So many trailers. So little time. “Trailer Roundup” is your semi-regular collection of the day’s biggest trailers along with some premature judgment on whether the films they advertise will be worth your time. Today, we present all of the big movie spots from Super Bowl LIV.
The film: “The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run.”
The talent: Tim Hill directs a cast including “SpongeBob” stalwarts Tom Kenny and Clancy Brown along with Snoop Dogg and the disembodied head of Keanu Reeves.
The logline: “Set before the events of the television series, SpongeBob’s first trip to Camp Coral is disrupted when his pet snail Gary is kidnapped by Poseidon. Determined to get back his faithful friend, SpongeBob and his best friend Patrick go on a quest to rescue Gary from the Lost City of Atlantic City.”
How does it look? I’ve never been a huge SpongeBob fan, but it’s hard to discount the sheer volume of jokes that have been packed into this 30-second spot. And any movie that has both Snoop Dogg and Keanu Reeves’ disembodied head can’t be a total loss, right? We’ll find out for sure on May 22.
The film: “Sonic the Hedgehog”
The talent: Ben Schwartz of “Parks and Recreation” voices the speedy rodent with James Marsden popping in to collect a paycheck. Also, Jim Carrey is there losing his damn mind per the usual. Jeff Fowler directs.
The logline: “The film follows the (mis)adventures of Sonic as he navigates the complexities of life on Earth with his newfound — human — best friend Tom Wachowski. Sonic and Tom join forces to try and stop the villainous Dr. Robotnik from capturing Sonic and using his immense powers for world domination.”
How does it look? This is a fairly clever approach to a Super Bowl spot and one that thankfully utilizes little actual footage from the movie. That’s probably the best for everybody, honestly.
“Sonic the Hedgehog” arrives in theaters on Valentine’s Day, Feb. 14. If you are looking to kill a romantic relationship, this seems like an ideal way to do it.
The film: “A Quiet Place Part II”
The talent: John Krasinski returns both in front of and behind the camera. Emily Blunt is also back with Cillian Murphy and Djimon Hounsou as the biggest new additions.
The logline: “Following the deadly events at home, the Abbott family must now face the terrors of the outside world as they continue their fight for survival in silence. Forced to venture into the unknown, they quickly realize that the creatures that hunt by sound are not the only threats that lurk beyond the sand path.”
How does it look? It’s hard for jump scares to register in such a quick-cut trailer, but this looks to be effective enough for horror/sci-fi fans.
Be prepared to cover your eyes when “A Quiet Place Part II” arrives in theaters on March 20.
The film: “Mulan”
The talent: Niki Caro, who directed Disney’s underrated “McFarland USA” a few years back, returns to the Mouse House for a corporately mandated remake. Yifei Liu plays the titular warrior with Donnie Yen, Jet Li, Tzi Ma and others providing support. Eddie Murphy-voiced dragons are sadly in short supply.
The logline: “When the Emperor of China issues a decree that one man per family must serve in the Imperial Army to defend the country from Northern invaders, Hua Mulan, the eldest daughter of an honored warrior, steps in to take the place of her ailing father. Masquerading as a man, Hua Jun, she is tested every step of the way and must harness her inner-strength and embrace her true potential. It is an epic journey that will transform her into an honored warrior and earn her the respect of a grateful nation…and a proud father.”
How does it look? Lack of Eddie Murphy dragons notwithstanding, this seems stronger than anything advertised at the Super Bowl so far. But the big question is whether audiences are starting to get tired of all these perfunctory Disney remakes. We’ll find out on March 27.
The film: “The Invisible Man”
The talent: “Saw” creator Leigh Whannel directs a cast led by Elisabeth Moss and Aldis Hodge.
The logline: “Trapped in a violent, controlling relationship with a wealthy and brilliant scientist, Cecilia Kass escapes in the dead of night and disappears into hiding, aided by her sister, their childhood friend and his teenage daughter. But when Cecilia’s abusive ex commits suicide and leaves her a generous portion of his vast fortune, Cecilia suspects his death was a hoax. As a series of eerie coincidences turns lethal, threatening the lives of those she loves, Cecilia’s sanity begins to unravel as she desperately tries to prove that she is being hunted by someone nobody can see.”
How does it look? Poor H.G. Wells is probably turning over in his grave at this point, but if you’re wondering how to adapt a creaky old horror classic for the “Me Too” era, you’ve got your answer.
“The Invisible Man” will sneak into theaters Feb. 28.
The film: “Top Gun: Maverick”
The talent: Tom Cruise, obviously, with Val Kilmer also reprising his role from the original “Top Gun.” The cast of the Joseph Kosinski film also includes Jennifer Connelly, Ed Harris and Miles Teller.
The logline: “Tom Cruise stars in the sequel to the 1986 action drama ‘Top Gun’, ‘Top Gun 2’. In this film, Maverick (played by Cruise) is called back into action to fight a different type of enemy: drones.”
How does it look? You know what the real “danger zone” is? Cash-grabbing sequels of 34-year-old movies. And Tom Cruise is flying right into it.
Also, how many of these spots are going to have dramatic deep breathing? We’re at two already, and the night is still young.
Tom Cruise will breath deeply and dramatically on June 26.
The film: “Black Widow”
The talent: Newly minted Oscar nominees Scarlett Johannson and Florence Pugh lead a cast that also includes David Harbour and Rachel Weisz. Cate Shortland directs.
The logline: “Following the events of ‘Captain America: Civil War,’ Natasha Romanoff finds herself alone and forced to confront her past.”
How does it look? Well, it looks like a Marvel movie, so feel free to go wild if that’s your sort of thing.
The worst Russian accents this side of Boris and Natasha will be released on May 1.
The film: “F9”
The talent: The usual “Fast and the Furious” subjects (Vin Diesel, Ludacris, Tyrese Gibson etc.) plus John Cena who somehow has not been in one of these movies before now. Franchise stalwart Justin Lin directs.
The logline: “After the events of ‘The Fate of the Furious,’ Dominic Toretto and his family must face Dominic’s younger brother Jakob, a deadly assassin, who is working with their old enemy Cipher.”
How does it look? It seems counterproductive to put a lot of work into analyzing a movie so lazy that its title is literally just a letter and a number. So see my “Black Widow” comments above and just replace “Marvel movie” with “Fast and the Furious movie.”
We’ll see just how lazy “F9” is on May 22.
The film: “No Time to Die”
The talent: Daniel Craig gets back on the James Bond money train. Joining him on this newest mission are his “Knives Out” chum Ana De Armas, Oscar winner Rami Malek and director Cary Fukunaga.
The logline: “Some time after the capture of Ernst Stavro Blofeld, James Bond has left active service. He is approached by Felix Leiter, his friend and a CIA officer, who enlists his help in the search for a missing scientist. When it becomes apparent that the scientist was abducted, Bond must confront a danger the likes of which the world has never seen before.”
How does it look? Pretty great. Twenty-five films in, this franchise is really selling itself at this point.
James Bond will leave the box office shaken, not stirred, on April 10.
The film: “Minions: The Rise of Gru”
The talent: Kyle Balda directs this “Despicable Me” prequel with Steve Carell returning as villain-in-training Gru.
The logline: “A continuation of the 2015 film ‘Minions’, this time focusing on the Minions during their first encounter with a young Felonious Gru.”
How does it look? Ugh. Enough already.
Millions of poor unsuspecting parents will be subjected to this toxic sludge of a movie on July 3.
About the author
Stephen Dow is an award-winning journalist with a passion for film – not just consuming it, but thoughtfully and actively engaging with it. He believes that these modern myths have a lot to tell us about our world and ourselves. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.