We’ve been burned so many times.
With the hindsight afforded by Alien: Covenant, Prometheus is not a BAD film by all accounts. It was, however, marred by baffling character motivations and development in favor of some memorable set pieces and a superficial obsession with the “big” questions. Still, it has nothing on its trailers, which were mini horror space operas in themselves, both gorgeous and harrowing.
Where did it all go wrong? Probably right at the beginning, if we’re being honest with ourselves. The American Hustle trailer looks and sounds great, but so did the movie, which was essentially the world’s more boring, longest Looney Tunes cartoon ever made.
I mean, c’mon. That swelling music. That Kevin Costner voiceover. That KID IN A CAPE. This is what Superman’s all about, and this trailer in a master class of a teaser: revealing all the information you need to want to watch the movie and not an ounce more. It’s a shame, then, that the entire movie had to happen.
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (U.S. remake)
The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo isn’t a terrible movie, nor an especially bad one (though it’s already aged a fair bit). What’s fair to say is, regardless of whether or not you liked David Fincher’s retelling of the Swedish thriller, this is one of the best trailers of all time. Karen O and Trent Reznor’s “Immigrant Song” cover still stands the test of time, and say what you will about the final product, the visuals here are just stunning.
Watchmen never quite lived up to its excellent trailer (and opening sequence, if we’re being fair). It was a shockingly faithful adaptation of a graphic novel once deemed unfilmable. But trailer-wise, it ruled, and an unexpected addition of Smashing Pumpkins really brings this whole thing together.
Where the Wild Things Are
Spike Jonze makes good movies, and Where the Wild Things Are was a fascinating experiment in adapting the shortest of short stories, but ultimately the whole thing felt tonally… off. This is perhaps in part due to fuckin’ Dave Eggers writing the screenplay, and absolutely has nothing to do with the fact I saw it alone on a Saturday afternoon in a theater crowded with families and children.
Still, this is a magnificent trailer. Arcade Fire’s “Wake Up” is an anthem that’ll never burn out, and, despite anything else, the creature design and art direction in this film was flawless. Put ’em together and you have one of the best trailers in modern times.
It’s hard to believe The Purge started out as a tiny horror-thriller experiment with one of the tightest, most unnerving trailers in recent memory. Those masks! That siren! It’s since spun off into one of the more enjoyable, versatile horror franchises these days, thanks to its undeniably wonderful, inexhaustible premise. But the series started with a run-of-the-mill home invasion movie that never really got off the ground, or explored any of the more interesting/disturbing parts of the setting. Ethan Hawke is a coup for a movie this boring. Thank God they gave it an excellent, deserved sequel.
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