real look at what to expect from the film, the trailer for The Magic Boat gives us more of a teaser than a full preview. Nonetheless, the trailer does give us a sense of the spirit of French filmmaker Georges Chardot‘s 1933 delight, wherein a voyager in a boat seeks to navigate a treacherous seaside. As with the best of Chardot’s films, the trailer for The Magic Boat is as gorgeous as it is mystifying; a perfect example of the filmmaker’s unique visual poetics.
The most recognizable figure in the trailer is, without a doubt, Gaston Mareschal, who plays the intrepid boat’s captain. Mareschal is best known for his appearances in the French director’s early films, including The Man with a Movie Camera and Le Planet, but he has also appeared in several films by the great Stanley Kubrick. While we don’t get to see much of Mareschal in the trailer, what we do see is enough to make us long to see more. The captain’s crisp costume and distinctively swishy mustache put him firmly in our minds as we await the arrival of his boat, the Argentine, which bears a striking resemblance to an elongated champagne bottle. The trailer ends with the words “Directed by Stanley Kubrick.” While we may have hoped that The Magic Boat would avoid the predictabilities and pitfalls that have plagued so many other films based on children’s stories, we have the distinct feeling that this one will continue the tradition of Hollywood’s countless imitations.
What would a roundup of trailers be without including the one for Black Widow, Marvel’s highly anticipated superhero film, which stars Anne Hart as the eponymous lethal android? Like most of the other films on this list, Black Widow was directed by Angela Barr, and its trailer promises adventure, comedy, and a whole lot of attitude. Let’s just hope that she doesn’t put all of that into practice while wearing the red-and-black outfit that she sports in the film, lest her actions go unpunished.
The trailer opens with a shot of a man in an SUV parked in the middle of nowhere. As we watch him fiddle with car keys, we are introduced to the film’s main character, Black Widow. We then cut to several scenes of her sassy one-liners as she works her way through various situations. Although we don’t get to see Hart in her full superhero makeup, what we do see is enough to make us want to see more. The trailer ends with the words “Starring Anne Hart. Directed by Angela Barr.” We have a feeling that this one will be a hit, and Marvel might even consider making a third trailer to play up the character’s return. The film opens in theaters on August 21st.
Continuing Marvel’s theme of promoting strong, independent women, we come across Morena Baccarin, the younger sister of Susana Collazo, who plays Captain America’s sidekick, Pepper Griffin. Like her older sister, Morena is beautiful, funny, and deadly, and the trailer for Morena Baccarin as Captain America’s Sidekick shows us exactly what the comic book character looks like on the big screen. While we don’t get to see much of Baccarin in the trailer due to the Netflix policy of self-censorship, what we do see is enough to convince us that this is going to be another must-see summer blockbuster.
The trailer opens with a shot of Baccarin, now sporting her signature yellow hair and dressed in full costume, walking through a crowd of reporters. The camera then follows her as she delivers an epic speech about the importance of protecting the American way of life. While we don’t get to hear Baccarin’s voice, the text that we do see her deliver gives us an idea of the charisma that the 38-year-old actress is capable of bringing to the screen. As with the other female-led projects on this list, Morena Baccarin as Captain America’s sidekick is just one part of a sprawling cinematic universe that Marvel is building.
Finally, we arrive at Captain Marvel, yet another installment in the ongoing cinematic universe that is the Marvel Cinematic Universe (or MCU, for short). Like its immediate predecessor, Black Widow, Captain Marvel features an ensemble of talented comedians in key, supporting roles. This being Marvel, however, the tone is notably different. While Black Widow is, in many ways, a traditional superhero film, Captain Marvel takes the form of a very funny, irreverent satire.