Brace yourself because it’s one of those weeks. We’ve gotten a slew of brand new marketing material and, I’m proud to report, most of the competition revolved around the promotion department – well, for trailers at least. The past seven days have been rough ones for poster designers.
Apparently the team that put together the first image for Famke Janssen’s directorial debut, Bringing Up Bobby, have Lifetime on the brain, because this design would go perfectly with one of their schmaltzy productions. Taking a step up the ladder, Contagion spreads via a series of character posters. They’re not bad designs by any means, but they do primarily rely on star power and, while the film’s cast is stellar, it’s the story the promotions team should be pushing as the concept offer endless creative potential. Just about cracking promotional territory are two designs that popped up for Rise of the Planet of the Apes that many are calling “Banksy-esque.” No word on the designer responsible, but whoever he, she or they are, they deserve some credit as these images are wall-worthy.
In the land of trailers Beware the Gonzo, a film finally off the festival circuit and hitting theaters, certainly makes a statement with its brand new trailer. Part typical high school production, part edgy dramedy, this one proves it can appeal to the masses, while still offering up a little something different. In other Ezra Miller news, the trailer for We Need to Talk About Kevin also arrived, putting the young actor in an entirely different light. Watching one right after the other actually makes for a nice tribute to Miller, as this kid has clearly got some range. On the sillier side is the new trailer for A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas. It’s really just a montage of Christmastime calamities as opposed to a trailer that suggests the film will have a beginning, middle and end, but that’s really all that’s necessary to get fans psyched for Harold and Kumar’s big return.
We’ve also seen a few turnarounds this week. Despite my impatience with Sarah Jessica Parker and the frustratingly cliché first trailer, there’s no denying that I Don’t Know How She Does It now boasts a poster with a smart and clean design. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo finally made a play for the folks who are unfamiliar with the books or movies, adding in-depth character descriptions to the film’s website. And sure, this featurette still makes Spy Kids: All The Time in the World look like a childish piece of nonsense, but for the little ones that are into the series, this featurette is appropriately made just for them, giving a sneak peek at some of the fun gadgets the new leads put to use.
There could easily be a few more paragraphs summing up the other material that came our way, but let’s not steal the thunder from the items that are so good, they deserve it, and, well, so bad, they deserve it, too. Check out this week’s best and worst promotional material.
1. Miles Fisher’s “New Romance” Music Video: Nope, this isn’t an official Final Destination 5 promotion, but it should be. In true Miles Fisher fashion, the actor/musician puts his skills to use, yet again, delivering a mash up of Final Destination 5 and Saved By The Bell set to the tune of his song “New Romance.” Not only is the video packed with cheesy and gory goodness, but from a production standpoint, it’s downright stellar. The group does an excellent job re-creating the classic Saved By The Bell sets, the blood spillage looks pretty good and the entire Final Destination 5 cast is present and accounted for. The only downside? This terribly tacky pop tune is so damn catchy!
2. Red Band Trailer for The Sitter: While I don’t normally gravitate towards the raunchiest of jokes, the red band trailer has one thing on the green band one for The Sitter, a Jonah Hill intro. Not only is the opening amusing courtesy of a group of foulmouthed kids, but it shows off Hill’s impressive slim new look. By the time this intro comes to an end, you’re genuinely excited to see the trailer and it certainly doesn’t disappoint. In perfect correlation with the opening segment, the red band trailer of The Sitter is packed with the dirtiest of jokes and a group of kids getting in on the action. Hill appears to make the perfect leading man and his new responsibilities, a nice variety of supporting characters. Forget the fact that this trailer boasts a bunch of amusing jokes; its greatest success is creating a world that looks like a blast to hang out in. Now that’s what makes you want to come back for more.
3. Contagion TV Spots: It’s tough enough to make a positive impact with a two minute, 30 second trailer; shave two minutes off that runtime and toss the ad in the middle of a group of maybe 10 other commercials at a time when a viewer would rather take a bathroom break and a TV spot’s got some stiff competition. They have to be short and sweet, but, more importantly, bold enough to make an impact. There’s nothing that catches my attention on TV quicker than a sound mimicking that of the Emergency Alert System. As it makes for the perfect plot companion, the creators for these Contagion TV spots smartly put that startling tune to use. But, of course, the pieces can’t rely on audio alone and, prior to the eerie sound, the spots do a stellar job at plowing through the film’s plot, making use of the fact that it’s inherently intriguing, and tossing in the handful of famous names to make for an excellent fast-paced promo that’s not only guaranteed to catch your attention, but stick with you, too.
1. The Adventures of Tintin Poster: Yes, there are Tintin fans out there, but for the rest of us, the draw is what should be some stellar animation. When so much is riding on your visuals, delivering a sloppy Photoshop jumble like this is just unacceptable. The first poster featured a near-silhouette of our hero with a tame shot of the Unicorn in the background. Not only did it set a beautiful tone, but the image itself was a work of art. The second poster made use of the same format, but took away from the aesthetic to amp up the commercialism by throwing a burning plane, boat and some camels in the background. It works, but it’s nothing you’d hang on your wall. This latest design, however, is just a total disaster. There are floating heads galore, the plains aren’t uniform in the least and the animation looks cartoonist as compared to the material in the trailer.
2. International Poster for Killing Bono: What is with all the lame Photoshop work this week? The new international poster for Killing Bono does make an attempt at avoiding suffering from floating head syndrome, but slapping faces on a t-shirt turns out to be a false cure. Why is there a poster within this poster? Either go for the design on the t-shirt or scratch the four faces and simply label the shirt “Killing Bono.” In fact, the latter idea would have made for a more effective design. For anyone without a clue of the film’s source material, the t-shirt concept takes away from the only element that could potentially hint at what the piece is about, a rocker brandishing a gun. Posters may not be able to say anything per se, but if you let the appropriate elements breathe there’s certainly an opportunity to get the point across.
3. Clip for Apollo 18: Wait. A clip? What clip? It’s one thing to debut a lackluster clip of a film, but it’s another to call a video a clip and it just be a trailer. Really, the only thing that makes this a “clip” and not a trailer is the fact that it’s missing the MPAA graphic, otherwise, it’s basically pieces from the first two unsatisfying trailers shuffled up a bit. Oddly enough, even thought the promotional campaign for Apollo 18 has been a bit subpar, I was excited to get the chance to finally check out the film’s first clip. Well, fool me once, shame on you. It’s going to take quite a bit to raise some enthusiasm for this one, now more than ever.