No superhero vs. superhero battles on the big screen – not yet, at least – but Batman, Spider-Man and Captain America got the chance to duke it out in promo land this week and the outcome was rather surprising.
In general, there was a pretty tough fight for those promotion spots. We got a ton of new material, most of which is worthy of a mention. There’s the very first trailer for The Thing, which presents the film as a remake of the John Carpenter production rather than a prequel, but still manages to raise intrigue. Based on the first trailer for Martin Scorsese’s Hugo, come November 23rd, we could get something that’s kid friendly, but still packing appeal to adults, too. Similarly, the first trailer for the 3D stop-motion The Pirates! Band of Misfits arrived and while the material is quite juvenile, the animation is mesmerizing.
Glee: The 3D Concert Movie recovered from last week’s demotion disaster with a trailer that gets right to the good stuff, the music and behind-the-scenes time with the stars. Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy takes a step in the right direction as well with a new poster that artfully hints at the intricacy of the plot.
In the clips department, we’ve got two films offering up some worthwhile material: Crazy, Stupid, Love and The Smurfs. Crazy, Stupid Love tossed out a whopping nine clips at once, but they’re diverse enough of an assortment to make them rather enjoyable to sort through. Despite my disdain for live-action/animation hybrids, these two new clips from The Smurfs are, well, too cute not to like.
If only Warner Bros. had thought of this first: this new fan-made poster for the Batman trilogy might have snagged a spot in the promotions department. However, the studio did release the film’s very first teaser trailer this week. Where did it end up? Check out this week’s Best/Worst Promos to find out.
1. Captain America: The First Avenger B-Roll Footage: To be honest, when I first heard that nine minutes of B-roll for Captain America had popped up on the web, I felt obligated to watch it, but was not in the least bit excited. Sure enough, I pressed play, the footage began and it merely consisted of snippet after snippet, each a matter of seconds long, one after the next. However, before I knew it, I was hooked. It was this weird sensation of needing to know what comes next. Even beyond that, I grew to appreciate the material, as it’s a rather unique behind-the-scenes look at the making of the film. There are shots of the camera recording explosions, character entrances, conversations and so much more. Some of the most memorable moments include a clip in which star Chris Evans offers his two cents on the handling of a prop and, more generally, simply getting a taste of what this film has to offer in terms of practical effects vs. CGI. It’s not adrenaline-pumping like the clips or trailers, but it is notably insightful and is also a nice change of pace from the typical promotional fare.
2. The Hunger Games Motion Poster: Sure, some may suspect I’d be biased about this one as I’m the author of The Hunger Games Countdown, but then again, couldn’t that make me an even harsher critic of the film’s promotion material? Partial or not, I think just about anyone can look at this image and know it’s a rock-solid teaser poster. Motion posters tend to be more along the lines of gimmicks. One of the very first motion posters I saw was of that junk coming out of that poor kid’s mouth in the one for The Haunting in Connecticut. Creepy and even a bit fun to look at as it stood out from the lot, but ultimately, it’s nothing more than a simple cheap gross-out tactic to catch your attention for an instant. The technique has improved since, one of my favorite new releases being the motion poster for Buried, but this one for The Hunger Games is particularly stirring. Between the music, which is wildly appropriate, and the gorgeously beautiful and detailed reveal of the Mockingjay design, this poster is absolutely chill inducing.
3. Conan The Barbarian Red Band Clip: The Conan The Barbarian promotion campaign has been on the up and up, and it shows no signs of slowing down. While the film’s first trailer presented Conan as nothing more than a bloody battle set to the tune of a booming rock track, ever since then it’s shown hints of novelty and even a bit of heart through vicious red band material and others that surprise by focusing on character development. Well, this latest clip comes with both. Not only do we get the details on our hero’s childhood, but the moment also comes packed with an absolute brutal assault that young Conan (Luke Howard) unleashes on his enemies. And the best part is, thanks to the context offered by this format, the bloodshed has value, making the moment impressively effective. From a technical standpoint, this clip also boasts some top-notch camerawork with stimulating coverage techniques as well as powerful pacing via editing, undoubtedly good signs for the full feature.
1. The Amazing Spider-Man Teaser Trailer: As someone who’s entirely unfamiliar with the Spider-Man comics, all I’ve got to go on is the original trilogy, so to see this altered origin story is a bit disconcerting. Sure, there’s room to grow as the first films never really touched on what happened to Peter’s parents, but a teaser isn’t the place to flesh out that back story. Even worse, that’s our very first taste of The Amazing Spider-Man as the teaser kicks off with a moment between young Peter and his parents. When a reboot comes so soon after the original, it requires a bit of a stepping-stone to help us transition from one to the next. But this is a far too brash attempt at establishing it as its own identity. Once we hit the whole spider bite scenario, the piece improves, but still, the pacing is far too dull for a film of this genre. But the worst of it comes at the end. The Amazing Spider-Man teaser morphs into some sort of commercial for the next Spider-Man video game. If the point of this portion is to put the audience into Spider-Man’s head, the creators better hold up, because Andrew Garfield’s Spider-Man does not deserve that degree of attention just yet, especially after experiencing ¾ of a trailer that winds up creating a disconnect.
2. The Dark Knight Rises Teaser Trailer: The point of a teaser trailer is to tease and not divulge the details of a film. The problem here is that The Dark Knight Rises teaser only manages to pull off one. It’s one thing to lure moviegoers in by withholding information, but you’ve got to give them a little something to sink their teeth into. Then again, I’m not necessarily implying this piece needed more, per se, just something to make it more tantalizing. Gary Oldman’s an exceptional actor with no trouble commanding the screen. Rather than jumbling up the video with snippets of outside footage, they should have simply kept the attention on Oldman, only to reveal who he’s talking to in the end or simply cutting to that shot of the Batman symbol in the crumbling building.
3. The Three Musketeers Character Posters: Character posters are inherently silly-looking. They involve a character striking some entirely unnatural pose while staring the viewer dead in the eye in a desperate attempt to make some sort of connection. That being said, the value of a character poster lies in this individual’s body language and in terms of the five new images for The Three Musketeers it’s a complete and utter failure times four. Ray Stevenson’s Porthos poster is the only one that looks decent as he rocks his shot and the layout is rather appropriate. On the other hand, poor Logan Lerman looks as confused as they come while Milla Jovovich is making some ridiculous pouty face. Then there’s Orlando Bloom who looks more like a sexual predator than a big screen villain and, as for Matthew Macfadyen, he’s not particularly photogenic and it looks like the designers realized this as they shoved him to one side of the image giving the blank space the spotlight. Oddly enough, the film’s marketing team managed to pull the character poster shtick off abroad. All eight German posters feature far more stimulating poses captured from interesting angles. Combine those factors with more appropriate character placement and you get images that make use of their grey, but bold color scheme to form a pretty solid set.