The past two weeks have seen the release of several big movie trailers, including Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Spider-Man: Homecoming, Transformers: The Last Knight, Baywatch and War For the Planet of the Apes. Joining the party is a preview for what should be one of next summer’s most anticipated films, Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk.

July doesn’t quite seem like the right time to release a serious World War II epic with all of the summer blockbuster fare typically populating theaters. (If this trailer is attached to Rogue One: A Star Wars story, perhaps the timing is intended to prepare audiences.) Plus, movies that have Academy Awards ambitions usually release toward the end of the year to stay in the minds of critics and voters. But there is some precedent for this. Saving Private Ryan was released on July 24, 1998. (However, it was robbed of the Best Picture Oscar, losing to Shakespeare in Love.)

Is Dunkirk looking to follow that same path? Based on the first full trailer, it certainly feels like we’re in store for the next great war film. Check it out:

Dunkirk tells the story of Operation Dynamo, which evacuated Allied troops from Dunkirk, France in May and June of 1940. The German army (made up of some 800,000 troops) had surrounded the city, trapping British, Belgian and French troops who were at risk of being captured or killed. Nearly 400,000 soldiers (198,000 British, and 140,000 Belgian and French) stranded on the French coast were saved as a result of the initiative, dubbed the “Miracle at Dunkirk.”

In addition to the epic landscapes and harrowing visuals of aerial attacks by the German army, Dunkirk boasts the sort of impressive cast that you might expect from a Christopher Nolan film by now. Kenneth Branagh and Academy Award winner Mark Rylance join Cillian Murphy and Tom Hardy, both of whom have been in several Nolan films. The casting of One Direction’s Harry Styles has also drawn attention, and many of his fans have noted that he appears to be drowning in this trailer. Will Harry make it out alive?

Adults go to the movies during the summer too, so maybe a serious, substantial film like Dunkirk will feel like a refreshing alternative to the rebooted Spider-Man and Planet of the Apes sequel that precede it on the July movie release schedule. That’s what Warner Brothers seems to be banking on, in addition to Nolan’s status as an A-list director whose films are must-see events.

Dunkirk is scheduled for a July 21, 2017 release.


About Ian Casselberry

Ian is a writer, editor, and podcaster. You can find his work at Awful Announcing and Asheville's Mountain XPress. He's written for Yahoo Sports, MLive, Bleacher Report, and SB Nation.