I knew I was forgetting something.
Here’s the trailer for the upcoming Rampage film, based upon the classic 1986 arcade game of the same title, featuring giant monsters whose objective is to survive against military assaults rightfully protecting cities from their wrath and then reduce said cities to smoldering ruin. In the current cinematic climate, where giant monsters are now fairly prominent and viable as “serious” blockbuster fare, how does one adapt what one couldn’t be blamed for thinking was a silly take on the kaiju subgenre? Well, you hire a charisma factory like Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, of course. Mission accomplished.
In this film that reads like a series of sarcastic late night tweets taken more seriously than intended after too much to drink, the former WWE wrestling star is a (brace yourself) primatologist with an ironclad connection to his best friend, the silverback gorilla named George. After exposure to something sci-fi, George becomes a bit of a handful, as his already impressive stature begins to increase. Meanwhile, at least two other non-humans are experiencing similar growing pains, compelling these bewildering beasts to go on a… rampage.
Well, this is definitely, without a doubt, a trailer.
Maybe it’s just me, but I can’t entirely read how seriously I’m expected to take this. Like a series of sarcastic late night tweets, after too much to drink, I could go either way here. Is it deliberately stupid and winking at us the viewer, or is it accidentally stupid and expecting people who dislike such things won’t notice but those that love it will flock to the theater?
Or maybe overthinking it is just a fool’s errand and we should celebrate that another giant monster flick is on the scene, starring an enormous superstar who routinely prints money with his earth-shaking gaze. Even if that gaze is at a CG gorilla that somehow feels like it’s quietly draining the souls from the Planet of the Apes and Kong franchises while they sleep soundly, waiting to show em how it’s done.
Maybe there is room for something so clearly less than those ever-so-vaguely similar titles, and I’m just desperately in need of stick removal surgery. If so, I suppose I would have liked a trailer that leaned even harder into that overtly wacky direction, rather than inhabiting what looks to me like a weird middle spot where it may not do either the dumb antics or the surreal thrills very well, as it’s too busy swinging wildly between them. Raise your hand if you’ve got whiplash!
Rampage strikes theaters April 20, 2018. Whether you like it or not.
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