Four score and seven years ago One hour and some minutes ago our Spielberg brought forth, upon this internet, a new trailer, conceived in Marketing, and dedicated to the proposition that all biopics are created equal.
LINCOLN will arrive in theaters on November 16th, 2012, a mere ten days after the election when everyone will undoubtedly be exhausted by politics (if they aren't already). And for reasons unbeknownst to The Film Experience Lincoln became the first movie to have its trailer premiere in this Google Hangout fashion with immediate commentary from fans afterwards. A sober presidential biopic isn't a natural fit for "OMG!" Insta-Reactions that fanboys pics can bring in trailer form as you'll see if you watch. You can watch the event (non-live) right here.
There is some hedge-betting from Steven Spielberg with which I personally great sympathize. The much beloved filmmaker hasn't bought in 100% to this new frightening world where trailers and not movies are the things that get people talking en masse.
Steven Spielberg: The main thing that you should expect is that whatever you're about to see in trailer form is only a slight texture. It's just a little tone or an offering of the tone of the film. But the movie is really about the content of Lincoln's life. The content of the last four months of his life...
In a sense, all you're going to get is a sense of the film. The film really has to be appreciated from start to finish.
Joseph Gordon-Levitt: [teasing] You mean you have to watch the whole thing?
Spielberg: Unfortunately you have to watch the whole thing. That's the way it works.
YES: Daniel Day-Lewis is almost always worth watching. (Nine being an exception to the rule. God, he was miscast in that). I love Tommy Lee Jones freakishly soft voice and David Strathairn's compelling worry face, don't you? Screenplay by the genius Tony Kushner. Plus, Joseph Gordon-Levitt's role as the eldest Lincoln son Robert Todd Lincoln actually sounds interesting (the way JGL describes after the trailer). And he gives props to DDL and Spielberg and team:
As an actor so much of what I was doing revolved around what Daniel was doing. His performance -- so so powerful. The environment that you created, the set the stage that you set for him to perform this extraordinary process of his, I found just so engrossing that all I had to do was pay attention to him and I was sucked right into the world."
NO: If what the trailer has offered is in fact, an accurate sense of the "tone of the film" than Spielberg has delivered a Very Stuffy Traditional Prestige Biopic. Complete with dramatically posed I'm Making Big Decisions lighting, dramatically sober This Is Important film scoring, and dramatically pompous This Is My Oscar Clip acting.
Perhaps all biopics are created equally.
MAYBE SO: All that said, 2012 is shaping up to be The Year of Deceptive Trailers and with this cast and crew, a "maybe so" is in order out of respect. Films DO need to be appreciated from start to finish. And with a script by Tony Kushner surely this will be thornier, more interesting, and less Garden Variety Biopic than, say, Ray.
Will you be voting for Lincoln on November 16th? And do you think Oscar voters will?
Yes, no or maybe so?