Sunday’s Super Bowl between the New England Patriots and the Seattle Seahawks had the hype and the crazy plot twists of a Hollywood blockbuster.
And that was just on the field. During the commercial downtime, studios waged their traditional battle between the futuristic worlds, dinosaurs on the loose, anthropomorphic sponges, killer robots, potty-mouthed teddy bears and parachuting cars that all lay claim to our entertainment dollars in the months ahead. How did they fare? Here are our assessments.
Release date: April 3
The spot: The “Fast” family — Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Jordana Brewster and the rest — get a nasty greeting from a vengeful bad guy (Jason Statham). Cue explosions, heavy artillery, a thumping soundtrack and cars dropping out of a cargo plane.
Did it work? Yep. The “Fast” franchise has a history of delivering eye-popping Super Bowl spots, and this one was no different. To that end, it would have been nice to see a bit more individual flair from incoming director James Wan (taking over the series from Justin Lin), but it’s a small quibble.
“Pitch Perfect 2"
Release date: May 15
The spot: The Barden Bellas are back in the a cappella game, and this time they’re taking on … the Green Bay Packers?
Did it work? Pretty much. Where else are you going to see linebacker Clay Matthews singing “Bootylicious”?
Release date: June 12
The spot: Twenty-two years after the events of “Jurassic Park” (that is, in “real time”), the park is open for business. To the chagrin of a dinosaur wrangler (Chris Pratt), there’s a new, genetically modified beast on the loose, and it’s bigger and scarier than a T. rex.
Did it work? As a reminder that a new “Jurassic” movie is coming, yes. As reassurance that “World” will bring something new to the table, not so much. Some parts felt overly familiar (uh oh, a scary dinosaur sniffing around!), and others felt silly (Pratt as a raptor whisperer?). Still, the part where a pterodactyl snatches a terrified park visitor and flies away is strong.
Release date: June 26
The spot: The hard-living stuffed bear Ted (voiced by Seth MacFarlane) and his best buddy (Mark Wahlberg) break into Tom Brady’s house to obtain a sperm sample from the unsuspecting Patriots quarterback.
Did it work? It’s crass, silly and kind of disturbing the more you think about it. Which means it’s actually quite true to the “Ted” franchise. Whether that actually means it’s funny is another matter.
“The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water”
Release date: Feb. 6
The spot: Everybody’s favorite talking sponge heads to the surface with his pals and gets a three-dimensional makeover in the process.
Did it work? For the most part, yeah. Director and series creator Stephen Hillenburg’s offbeat comedic sensibility looks to be intact, and the hybrid live-action/computer animation approach could help dust off SpongeBob, whom we haven’t seen on the big screen in more than a decade.
Release date: Feb. 6
The spot: In this medieval fantasy, a grizzled warrior (Jeff Bridges) trains a prophesied hero (Ben Barnes) to vanquish a dark queen (Julianne Moore).
Did it work? Afraid not. The pregame spot was generic as it sounds from the description. Bridges’ enigmatic other Super Bowl ad was more interesting.
Release date: May 22
The spot: A bright teenage girl (Britt Robertson) glimpses a high-tech wonderland filled with jetpacks and gleaming skyscrapers, while a jaded scientist (George Clooney) cryptically asks, “What if there was a place where nothing was impossible? … You wanna go?” Then a rocket blasts off.
Did it work? Yes. Without really giving anything away, the spot conveys a sense of the retro-futuristic adventure vibe that director Brad Bird and co-scripter Damon Lindelof (TV’s “Lost”) seem to be going for.
“Kingsman: The Secret Service”
Release date: Feb. 13
The spot: A super-spy (Colin Firth) offers a new recruit (Taron Egerton) the chance to join him in international butt-kicking. The young man accepts, entering a world of fancy gadgets, kinetic brawls, femmes fatales and — of course — copious explosions.
Did it work? Kind of. It’s a propulsive, cool-looking ad, but it doesn’t answer how or what separates this spy flick from a run-of-the-mill action adventure.
Release date: July 1
The spot: Arnold Schwarzenegger is a grizzled Terminator battling a younger version of himself and a new shapeshifting opponent (Byung-hun Lee) because, according to Sarah Connor (Emilia Clarke), “Everything has changed.”
Did it work? Er, no. Much of the footage here was previously seen in the first trailer, and what’s new doesn’t yet dispel questions about the reboot’s plot and tone, of which there are many. Like Schwarzenegger’s white-haired cyborg, the whole “I’ll be back” thing is getting a bit old.
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