Trailer Trash

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O.K., I'm no movie critic. I can't tell you why Titanic was ridiculous, I can only tell you that it was. There were no gargantuan box office receipts to back up my love for cinematic wallflowers like "Six String Samurai," "Blade Runner" and (writer clears throat slightly and admits) "The 'Burbs." And enough already: I admit that I was wrong about the whole "Mystery, Alaska" thing.

There are two things, though, that no one can dispute when it comes to movies: 1.) Keanu Reeves couldn't act his way out of a wet paper sack, and 2.) if the movie we're watching is visually pleasing, it often makes us forget, at least for a little while, about a lame storyline. With this in mind, let's turn our attention to movies' Web sites.

After the big Super Bowl thing last weekend, I was more fired up about the commercials I'd seen than the gruesome image of Georgia Frontiere stammering over the same trophy that Tex Schramm once held. Among these multi-million dollar ads were a couple for upcoming movies that were really pushing their Web sites: "Titan AE" and "Pitch Black."

I began with "Titan AE," this summer's animated deep-space shoot-'em-up featuring the voice of Matt Damon as earth's last best hope (blah, blah, blah) and found that the only thing movie-related on this site was the Quicktime trailer. There's also a little game deal you can play by registering via email and joining a spaceship, but the last time I did something like that I ended up naked in a shack near Reno painting sandwich boards with big red "The End is Nigh" tags. The trailer is all well and good, but I was really hoping for, well, you know... ANYTHING ABOUT THE MOVIE.

On to "Pitch Black," with which director David Twohy will take a stab at the "Alien" storyline. (begin reading with dramatic overtones) Marooned on a wasteland of a planet, survivors of the Hunter Gratzner battle a bloodthirsty alien lifeform that only comes out in the dark, all the while looking over their shoulders in fear of an escaped convict among them... a convict who may be their best hope of survival! And hey: A total eclipse is on the way! Previously known as the guy responsible for stinkers "Waterworld"(ack), "G.I. Jane" (hated it) and "The Arrival," starring Charlie Sheen (enough said), Twohy's latest movie has little to no buzz in Hollywood. Maybe they spent all the PR dollars on the kick-ass Web site.

Before you go: you'll want to make sure you've got Flash and QuickTime installed - this is a graphics-heavy area with lots of bells and whistles. Right up front is the "Debris Field Scanner" that serves as your navigation screen. Sweep the mouse pointer across the screen to reveal character information and plot tidbits, or click the second icon along the bottom to jump you to main character information page, complete with these same visuals and sound files. Other icons take you to pages with stills from the movie, some of which have 15-second film clips attached and a cool, occasionally-updated Flash comic book by WraithSpace Comics artist Brian Murray. At bottom right is the link to the movie footage, including the (bum-bum-BUM!) "trailer they won't let you see in theatres!" Damn them.

An icon linking to the "External Database" screen features links to sites dealing with anxieties, the Web zine "Fear of the Dark," an Audrey Hepburn "Wait Until Dark" movie page and a site dealing with childrens' bedtime fears (which this film apparently boasts they'll have if they see this movie.) Even better in my mind, several pages go the informational route, dealing with eclipses in general, the big eclipse of August 1999, a NASA page about solar events, and even an account of a solar eclipse by Plutarch.

Slap me senseless and call me Missy, but I'm fully entertained at this site. How can I get my personalized "Pitch Black" email address? Can I join a secret cabal of "Pitch Black" flunkies, avowed to preach the coolness of this site far and wide? Look and tell me, man: are these pages not visually enchanting?!

Yes, but don't blame me when the movie stinks.

Eric Stone is a production assistant at creativepro.com, and he believes that Keanu Reeves may indeed be the Antichrist.

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