Mulan wowed with action while the newest Sonic the Hedgehog spot had us scratching our heads.
With the price of one 30-second ad during Super Bowl LIV rising to as much as US$5.6 million ($8.6 million), some movie studios sat on the sidelines this year. Others bought time on the more affordable pregame show (where spots cost US$2 to US$3 million). Still, over the course of Super Sunday, spots were unveiled for 10 films, including F9: The Fast Saga, which had debuted a longer clip Friday, and Minions: The Rise of Gru, which will release its first full trailer Wednesday. Here's our roundup of the rest, ranked from most to least promising. (Gal Gadot's crossover cameo as Wonder Woman in the Tide Power Pods campaign doesn't count.)
For anyone who complained that Disney live-action remakes like Beauty and the Beast and The Lion King were too faithful to the originals, this one's for you. With Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon-style action, the drama about a young woman (Yifei Liu) who dresses as a man to join the Chinese Imperial Army couldn't look less like the 1998 musical cartoon. "I will bring honour to us all," Mulan declares. Based on this thrilling trailer, we believe her.
"You don't know everything about me," says Scarlett Johansson's heroine. "The Avengers weren't my first family." The new ad for Marvel's latest film focuses on the bond between Black Widow and a makeshift clan from her KGB training days. Her comrades are played by Emmy nominee David Harbour (Stranger Things), Oscar winner Rachel Weisz (The Constant Gardener) and Florence Pugh (Little Women), who will compete with Johansson for best supporting actress at the Academy Awards on Sunday. With such a powerful cast, how can this movie miss?
The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run
The Nickelodeon cartoon's newest big-screen outing starts with typically self-referential humour, as the Krusty Krab's owner, Mr. Krabs, comments on how expensive Super Bowl commercials are, and Squidward points out that it's only the pregame. Challenged to sum up the movie's elements in the ad's remaining 26 seconds, SpongeBob speeds through a hysterically surreal list that includes robots, Snoop Dogg and a wise sage (Keanu Reeves in a tumbleweed!). Concludes Mr. Krabs, "That was money well-spent." Agreed.
No Time to Die
The 25th film in the 007 franchise promises to change everything, and its new spot certainly starts on a surprising note as James Bond (Daniel Craig) flies a high-tech plane with a female 00 agent, Nomi (Lashana Lynch from Captain Marvel). The rest of the commercial looks like any other Bond movie, though, complete with stunts, gunfire and two facially disfigured villains (Christoph Waltz and Rami Malek). Too bad we only get a quick glimpse of Ana de Armas, but if she and Craig have as much fun as they did in Knives Out, this one might be worth our time.
A Quiet Place Part II
This horror sequel's promo opens with a flashback, as writer-director John Krasinki's character, who was killed off in the first film, is shown enduring his first encounter with the noise-seeking monsters that terrorise his family. Cut to his widow (Emily Blunt) going on the run with her three living children and encountering another band of survivors, including a pair played by new cast members Cillian Murphy and Djimon Hounsou. "There are people out there," she says, "people worth saving." Whether A Quiet Place needed a follow-up remains to be seen. (Krasinski's "wicked smart" ad for the self-parking Hyundai Sonata was more entertaining.)
Top Gun: Maverick
Cannily placed right after Demi Lovato's rendition of the national anthem, the commercial for Tom Cruise's sequel to his flag-waving 1986 hit featured scenes of him back in the cockpit and seemingly hampered by age. He gasps for air, and we hear dialogue from other characters, including Rooster (Miles Teller) — the son of Maverick's late pal Goose (Anthony Edwards) — as well as new antagonists Jon Hamm and Ed Harris and love interest Jennifer Connelly. But did audiences wait breathlessly for nearly 35 years to hear Maverick suck wind?
The Invisible Man
Unlike in its initial trailer, the latest spot for this horror-movie reboot lets us hear the voice of the title character (played by Oliver Jackson-Cohen, from Netflix's The Haunting of Hill House), but that doesn't add much to its appeal. Despite the presence of Emmy winner Elisabeth Moss (The Handmaid's Tale) as the ex-girlfriend he gaslights — and the imprimatur of Blumhouse Productions (Get Out) — this looks like a dispiritingly standard-issue woman-in-jeopardy flick, albeit with souped-up special effects.
Sonic the Hedgehog
It's never a good sign when a commercial doesn't show you much of the actual movie. This minute-plus-long spot for the Sega video game adaptation spends more than half its running time on famously fast athletes (NFL stars Michael Thomas and Christian McCaffrey, NASCAR driver Kyle Busch and Olympic sprinter Allyson Felix) praising the title character's speed. After the ad switches over to unfunny footage from the film, James Marsden's character asks, "What am I doing?" It's a question he may be posing to himself in real life as well.
Written by: Bruce Fretts
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