trailers: flags of our fathers/casino royale

September 9, 2006

Two new (and very different) trailers have been making the rounds lately, one for famed director and actor Clint Eastwood’s World War II drama Flags of Our Fathers, the other for the twentieth James Bond film, Casino Royale, with Australian actor Daniel Craig replacing Pierce Brosnan in the lead role.

First, Casino Royale, the trailer for which is currently available exclusively at AOL’s Moviefone. From the very first monochromatic shots of Mr. Craig, it’s obvious that this Bond film is pushing for a slightly retro look and feel, hearkening back to Sean Connery’s defining turn as the head of the franchise with fewer gadgets and an old world air of glamour, elegance, and intrigue.

The filmmakers also appear to be seeking a grittier, more visceral sort of violence than was seen in the latest Bond films; perhaps it can lend Casino Royale a badly needed sense of gravity. Of course, that may all be in vain if babe-du-jour Eva Green’s “I’ll be keeping an eye on the government’s money…and off your perfectly formed ass” comment is this film’s idea of witty repartee. James Bond has always had an element of camp, but that and the overblown operattic accompaniment that chimes in towards the end go too far towards the “painfully ridiculous” end of the spectrum.

Flags of Our Fathers, by contrast, looks to continue Eastwood’s proud tradition of gripping, emotional storytelling that has brought such acclaim to his recent efforts Mystic River and Million Dollar Baby, both Best Picture nominees at the Academy Awards. Its trailer is accessible, for the moment, only from The reverential opening voiceover, desaturated color palette, sentimental piano melodies by longtime Eastwood collaborator Lennie Niehaus, and pitched battle scenes struggle mightily to recapture the same magic that made Steven Spielberg’s Saving Private Ryan such a phenomenal success, critically and otherwise–it’s worth noting that Spielberg is a producer on Flags.

To promote the movie’s exploration of the “real story” behind the iconic photo of American soldiers raising the flag atop Iwo Jima’s Mount Suribachi, the trailer cuts between the war and its aftermath back at home, almost surely culminating in a rousing celebration of American courage and strength. World War II is hardly new territory for cinema, but perhaps Mr. Eastwood, with his uncanny grasp of the delicacies of conflicts both large and small, can bring us something insightful from the familiar. Watching him try will be a pleasure in itself.

–D. S. W.


3 Responses to “trailers: flags of our fathers/casino royale”

  1. Rob said

    Good article. Pretty much expresses my own feelings. Re Casino Royale, I keep wanting each new Bond film to get it right but after a string of awful, awful movies I refuse to be suckered (yet again) by another slickly edited trailer. I’m glad you mentioned that painful line of Eva Green’s about how ‘I’ll be keeping an eye on your perfectly formed arse.’ If that’s what passes for witty banter, god help us. The one thing I do really, really like is the sight of Daniel Craig who looks rock solid as Bond. I wish him the best of luck.

    As for Flags Of Our Fathers, I’ve been following this one for awhile & the trailer looks deeply impressive – emotive but not sentimental. In that regard one of Eastwood’s greatest strengths as a filmmaker is his instinct towards understatement and the Flags story is so grim that in the hands of almost any other director it would probably be an unwatchable prospect. If anything the trailer is underselling (much like the trailers for SPR did) the horrific nature of the material. Much of it takes place off the battlefield & I’m glad to see the trailer suggests as much. Despite superficial similarities this isn’t another Saving Private Ryan. The film does honour the men in its own way but even by Eastwood standards this is very, very dark stuff.

  2. mrskin said

    Clint’s new movie, Iwo Jima, looks like a real winner also. The cinematography looks spectacular! And I heard he is making 2 versions of the movie, one from the US and the other from the Japanese perspective. If that is true, I love the idea, it’s brilliant!

  3. mr skin said

    Wow, I can’t believe Brosnan won’t be Bond again!?? They seem to go through Bonds pretty quickly for some reason. And I guess the new bond guy was the one who broke the news to Brosnan?

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