After a week packed with poster releases, we’re getting back into the swing of things with a healthy mixture of posters, clips and trailers. Well, healthy in terms of the variation; we’ve had some fairly thoughtless promotional material come our way in the past week.
On the bright side, most of that lackluster material nestled neatly into the demotion section, as there were only three items that honestly deserved to be sent to the dungeon. On the other hand, it was quite the battle for promotional glory and even the ones that didn’t wind up making the cut are deserving of your attention.
There’s the brand new theatrical trailer for 30 Minutes or Less, which finally delves into the meat of the plot and reveals that the film actually packs a few funny gags, as well as a Cowboys & Aliens featurette that increases intrigue via some behind-the-scenes footage and filmmaker insight. As a huge fan of both designer Eiko Ishioka and director Tarsem Singh’s unique visual styles, it comes as no surprise that the character posters for Immortals continue to impress and, just when you think you’ve had enough of anything and everything having to do with vampires, the trailer for Vampires presents the creatures in a format we’ve never seen before, a mockumentary.
The only new trailer that teetered the line between mediocrity and demotion is the one for the upcoming remake of Footloose. The structure of the trailer suggests Craig Brewer turned it into yet another Step Up movie while some of the tacky dialogue hints it could be a sour remake along the lines of 2009’s Fame.
So, if none of these made the cut, what did? Check out this past week’s best-of-the-best and worst-of-the-worst below.
1. Conan the Barbarian Red Band Trailer: Ever since the very first teaser for Conan the Barbarian arrived, I couldn’t care less for the film as it appeared to be another Clash of the Titans-type film, simply here to show off its fun toys – deadly weapons, elaborate costumes, killer stunts and massive monsters. However, oddly enough, the bloodiest trailer yet is the one that finally hints the film might be more than a swords and sandals bloodbath. Sure it’s got that tacky booming rock track in the background, but there’s no denying that it totally suits the material. In fact, perhaps this is the route Transformers: Dark of the Moon should have gone rather than delivering that Linkin Park music video/Transformers trailer mash up. Yes, the song is good and yes, the footage is visually stimulating, but they don’t match in the least. However, here, the union gets the job done and more, pumping up your adrenalin while seamlessly sneaking in a few quieter moments for character and story development.
2. The Muppets Trailer: It’s been a blast watching the Muppets poke fun at the latest summer blockbusters, but it’s about time we see what this movie really has to offer. The full trailer is finally here and while it’s just as amusing as those jesting teasers, it refocuses the entertainment to the film itself, revealing the details of the story, characters involved and humor to come. Best of all, it keeps the focus on what the new Muppet movie is all about, “getting the gang back together.” Come Thanksgiving, I’d like to bet there’ll be bits focusing on Mrs. Piggy and Kermit as well as Amy Adams and Jason Segel’s characters alone, but when you’ve only got about two minutes to work with, it’s best to keep the attention on the elements that pack the punch to draw you in – and fast. The Muppet Domination campaign is a winner.
3. Puss in Boots Trailer: As a non-Shrek fan – yes, even the first – I was besides myself when I chuckled at the new Puss in Boots trailer. While the film may be a spinoff, DreamWorks Animation is clearing vying to make Puss in Boots its own entity. Minus, the character similarities, you in no way need to be familiar with the Shrek franchise in order to enjoy the action. Then, the studio takes it one step further and seizes the opportunity to make use of the fact that the film’s lead is, well, a cat. There’s something about animals doing funny things that’s inherently amusing and when a cat with an attitude like Puss, resorts to standard feline behavior like lapping up his milk, you can’t get enough.
1. Crazy, Stupid, Love Poster: Just because a film rocks a massive all-star cast doesn’t give it the right to slap cheesy yearbook-style photos on the poster. Funny thing, what do those images even do anyway? It’s not like we don’t know the faces those names belong to. Perhaps the designers of this one should have focused a little less on stating the obvious and more on the image that takes up three quarters of the design. For someone who knows nothing about the plot of this film, what does this image stay? Steve Carell gets with a woman way out of his league. Sure that might happen at a point in the feature film, but that’s not what Crazy, Stupid, Love is about and it certainly doesn’t make it stand out in the least. It’s tough to come up with imagery that says, “Guy loses his wife and takes dating advice from a super suave Ryan Gosling,” but that doesn’t mean you give up and dumb down the concept of the film for the sake of a poster.
2. The Skin I Live In Teaser Trailer: This trailer reminds me of the one for The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo. Perhaps there’s something there for fans of the source material, but for those with no knowledge of Thierry Jonquet’s book Tarantula upon which the film is based, we get absolutely nothing from the teaser trailer. On second thought, we do get something, a series of incredibly discomforting images. Yes, some folks have an affinity for torture porn, but brandishing a sequence of shots suggesting the film’s solely about dressing, undressing and re-dressing, and a guy chained to a wall, will likely push away more moviegoers than it’ll pull in.
3. Zookeeper Clip: I’ve had little-to-no faith in this film ever since the very first teaser arrived, however, I was pleasantly surprised to find that one of two recently released clips isn’t half bad. Yes, it resorts to a bodily function joke and it isn’t laugh-out-loud funny, but it’s not cringe-worthy like the rest. Then, there’s the other clip. Sure the monkey’s cute but otherwise, all this footage does is suggest that the film desperately strives for laughs via unfunny animal voices with accents and childish slapstick. Even worse, the moment shows off some pretty lame camerawork, which will undoubtedly be present throughout the entire film. The zooms are incredibly unnatural and ill timed, and then, when Kevin James goes flying into the lion’s den, not for a second do you suspect he’ll make it to the other side, ruining what could have been an amusingly unsuspected crash landing.