Full disclosure: I have not read Jonathan Safran Foer‘s Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close. I read his Everything is Illuminated and it just wasn’t my bag, so it’s fair to say that a part of me has been dreading the latest film adaptation of one of his novels. Stephen Daldry‘s take on the material seems a bit pre-packaged for the proper type of awards season buzz, what with its heavy hitter cast (Tom Hanks, Sandra Bullock, Viola Davis, and Jeffrey Wright), the vaguely stunt-y casting of its young lead (Thomas Horn, a non-actor who reportedly got the part after his win on Jeopardy!), and a Christmas Day release date.
There’s also the very premise of the book. The plot centers around young Oskar Schell, a kid genius who loses his dad in the 9/11 attacks. After Oskar finds a key in his dad’s belongings, he sets out to find out the meaning behind the key. Of course, he discovers much more along the way. And while that all sounds sort of twee and innocent and sad, I had a feeling about how the material would be brought to the screen, a bad feeling that’s only aggravated by this first trailer for the film, which you can watch after the break.
To this I ask – really? The first half of the film plays decidedly okay (neither overly good or heinously bad), and as our pals over at /Film note, young Horn’s interactions with Hanks are actually quite nice. But the rest of it is enough to leave me turned off from the film in a severe way. Bullock is essentially a non-entity in the trailer, the emphasis on the 9/11 attacks is built for maximum effect (a cheap trick that plays on viewers), and the use of U2‘s “Where the Streets Have No Name” is almost hilariously terrible.
Meaning – it would be just hilarious if it wasn’t just so damn terrible. It’s distractingly crafted (its matching of lyrics and actions is more than just over-the-top) and cloying and it exists in a stark contrast to the first half of the trailer. Part of this trailer is clearly tone-deaf to the actual film, because both of its halves just feel so intrinsically different. A movie that feels like that first half? I’d give that a chance. The second half? Nope, not sold.
I’ll take this to anyone who has read the book – how does this trailer feel to you? Is this how you pictured the film? [Apple]