Last night was the kick-off of Comic-Con, the annual nerdvana in San Diego where all the biggest movie, TV, comic, and video game properties show off their latest efforts to the most dedicated and unforgiving fans in the world. In the week ahead, expect to see tons of fantastic trailers, interviews, and teasers-for-teasers-for-movies-that-don’t-come-out-until-2021. A few have already released, but the trailer for the PG-rated kid’s movie Wonderstruck seems to be the buzziest. Directed by Carol and I’m Not There’s Todd Hayes, it has a dazzling visual palate, a dynamite cast, and a fantastic story. We’re jazzed for it. Here are five reasons you should be, too.
While many assume the function of a trailer is to introduce viewers to the story and characters, the real job of the trailer is to introduce viewers to the film’s tone. And Wonderstruck‘s trailer hits it out of the park. It’s a little bit creepy, a little bit mysterious. Not to mention, the breathtaking visuals including the dazzling color palate that hints at everything from sepia-toned shots of cities to kaleidoscopic shots of natural scenes. It expertly excites without any exposition whatsoever.
From top to bottom, this cast is about as good as you could hope for. Julianne Moore and Michelle Williams are pretty incapable of giving anything less than fantastic performances onscreen. Oakes Fegley, who plays Ben, is an up and coming actor who did a wonderful job as Pete in the live action remake of Pete’s Dragon. Add in two of the most underrated character actors in Hollywood, Amy Hargreaves and James Urbaniak, and you have a cast that would even make Paul Thomas Anderson jealous.
The first 30 seconds of the trailer features an ominous cover of David Bowie’s classic “Space Odyssey” by a children’s choir, before seamlessly transitioning into the real Bowie classic. For those familiar with Hayes’ previous work, this should come as no surprise. Hayes directed the criminally underrated Bob Dylan biopic I’m Not There where he managed to beautifully work Dylan’s legendary tunes into the narrative of the story. His last film, Carol, also received an Oscar nomination for its score. This guy knows music and he uses it perfectly as a story-telling tool.
Amazon may be mostly known for their ability to ship you diapers within two hours, but they have also secretly become one of the most exciting film studios over the last few years. The studio distributed Manchester by the Sea, one of the top last year’s best-reviewed films that earned Casey Affleck an Oscar. This studio has fantastic instincts for finding great movies and Wonderstruck appears to follow the trend.
The Source Material
The movie is based on a juvenile fiction novel of the same name written by Brian Selznick, who also wrote the widely acclaimed The Invention of Hugo Cabret. Upon its release in 2011, Wonderstruck was almost immediately met with universal acclaim, earning the Schneider Family Book Award as well as the oohs and aahs of many critics. People specifically praised Selznick’s handling of complex story-telling and the depth and nuance given to each character. Selznick also wrote the screenplay for the film, so there’s no reason to think he won’t be able to recreate the same magic on the big screen.