After a week packed with new trailers and clips, mostly courtesy of the MTV Movie Awards, this week turned out to be one overflowing with posters. Quite a few images came through the Licensing Expo in Las Vegas, but as most were mere snapshots and consisted of incredibly simplistic designs, as most promo posters do, not many stood out enough to make the list – whether it was for good or bad reasons.
On the other hand, Apple got in on the promo poster fun and premiered one that managed to just miss the cut, the one for John Carter. While it doesn’t say much about the film, overall, this clean-cut design with the film's initials is simply nice to look at. And yes, that’s partially due to the fact that half of the design consists of Taylor Kitsch.
Barely avoiding demotion territory is the new trailer for Dolphin Tale. While my instincts tell me to roll my eyes at the majestic Morgan Freeman narration and the cute and incredibly noble kid, it’s a true story about a boy helping a dolphin; it’d make me heartless to shame this trailer, right?
1. Captain America: The First Avenger Hero Complex Poster: This one almost found itself in the demotions section for being too awesome. How’s that possible? This glorious rendering is solely for the LA Times Hero Complex Film Festival and Marvel Studios printed just 100 copies. Odds are, I’m not getting my hands on this one. The design is quite similar to a poster that achieved demotion status last week, the new poster for The Three Musketeers. Yes, this Captain America one is similar in that it’s quite busy, but the difference between this design and the one for The Three Musketeers is that elements are placed with thought. We’ve basically got four organized sections here, the Howling Commandos at the bottom, the bold title, Captain America putting a fist in Hitler’s face and then a character run-through at the top. They’re all spaced well enough that each section has room to breathe, but close enough to make the poster feel like a single design.
2. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 Poster: Speaking of posters that bring the gang together, have you seen the new Deathly Hallows: Part 2 poster? Apparently highly detailed renderings all the rage because this new Harry Potter design has a beautiful grain to it while still maintaining an incredibly degree of detail. Harry himself is front and center and who better to have by his side than a half-sized Hermione and Ron? Then, deep in the background, we have miniature representations of many other franchise good guys. They’re merely centimeters big, but I can easily spy Professor McGonagall, Neville Longbottom and many more; and it’s kind of fun, too.
3. Our Idiot Brother Poster: Clearly I have a thing for unusual design techniques because wrapping up the promotion section this week is yet another poster that ditches the standard photography for something more stylized, the poster for Our Idiot Brother. There are absolutely no bells and whistles on this one, merely Paul Rudd, some text and a pointillist design. Not only does the Weinstein Company win big in that the imagery is incredibly bold and an instant eye-catcher, but it also looks rather simple to make. I’d like to bet this poster cost a fraction of the amount it might run a studio to put together one of those floating head disasters.
Get ready for a double take because Our Idiot Brother doesn’t only earn promo status for its poster, but for its brand new theatrical trailer, too. Recently, a comedy starring Paul Rudd tends to mean cheesy romance or unfunny cheap shots for gags, but this trailer shows off the side of Rudd that we all fell in love with, the side with ability to ditch the slapstick and make us fall for a unique character. We’ve gotten so used to seeing Rudd play the average straight guy that gets mixed up with lunatics, it’s such a fantastic change of pace to see him get silly himself again. Even beyond the stringy hair, big beard and odd outfits, Rudd seems to be working with some honestly humorous material. Plus the fact that the trailer rocks a supporting cast that includes Zooey Deschanel, Emily Mortimer, Elizabeth Bands, Rashida Jones and Steve Coogan doesn’t hurt either.
1. Quarantine 2: The Terminal Poster: Now here’s an example of a visual technique that just crashes and burns. Clearly the new poster for Quarantine 2 is trying to play off the fact that it’s a found footage style film, but since when do video cameras create such a moldy green tone? Yes, the poster for the original used the hue, but in a far brighter and more effective manner. Not only is the general look of the sequel’s poster quite dull courtesy of this unappealing coloring, but that actress in the middle of it just looks downright silly. Whereas Jennifer Carpenter appears honestly terrified in the first film’s design, Mercedes Masöhn is merely going for that “be scared” look. For the sake of the actual film, let’s hope she didn’t get the same direction from helmer John Pogue because if this poster is any representation of the quality of the movie, Quarantine 2 should have gone directly to DVD.
2. The Avengers Promo Poster: Does The Avengers really even need a promo poster? Thor just hit theaters and Captain America: The First Avenger is on the way; isn’t that enough promotion? Okay, you could make the case that The Avengers is its own movie and is less than a year away, but if you’re going to make a promo poster, at least do something a little more original than cutting and pasting the characters. After spending so many years watching Marvel build their film franchise, an image uniting most of the characters you’ve grown to love should give you chills. However, thanks to this sloppy assembly, you don’t know where to focus your attention and that feeling of unity is entirely absent.
3. Harry Potter Dragon Banner: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 almost went four for four this week. We’ve got the good guys character poster, which is so fantastic it earned a spot in the promotion section, the bad guys’ version, which just missed out courtesy of Voldemort, Bellatrix Lestrange and Lucius Malfoy’s black robes as they turn the majority of the image into a bit of a black blob, a showdown banner in which the two sides duke it out and, finally, one of Harry, Ron and Hermione riding a dragon. Which one doesn’t belong? Every Deathly Hallows: Part 2 poster not only rocks the tagline, “It all ends here,” but brings the sensation of this really being the grand finale to life, too. Those two character posters pit the franchise’s armies of good and evil against one another, as does the battle banner. On the other hand, this dragon banner feels more like a lame studio attempt at showing off a CGI monster. Clearly, this franchise is better than that.