The MTV Movie Awards isn’t only about awarding the best of the best in film (clearly); it’s also about stirring some hype via the release of trailers and clips for some highly anticipated upcoming films and, considering it aired on Sunday night, that means this edition of the feature is packed with material from the show. Of the lot, we got a taste of new material from Super 8, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 and so much more. The question is, which of these films rose above the screaming fans in audience and earned a place in our top three? Heating up the competition further, there were quite a few non-MTV clips and trailers in the running this week like new clips from Green Lantern, one of which shows the Green Lantern taking on Parallax. While the Green Lantern clips look good, I much prefer the new TV spots for Captain America, albeit not enough for them to sneak into the promotions section.
Back to that MTV Movie Awards material, while a new clip for The Help does an excellent job of setting the stage for those unfamiliar with the book, it lacks that zip necessary for claiming a spot on the promotions wall of fame. As for 30 Minutes or Less and Bad Teacher, they’re caught in a bit of a Catch-22. If the footage isn’t downright hilarious, you assume the film will be the same. But, if the clip is giggle-worthy, it begs the question, what if the studio is wasting all of the funny gags on the promotional campaign? Well, lucky for them, both fall in between the two, but, then again, that means they don’t deserve spots on this list.
If we’re talking borderline demotion, The Three Musketeers can breathe a sigh of relief because there are three worse items than its new poster. I’m all for hand-drawn renderings, but not only does its layout make it a cousin of the notorious floating head design, but it’s also dizzyingly cluttered.
So, what is the best and worst promotional material of the past week? Check out what made the cut this week below.
1. Rise of the Planet of the Apes Trailer: First off, I cannot stand this film’s new title. What was wrong with Rise of the Apes? It’s only three more words, but for a movie title, that kills its ability to just roll off the tongue. Also, I liked how the original made the film feel like its own entity rather than ride on the power of the franchise. However, this trait is very much alive in the film’s first theatrical trailer.
Whether or not you’re familiar with the other films, Rise of the Planet of the Apes boasts an incredibly intriguing tale with the power to make just about anyone curious. The trailer isn’t particularly well cut as it has no established pace and therefore no dramatic build, but, again, the material and the visuals are so mesmerizing, they get the job done with ease. Plus, this bodes incredibly well for the feature film. Rupert Wyatt clearly has an eye for visually stimulating imagery, so it should be interesting to see what he’s capable of delivering in a full feature rather than just a two-minute trailer.
2. The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1 Trailer: Say what you want about the films, but the trailer for Breaking Dawn Part 1 is exactly what it should be: gripping. Regardless of whether or not you actually like these films, at this point, if you’ve seen them all you’ve got some sort of connection to the characters as you know them quite well and this trailer uses that to its advantage. Breaking Dawn actually achieves exactly what Rise of the Planet of the Apes fails to accomplish: creating a build. Seeing the wedding invitation go from one door to the next leading up to Jacob 110% achieves the intended effect and it doesn’t even let go there. Courtesy of well-scored music, the chills not only remain, but increase as we transition to shots of the wedding. Then, that’s when it delivers the clincher, the piece that makes you want to see this movie so you can find out what happens (for folks who haven’t read the book at least), Bella’s baby bump.
3. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Clip: How many times have we seen that snippet where Voldemort says, “Harry Potter, the boy who lived. Come to die?” More than enough and now, Warner Bros. makes the smart move of letting us see it in context. Similar to The Twilight Saga, folks who’ve read the books knew this situation was coming, but for the rest of us, seeing poor Hagrid about to lose his life really solidifies how high the stakes will be. And again, like Twilight, this Harry Potter footage benefits big time from a big build. In just 29 seconds, we go from eerily calm to violently threatening so that when it peaks and Volemort unleashes his spell upon Harry, you’re absolutely desperate for more. The good thing about that here is that, unlike Twilight, we’ve only got another month to go until Harry Potter hits theaters.
1. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo: This isn’t a trailer for the masses, rather one for fans of the book and the original film and, as someone who’s yet to read the book or see the film, it does absolutely nothing for me. It’s a neat idea to have the footage move to the beat of the music, especially when it’s a rocking cover of Led Zeppelin’s “Immigrant Song,” but, in the end, without knowing much about the story, none of it resonates as it doesn’t mean anything to me. That snowy road it consistently returns to? Clearly it’s important, but I’ve got no clue why. The problem with this is that it alienates the people who’ve yet to experience the story and, personally, it’s pushing me away. While I know I’ll end up seeing it as my job requires, I’m already feeling resentful towards the piece. Hopefully a trailer that reveals a bit of the plot will be next to let the rest of us non-Dragon Tattoo experts in on the secret.
2. Mr. Popper’s Penguins Clips: Of every film hitting theaters this summer, there are two that I’m absolutely dreading and both happen to be live action-animation hybrids. Lucky for Zookeeper, no new material has hit in a bit, but two new clips just arrived for Mr. Popper’s Penguins and they’re just as frustratingly bad to watch as the trailer. Perhaps my expectations for this are just misdirected, but the film is feeling far more childish than I’d like. Watching that clip where Jim Carrey names each of the penguins reminds me of the days when I was in pre-school and toy naming ceremonies merely consisted of adding a “y” to the end of everything. Loudy and Stinky? What happened to Greta?
The worst of it all and something that quite possibly could tarnish the entire film is the design of the penguins; they’re caught between looking like cartoons and looking like real penguins. In some instances, they seem incredibly real, but then we get a moment where it’s quite clear they’re digitally inserted, specifically the shot of Stinky letting one loose on Mr. Popper’s son. Basically, this is a demotion to the extreme. Not only do I not want to see this film, I want to run as far away as possible.
3. Fright Night Trailer: Poor Fright Night. Demotion duty two weeks in a row. While I can pick out a number of specific issues like that obnoxiously cliché friend at the beginning and the use of the line, “You read way too much Twilight.” My main gripe with the new Fright Night trailer is much more of a generality; it completely lacks any sense of heart. What was so great about the original is how intimate and honest Tom Holland made this fantastical topic. Here, it seems as though the necessity to modernize the 1985 original got the best of that.
We’ve got a ton of showy action, flamboyant costumes and lines that are clearly supposed to pack some sort of punch, but absolutely no sense of the relationships between Charlie and the people closest to him. On the other hand, we do get a bit of David Tennant as Peter Vincent and while that’s some of the more visually stimulating material in the trailer, I’d much rather have gotten something that suggests the remake will offer some of what makes the original so enjoyable, heart.