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Trailer Rundown: Death Note, Captain Underpants, My Cousin Rachel

What do a murderous notebook, a man dressed only in underwear, and a Gothic cousin who serves strange tea have in common? Well, nothing. But the movies that contain these premises have new trailers out. Let’s take a look at them, shall we?

Death Note is an upcoming Netflix original film. Based on the cult anime series, this Western adaptation stars Keith Stanfield, Nat Wolff, and Willem Dafoe. While we mostly only get a glimpse of Nat Wolff’s Light Turner (Light Yagami in the anime), save for one shot of Stanfield’s L and one off-screen line from Dafoe’s demonic Ryuk, the trailer does its job enticing the audience.

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The image of Stanfield, in particular, is a great one. On a red backdrop, his face partially concealed, it is an intriguing shot. The focus on Wolff is less promising, his lines and facial reactions coming off stiff. Given what is shown of him is expository, perhaps this won’t translate to his performance as a whole.

Netflix’s track record with original films isn’t stellar, aside from documentaries and a few notable exceptions, but Death Note could be a change of pace for the platform’s genre output. The scope of the film seems more cinematic than their smaller fiction films, and the source material is definitely ripe for a live action adaptation.

Another beloved property is getting a feature length film adaptation. Captain Underpants. Yep. If you weren’t a kid in the early 2000s, then you think this is a joke, but it is 100% real. An evil principal is brainwashed by two ne’er-do-well students and becomes the titular superhero.

It’s a bonkers premise that could be made into a delightfully bonkers animated children’s film. Based on the trailer, this might not be what we’ll get.

Many of the jokes in this trailer fall flat, even for a children’s film. Granted most of the comedy in the books derive from visual gags and toilet humor (more often than not this is literal toilet humor).

The voice acting in this cast could be stellar. Kevin Hart, Ed Helms, Thomas Middleditch, and Nick Kroll make a great comedic ensemble. It just seems like the script won’t give them much to work with.

If I were to make a prediction, I think Captain Underpants will be a significant flop. Parents with the right sense will balk at the grotesque premise, and children in this day and age don’t recognize the property (I don’t think, unless Dav Pilkey is still churning out those books).

It is bold, then, that the title of the film calls its shot with its subtitle: The First Epic Movie. Anyone want to put money on whether there will be a sequel?

The trailer for the Gothic thriller My Cousin Rachel is noticeably slow. It takes a while to get into what the meat of the movie will likely be about: a cousin trapped in some strange mind games at the hands of Rachel Weisz’ eponymous Rachel.

Adapted from Daphne Du Maurier’s novel, My Cousin Rachel could be exciting. I don’t think the trailer displays this potential correctly, but Du Maurier is the same author who penned the book that become the Best Picture-winning, Alfred Hitchcock-directed Rebecca.

The story, then, should be worthy of a cinematic piece. But based on the trailer alone, the execution looks flawed.

 

As always, thanks for reading!

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—Alex Brannan (@TheAlexBrannan)

 

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