REVIEW: The Man From U.N.C.L.E. trailer

Logo for The Man From U.N.C.L.E. movie

Logo for The Man From U.N.C.L.E. movie

The Man From U.N.C.L.E. teaser trailer debuted Wednesday night. There were at least a couple of surprises. And one possible James Bond homage.

To be specific:

–0:04 mark: Henry Cavill’s Napoleon Solo, in the back seat of a vintage car, asks, “Are they still following us?” He employs dramatic pauses similar to the original Solo, Robert Vaughn. Why is that surprising? Cavill has said he never watched an episode of the original 1964-68 series. Meanwhile, Brit Cavill sounds convincingly American (not surprising given how he played Superman in 2013’s Man of Steel).

–Armie Hammer, as Illya Kuryakin, has a strong Russian accent. It’s much stronger than David McCallum, the actor who originated the part, ever displayed.

–The homage? Around the 1:00 mark, CIA agent Solo and KGB operative Kuryakin fight in a rest room, demolishing it. That’s extremely similar to the pre-credits sequence of the 2006 James Bond film Casino Royale, the rebooted 007 movie where the British agent records his first kill.

According to the trailer, the year is 1963. An unknown criminal organization “with ties to former Nazis” is said to have built an atomic bomb. This forces the United States and Soviet Union to cooperate — even to the point of assigning Solo and Kuryakin, shown here as being foes, to work together.

Obviously, this just a taste of the movie. It doesn’t have familiar U.N.C.L.E. memes such as the secret headquarters, because U.N.C.L.E. hasn’t been formed yet. At the very end of the trailer, we catch a glimpse of Hugh Grant as Waverly. It’s hard to evaluate anything about how the actor will do playing a role originated by Leo G. Carroll.

The trailer, in effect, was the first “official” U.N.C.L.E. production since the 1983 TV movie The Return of The Man From U.N.C.L.E. It’s interesting. You can’t evaluate an entire movie based on a trailer, of course. For those who welcome a new take on U.N.C.L.E., there’s nothing to be discouraged about. For those who wanted the series left alone, they likely won’t be reassured.

GRADE: Incomplete. But we’d like to see more. You can view the trailer below:

UPDATE: Missed this the first three times, but at 1:08 mark, Kuryakin appears to be using a preliminary version of what would become the U.N.C.L.E. Special on the television series.

1:19 mark: another Vaughn like delivery by Cavill: “This could get a little messy.”

1:57 mark: possible homage to the original series and the third-season opener, The Her Master’s Voice Affair.

UPDATE II: Warner Bros. has yanked the video we embedded.

UPDATE III: This embedded video still works.

UPDATE IV: Could this be the movie’s version of the U.N.C.L.E. Special?

Armie Hammer with a weapon that looks like an U.N.C.L.E. special

Armie Hammer with a weapon that looks like an U.N.C.L.E. special

UPDATE V: The official WEBSITE FOR THE MOVIE is now up.

UPDATE VI: Daniel Pemberton, who composed music for the film, says via Twitter the trailer doesn’t contain his score.

Year of the Spy: Warner Bros. dodges M:I 5

Tom Cruise

Tom Cruise

Paramount’s decision to move Mission Impossible 5 up to late July has caused Warner Bros. to change its summer release schedule — but not (at least for now) its movie version of The Man From U.N.C.L.E.

Warners had its Point Break action movie slotted for July 31. That was before M:I 5, with star-producer Tom Cruise, was placed on the same date after originally being scheduled for Dec. 25.

So now, Warners has moved Point Break to Dec. 25, according to the BOX OFFICE MOJO WEBSITE. Thus M:I 5 and Point Break have swapped their original release date.

The Man From U.N.C.L.E., also from Warners, is still slotted in for Aug. 14, just two weeks after M:I 5. Thus, movies based on two 1960s spy shows still will debut just a fortnight apart.

‘Year of the Spy’ gets a shakeup: M:I 5 moved up 5 months

Tom Cruise

Tom Cruise

The “Year of the Spy” has just been shaken up. Tom Cruise’s Mission: Impossible 5 has been moved up five months to July 31 from Dec. 25, according to the BOX OFFICE MOJO website.

The move gets M:I and its star-producer out of the busy Christmas season, which includes Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens on Dec. 18. Paramount, the studio behind the M:I movies, rescheduled a movie called Monster Trucks to Dec. 25 from May 29.

M:I’s new release date may also be bad news for Warner Bros. The studio has an action movie called Point Break due out on July 31 and The Man From U.N.C.L.E. two weeks later, on Aug. 14.

The U.N.C.L.E. movie was given the mid-August date after being rescheduled from Jan. 16. Warner Bros. ended up giving a wide release to American Sniper in mid-January, and it has been a big hit. The question now is whether Warner Bros. will be tempted to change U.N.C.L.E.’s release date again.

Of course, Cruise originally had been attached to the U.N.C.L.E. movie to play Napoleon Solo. He pulled out to concentrate on the new M:I movie, with Henry Cavill accepting the Solo role.

Our U.N.C.L.E. memo to Mr. Warner

Henry Cavill and Armie Hammer with props that won't be in the U.N.C.L.E. movie (Art by Paul Baack)

Henry Cavill and Armie Hammer with props that won’t be in the U.N.C.L.E. movie
(Art by Paul Baack)

Updates and corrects to say the almost identical image appeared in Empire magazine.

To: Mr. Warner of Warner Bros.

From: The HMSS Weblog

Subject: The Man From U.N.C.L.E. movie

According to THE COLLIDER WEBSITE your publicity department released what was described as “the very first” U.N.C.L.E. movie image.

The image? Henry Cavill as Napoleon Solo and Armie Hammer as Illya Kuryakin relaxing with drinks on a terrace in Rome, looking at the camera while Alicia Vikander looks off to the side.

That’s it? It’s almost identical to an image that appeared in Empire magazine and which was posted on sites such as COMIC BOOK MOVIE in August. The MOVIENEWZ SITE, which originally posted in February about the movie, added the image to its gallery of pictures related to the film .

The “official” still is merely photographed from a (slightly) different angle.

We’d be the first to acknowledge, Mr. Warner, your studio faces some interesting challenges marketing the U.N.C.L.E. movie. While it’s based on the 1964-1968 television series, that show has only been seen sporadically in syndication. That means younger viewers haven’t had the opportunity to get exposed to it compared with other old shows such as Star Trek.

Also, one of the aspects about the original show was it was about a multi-national organization where an American worked with a Russian during the Cold War. But others have latched on to that idea.

For example, Kingsman: The Secret Service, coming out in February, turned MI6 of the original comic book it’s based on into a mysterious international organization. It even has a secret entrance similar to U.N.C.L.E.’s.

Your movie, meanwhile, is an “origin” story, focused on Solo and Kuryakin before forced to work together. It’s more like The Man Without U.N.C.L.E.

In any case, Mr. Warner, your marketing department has to build awareness. That “official” still is a little bland. We know, courtesy of Entertainment Weekly in an issue last year that there’s some intense action. We know through your own PRESS RELEASE when the movie was about to begin filming there’s conflict between Solo and Kuryakin. Heck, press photos that came out during production look more interesting that this first “official” still.

There’s still plenty of time to build buzz before the film’s mid-August release, Mr. Warner. Hopefully, the first teaser trailer will attract tension. With the next “official” image release, you may want to consider something that hasn’t already been seen. Good luck.

(Before writes in to say there is no Mr. Warner at Warner Bros., it’s a joke. There hasn’t been a “Mr. Warner” at Warner Bros. since Jack Warner sold the studio in the 1960s.)

UPDATE: Can Henry Cavill do U.N.C.L.E. sequels?

Henry Cavill as Napoleon Solo

Henry Cavill as Napoleon Solo

Adapted and updated from a June post.

File this under “getting ahead of yourself.” Still, at major companies, people are paid to think about various future scenarios. So…

Back in June we posed the question if The Man From U.N.C.L.E. movie is a success, will the lead actor be able to do any sequels?

Warner Bros. IN AN OCT. 15 PRESS RELEASE said it plans on keeping Henry Cavill busy playing Superman.

In addition to the current Batman-Superman movie now in production, Warners said it plans a two-part Justice League movie with Cavill as Superman as well as another Superman solo film the actor.

The studio also controls U.N.C.L.E. and has a movie in post-production which will be released in August 2015.

As we stated a few months ago, you have to wonder if Cavill will have enough time to do future U.N.C.L.E. films. He played Napoleon Solo in the U.N.C.L.E. movie.

The Batman-Superman movie, which amounts to a preview of the Justice League, is scheduled to be released in March 2016. Warner Bros. says Justice League Part one will be released in 2017 and Justice League Part Two will be out in 2019. The studio didn’t disclose a planned release date for Cavill’s second solo Superman movie. The actor first played the character in 2013’s Man of Steel.

Superhero movies involve a lot of special effects and long shooting schedules. Even if Cavill signed an U.N.C.L.E. contract that secured his services for sequels, you have to wonder if he’ll have any time to squeeze future Solo adventures into his schedule.

The U.N.C.L.E. movie was shot over three months. Compare that to Skyfall, the most recent James Bond movie, that had a seven-month shooting schedule.

Again, this is looking way ahead. The U.N.C.L.E. movie hardly is assured of being a hit. It doesn’t have the name recognition of the comic book characters from Marvel and DC that are populating movies.

Still, it is something to keep in mind as events unfold in the months ahead. Whatever contracts Cavill has signed, Superman-Justice League movies are a top priority for Warner Bros. U.N.C.L.E., even if the movie is a financial success, is a secondary priority.

U.N.C.L.E. movie delayed to August 2015

Slow down, Solo. You're not being called up for another year.

Stand down, Solo. Mr. Warner says you can wait another seven months.

The Man From U.N.C.L.E. movie is being delayed by seven months to Aug. 14, 2015 from Jan. 16, according to several entertainment news sites, including Deadline: Hollywood and Comingsoon.net.

The Guy Ritchie-directed film, based on the 1964-68 television series, has underwent a series of reshoots. Initially, they were being done with a second-unit crew. But Henry Cavill, who plays Napoleon Solo, traveled from the Detroit area (where a Batman-Superman film is in production) to London to participate in a reshoot along with Armie Hammer, who plays Illya Kuryakin.

Some fans were concerned about the January release date. That’s sometimes viewed as a dumping ground for movies not good enough for the end-of-the-year holiday season. Now it’s slated for a late summer slot. By the time August 2015 rolls around, it will have been 23 months since the start of principal photography. Another chapter in The Man From U.N.C.L.E. curse?

Secret Service delayed, Batman-Superman blinks

Henry Cavill in a new publicity image

Henry Cavill in a new publicity image

As was once said of Willard Whyte, it’s like playing Monopoly with real buildings.

Movie studios have shuffled their release schedules of major movies. For readers of this blog, two shifts are of note.

Kingsman: The Secret Service, directed by Matthew Vaughn, has been pushed back from October to Feb. 13, 2015, according to A STORY ON COLLIDER.COM. The film, based on a comic book by Mark Millar and Dave Gibbons, has been marketing itself as embodying elements of 1960s James Bond films, as well as ’60s spy shows such as The Man From U.N.C.L.E.

The bigger news was that Warner Bros./DC Comics blinked, avoiding a potential confrontation with Marvel Studios/Disney. Superman V. Batman: The Dawn of Justice, is now slated to come out on on March 25, 2016.

Originally, Warner Bros. wanted the Batman-Superman film to come out in July 2015. Then, it was pushed back to the first weekend of May 2016. Marvel characters have owned the first May weekend since 2008, when the first Iron Man movie debuted. For 2016, Marvel, now part of Walt Disney Co., planned a third Capt. America movie for that weekend. Nobody thought both superhero epics would come out at the same time — and they were right.

U.N.C.L.E. figures, indirectly, into both moves. The Batman-Superman film includes Henry Cavill, who plays Napoleon Solo in Warner Bros. movie version of The Man From U.N.C.L.E., as Superman. The Secret Service — which includes some U.N.C.L.E. memes — now will come out less than a month after the U.N.C.L.E. movie’s debut in mid-January 2015.

The changed release date for the Batman-Superman film is part of a broader schedule of films that Warners/DC releases, according to the Deadline entertainment website.

UPDATE: VARIETY OFFERS AN ALTERNATE EXPLANTION for the Batman v Superman change. “(B)y moving out of May and into March, the comicbook film signals that Hollywood is opening its eyes to the fact that moviegoing can be a 12-month-a-year proposition. Now, the superhero mash-up will be the first film starring the Dark Knight not to debut during the summer, something that would have been all but unthinkable a few years ago.”

It also quotes a Warner Bros. executive as saying, “If you have a great film, people will come no matter when it’s dated.” If that’s sincere, and not just spin, perhaps U.N.C.L.E. fans might feel better about that movie’s January 2015 release date. We’ll see.

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