Last year, HBO teased us with a short clip of its upcoming movie adaptation of Game Change, John Heilemann and Mark Halperin's dishy look at the 2008 presidential race. Now, they've dropped a full trailer, focusing much more on the movie's central figure, Sarah Palin (played by Julianne Moore) but also offering tantalizing peeks at Ed Harris' John McCain. (Watch below) Produced by the creative team behind HBO's 2000 presidential drama Recount, Game Change will almost certainly be "poignant, unrelenting, and all done with comedic flair," says Jesse Carp in Television Blend. We'll have to wait until March 10 to find out, but the first full trailer is "pretty sensational." Here, four points that have commentators buzzing:
1. Moore's Sarah Palin is spot-on
It's clear from this short trailer "that we’re in for another impressive performance from Moore, whose imitation of the real-life Palin is downright uncanny," says Angie Han in /Film. "Moore is going to win any and all acting awards" for this, says Carp at Television Blend. "She captures everything we know about Sarah Palin, her look and her speech, as well as diving deeper into the actual person behind the cameras and tailor made suits." Absolutely, agrees Amanda Hasaka at Celebuzz. "We can already smell the Emmy and Golden Globe nominations (and wins, to be honest)."
2. But is it fair and balanced?
On MSNBC's Morning Joe on Tuesday, Heilemann said the film adaptation of his book offers "an incredibly balanced portrait" of Palin. Not everyone agrees. This trailer absolutely "skewers" Palin, says Politico's Caitlin McDevitt. Yeah, HBO really "backloads the Palin bashing," says Christian Toto in Big Hollywood. This clip mashes all her "infamous moments together for maximum ridicule," and Moore's biased take on Palin "sprang to life from a Paul Krugman op-ed." I disagree, says /Film's Han. Moore "draws the polarizing Palin as a three-dimensional figure, neither demonizing nor glorifying her."
3. The rest of the cast looks great, too
Inevitable controversy aside, says Madeleine Davies in Jezebel, "hats off to the Game Change makeup department for making Ed Harris and Julianne Moore look so much like McCain and Palin that it's scary." Yeah, "Harris looks spot on as John McCain," says Television Blend's Carp. And his evolution, from Daily Show regular to seemingly core-less politico, will be fascinating to watch. But Woody Harrelson, as top McCain political aide Steve Schmidt, is the real "Game Change game-changer," says Ray Gustini in The Atlantic Wire. I suspect Woody "will very quietly end up walking away with Moore's movie."
4. The clip's theme song is questionable
The Guess Who's "American Woman," is "fitting, if not a bit cliche," for the preview's soundtrack, says Television Blend's Carp. I'm "not a huge fan of the music," but "that's a minor point to dwell on when there is so much to love." What better tune is there for this "really fun walk down memory lane," asks Garth Johnston in Gothamist. I award "serious bonus points" to whoever chose it. The only downside is that "we're going to spend the next month hoping the movie will include a Pretty Woman–style shopping sequence..."