“Secret Garden” Trailer Review!


Will we ever get a good adaptation of The Secret Garden, the classic early 20th Century children’s story by Frances Hodgson Burnett? The 1993 film definitely missed the mark by about a mile, stripping the story of any sense of whimsy: but it came closer to the spirit of the original novel than this new film, which appears (at least from the first trailer) to be heavy on whimsical CGI, and light on charm.

Somehow, the filmmakers behind this upcoming family-movie have decided that the secret garden itself is an endlessly unfolding Mary Poppins purse of adventure, a seemingly limitless wardrobe to Narnia, or a portal to some Hogwarts-esque theme-park filled with ruined temples, jungle fauna, literal magic…basically, Mary Poppins, Narnia and Harry Potter entangled in some boring rip-off of all three that manages to be both offensive to the source material and thoroughly uninteresting as a movie in its own right.

The trailer does showcase Colin Firth and Julie Walters, thankfully, because they’re basically the only things going for this film – which comes from David Heyman, the producer of Harry Potter (coincidence? I think not – no, really, I think not) and PaddingtonĀ – and future producer of an adaptation based on a story very dear to my childhood heart, the Warriors Cats series from British author(s) Erin Hunter. This trailer honestly fills me with dread at what Heyman will want to do to that tale: fill it with CGI cats living in a magical jungle? Perhaps throw some fairies into the mix while he’s at it?

And what on earth is this horrendous block-letter title-font? It looks like something straight out of Jumanji, or the recent logo for Dora And The Lost City Of Gold. The thought that anyone could take a simple story about two kids playing in a garden and turn it into what looks like a high-stakes adventure movie with special effects wizardry is truly discouraging.

But tell me what you think! Share your thoughts in the comments below!

Trailer Rating: 2/10

“1917” First Trailer!

It’s shaping up to be a good year for World War I dramas – between this grim, harrowing account of two men racing against time to prevent a massacre on the battlefield, to The King’s Man, which seems to present a more romanticized view of British spies and assassins weaving through early 20th Century politics, pretty much all your bases are covered. So let’s talk about the first trailer for Sam Mendes’ 1917, which has just dropped today.

First up, the fact that it’s a joint Universal Studios/DreamWorks Pictures release stunned me right off the bat – I’m just not used to seeing the DreamWorks logo before a trailer filled with mustard gas, military chaos and the horrors of war: but here we are, and that’s what we’ve got. The trailer is masterfully edited to reflect the claustrophobia of the trenches on the front lines: it opens with a man running across an open field, being peppered with bullets and bombs, but the camera frame shrinks tighter and tighter around him, quickly becoming the second 1 in 1917, while the man himself is lost in a cloud of smoke. That’s quickly followed by darkly-lit shots of soldiers creeping through an abandoned building, guns at the ready – the shadows encroach around them oppressively before being abruptly shredded by a bomb exploding in their midst. As the air rings around the survivors, their voices are muffled and distant, their figures merely dark silhouettes in a fog. There are haunting shots of men wading through rivers clogged with dead bodies, or staring into the ever more rapidly shrinking title cards as if they’re caught in the enemy’s crosshairs, while the music beats in time to their gunfire.

And then, of course, there’s Benedict Cumberbatch: no decent British historical fiction would feel right without him. The cast also includes Colin Firth, Mark Strong and Richard Madden – as of right now, the film looks very (as in, entirely) male-driven: there’s only a single female character credited on IMDb, and since she doesn’t have a name except for “Mother”, I’ll bet she’s very unimportant to the story. That’s not necessarily a mark against the film, but plenty of war dramas can and do find enough time for at least one named female character to appear: though they’re typically little more than plot devices who inspire the soldiers to invoke their name as they charge into battle, or who can cry over said soldiers when their dead bodies are returned home for burial.

All in all, though, the film looks very good: with the market currently wanting more war dramas, I hope 1917 has enough appeal to win out over bigger, more mainstream releases like Roland Emmerich’s Midway, or The King’s Man.

Trailer Rating: 5/10