THE BOURNE ULTIMATUM (Universal)
Tagline: “Bourne comes home.”
Translation: Handsome guy. Human killing machine. New Yorker.
The Gist: Compare the posters for the last two Paul Greengrass movies: United 93’s cool-blue one-sheet offsets a silhouette of the Statue of Liberty against the Manhattan skyline, just as the second plane aims for the World Trade Center. The Bourne Ultimatum poster is shot in that same tint with the bold title in a similar font. Only it’s Matt Damon’s silhouette—instead of Lady Liberty’s—set against the skyline, and no Twin Towers. The effective trailer ends as surveillance cams track Bourne—bound for revenge—through New York streets. Is Universal, which handled both films, positioning him as a post-9/11 avenger?
SHREK THE THIRD (DreamWorks)
Tagline: “My butt is itching up a storm.”
Translation: Back to basics.
The Gist: After Shrek’s misguided Hollywood-mocking second installment played like a bad spoof of the E! channel, this trailer yanks the series back to its roots: fart jokes and fairy-tale mayhem. Still, the preview spends too much time reintroducing us to many characters we know already—but we love the soundtrack from fable-loving Led Zeppelin.
LIVE FREE OR DIE HARD (Fox)
Tagline: “You just killed a helicopter with a car!”
Translation: Life, liberty, and the pursuit of a better car chase. Vote for vigilante John McClane.
The Gist: Helicopter crashes, giant plumes of fire and smoke, children in peril, and a wisecracking Bruce Willis as McClane: This trashy, shamelessly over-the-top sell makes Grindhouse look downright tasteful—and that contrast may explain why Tarantino couldn’t sell tickets.
EVAN ALMIGHTY (Universal)
Tagline: “When it comes to saving the world, some assembly may be required.”
Translation: Pray the Christians buy tickets.
The Gist: The first ten seconds are as hysterical and simple as anything in The 40-Year-Old Virgin, as Steve Carell awkwardly attempts to shave his nose hairs. Then the special-effects team arrives and endless pairs of cute animals practically knock Carell—playing a slapstick Noah—off the screen.
DAY WATCH (Fox Searchlight)
Tagline: “The war to end all wars.”
Translation: We did say war, didn’t we?
The Gist: This occult Russian sequel gets sold as an even more hyper, nutso action fest. The plot is as confusing as it is dispensable, but it hardly matters since the barrage of ridiculous effects make that Fantastic Four trailer look like even more of a snooze.