View from the Rental Counter: 11/30/04

Mainstream
Daredevil: SE
MPAA: PG-13 (action & violence and some sexual material)
Budget: $75M
Gross: $102.5M
DVD Formats: Widescreen
Market: This director’s cut is sure to appeal to the segment of the audience who were, let’s just say, under whelmed by the big-screen adaptation of ol’ hornhead. This one features 30 additional minutes of movie which reportedly reinserts Coolio’s cameo as a defendant of Matt Murdoch (Ben Affleck) and more character building moments. The same folks who soiled themselves at the Hellboy: Director’s Cut will snap this one up.

Spider-Man 2
MPAA: PG-13
Budget: $200M
Gross: $373.4M
DVD Formats: Full screen, widescreen, Superbit and Gift Set with extras
Market: The entire world! Hahahahahahahahah… Sorry. Seriously, though, this one is going to be marketed to everyone. That’s why the commercials for the DVD release so heavily emphasize the action when everyone who saw the movie and liked it praised the character development and plotting. They are trying to get those last two dozen people who are looking for a mindless action flick to rent it or blind-buy the disc.

Hero
MPAA: PG-13 (stylized violence)
Budget: $30M
Gross: $53.4M
DVD Formats: Widescreen
Market: Click on the title’s link for my take on the movie. The DVD is being marketed the same way.

Off the Beaten Path
Luther
MPAA: PG-13 (disturbing violence)
Budget: N/A
Gross: $5.8M
DVD Formats: Widescreen
Market: This one isn’t as high profile or as controversial as Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ but the market is fairly similar. Granted, the audience may be somewhat narrower as Gibson’s film was relevant to all Christianity whereas this deals with one aspect (the founder of the Lutheran church) specifically. It’s doubtful this one will be argued over or shown by churches still not on board the Reformation.

Television and Box Sets
Northern Exposure – The Complete Second Season
Market: Fans of quality TV will jump at this offering. This is from the good years, before they tried to keep the show alive after Rob Morrow pulled a David Caruso and left for that fat movie cash.

Lost in Space: Season 2 V.2
Market: Remember the awful Matt LeBlanc headlined movie? Neither do I. Go get this instead for space travel that’s as campy as it comes.

Ray Harryhausen 5pk Giftset
Market: Fans of and students of the history of special effects will hold this one near and dear. Note how the stop-motion animation still looks more realistic than anything in The Day After Tomorrow.

Tru Calling – The Complete First Season
Market: Sorry, the only thing that’s coming to mind is some sort of divine union between those seeking a Luke Perry fix and everyone who missed Eliza Dushku after she left Buffy.

Quick Takes: 11/24/04

Bewitched
Two teaser materials have popped up from Sony for this Nicole Kidman/Will Ferrell remake: A website and poster, both utilizing the same image.

Fantastic Four
SuperHeroHype has gotten a copy of the first picture of Dr. Doom in armor. This looks every bit as corny as I expect superhero movies to be and, so, I love it.

Tideland
JoBlo posts a copy of the teaser poster from Terry Gilliam’s upcoming flick. Don’t hold your breath waiting for this one to actually appear in U.S. promotional material.

Meet the Fockers
The theatrical poster has appeared. I agree with the writer, Mike Sampson – This one pales in comparison to the teaser.

King Kong
Could this be our first look at Peter Jackson’s incarnation of Kong? Something tells me know, that this is fan art, but we’ll see.

Serenity
Despite the website still listing April, 2004 as the release time reports come from Joss Whedon himself that the movie will be pushed back to September 2004.

Lord of the Rings: Return of the King
Nov. 29 will see the release of the trailer for the extended DVD edition.

Spanglish
There’s a new official one-sheet for this James Brooks effort. The big question in my mind? Which Adam Sandler will show up?

Movie Marketing Madness: Alexander

alexandermmm01story“Sandals and swords epic”. That’s the catch-phrase adopted by hundreds of entertainment writers across the spectrum. Somebody used it when describing Gladiator (overdone, overacted, underdeveloped), someone else read that, cribbed its usage, then two people cribbed it from that writer, and then two.. you get the point. It’s a lazy journalistic meme that was last applied to Brad Pitt’s Troy and which you’re sure to see in reviews of “Alexander”.

The fictional biography (?) of Alexander the Great, this Oliver Stone owes its existence to “Gladiator” and owes a debt of gratitude to whoever pulled the plug on Baz Luhrmann’s planned biopic covering the same subject. This one though presents some challenges in marketing. Present it as too heavy and you risk losing the audience just looking for mindless entertainment while resting their feet after doing their Christmas shopping. Present it as too light and all Oscar-potential credibility is lost.

The Poster

Most of the principle cast appears in profile. I like the look of the poster, which has an almost marble feel to it, but it would have been better if they had gone the full nine yards and made it a marble relief. Just my opinion. One problem, Val Kilmer (to the left of Colin Farrell) looks like Matthew Perry from “Friends”. “Could this toga BE any looser?”

The Trailers

Most of the first trailer involves horses riding past a narrator and some of the more action-ey scenes. The second shows even more action and features voice-overs from various characters describing how legendary or powerful Alexander is. Neither is particularly stirring or appealing. They both give glimpses of the reach of the movie in terms of Alexander conquering so much of the known-world, but how many snap-cuts from military conquest to intimate (and I mean that in the best Rosario Dawson-esque sense of the word) do we actually need?

The Website

Back in my column for Spider-Man 2, I said “I’m as big a fan of Flash as anyone, but after a while you begin to realize that the full potential of the tool really hasn’t been utilized by anyone out there”. Well, they’re starting to get the idea.

First off, there is a “lite” version of the site that first greets you, allowing people quick access to some features if they don’t want to enter the full Flash-based site. This is great as it provides a simple way for a visitor to view the trailer, or read a synopsis without navigating through all sorts of information that isn’t important to them.

For those of us trying avoid work, er, I mean trying to thoroughly research for our column, entering the full site opens up a ton of features that are well produced if still a tad overly slick.

Very detailed Production Notes as well as backgrounds on the Cast and Filmmakers can be found under “About the Film”. The Prod. Notes especially contain a small textbook’s worth of material. At one point I actually started daydreaming on how to ask out the girl in my sixth-period Science class it was so in-depth. All aspects of the production are covered over the course of about seven or eight sections.

“Making of Alexander” contains a preview of the “Making of Alexander” book with the ability to download the entire first chapter as a PDF document as well as a link to buy the book. I love the free chapter idea as it’s a great tease for those who may be on the fence and are looking for something really flashy for Christmas. There’s also a great feature on the Costumes where you can view the final product compared to the production design sketch.

An extensive Photo Gallery as well as the Trailer and two TV Spots are in the “Media Section”, although the TV spots were still listed as “Coming Soon” when I visited the site. Also on its way is a trailer for the Game based on the movie. Really? There’s a game? Why? There’s also a cool interactive feature called “Life of Alexander” which allows you to see how the various characters are connected. The navigation leaves a bit to be desired (you can’t go back at all and there really aren’t any bios on these people) but it is a great use of Flash.

“Downloads” has a wide array of posters, wallpaper, AIM icons, and other multimedia goodies. There’s also a Game Demo. Once again – Really? There’s a game? Why? Other sections that aren’t quite ready for prime time are “Timeline” (presumably a timeline listing the real Alexander’s achievements) and “Game” (probably a snark-ridden column written by a 30-year old wise ass. Wait, that’s this column. Shit.).

Overall

One thing that I noticed was lacking from the campaign is any mention or allusion to the homosexual themes or elements that have been so widely reported. It’s not that surprising since, despite there not being anything wrong with that, the current social and political environment isn’t exactly welcoming toward, shall we say, alternate lifestyles.

All the marketing materials play up the epic scope of the tale and actually seem least effective when it dials that down to personal relationships. For a large-scale big budget major studio release, this one may come down to good old fashioned word of mouth. If people are sufficiently impressed by the visuals and not turned off by whatever themes may run throughout the movie then it may be successful. My guess is it will under-perform at the box office, but we can expect to see a major push in connection with a potential Oscar nomination.

View from the Rental Counter: 11/22/04

Mainstream
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004)
MPAA: PG
Budget: $130M
Gross: $250M (just shy)
DVD Formats: 2 Disc set (Widescreen or Full Screen formats)
Market: The same friggin’ mix of preteens and baby boomers who feel reading the books and seeing the subsequent movies helps them hold on to their youth. This one will be gone from your local rental store faster than you can say “muggle”, whatever the hell that means.

The Terminal (2004)
MPAA: PG-13 (brief language and reference to drugs)
Budget: $60M
Gross: $77M
DVD Formats: 2 disc set (widescreen or full screen) or 3 disc set
Market: Everyone with a pulse but they will be making a concerted effort to bring in all the people (and based on the box office there were quite a few of you) who missed this in the theater. It’s the perfect piece of candy corn for a cool fall evening, much more so than escapist summer entertainment.

Sleepover (2004)
MPAA: PG
Budget: $10M
Gross: $8M
DVD Format: Widescreen
Market: Wait a minute: This is directed by Joe Nussbaum? The same Nussbaum who wrote and directed George Lucas in Love, one of the funniest things in recent years? What the hell? I can’t even muster the strength…

Off the Beaten Path
Tanner on Tanner (2004)
MPAA: N/A
Budget: N/A
Gross: N/A
DVD Format: Not sure.
Market: This follow up mini-series to the original Showtime mini-series was placed on the Sundance channel right in the heat of the actual Presidential race. Considering co-creators Garry Trudeau and Robert Altman’s political leanings, this is likely to appeal more to the left-wingers in the population. Of course put those two things (Sundance channel original and politically lefty) together and anyone interested will probably have to look hard for this one and are more likely to have to go online to rent it.

Cloak and Dagger (1984)
MPAA: PG
Gross: $9.7M
DVD Format: Widescreen
Market: This is a childhood favorite of mine, which is why I’m including it here. Good fun and a wonderful performance in dual roles by Dabney Coleman. Anybody else remember this one?

Television and Box Sets
Golden Girls: Season One
Market: ………….

Star Wars: Animated Ewoks, Animated Droids and Ewok Movies
Market: Fan boys. Pure and simple. Those (like me) who want it all: anything associated with Star Wars. The only disappointment is that the animated Ewoks and Droids sets aren’t complete seasons. Instead they are “movies” that consist of four or five episodes of a story arc cobbled together. The Ewok movies are the ones that you have nightmares of, especially considering one of them stars Wilford Brimley. Run, don’t walk to your local store to pick these up.

Home Improvement: Season One
Market: The same folks who are chomping at the bit to see Christmas With the Kranks and think Jungle 2 Jungle is the end all be all. I love the TV on DVD trend as much as anybody, but what’s the replay value here? This is in contrast to…

Seinfeld: Seasons One, Two and Three
NOTE: Seasons one and two come together. Season three is sold individually but there is a “Re-Gift” box set of all three.
Market: This could go up there with the Simpsons as one of the all-time best selling TV shows on DVD. I can’t think of one good reason why everyone wouldn’t want this in their collection (and please note, that not liking the show is not a good reason as there is no reason not to like it).

Movie Marketing Madness: Christmas with the Kranks

christmas_with_the_kranks_ver2In 2001 John Grisham took a break from the legal potboilers he had become famous for – first with the novel “A Painted House” and then with what could probably be called a novella in “Skipping Christmas”. “Skipping” was the story of a man who decides to opt out of the shiny and glossy trappings of the holiday season, much to the dismay of his wife, who reluctantly goes along with his plan, as well as his neighbors. You see, his participation is needed if the street is going to win an annual decorating competition against another neighborhood.

Far from being motivated by Grinch-type hatred of the season, Grisham’s protagonist is an everyday guy. He now simply feels going through the motions of decorating the house and preparing an elaborate meal is unnecessary since their only child is away from home for the first time. If it’s just the two of them in an empty nest why bother? Eventually, through a series of plot contrivances, he does get swept up and comes to realize that he can do all the traditions (no matter how hokey) and still enjoy himself.

So how the hell did Grisham’s low-key story get turned into a slapstick-ridden movie featuring, as one of its comedic centerpieces, Tim Allen (who really was moderately funny once. Seriously. There was about 15 minutes in the early 1990’s when this happened) hosing down a cat and turning it into an icicle? I suspect the author didn’t come to a revelation in the last three years that what his story really could have used was the husband sliding down an icy roof or having water drip out of his mouth after receiving Botox injections.

Instead what I think most likely happened was an ambitious (and partially brain dead) studio executive felt he or she knew best what formula to follow to create a “holiday classic”. Take one part John Grisham name recognition, extract and discard all character development and generous portions of the story. Add Tim Allen, who has a proven if critically suspect track record in Christmas-themed films and add a splash of jokes recycled from National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. For garnish and to completely remove all flavor have Chris Columbus (who desperately needs a fatwa to be issued, not against him personally, but his career) write it and Joe Roth direct.

Christmas movies as a genre have suffered multiple slings and arrows over the last decade or so. Beginning with the first Home Alone and running right up to this years Surviving Christmas, the holiday has been used as an easy out for screenwriters to put a character in a situation where they change their life or see the error of their ways because of the general good feelings that abound in late December. Whether they are trying to get home (I’ll Be Home For Christmas with the kid from “Home Improvement”), trying to reconcile with their family from beyond the grave (Jack Frost with Michael Keaton, who also deserves better) or do the right thing for a lonely kid (last year’s horrible Bad Santa), the characters in Christmas movies are always trying to better themselves.

Just last month the inspirational Christmas movie club got it’s newest member in Surviving Christmas, the widely panned Ben Affleck vehicle (which I haven’t yet seen). You may notice the similarity between Affleck’s flick and the source novel for Christmas With the Kranks. The title of the latter was, no doubt, changed to avoid confusion in the minds of the public (we are exceedingly stupid of course). But why change the name of an existing property? I can only guess at the legal brinksmanship and deals that resulted in a decision that, to my mind, makes no sense.

I know that movies are often misrepresented by their marketing materials. I’ve been writing a column for another site for a few months now specifically devoted to the marketing of movies and have gotten burned badly in the past (I’ll never forgive the people who convinced me to see Nicholas Cage’s Snake Eyes) so I am often wary whenever I see a new trailer. However, taking Grisham’s book and selling it’s adaptation on the basis of pratfalls and slapstick humor seems to be the wrong call to make.

They have taken the pains of changing the name, so why not actually present The Kranks as an actual alternative? If physical humor and Allen’s antics aren’t the centerpieces of the move, then leave them out of the trailers and such. Play up the similarities to Grisham’s book instead of highlighting portions of the movie bearing no relationship to the movie. Then you can actually appeal to the same group that enjoyed the book. For all I know 90% of the movie may adhere to the story Grisham laid out and these scenes are culled from the 10% where Columbus and Roth exercised their “artistic license. Audiences stayed away in droves from watching Ben Affleck get hit in the head by a shovel. If the makers of The Kranks have misrepresented the movie and it meets the same fate, they have no one but themselves to blame.

So my recommendation to everyone is to seek out the book (without the lame movie tie-in cover if you can find it). Spend a few hours reading it. It’s short and not exactly up there with Dickens, but well written and despite the sap that does bleed through charming. The time you spend reading will certainly be more enjoyable and better for you than watching Tim Allen act, well, cranky.

Weekly Wrap-up 11/19/04

 

Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
Yahoo! Movies has posted the teaser trailer. Am I the only one worried by the distinct lack of tongue-in-cheekness to this?
Batman Begins
EA Games has announced they will be producing a tie-in video game for the upcoming movie.
There will reportedly be a new trailer attached to Ocean’s Twelve.
Elektra
The movie’s website has updated with a bunch of new features. The site continues an annoying trend for 20th Century Fox flicks – The trailer is only in QuickTime.
Be Cool
MGM has launched the movie’s official site.
Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith
TheForce.net has obtained scans of upcoming promotional items from Burger King.
Assault on Precinct 13
FilmForce has linked to the teaser trailer for this cult-classic remake.
Constantine
Click over to MTV for a first look at the poster. Quite frankly I don’t think it’s particularly spooky looking for a supernatural thriller.
Fantastic Four
SuperHeroHype reports that a first look at Dr. Doom in full armor will appear in this weeks Entertainment Weekly.
Spider-Man 2
TV spots have started airing for the Nov. 30 DVD release. Remember how most of the reviews, almost all of which were positive, praised this movie for it’s deep and honest emotional core? Forget about it because all the commercials show is Action! Action! Action!
Charlie & The Chocolate Factory
The site consists solely of a teaser poster for the Johnny Depp starring and Tim Burton helmed adaptation, but it’s great. I’m so glad it’s Burton at the wheel for this.

Revenge of the Sith teaser poster

I’ll kick this off with the latest (and reportedly last) entry into my favorite film cycle of all time, Star Wars. To date two materials have been released to the general public for Episode III – Revenge of the Sith: the teaser poster and a trailer. The poster works for me, but not as a movie poster. Honestly, this looks like the cover to the comic book adaptation. The teaser poster for Ep. I worked because it played up the story that would be unfolding over the next three movies, namely that of this small boy turning into Darth Vader. The sheet for Ep. II similarly used the image of Anakin and Padme divided physically by the Jedi Code to highlight the emotional core of the movie (even if it did make Hayden Christiansen look like he had a bruise on his jaw).The trailer relies heavily on nostalgia for the first series of movies (the ones we grew up with and Lucas has endlessly futzed with in the last decade) to draw people in, devoting the first third to half of the running time to scenes from A New Hope. This is the wrong time to do that, George, as your core audience is still fuming that you can’t keep your hands off the editing software with the recent DVD release and the previous Special Editions. After it gets off the past, though, the trailer does kick into high gear with scenes of a large capital ship space battle, a couple shots of masses of honked-off Wookies and, just because it was viewed as a highlight of Ep. 2, two or three views of Yoda wielding his mini-lightsaber. I can tell you that I think this is great as a teaser since it contains no dialogue and really does just tease at the entire movie, not just one or two scenes. I’ll be revisiting Revenge of the Sith quite a bit over the next few weeks and months as we get closer to the May 2006 release.

Movie Marketing Madness: Bridget Jones – The Edge of Reason

bridgetmmm05storyDespite a few roles in some moderately notable movies, Renee Zellweger arguably arrived in full force as the woman who “completed” Tom Cruise’s Jerry Maguire. Since then she has consistently made movies that show her trying to tread the same path as Meg Ryan before her by alternating quirky romance and comedies with prestige projects such as Cold Mountain.

Barring Cameron Crowe writing “Maguire 2: Electric Boogaloo”, the role of Bridget Jones presented her with her one chance at a “signature” character. I personally didn’t see it as I had to help negotiate an ultimately fruitless peace negotiation between the voices in my head at the time. Priorities.

The Poster

The look on Zellweger’s face is one that I had a hard time coming up with a way to identify. Is it exasperated? Is it shocked? I couldn’t find a good word for it, but do know that the look will pop up again later.

Two more points: 1) Renee looks skinnier on the poster than in the trailer. Obviously a story about a slightly overweight neurotic is fine but the marketers shied away from an actual picture of one. 2) The lettering is in pink and purple, much like all the rest of the “chick-lit” books that followed the publication of Bridget Jones’ Diary. This is good since it allows for easy identification for any otherwise confused men as something they should be afraid of.

The Trailer

Renee Z acts wacky while Colin Firth acts stuffy. On the plus side it looks like Hugh Grant may get the snot kicked out of him at some point. I’d pay at least $3.50 for that alone. Anyway, the trailer is standard rom-com fare with embarrassing situations and what-not, showcasing moments from a half-dozen set pieces scattered throughout the film.

The Website

At first I was surprised by how rich and full the website seemed to be, but then as I thought about it, I wasn’t as much. I’ll explain why later.

The “Movie” section leads things off with a Synopsis (which doesn’t include anything about Hugh Grant shuffling loose this mortal coil unfortunately) and bios/filmographies of the Cast & Crew. “Production” is subdivided into five or six segments for those visitors with the attention span of a rabid ferret.

Music from the soundtrack is playing constantly while viewing the site and visiting the “Soundtrack” section lets you listen to a snippet of each song from the album, including Annie Lennox joining Sting in a remake of his song “We’ll Be Together”. I now have to go slam my head into a brick wall. Feel free to do the same.

“Photo Gallery” contains lots of shots of Renee Z. making that embarrassed/shocked face from the poster and trailer. As badly as this reactive form of acting may work on screen it’s that much worse in still photos. Wallpaper, AIM icons and a ScreenSaver can be found in “Downloads” and “Trailer” is where you can go to find a Korean War era instructional film on how to avoid venereal disease.

There are four sections of the site that actually exceeded my expectations. “Men”, “Friends”, “Family” and “Career” were, I thought, going to contain character profiles that would emphasize quirks and how those people have plagued poor Bridget. Instead these sections are rich in content that, if not especially substantive, is more so than I initially believed.

“Men” is where you will find games such as a Culture Quiz (test your useless pop-culture knowledge), Which One Are You? (where you can find out which character you’re most like, Grant’s or Firth’s) and my favorite – Downhill Disaster. It’s a skiing game where you guide Bridget down a ski slope. Each time you run into an obstacle the Embarrassment Meter grows. This is too corny to adequately explain and you really should check it out yourself.

The other three parts are slightly less fun. “Friends” contains a Relationship Cocktail, where you get to project all your own neurosis and some E-cards. A fairly slick feature can be found in “Career” that enables you to essentially create your own trailer by pasting four segments of the movie together. It then intersperses text between the clips. Finally “Family” contains an Embarrassment Timeline featuring Bridget Jones’ greatest embarrassing moments with audio.

Overall

The campaign, as well as the movie, relies heavily on recognition of the first. Otherwise people are not going to know the back-story on Bridget’s relationship with Hugh Grant or just what she had to go through to get Colin Firth.

There’s something here for all straight men to be offended by and for all women to be attracted to. Bridget acts as a surrogate for the insecurities and neurotic tendencies of all women, allowing them to laugh at themselves. This is why I ultimately was not surprised that the website was so full. It’s perfect for women to get involved in Bridget’s world by seeing just how embarrassing she can be.

Movie Marketing Madness: The Incredibles

incredmmm01storyIn this space I have, albeit grudgingly, reviewed the campaigns for the latest two animation offerings from Dreamworks, a studio which, given its credentials, should be producing high quality entertainment for the whole family. Instead it has given us both Shrek movies and Shark Tale. Someone in that office needs to review their mission statement.

Pixar, however, has stepped in to offer the proverbial cold (but not too cold) rich full lager to an audience that has had nothing but Meister Brau thrown at them since its last offering arrived in Finding Nemo. Having built a reputation over the course of its first five movies as a studio who knows how to tell a good story for all ages, expectations are high for “The Incredibles”.

The Posters

There are quite a variety of posters, some featuring the entire team/family of The Incredibles and some showing an individual. All follow a consistent theme using the red background. There’s really not too much going on in the posters but all do make a point to remind the viewer the movie is from the “Creators of ‘Finding Nemo’”, a line which will be used over and over again.

The Trailers

Three trailers can be found, one teaser and two theatrical versions. The teaser uses almost exclusively the scene of Mr. Incredible struggling valiantly to get into his costume, which he has grown too big for. It’s a funny bit and is effective at setting the general tone by showing the tongue-in-cheek look at superheroes the movie takes.

The two theatrical versions use bits and pieces of this scene but intersperse bits of humor and, surprisingly, genuine action into the mix. Actually, I’m not that surprised by it. Go back and rewatch “Nemo” or even “Toy Story” and see how harrowing some sequences can be. Pixar doesn’t seem to shy away from bringing audiences to the edge of their seats, but they seem to be actively trying to appeal to a different audience with this rather than just trying to lure the kids who bought stuffed fish at the Disney Store back in.

The Website

Just like the refrigerator in my house dedicated to beer, this website is fully stocked. Even so, it plays more to the kids than the other aspects of the campaign. There are a bunch of portions to the site that just went active this final week before opening so if you visited previously, head on back for new features.

By selecting any of the characters which appear on the main page, you can access their Profile, including video segments. These clips are a nice mix of footage from the trailers and new stuff. Watch the one for Holly Hunter’s Elastigirl for an especially nice performance. The profiles also include stats like you would find on a baseball card or in those cool “Handbook to the Marvel Universe” books that I use to…. I mean.. comics? Who collects comics?

“Video” contains all three trailer flavors, a couple of the TV spots (which work pretty well, but the time constraints really are felt), a behind-the-scenes featurette and access to the same Profiles found elsewhere. There is also a funny bit entitled “1st in Line” detailing the fictional travails of the first person in line for the movie. It’s a nice take on those folks who put on the Darth Vader mask and, I don’t know, quit their jobs for two months to make sure they can buy a ticket. Check it out for a chuckle.

The standard fare is under the “About the Film” section in the form of Story, Cast & Crew and Production Notes. There is also a heading for Partners which has the logos for those companies who ponyed up a few extra bucks. There are no links to those companies or descriptions on what kind of licensed products you can buy from them, so I really see this as a missed opportunity on their part.

“Games” includes three, well, games – two of which are actually kind of fun if you are supposed to be working and instead have convinced your co-workers you need to do this kind of thing to research a website because you think you’re some sort of high-falutin’ “columnist”. This may just be me, though. IncrediColor is just a standard “painting” application but Know Your Strength and Picture Yourself As A Superhero are pretty amusing so check them out.

“Downloads” is chock-full of the latest in things to occupy your time, hard-drive and printer. There are too many to list so check it out yourself if you really need to print out a Mr. Incredible mask or logo iron-on. Finally, “Gallery” has a section for images from the movie or click on “Bob’s Study” to view the memorabilia adorning Mr. Incredibles’ study in the movie.

Overall

I’m a bit surprised that the most kid-friendly aspect of the campaign is in the website. Its interactivity is a natural for the surf-proficient pre-teen but the problem is what is going to drive them there? The trailers play more to adults with their action sequences, only really speaking to kids when they reference Pixar’s previous movies. I get the feeling this is purposeful as the message of the movie will likely resonate more with parents than their children.

Releasing this in Oscar-contender heavy November and not blockbuster-fodder laden July is an interesting choice and may have been a move by Pixar to distance themselves from Dreamworks’ two stink-bombs. Every part of the campaign references Pixar’s previous efforts (except for “A Bugs Life”) so they are clearly trading on the goodwill they’ve built up over the years, a solid if uninspired move to bring people in.