Summer 2010 may be over and Oscar season has all but begun with the highly anticipated debuts of Never Let Me Go, The Way Back, 127 Hours, and The King's Speech (all four screened at the Telluride Film Festival last weekend), with more to come (e.g., The Social Network), but multiplexes will have their share of non-serious, non-Oscar-bait films that will likely draw bigger audiences than those (and other) Oscar hopefuls. They're meant to be entertaining crowd-pleasers, not serious-minded thought-provokers. Moviegoers will judge them both on those expectations and their individual merits.

Megamind, DreamWorks Animation's second animated film this year (How to Train Your Dragon was the first), borrows heavily from the Superman mythos, but instead of one alien infant saved from the destruction of his planet by a fortuitous rocket ship, Megamind has two, a Superman-like superhero, Metro-Man (voiced by Brad Pit) and Megamind (Will Farrell), a big-brained, blue-skinned alien who's the long-suffering supervillain to Metro-Man's swaggering superhero. A Lois Lane knock-off, Roxanne Ritchie (Tina Fey), provides Megamind with another foil for his antics.

The first teaser introduced the main players and the central premise, but didn't go much further. The second trailer and the extended Comic-Con footage gave away a major first-act plot twist, one that seemed to peg Megamind too intense and disturbing for small children, but the third trailer gives away yet another major plot point, one I suspected would happen given Megamind's status as a family-oriented film. Still, it gives away far too much. Studio marketers should take note: when working with a twist-heavy storyline, keep the plot revelations to a minimum.

Here's the third Megamind (as expected, spoiler alert is on):



Over the last decade, the Saw franchise has been a movie studio executive's dream of, combining low production costs (cheap, little-known actors, with the exception of Danny Glover's supporting turn in the first entry) with consistently high box-office returns. The Saw franchise has staked out (pun definitely intended) Halloween, pushing other horror films aside much to the displeasure of some horror fans (I include myself in that number). I gave up on the Saw franchise after the third entry (I think). Saw is all about the central villain's (and his acolytes') convoluted plots and over-complicated traps. Franchise fans haven't seemed to mind, but with box-office returns steadily fading, Lionsgate turned to 3D to bring audiences back to multiplexes.

As you'll see the trailer really plays up the 3D gimmick, but Lionsgate and its marketing team are keen to differentiate Saw 3D (a.k.a. Saw VII) from the other 3D films that have been released in the wake of Avatar's record-breaking box-office run, alerting trailer watchers that Saw 3D was filmed using actual 3D cameras and not the post-conversion process heavily criticized by critics and bloggers since the Clash of the Titans remake hit movie theaters this past April.

And here's the gimmick-laden trailer for Saw 3D:



Lastly, Summit Entertainment has released a clip from Red, the adaptation of comic-book writer Warren Ellis and artist Cully Hamner's three-part miniseries for Wildstorm, a DC Comics. The big-screen adaptation, an action-comedy that veers away significantly from the miniseries dark, grim tone, stars Bruce Willis, Morgan Freeman, John Malkovich,and Helen Mirren as retired members of a CIA hit squad reunited for one last mission. Karl Urban, the new Judge Dredd, plays a CIA agent ordered to track the reassembled team and eliminate them with extreme prejudice. Mary-Louise Parker plays the obligatory romantic interest.

This particular clip from Red features Oscar winner Mirren cleaning up Bruce Willis' character after a particularly bad encounter with one of his opponents. It's a character-revealing, not action-oriented moment, but it'll give you a good feel for Red's light, blackly comic approach:



So what did you think of the trailers and the clip? Good, bad, or indifferent? Will you see one, two, or all three films theatrically? Or will you skip all three and wait for them to hit DVD/Blu-Ray or cable?

Red hits multiplexes October 15th, Saw 3D on October 31st, and Megamind on November 5th.