Trailer Blazer: 'Letters from Iwo Jima,' 'Bridge to Terabithia,' 'Epic Movie'

101539__bridge_lLetters from Iwo Jima (Dec. 20) How unusual is this trailer for Clint Eastwood’s second take on the Battle of Iwo Jima, this time from the Japanese perspective? First, it actually has subtitles, a rarity in American movie trailers. Second, it doesn’t shy away from the harsh fact that, even for a war film, this ain’t a happy tale — 18,000 Japanese soliders died on the small Pacific island in just 36 days. Third, other than Ken Watanabe (The Last Samurai, Batman Begins), virtually none of the other four above-the-title stars, all Japanese actors, will be familiar to U.S. audiences. And yet I’m more keen to see this film than I was to see Clint’s first Iwo Jima picture, Flags of Our Fathers. So good on Warner Bros. and DreamWorks for making such an honest trailer, and for deciding to release the film two months earlier than they’d originally planned — even if it is just to bolster the Oscar chances of the flagging Fathers.

Bridge to Terabithia (Feb. 2007) Words can’t express how meaningful Katherine Paterson’s award winning young-adult novel Bridge to Terabithia was to my childhood. It is an exquisitely calibrated, human-scaled, heartrending story of young friendship, class, faith and the power of creativity and imagination. What it is decidedly not, however, is a Harry Potter’s The Fellowship of Narnia fantasy, but that’s precisely what this trailer (pictured) makes the long-anticipated film version of the book out to be. Because I’m pretty sure there aren’t any freaky gold-hat-wearing menacing muskrats in the book, let alone giant walking tree monsters. I’m willing to reserve judgment until I can see more of what’s in store in this film, but I gotta say, the fourth grader inside me just died a little inside.

Epic Movie(Jan. 26, 2007) Speaking of completely unnecessary fantasy moviemash-ups, the trailer for this genre parody — written by the same "twoof the six writers of Scary Movie" who also wrote this year’s laugh-an-hour Date Movie — references, by my count, The Chronicles of Narnia, Harry Potter, Snakes on a Plane, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, X-Men, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest, Superman Returns, and (sigh) Borat. Setting aside for the moment that I’m not exactly sure how any of these films, other than maybe Narnia, could really be called an "epic" — what does a film buff gotta do to get a good Lawrence of Arabiagag nowadays? — the more important news is I didn’t even come close tocracking a smile during this trailer. That is, until I scrolled downand realized just how much of a fool’s bargain it is to post a movietrailer "exclusively" on a user-comment-friendly website like MySpace.My personal favorite comment comes from a dude named Raul, whoseprofile picture — a Stormtrooper reading a magazine on the can — isalready funnier than anything in the Epic Movie preview: "This trailer made me sterile and killed my goldfish." I feel your pain, Raul. I feel your pain.

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  • sally

    Oh no, I hope they don’t ruin Bridge to Terabithia. I also read it in 4th grade and it is one of the best memories I have from grade school. I think it was the first book that I cried reading.

  • nathan

    I looks like Letters From Iwo Jima might be better than Flags of our Fathers, It was a great idea for Clint to film these two perspectives of Iwo Jima.

  • nathan

    and Epic Movie looks like a massive pile of dog poop.

  • Josh

    It’s been so long since I’ve read Terabithia that I can’t remember exactly what characters it had, but I do remember being really moved by it at the time so I hope they keep the same spirit.

  • kinglouieXVIII

    Ever since I heard of Eastwood’s back to back projects on Iwo Jima, I have always been more interested in this one. FLAGS appeared to be one of the many war films Hollywood cranks out on a monthly basis. Besides, it had the insufferable yan Phillipe in a leading role. His only two movies I’ve like are IGBY GOES DOWN & CRASH and that was because he did not have much screen time in either of those.
    LETTERS seems much more authentic and powerful. I really hope it delivers the goods and gets some Oscar lovin while FLAGS gets snubbed. Plus Ken Watannabe rocks!
    And I’ve rarely cried as much as I did after I finished reading BRIDGE TO TERABITHIA. There, I said it. I can’t wait for the movie.

  • Lori

    I too cried when I read Terabithia for the first time — and I was 40 years old, and on an airplane! There was an earlier version made of the movie, but it’s so dated now that it’s hard to watch. But it was certainly grounded in reality, which is squarely where this updated version has to stay.

  • ag

    OMG, I’d forgotten how much I loved Terebithia as a kid. I hope the movie does it justice.
    BTW, I laughed out loud at Raul’s sterile goldfish comment. Frakkin’ hilarious…

  • Ellipsian

    “Terabithia” is a classic. It’s been years since I’ve read it, but I can still remember the feeling (yeah yeah, okay: and the tears). I am hopeful that the movie won’t suck, but I can’t say that I’m very optimistic.
    Slightly off topic: I think the first book I can clearly remember crying–nay, SOBBING–while reading was “Where the Red Fern Grows”. Anyone with me (or is the better question, “Who’s NOT with me??”)?

  • ag

    Ellipsian:
    If there was ever a book that TRAUMATIZED me, it was Where the Red Fern Grows. Whenever that kid fell on the axe…
    Suffice it to say I still haven’t recovered.

  • Melanie

    Bridge to Terabithia is one of my favorite books. Thanks for telling us about the trailer…I had no idea a new movie was being made. I saw the old PBS version too, Lori. Can’t wait to see the new one!!

  • brandonk

    I’d never heard of “The Bridge to Terabithia” until I saw the trailer for the movie. I’ll definitely have to read the book.

  • Ellipsian

    ag: Funny…I totally forgot that part and the END of the book was whence my sobbing came! The kid with the axe didn’t bother me nearly as much. Hmmmm…not sure what that says about me!
    Now that you’ve brought it up though, I distinctly remember the kid trying to speak or scream and all that happened was a bubble of blood burst on his lips. Amazing how I still have such a clear recollection of that line/those lines in the book.
    Good times!

  • Maeve

    Should Bridge to Terabithia really be rated PG? Remember how My Girl was marketed as some cutesy kids story and it ended up being a horror movie about killer bees?
    I saw the made-for-TV version of Terabithia when I was a kid, and I was 7, I think, and it was about a half hour after it ended, and my parents noticed I wasn’t talking and was frozen in place, and they asked me what was wrong and I burst into tears and couldn’t stop.
    While we are on the topic of traumatic childhood books (I have blacked out Red Fern) and movies, how about when Artax (the horse) died in the Neverending Story? I didn’t handle that well either. I was at my babysitter’s and hit behind a recycliner for an hour. Anybody else die inside after seeing that part?

  • Darth Dooku

    Epic Movie…. yeah, that looks REALLY REALLY bad. How you can ruin such great source material is amazing, really. Maybe we’ll be proven wrong, but the Force is telling me that that’s doubtful.

  • Darth Dooku

    Terebithia, on the other hand, looks great. Haven’t heard of this movie or the book before, but better late than never, right?

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