March 29, 2000Screen
Lord of the Rings segments are
highlighted in orange.
Summer blockbusters: Get a sneak peek on the Web. EW Online
rates the studios' cyber battle for box office green.
Spring, schming. It's already summer on the Internet, thanks
to movie studios' eagerness to begin plugging their warm weather blockbusters months (and
even years) before they hit theaters. EW Online takes a look at the winners, the losers,
and the sites that may even be better than the movies they're meant to promote.
MOVIE Mission Impossible 2
IN THEATERS May 24
HIGH POINT Not only do you get to hear a rockin' version of the ''MI'' theme, you
get your own FBI agent identity, complete with access to communiqués, a database of
trailers and screen savers, and your very own avatar whose face, while a little creepy,
can be customized by increasing the width of the lips and nose as well as the hair and eye
color. ''Agent training'' games offer winners a chance to win ''MI'' merchandise, or just
drive themselves crazy pointing and clicking through simple tasks like repairing a
satellite circuit board by moving yellow circles, blue rods, and red squares into matching
spots on a grid. Who knew being in the FBI felt so much like factory work?
LOW POINT A cheesy retina scan is used to hold your interest while the site
uploads, and good luck remembering your number-jumbled assigned password and ID codes.
MOVIE Titan A.E.
IN THEATERS June 16
HIGH POINT The site for this animated movie about what happens after earth is blown
to bits focuses on a community-building game in which players create their own spaceships,
recruit a crew, and prepare to battle their enemy, the creepy Drej.
LOW POINT Maintaining a spaceship may be more work than fun. Every time you log on,
prepare to be warned that ''defense shields have been penetrated,'' which starts to be
more annoying than dramatic; plus, the whooshing sound of spaceship engines -- which is
played on a constant loop -- can induce an urge to use the bathroom. Though the site looks
cool, it's not so easy to navigate, you have to register to play, and there's little info
about the actual movie. Then again, how much do you need to know about a monster spaceship
IN THEATERS July 14
HIGH POINT Though the site is under construction, there are still some choice
goodies to hold your attention. After you watch the trailer, visit mutantwatch, a faux campaign website
for Senator Kelly, an antimutant crusader (and ''X-Men'' foe). Featuring all the overblown
rhetoric and patriotic cheese of a real campaign, the site provides articles about recent
mutant activity, a genetic purity test (brace yourself for failure -- it's a good thing),
and, best of all, lets you narc on your mutated friends and coworkers. Bush and Gore
should be so lucky.
LOW POINT Once you link to mutantwatch, getting back to the original site is nearly
impossible. Also, the site requires that users register and tries to hold your interest
with, yup, a retina scan.
MOVIE Lord of the Rings
IN THEATERS To Be Determined
HIGH POINT ''Lord of the Rings'' geeks, unite! Instead of luring fans with games
and doodads (though there is a customized browser to download), the lo-fi site focuses on
bringing ''LOTR'' lovers together through private clubs and chats. Fans can also submit
questions to director Peter Jackson and listen to live reports from the set.
LOW POINT The film is currently being shot in New Zealand, so you'll have to wait
for trailers. Unfortunately, the site has a tendency to crash (and freeze your computer
along with it), so proceed with Tolkien-like patience.