THE BOOK OF HENRY First Trailer: Neighborhood Justice, JURASSIC WORLD-Style

Managing Editor; Dallas, Texas (@peteramartin)
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THE BOOK OF HENRY First Trailer: Neighborhood Justice, JURASSIC WORLD-Style

Colin Trevorrow made his feature directorial debut with Safety Not Guaranteed, a loose-limbed and weirdly comic movie with science-fiction themes that was fresh and enjoyable.

Then he was plucked out of the indie realm to helm Jurassic World, a big and clumsy, rather soulless piece of corporate entertainment that nonetheless pleased millions of people, and then was selected to direct Star Wars: Episode IX. Before that, however, he decided to make a smaller-scale film cloaked in secrecy.

Now the first trailer for The Book of Henry has been released into the wild, and it looks like an 80s-style neighborhood-justice vengeance flick with a couple of modern twists.

First, Jaeden Lieberher is Henry, an 11-year-old genius who is, essentially, a domestic partner for his mother, played by Naomi Watts with her usual genuine and sympathetic conviction.

When Henry figures out that the girl next door (Maddie Ziegler) has an abusive stepfather (Dean Norris) -- and no one will listen to complaints about him, because he's also the police commissioner in their small town -- he decides to do something about it. Only he can't really do anything on his own, not unless his mother goes along with it ...

This is all laid out in the trailer, which is nicely cut together, even as it thunders home its messages. Sarah Silverman appears as a friend of Naomi Watts; Jacob Tremblay (Room) also stars as Henry's younger brother.

The Book of Henry will power into theaters on June 16. You can watch the trailer below; you can also click the poster below to see it in its full original size.

Am I being too harsh on what looks like a heavy-handed thriller?

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Colin TrevorrowDean NorrisJacob TremblayJaeden LieberherNaomi Watts

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Ben UmsteadMarch 30, 2017 3:00 PM

Peter, you are not being harsh enough.

chuckMarch 30, 2017 4:14 PM

Feels a lot like an over budget Lifetime movie.Again the trailer seems to give away more than it should but maybe there is some sort of twist they didn't lay out.

curtvileMarch 30, 2017 4:31 PM

While it looks nothing special it had magic words: Written by Gregg Hurwitz. Not that it would be impossible for Hollywood to screw up good scripts, but without script no usually has nothing,

cjohnstonMarch 30, 2017 5:14 PM

..Plus; has (in my beady eyes at least), - that magical elixir: reminds me of Young and Prodigious T.S. Spivet - + Naomi Watts for the win..

Peter MartinMarch 30, 2017 5:26 PM


Peter MartinMarch 30, 2017 5:27 PM

Good point on how much is given away. As you say, perhaps there is a further twist that lifts it above Lifetime level, but this is not encouraging.

Peter MartinMarch 30, 2017 5:30 PM

I'm afraid I'm not familiar with Gregg Hurwitz's past work. What has he done that you liked?

On the plus side, I enjoyed Young and Prodigious T.S. Spivot, but this seems like it's trying to be a dark and twisted version of that tale, and not working for me. Of course, that's only based on 2 minutes of footage, so we'll see what the full movie looks like.

marllMarch 30, 2017 10:05 PM

already beaten to the punch by Stranger Things?
Still, nice to see a poster recalling the heady days of Raider's of the Lost Ark... Spent many hours trying to copy that....

cjohnstonMarch 31, 2017 12:53 AM

..Thank You for that audible...
..1st (and) foremost - Sorry if I mislead You here with my admittedly poorly thought out post..
Truth be told. ..I haven't seen a bloody (not in the offensive) thing from the guy.. ...
..and except for one title (Safety); same goes for the director.
(that was - plain and simple -- just a happenstance of when my fingers subbed for my brain.
*and did - not so good of a job of pulling it off either)
~ ~ ~
it DOES have a MUCH more foreboding aura about it though.. .that's for sure.

Peter MartinMarch 31, 2017 2:15 AM

Sorry, cjohnston! I intended my question about Gregg Hurwitz to be directed to commenter curtvile.

Peter MartinMarch 31, 2017 2:17 AM

Mmm, I hadn't considered that 'Stranger Things' angle; good thought. And yes, the poster, at least, looks deliciously good.

David JonesMarch 31, 2017 11:05 AM

dennis the menace again?

cjohnstonMarch 31, 2017 6:10 PM

Perfectly Fine.

LysanderApril 12, 2017 2:27 PM

This feels like one of those stories a writer makes because he read about or knew someone that was abused, and felt helpless so he wrote a story where he was the hero and saved the kid. You know, that special sort of story where a guy learns about someone's trauma and has to tell people how that affected him.

I know this because I have written those sorts of stories when I was younger and had my head up my ass. That this guy is still writing these sorts of stories and is getting movies made about them annoys me slightly.

There seems like a lot to unpack from this trailer. I feel like writing a long wall of text, but I'll leave that for another format than a comment section.