Is Tom Hanks Old Yeller in Stephen Daldry’s Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close? It seems likely. Honestly, it’s surprising that it’s taken ten years for Hollywood to make a film that uses (and perhaps exploits) the tragedy of September 11, 2001 to make a movie about death (and perhaps a chance to feel good about being alive). Hanks stars with newcomer Thomas Horn, and vets like Sandra Bullock, John Goodman, Viola Davis, and James Gandolfini. Take a look at the trailer…

If this trailer says anything it’s that the film is Oscar bait, and since Extremely Loud is coming out in limited release on Christmas day, that’s no surprise. This film was made to be “in contention” – as has everything that Stephen Daldry has directed. The question is if it’s shameless emotional manipulation or effective emotional manipulation. Regardless, you can’t make a movie about a dead dad and 9/11 and not be the cinematic equivalent of chopping onions.

And frankly this trailer makes this look like bad phony uplift. Maybe it’s the appearance of Max Von Sydow as the likely holy fool/old man character, maybe it’s the use of U2 and the Bono baggage that comes with it, maybe it’s the plot device of finding a home for the key, or maybe it’s every frame of this trailer. Hard to say. But how a movie is sold is not always a reflection of its qualities. We’ll know more come 12/25/11.

Am I being too harsh to this trailer?