After switching over to CNN from the blessedly commercial-free PBS in search of a little more sensationalism with my debate analysis, I was immediately barraged by a new trailer for Steven Spielberg's Lincoln, after which a friend turned to me and said, "Wait, that's coming out in the theaters? I thought it was a made for TV movie or something." And the thing is, he's not wrong. Despite all the grand lead-up to the making of this film — Tony Kushner's much whispered about script, long delays partly having to do with Liam Neeson climbing aboard and then leaving to be an action star — the promotional material is so far pretty underwhelming. And, if we're honest, a little silly.
It's a matter of public record that Lincoln had a somewhat high-pitched voice, but that doesn't make it any less jarring to hear Daniel Day-Lewis' cartoon farmer lilt in these clips. It's just so in contrast to all the booming and crescendoing of the music and images of the trailer. Not that that booming and crescendoing is really very good either, in fact it's mostly what contributes to the cheese factor. The story of Lincoln is so well-known, you can't escape grammar school without at least some sketchy version of it grafted onto your brain, that we don't really need all that sweeping string music and moody imagery to convince us it's an important story. Like, it's Abraham Lincoln, we get it. All the sturm und drang makes it seem like the movie is trying to cover up for some other weakness, which is not a good message to be sending in your big trailer.