Here's something you kinda need to know about Ang Lee's Gemini Man, which features an older Will Smith being hunted by a younger version of himself: that's not just Will Smith facing off against a digitally de-aged version of himself. That's an entirely CGI Will Smith, its movements captured by the actor and combined with a whole shitload of pixels to bring the younger Smith to life.
I didn't really understand this the first time I heard it, but if you're curious, they elaborate more on the process in this behind-the-scenes featurette that went out yesterday:
In the wake of the film's first trailer, most people assumed they were seeing a far more common CGI magic trick, which is probably why Paramount decided to release that featurette before launching the film's second trailer. This is an entirely different sort of VFX magic trick, and presumably an extremely expensive one. Why didn't they just have Will Smith act out both roles for the camera, and then digitally manipulate the head on one of them? Because Gemini Man was directed by Ang Lee, my friends, and Ang Lee loves virtually nothing as much as he loves bleeding-edge VFX tech (and he's damn good with it, too).
So, now armed with this knowledge, check out the second trailer for Gemini Man, and see if you're not more interested than you were after the first trailer:
Hm. Well, I'll tell you what: the VFX that've been brought to bear on that all-CGI Will Smith are truly impressive - there's nary a whiff of the uncanny valley effect that's plagued other, similar effects work (coughPolarExpresscough) - but I still can't say I'm sold on this one. The new Gemini Man trailer showcases a bit more of that famous Will Smith charm than the first trailer did, once you get bored scrutinizing the faux Smith for flaws...the rest of it looks kind of bland? A little flat? This still feels very much like a number of other movies we've seen before, only this time they've got a fancy new CGI trick anchoring the action. It's nice and all, but one can't help but wonder if this particular trick couldn't have been deployed in support of a less-familiar narrative.
Anyway, here's an official plot synopsis:
"Gemini Man is an innovative action-thriller starring Will Smith as Henry Brogan, an elite assassin, who is suddenly targeted and pursued by a mysterious young operative that seemingly can predict his every move. The film is directed by Academy Award®-winning filmmaker Ang Lee and produced by renowned producers Jerry Bruckheimer, David Ellison, Dana Goldberg and Don Granger. Also starring are Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Clive Owen and Benedict Wong."
And here's a new poster:
What do y'all think? Are you impressed by the all-CGI Smith? Is it enough to sell you a ticket? How do you feel about everything going on in this trailer that isn't a CGI Will Smith? Sound off in the comments below, and stay tuned for more on Gemini Man as we work our way towards the film's October 11th arrival in theaters.