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It's an interesting afternoon of trailers, particularly because you can find plenty of examples of me raining scorn on the work of Michael Bay and Roland Emmerich online if you go looking. At one point, Michael Bay got so used to me disliking him that he would just roll his eyes when he saw me.
Today, though, I'm sincerely impressed by the trailers for both "Pain and Gain" and "White House Down." We'll get into "White House Down" first, and it's doubly interesting to see this less than a week after sitting in the theater watching "Olympus Has Fallen" unfold. Say what you will about Roland Emmerich as a storyteller, but he orchestrates large-scale chaos with a sharp eye, and he's gotten better at it over the years. If anyone knows the value of destroying the White House in a movie, it's Emmerich, and he seems to have pulled out all the stops for this one.
What variations on the basic formula will we see here? Well, in "Olympus," Gerard Butler is a Secret Service agent who has been sidelined because he was involved in an accident involving the First Lady. Here, Channing Tatum is a DC cop who wasn't able to get a job in the Secret Service, and I'm going to go out on a limb and guess that he proves himself capable of the job at some point in the movie, just as Butler redeemed himself.
I don't even really mind if they're going to work within the lines like this, as long as they do it well. That's all I ever ask from a movie… whatever it does, do it well. I like the tone of this trailer, and I really like the scale and the reality, which I doubly appreciate after seeing some of the technical rough spots that made it to the final print of "Olympus," some almost shockingly bad.
Jamie Foxx strikes me as a very young President, and I have trouble imagining the election season where he emerged as the best choice. Then again, I had trouble imagining him accurately fitting into a period film when he was first cast as Django in "Django Unchained," and I was completely wrong about that. Foxx seems to rise to whatever challenge there is when he gets cast in a film, and with the Charming Potato now having taken a huge turn for the better, loosening up on-camera last year in "Haywire" and "21 Jump Street" and "Magic Mike," this could turn out to be a nice melting pot of movie star charisma. And Jason Clarke as the bad guy coming off of "Zero Dark Thirty"? That's sort of brilliant.
I'm sure the timing of this trailer debut was no accident, and I'm sorry I didn't get to see the Q&A appearance that Tatum did this morning from London after they showed the trailer and eight minutes of footage. He's there to shoot the new Wachowskis action SF film "Jupiter Ascending," and I'm verrrrrrry curious how he looks in that movie. It's at least partially a make-up role for him, so I'm curious how they approach that.
For now, this is enough to sell me on "White House Down" as the true 900-pound gorilla in this particular showdown. We'll see when it arrives in theaters June 28, 2013.