I got around to watching the trailer of the highly-anticipated Genevieve Nnaji film, Lion Heart yesterday.
The film has been in the works for well over a year now and many people have been terming it a game changer especially as it is what is coming next from the Nollywood superstar after her weak attempt at a comeback with Road to Yesterday.
Yes the trailer was released Paris-based film marketing giants MPM Premium. Yes, it was exclusively featured by international entertainment platform, Variety. And yes, the film will show in the Discovery section of the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF).
However, what hit me after watching that trailer yesterday was nothing more than disappointment. If Lion Heart is meant to “change” something, I honestly couldn’t see what that is in the trailer.
Sure, Nnaji ensured that some of the best hands in the industry worked on the film. Pat Nebo was the production designer, Yinka Edwards was the Director of Photography and Kulanen Ikyo was saddled with the responsibility of sound design. True, the picture you see in the trailer is beautiful. And yes darling veterans Pete Edoche, Chika Okpala, Onyeka Onwenu, Nkem Owoh all feature in this film.
But this, going by its trailer at least, feels like another empty film wrapped in expensive, shiny foil. The trailer makes you feel nothing towards the film except seeing pretty cinematography and production design is all you live for. A trailer is supposed to draw you to want to rush to the front of the queue at the cinema but this one tells you to not waste time – and maybe money – chasing after it when it is released for commercial consumption.
The indifference I felt watching the trailer was validated when I saw that the story was written by Nnaji. That story of a young woman who becomes saddled with the responsibility of running her sick father’s business under the suffocating supervision of an intensely crude and eccentric uncle will not get me racing towards the cinemas. At least, not from what I saw.
Yes, the trailer isn’t supposed to reveal a lot. But we cannot see any major battles that the young woman, played of course by Nnaji, has to fight or facing a bigger consequence than a company we have not been made to be emotionally invested in folding. There is nothing for the trailer watcher to gasp about and decide to go worry more about in the cinema. Lion Heart, for the kind of story the film is supposed to tell, just doesn’t look gripping enough. It looks bland, from this trailer.
Trailers don’t tell the whole story and that is why I still harbour some hope that this film will not turn out to be something that looks fine from afar but is actually far from fine.