Tuesday, February 22, 2011

"Source Code" Trailer Review

In my correspondence with devoted viewer mc213mc, conversation briefly turned to the recently-released trailer for "Source Code", the upcoming film starring Jake Gyllenhaal. I was uncertain of whether to post this, but here, for your viewing pleasure, is the quick analysis I gave:

First, the choice of title is silly. Source code is the human-readable text of a computer program, and nothing else. It's jargon for jargon's sake, like how the Matrix in its eponymous films has little to do with any of the actual meanings of the word "matrix". Second, while Jake Gyllenhaal is a great actor (and it's interesting to see him in an action role), the choice to have him in the roles of both in-"Source Code" and IRL Capt. Stevens is simply lazy. The fact that he's not told in advance of his participation in the obviously experimental and top-secret procedure makes no sense, and I guarantee it won't make much more in the full film.

The trailer is poorly edited, not even attempting to disguise the splicing of unrelated audio and video, and while it may pretend to be deep and existential, at its heart it's unabashedly an action movie, with only enough plot to hold it together between the fun action scenes. What else would you expect from Ben Ripley, the writer of Species III, Species: The Awakening, and The Watch?

Of course, with direction by the experimentalist Duncan Jones (son of David Bowie) and cinematography by Don Burgess (The Book of Eli, Enchanted, Radio, Terminator, Spider-Man, Cast Away, and Forrest Gump), it's guaranteed to be tolerably good in the visuals department—or even great, if you happen to like the style of those movies. It was almost certainly shot digitally, and probably using RED cameras and lenses, which means every zoom shot is going to look awful. The original composer, the ace Clint Mansell (Requiem for a Dream), bailed out due to time constraints, leaving deuce Chris P. Bacon in his place, and on a $35 million budget, the sound design may not even do his work justice.

tl;dr: Recipe for a B movie, straight up. Big box-office draw, bigger critical flop.

1 comment:

  1. See -- THAT's what I call a smart review. Of a trailer, yet.