If everything must be franchises, can we please revive the mystery genre? We were so sad that Guy Ritchie’s “Sherlock Holmes” blockbusters didn’t trigger an explosion of old-timey sleuth movies. With so many books, they were the original franchises! If execs weren’t going to revive some of the more forgotten Golden Age of Mysteries snoopers — like Dorothy L. Sayers’ Lord Peter Wimsey or Georges Simenon’s Maigret — we could have at least gotten some movies led by Agatha Christie’s two rock star dics: Miss Marple and Hercule Poirot. Well, better late than never. After last year’s BBC production of “And Then There Were None,” we’re finally getting a big Poirot movie: this November’s star-studded “Murder on the Orient Express.”
The new trailer sets the delicious scene: someone’s been murdered aboard a luxury train, and he’s played by Johnny Depp. And just in time for audiences to be sick of him! Perhaps his killer was his latest crush, Daisy Ridley, one of the many moneyed suspects, which also include Penelope Cruz, Michelle Pfeiffer, Josh Gad, Willem Dafoe, Judi Dench, etc. (A brief shout-out to the great Olivia Colman, who you might know from “Broadchurch” and “The Night Manager,” but who will to us forever be Sophie from “Peep Show.”)
To the rescue? Poirot! He’s played by the director, Kenneth Branagh, with an outrageous French accent and a super-impressive ’stache. (Seriously, it looks like Sam Elliott’s times two, and it could rival all the facial hair in 1993’s “Gettysburg.”) The trailer is really a teaser, but mysteries are perfect for teasers; all we need to know is that murder is afoot and someone must be nicked. If it’s as much a hit as the Sidney Lumet version was in 1976 — which had an arguably even more impressive all-star cast, not the least being Albert Finney as a very hammy Poirot — we’re totally aboard watching Branagh’s Frenchie solve more tangled Agatha Christie crimes. Long as Johnny Depp is always the victim.
One carp, though, and it’s a biggie: Imagine Dragons on the soundtrack of a fussy period piece? Yep, the kids who keep seeing “Transformers” movies are bound to fall for that.
The movie comes out Nov. 10. Watch the trailer below: