In short: nope! Here are my top five takeaways.
1. Horse Lady
Horse lady is a big ole’ “nope” for me. At the 1:30 mark of the trailer, the veil of a woman’s hat is blown to reveal her face. It is the type of face only a mother could love… and even that is in question. Is she one of the aliens? Did the aliens do something to her to make her look that way? Am I alien shaming and setting myself up to be cancelled?
2. Yeah, Naw
Jordan Peele has had a penchant for bringing the Black experience to the forefront in his projects. Nope appears to be no different. The trailer opens with a history lesson regarding the first ever “motion picture”. The part that really sings is Keke seeing something disturbing in the distance and saying “yeah, naw”. To be clear, “yeah, naw” is quite a different expression from “naw” by itself. There is a level of understanding and acceptance that precedes the rebuke. It is saying “I have all the information that I require to understand that I am not in favor of what is set to transpire”… but with soul.
3. Kaluuya/Peele is a Winning Combo
Daniel Kaluuya is a man that acts his ass off every time he is on screen. Jordan Peele has revolutionized Black representation in the horror genre. I want to see a future where they form the next great actor/director duo. There is a Scorsese/Pacino energy in effect that cannot be ignored nor denied. Is the sample size small? Yes, but the last time they worked together (Get Out), they only brought to life the greatest script of the 21st century, so I think that is a damn good start to something special.
4. Keke Got Abducted
The trailer closes on a shot of Keke Palmer being sucked up into the heavens. I have to assume that she survives that specific encounter. So, is Keke going to save the day? Will there be Independence Day style shenanigans that leads to her figuring out how to defeat the foe? In essence, I’m saying that Keke Palmer is not allowed to lose on screen. It’s disrespectful!
5. Should We Trust the Trailer?
This is a legitimate question. Peele’s past projects have not been surface level. The trailer for Get Out fed us “hypnosis” but then revealed something more sinister. The trailers for Us gave us “cloning” but it was deeper than that. If Nope is showing us the aliens, what more is going on at the heart of the narrative? Peele may one day want to create a straightforward film that is pure entertainment, but I doubt that day has come just yet.
“Jordan Peele” plus “talented actors” equals “box office success”. The equation is clear. If the trailer was missing anything, perhaps we were waiting for a sinister remix of a hip-hop/R&B track that we’ve attached to the Monkey Paw brand. Outside of that, this trailer sets a tone and delivers an energy that will leave fans ready to collectively “nope” in theaters together.
Nope will appear in theaters domestically on July 22, 2022.