The year is only five days old and we’ve already found the statement that will be our bête noir for 2009: from the visionary director of. To be fair, this unhappy turn of events started last year with the trailer for Zack Snyder’s adaptation of Watchmen, which proclaimed with soul-crushing gravitas that the film was from "the visionary director of 300". Now, we’ve seen 300, and in addition to being pure dreck, there isn’t an original bone in its running time. Gladiator, Sin City, Braveheart, Kingdom of Heaven; you name the movie and chances are that Mr. Snyder has borrowed something from it. And while we’re as amped as the next geek for Watchmen–assuming that Warner Brothers and Fox can iron out a deal so the release isn’t held up indefinitely–the previous works of Mr. Snyder don’t deserve to be hailed as visionary either. As entertaining as his remake of Dawn of the Dead was, we don’t think anyone would describe it as being marked by "foresight or imagination". It was a remake after all!
Now comes the trailer for the animated film 9 from first time feature director, and apparent "visionary", Shane Acker. Executive produced by Tim Burton (yay!) and Wanted director Timur Bekmanbetov (nay!), 9 is based on Mr. Acker’s Academy Award nominated 2005 short of the same name. And while the trailer is fun–why hasn’t anyone used the prog-rock of Coheed & Cambria before to underscore action mayhem?–it looks too derivative of Wall-E, except redrawn with the Tusken Raiders from Star Wars, for us to consider it truly noteworthy. Even if 9 holds secrets that make it the greatest leap forward in animation since Toy Story, isn’t it a little presumptuous to call Mr. Acker a "visionary director"? This is his first movie! Not even Orson Welles would have been hailed as such during the trailers for Citizen Kane.
At this rate, what are they going to call Christopher Nolan during the trailer for his next movie? "Transcendent"? "Incendiary"? "Messianic"? It might be a little late for resolutions, but here’s hoping the Hollywood marketing departments save their hyperbole for filmmakers who actually deserve it. Otherwise, it won’t be long before we see a movie from the visionary director of Transporter 3…
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