'ParaNorman' and Cheesy Sports Stories Lead the Best and Worst Movie Promos of the Week

'ParaNorman' and Cheesy Sports Stories Lead the Best and Worst Movie Promos of the Week

Jul 27, 2012

Peter Jackson at SDCC

You know what’s better than a week’s worth of promotional material with three pieces deserving Best Stuff honors? Even more than three that deliver big time.

Sure, there’s some concern that Man of Steel might end up being a typical Zack Snyder production with all mesmerizing visuals and little in the story department, but even if that's the case it still makes for two impressive trailers. We’ve also got a nice collection of material from The Bourne Legacy, with some clips to be exact. While the film is geared towards folks looking for a hefty dose of action, the talk-heavy "Sin Eater" and "Name" clips certainly resonate more than the other snippets we’ve seen thus far. We’ve also got a clip from Step Up Revolution, and in an obvious and appropriate move, the film’s marketing team dishes out one of the film’s prime mass-dance sequences.

Want to ditch the action and dancing in exchange for a laugh? I’m almost embarrassed to admit it, but the potty humor in this restricted clip for The Campaign is actually kind of hilarious. And while this outtake reel for The Watch is more of a montage of scenes from the film than actual outtakes, some of it is worth a watch as Ben Stiller, Vince Vaughn, Jonah Hill and my new favorite, Richard Ayoade, certainly know how to earn an unscripted laugh.

How about wrapping up this introduction with a big one that just barely missed the Best Stuff cut? The extended first look of Cloud Atlas. Really, directing trio Tom Tykwer, Andy Wachowski and Lana Wachowski couldn’t have picked a better way to introduce this wildly unique project, releasing not only an extended trailer, but a director introduction and a slew of stills, too. Looking for a breakdown of all the goodies unveiled? Check out this handy guide to all the material right here on Movies.com.

The Best Stuff

1. "Hand-Making the World of ParaNorman" Featurette: Stop-motion animation is easily one of the most impressive filmmaking techniques out there. The care and precision that goes into making a full feature through this painstaking process is absolutely incredible. Lucky for us, a handful of time lapses let us take in all the movie magic in a mere two minutes and 53 seconds rather than waiting for the filmmakers to shoot minor movement after minor movement and link them all together. On top of providing all the details -- including how a character goes from a metal figure to a complete puppet -- this ParaNorman featurette also oozes with passion, which definitely makes an audience that much more excited to catch the final product.

2. The Hobbit Production Video #8: The Hobbit’s production video collection could be a feature-length movie in itself. If you’ve got even the slightest interest in knowing what goes down behind the scenes, Peter Jackson and company delivered big time with this series. Each piece has been so informative and so personal, it’s been tough to imagine how they could possibly end their run with a bang.

However, in true Jackson form, he not only met expectations, but far exceeded them. Missed out on attending San Diego Comic-Con? The start of this video doesn’t only give you a sense of what goes on during the event, but it also gives Comic-Con veterans a look at the convention from a different perspective, one of someone who takes that stage in front of a packed crowd in Hall H. A full 15-minute video on Comic-Con would have been fine by me, but there was another milestone for The Hobbit in need of documenting: the wrapping of principal photography. Who’d have thought a featurette-type video could evoke so much emotion? The final portion of this piece has an impeccable build that wraps with a speech from Jackson that’ll give any fan chills.

3. Life of Pi Trailer: Bring on the waterworks! I’ve got no problem watching a person get ripped limb from limb in a slasher movie, but when it comes to an animal suffering a mere tumble, I’m in tears. By the looks of the trailer for Ang Lee’s Life of Pi, I’ll be bawling by the time the credits roll, but the film also looks so riveting and visually striking that there’s no way my hope to maintain a tough exterior will keep me away.

The trailer is perfectly structured, keeping the major plot points intact, telling just enough of the story to make a viewer feel as though he or she is in the know. Even more impressive -- this is all expressed without a single line of dialogue.

The Worst Stuff

1. Cheesy Sports Movies x2: Okay, I’m cheating a bit here, but I just couldn’t decide which tacky sports movie trailer deserved this honor. Sorry Battle of the Year, we just don’t need more painfully commercial 3D dance movies. Step Up’s got that covered and once Step Up: Revolution comes and goes, there likely won’t be much interest in a defy-the-odds dance movie, especially when it looks like a lame Step Up rip-off with an odd Bring It On/Dangerous Minds twist.

We make the jump from dancing to surfing with the trailer for the Gerard Butler-starrer Chasing Mavericks, and it’s equally as tacky. The trailer completely misses a beat by telling us nothing about Jonny Weston’s Jay Moriarity. Is he a seasoned surfer looking for a bigger challenge? Did he just wake up one morning and decide this was his purpose in life? And what exactly is a "maverick?" Just calling it the biggest wave in the world isn’t enough to make the story of the film important enough to tell. It’s all downhill from there, as the fact that Jay’s goal isn’t unique enough makes the tough-teacher thing come across as something we’ve seen time and time again. Un-inspirational sports movie trailers x2.

2. Bachelorette Trailer: No, not a terrible trailer, but it gets Worst Stuff dishonors for being a major disappointment. When you’ve got a cast that includes Kirsten Dunst, Isla Fisher, Lizzy Caplan and Rebel Wilson, the stakes are sky-high in the comedy department and the Bachelorette trailer just doesn’t deliver. There is something wonderfully raw about the tone that suggests this might be a more grounded version of Bridesmaids, but it’s still a comedy -- and while gags like the wedding dress ripping are amusing, there should be so much more. The pacing of the piece is a bit on the slow side and most jokes are reduced to one-liners, so hopefully when the full feature hits, we’ll get the additional zest this trailer needed.

3. Freelancers Poster: Just because a movie is skipping the big screen and getting dumped to DVD, does that really mean you abandon it all together? How hard could it be to put the slightest bit of effort into designing a poster that’s even just one notch above a Photoshop disaster? You’ve got 50 Cent, Forest Whitaker and Robert De Niro; that cast in itself calls for a somewhat thoughtful design, not a pathetic cut-and-paste job that haphazardly slaps them on a poster, makes a failed attempt at using some layer blending and then throws a filter on it to give it a painfully obvious gritty look.



What were your favorite -- and least favorite -- movie promos of the week?

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