June 27, 2002
Nothing like the Sun

Movie trailers aren't usually news (or at any rate good news) - with the web and print and conversations with friends and that whole pesky collective consciousness thing, I tend to know about the movies I want to see well before catching the preview for the first time in a theater. Until this week the most notable exception was "The Royal Tenenbaums"; the trailer was such an excellent surprise it had me whooping like a Star Wars fan.

Now I've got something new to hoot 'n' holler about:

It opened with a shot of a seething fractal landscape, blue and jagged and menacing and mesmerizing. As the POV pulled back it became clear that it was a planet, an ocean covered planet, and my inner geek dared to hope that it wasn't just an ocean, but an Ocean...



As in Stanislaw Lem's "Solaris". As in the "2001" of the Soviet bloc, only deeper, darker, and with an antagonist that makes the HAL 9000 look like a Fisher-Price crib toy.

(Hey trivia buffs: Andrei Tarkovsky's 1972 production won the Grand Jury Prize at Cannes!)

I do have mixed feelings about seeing it in multi-million dollar capitalist glory. James Cameron is producing , which is fine as long as he keeps Celine Dion the hell away from the soundtrack. But I'm not thrilled that George Clooney is the lead - he's a little too inclined to wink at the audience, and I don't know that director Steven Soderbergh can beat it out of him the same way Terry Gilliam and M. Night Shyamalan can beat it out of Bruce Willis.

I just want it to be good! Please movie deities, I promise if it's good I'll take back all the mean things I said about the Star Wars fans who whooped at that lousy - uh, I mean, great! - "Attack of the Clones" trailer.