Thursday, March 30, 2006

The Passion of the Teaser

The great thing about Apple's QuickTime video software is that (correct me if I'm wrong) it is the only mainstream video platform that allows you to easily 'scrub' through a video clip one frame at a time.

These days, when most movie trailers are better than the films they promote I like to head over to Apple's Movie Trailers page and step through some of them slowly. I like try to piece together the action - who is chasing who? - who has she betrayed - is Sharon Stone in that car at the start of the film or at the end? etc. until I feel I have some handle on what the movie is about. I find it fun but perhaps that's because I can call myself an editor.

A great trailer for doing this recently was for Syriana. It really had me foxed. Remember the case containing the missile? Well the trailer makes you think it is a bomb. Jeffery Wright, a Washington investigator assassinating someone with a sniper rifle? No, no, no - he was actually hunting a zebra, although that shot was very naughtily missing from the cinema release. It was a great trailer to try to figure out, (unlike something like The Da Vinci Code).

But imagine my dismay (ok rather delight) when stepping frame by frame through the teaser trailer for Mel Gibson's new pic - 'Apocalypto' (sounds like a nice cocktail...) - when I come across a single frame shot of Mr. Gibson having a laugh with some of his Mayan actors in body paint.

The question that springs to mind of course is 'Why is this shot in the trailer?'.

Most people seem to think Mel Gibson has bats in his belfry these days. Probably this is due in part to his passionate fever for the suffering of the Christ, but also because almost every time his picture is shown in the media - the photo editor always chooses the most manic one. See this example from the BBC no less - could he look anymore crazy?

So why does Mel appear looking a tad nuts in his own trailer? Simple. It's because he doesn't give a hoot. He's showing that he's reached such heights of artistic and commercial success that he can afford to make jokes like that. He's worth so much now it doesn't matter what he does. Even if Apocalypto bombs people will still pay to see whatever he follows it with. It will always be "Mel Gibson's Spot the Dog"...

Perhaps, at this moment in time he single-handedly has even more creative control than George Clooney does? But with all that money and freedom will he make a masterpiece? Will he show us what its worth?

Hmmm - the trailer didn't look too good...


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