Friday, 19 April 2013

Trailers@24Panels: R.I.P.D.

Here at 24 Panels, we like to give each new comic book movie trailer the roundtable treatment. This time, we take a look at the first trailer for R.I.P.D., from RED director Robert Schwentke.

DAVE: I haven't read the comic R.I.P.D. is based upon, so I cannot comment on how the material is being adapted for the silver screen. But taken on its own merits, this trailer has already convinced me that we might be looking at one of the worst films of this year.
Seriously, this trailer could not have made a worst first impression. From what we can see here, R.I.P.D. is supposed to be a buddy comedy in the vein of Men in Black, only with the supernatural in place of aliens. So naturally, Universal cut a trailer which gives us no indication as to the comedic chemistry of Jeff Bridges and Ryan Reynolds. Hell, Reynolds does nothing more than stare blankly at the events going on around him in this trailer.

Instead, the trailer focuses on showing off Jeff Bridges' kooky character, and sweet mother of god, you know something is wrong when I can say that a performance by Bridges looks terrible. I swear his goal here is to be the live action Yosemite Sam, and by all appearances, he seems to be succeeding. By the half-way point, Bridges' accent and behaviour were already grating on me, so I can already imagine how annoyed I might be watching the whole of the film.

When you get right down to it though, the main problem with the trailer, and potentially with the finished film, is the tone. Films like Ghostbusters and Men in Black work because of the very fine tonal line they walk, and so far R.I.P.D. doesn't even seem interested in walking it, instead go for the most extreme choices across the board.  The end result, at least in this trailer, is just plain alienating.

What about you James? What do you make of this mess?

JAMES: I've also not read the comics, so I've got no opinion on that front either. And based on this trailer, I won't be rushing out to read them. "Mess" is as good a place to start as any; the trailer for R.I.P.D. leaves me completely uninterested and kind of angry. Boy, this really doesn't look good. I'm always weary when the majority of a trailer is dedicated to exposition -- which is the case here, spending a good chunk of it's 2:51 setting up the premise. Hey, while we`re here, has anyone noticed that trailers are getting longer? Trailers are roughly 2:20, yet in the last month or so we've seen some around 3 minutes in length (2 Guns, Man of Steel). Just an observation.

Dave, I was thinking Bridges was affecting a cartoony Rooster Cogburn from True Grit (that performance is stellar, by the way), but Yosemite Sam seems more accurate. I love Bridges, but this performance doesn't interest me in the least. I'm also starting to get Ryan Reynolds fatigue. He's been in far too many movies in the last few years playing the same notes, and here it just looks like he's sleepwalking. 

But beyond uninteresting performances and a bit of a gimmicky premise (it's Men in Black but with dead people!!), it's the stale jokes and cartoon violence that turn me off (hey look, the young attractive guy really looks like an old Chinese man and the old guy looks like an attractive woman ha ha so funny). The film is obviously trying to replicate Ghostbusters, but I feel with each subsequent viewing of that film -- and with every Ghostbusters clone (Ghostbusters IIMen in Black, Evolution, etc.) -- that Reitman's 1984 classic is an anomaly and cannot be recreated. So Hollywood should stop trying.

R.I.P.D. feels about 15 years too late. It looks like the kind of contrived, big-budget buddy/comedy-fantasy disaster that seemed to crop up in the late-90s/early-00s (I'm looking at you, Wild Wild West). The icing on the cake is that R.I.P.D. is in 3D. Maybe there's something more to it, but I don't care to find out. Actually, writing about it has made want to not see it even more. This looks stupid.

R.I.P.D. opens in theatres July 19.


  1. Wow... this really does look terrible. I feel bad for Reynolds. I really, really do. This guy can't catch a break in the comic book movie world...

    1. Unfortunate, because he would've been the perfect Flash (sorry, John Wesley Shipp).