We had some serious competition for the top three spots this week. Even though that nostalgic clicking noise in the Lego Movie trailer is an endless charmer, we’ll need more access to the story and characters before we can get behind Emmet’s mission to take down Lord Business. The Wolf of Wall Street came close, too, but the fact that this latest promo is far less refined than the last left it in middle ground. However, the first trailer for X-Men: Days of Future Past did hit the cusp of the Best Stuff and might have snagged a spot at the top if these three entries didn’t rock so much promo power.
The Best Stuff
1. Labor Day
It isn’t easy hitting an ideal amount of exposition in a two-minute trailer, but the pair of new promos for Jason Reitman’s Labor Day certainly do, and in two different respects. I much prefer the narration and dialogue-heavy edition as it creates a stronger connection to the characters and, therefore, makes the scenario far more compelling, but the second still hits all the necessary beats and leaves you needing to know the details of all the narrative’s layers.
Looking for a way to keep the holiday going? Check out this unnerving trailer for the IFC Midnight release Contracted. The opening party sequence feels familiar, but just wait for it. As soon as this promo jumps passed the contraction and into the resulting ailments, it’s disturbingly captivating.
3. The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
The Hunger Games marketing team absolutely nails it yet again, topping off their intensifying Catching Fire promotional campaign with a final trailer that raises the stakes exponentially by opening the doors to a new arena. The action, mutations and visual effects are all spot-on, but what elevates this trailer from a simple thrill to a chill-inducing promo that packs the power to stick with you well after it’s over is Jennifer Lawrence. If those last few shots don’t seal the deal for you, nothing will.
The Worst Stuff
1. Heavenly Sword
Of course you want to appease fans of the source material, but it’s a major wasted opportunity to adapt a video game to film and not target those who’ve yet to give the game a go. The fact that the trailer for Heavenly Sword looks like a video game is a major turnoff, but it’s not knowing what this sword is capable of, why judgment day has arrived, what these dark forces are fighting for or who this red-haired heroine is that really extinguishes all interest in the project.
2. Tyler Perry’s A Madea Christmas
That teaser was one thing, but after this theatrical trailer, it’s pretty clear that Madea is totally tapped. There isn’t a single funny joke in this entire promo. Period.
This one gets Worst Stuff dishonors for being a major missed opportunity. It seems as though the narrative is meant to be a total mind you-know-what, but that doesn’t mean the trailer can be. There are some really interesting characters and scenarios in play, but they aren’t stitched together in a way that facilitates a build. Instead, it’s more of just a jumbled list of things to think about.
What are your favorite and least favorite movie trailers this week?
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