The first trailer for Oscar-winning filmmaker Robert Zemeckis’ new film Welcome To Marwen from Universal pictures wastes no time in letting us know its a different sort of fantasy film. Based on the documentary Marwencol by Jeff Malmberg, the film stars Steve Carell as a man who loses most of his memory after being beaten nearly to death. Unable to afford therapy, he finds refuge and fulfills a much-needed channel for self-expression by building a 1/6-scale World War II-era Belgian town in his yard, populating it with dolls that represent himself, his friends, and even his attackers. Zemeckis, as you may know, was recognized by the Academy for his work as director of Forrest Gump and Back To The Future.
The trailer does well translating the intrinsic melancholy and bittersweet nature of the film’s narrative tale to a visual one. As this first trailer shows, Zemeckis is going all-out for the mo-cap craziness that brings the subject’s fantasies to life. The look of this film is impressive. I love how the film uses the digital stop-motion like animation, which allows the film to transition seamlessly between the subjects fantasies and the reality of his circumstances. Carell does an excellent job in the trailers brief time of expressing the inner emotions of his character as the lines between reality and having spent far too much time with action figures as coping mechanisms, begin to crumble. Welcome to Marwen looks like an oddly charming and unique experience in a film that takes the viewer on a voyage far beyond anything like Wallace and Gromit, Gumby or any other well-known stop-motion efforts we have seen before.
Zemeckis co-wrote the screenplay with Caroline Thompson, who previously wrote films like Edward Scissorhands and The Nightmare Before Christmas. Malmberg serves as an executive producer on the project, which is Zemeckis’ second film in two years after last year’s World War II romance/thriller Allied.
The film also stars Leslie Mann, Merritt Wever, Eiza González, Gwendolyn Christie, Janelle Monáe, Leslie Zemeckis, Diane Kruger, and Neil Jackson. Welcome to Marwen opens in theaters on November 21st.