Trailer Tracking: ‘The World’s End,’ ‘Ender’s Game,’ ‘Captain Phillips’

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CHICAGO – We’ve officially entered the summer movie season, which means that any true film fan has already set their sights on the fall. While, sure, we’re jazzed to see “Star Trek Into Darkness” and “Hangover Part III,” they’re now SO close to finally being released that it’s almost not worth speculating about them anymore.

It’s just finally time to see the damn things and be done with it. BUT that doesn’t mean that we can’t look to August and beyond for our next upcoming film obsessions.

In this edition of “Trailer Tracking”, we’ll be looking at brand-spanking new previews for three of the most promising films of the latter half of 2013 – Edgar Wright’s “The World’s End,” Gavin Hood’s “Ender’s Game,” and Paul Greengrass’ “Captain Phillips.” Take a look at our trailer breakdowns for each film and decide for yourself which movies you’ll be wistfully waiting for all summer long.

Movie: “The World’s End”

Best Parts of the Trailer: Finally getting a sense of the story after months of secrecy; the “bitter/lager” joke; watching Nick Frost Hulk-out with a pub stool on each arm; the return of the fence-jumping gag from “Shaun of the Dead” and “Hot Fuzz”

Worst Parts of the Trailer: Seems a bit like a “Shaun/Fuzz” hybrid, so, hopefully, it won’t be too self-referential; the spotty ADR on the “Steady on, you alchie!” line; Not much else… it looks pretty great

OUR TAKE: I’m just going to put this out there… “The World’s End” is easily my most anticipated film of 2013. Yes, films like “The Hobbit 2”, “Catching Fire,” and “Pacific Rim” are big and ambitious, but they’re not nearly as much of a sure thing as an Edgar Wright/Simon Pegg joint. While all the hipster kids adore Wright for “Scott Pilgrim,” so far, his true masterpieces have been the first two parts of his “Blood and Ice Cream” trilogy – “Shaun of the Dead” and “Hot Fuzz.” Both “Shaun” and “Fuzz” display a remarkably confident and original comedic voice, which is a very fancy way of saying that they’re really, really damn funny. Wright’s collaborations with Simon Pegg and Nick Frost have resulted in two of the most rewatchable films of the past decade – the kind of comedies, like “Animal House” or “Ghostbusters”, that become comfort food for an entire generation. So, when the trailer for “The World’s End,” the final chapter in the Pegg/Wright trilogy, debuts, it’s a big deal.

And it doesn’t disappoint. Fans have been feverishly awaiting this trailer for months, largely because, up until now, Wright has kept the plot details for “World’s End” under wraps. We knew the film was about a group of childhood friends reuniting in their hometown to complete an epic pub crawl they failed to finish as teens, but it was strongly rumored that the story also had “apocalyptic” overtones, which no one really understood. Was it actually about the end of the world? Was it going to be another comedy-horror hybrid like “Shaun of the Dead”? Now we know the secret of “World’s End” and it’s a doozy. Pegg and Frost are, in fact, trying to complete a pub crawl in the middle of an alien invasion, but a properly insidious invasion that feels right at home in a small English village. Thus, the aliens are less like their “Independence Day” cousins and more like the antagonists in “Village of the Damned” or “Day of the Triffids.” Imagine trying to complete a pub crawl in the town from “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” and you’ll get a good sense of what “The World’s End” is all about.

For my money, the trailer sells the humor of the situation perfectly. In fact, “The World’s End” comes across almost like an ideal hybrid of “Shaun of the Dead” and “Hot Fuzz.” It’s all about long-time friends trying to survive a pervasive supernatural invasion in a pub (i.e. “Shaun”) while they deal with a dangerous conspiracy that lurks beneath the surface of an idyllic English town (i.e. “Fuzz”). And it adds yet a new genre – alien invasion film – to the pile of other genres that the “Blood and Ice Cream” trilogy has already exploded (zombie film, buddy-cop film, etc). Pegg does most of the heavy lifting in the trailer, but his supporting cast of drinking buddies (Frost, Martin Freeman, Paddy Considine, Eddie Marsan) represents a murderer’s row of crazy-talented British actors, so their mere presence inspires a load of confidence. The “light up eyes and mouth” effect for the possessed townspeople is nicely creepy – it reminds me of the gorgeously minimalist alien designs in “Attack the Block” – though, there are glimpses of some fairly big CGI action moments sprinkled throughout the trailer (most notably, Frost dodging between the legs of something that looks like a Tripod from “War of the Worlds”). I might be worried that Wright was overloading the final chapter of his trilogy with too much bombast, if I hadn’t already seen how fantastically he’d orchestrated the over-the-top lunacy at the end of both “Shaun” and “Hot Fuzz.”

Is there a chance that “The World’s End” will underwhelm? Yeah, there’s always that chance. But, after watching this trailer and rewatching Wright and Pegg’s previous collaborations, I’d call “The World’s End” the closest to a sure thing movie fans will get all year.

TRAILER OUTLOOK: VERY positive. Can I pre-order the DVD yet?

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