Speculating on the Speculative: The Road and other trailers

31 August 2009 at 13:30 (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , , )

When I read Cormac McCarthy’s The Road last summer, its post-apocalyptic story seemed like pure fantasy. In the cool confines of my air-conditioned apartment or lounging next to my apartment complex swimming pool, the story seemed worlds away from reality. Since then, the global economic recession hit like a sack of bricks, and government collapse and environmental disaster seems more imminent than ever.

For the above-mentioned reasons, the film adaptation of The Road could hardly be more timely with its October 16th release. The trailer now screens with the latest cinematic features, giving us a little something to taste. Click on the picture below and it will link you to the trailer:

The promotional poster for The Road, out this October.

The promotional poster for The Road, out this October. Image taken from thestarceleb.com.

I have been eagerly anticipating this film since I learned about it last winter. I’m especially excited about the casting of Viggo Mortenson as “the man,” and Guy Pearce and Robert Duvall in smaller roles. I have mixed feelings about Charlize Theron in the roll of “Wife,” given her glamourous star persona with the odd exception of Monster. Oddly, the trailer suggests the wife to be a significant character in spite of the book’s marginalization of the Wife to just a few short passages. Of course, the promotional materials could be playing up Theron’s role in order to capitalize on her name-recognition, but if it is the case that the Wife plays a more prominent role, I am interested to see whether this will be to the film’s advantage or not.

The opening moments of the trailer annoy me more: in Day After Tomorrow fashion, the trailer shows fires, floods, tornadoes, and avalanches with intertitles stating “one event will change the face of the planet.” This seems to contradict the spirit of the novel, which leaves the full nature of the apocolyptic event a mystery. Again, these could be shots that don’t actually exist in the film, but if The Road explicates the disaster, it will betray McCarthy’s vision of a truly post-apocolyptic road movie.

Of course, the film still has much potential, and I will definitely do my best to resist my biases (which will be difficult, considering the subtle product placement in the trailer–REALLY?). No matter what, The Road has to be better than the other apocalypse-themed film screening a trailer right now, Legion (click the poster below):

The poster for Legion.  Image taken from MoviesOnline.Ca

The poster for Legion. Image taken from MoviesOnline.Ca

Screen Gems continues to be the white elephant gift that keeps on giving (see my previous post on their sacrilegious slasher remakes). Then again, the demon grandma at thirty seconds has to be one of the funniest things I’ve seen in a trailer this summer, so Legion could be the surprise comedy smash of 2010. Bring on the arm- and jaw-extending demons!

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2 Comments

  1. Annie Petersen said,

    Quick point: The Road is being released by Dimension (as I’m sure you know, the ‘horror’ arm of the Weinstein Company). This is a super odd choice, and speaks to how both Weinsteins are trying to broaden the appeal of their films (whether *Basterds* or *The Road*) by appealing to mass, as opposed to arthouse, audiences. I think that’s the reason this trailer was cut the way that it was — and also the way that Basterds was marketed the way that it was (completely weirdly, as it turns out). I do trust the director, whose previous films include the incredible, dark, revisionist Western *The Proposition.* In sum, if this film were a more traditional Weinstein, Miramax, or any of the other indie subdivisions release, the trailer would be less….what’s the word…..exploitative? Sensationalist?

  2. c8ic8 said,

    Yes, the Dimension logo caught my attention–The Road doesn’t seem like a typical project for them, so you’re right to suggest that there may be an effort in the promotional work on this film to make it seem more mainstream. It will be interesting to see if the film contradicts the marketing, as you speculate it may, or if the mainstreaming impacts the text also.

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