San Diego Comic Con is officially behind us and this edition of Best/Worst Movie Promos proves it -- as just one film featured on the list had a presence at the event. It’s not necessarily because the material that came out of SDCC was lackluster, but more so because much of the footage debuted during the panels has yet to hit the web – in non-bootleg form at least.
Regardless, we still have a slew of material to sort through and while some received positions in the promotion and demotion departments, others find themselves floating in the abyss. Of the pieces in that middle ground, there are quite a few to note. In true Valentine’s Day fashion, New Year’s Eve follows that star-studded production up with a trailer packed with famous faces. As someone who didn’t appreciate the first film, this trailer doesn’t really do it for me, but clearly there’s a ton of moviegoers out there who enjoy some namedropping.
On the other hand, both Happy Feet 2 and Dirty Girl are quite appealing, albeit in completely different ways. The Happy Feet 2 trailer features dancing penguins with baby voices. Enough said. As for Dirty Girl, Juno Temple gets crude in the best possible way. The trailer presents it as Easy A on the road, but with a more unique texture. As usual, Temple is mesmerizing and has no trouble upping the intrigue for this one.
As zero posters made the top and bottom this time around, let’s wrap up the intro with a one-sheet rundown. The good? The Ryan Gosling/George Clooney split-screen style of Ides of March’s poster and the majestic spin on your average baseball field featured in the one for Moneyball. Battleship will rock billboards with a sharp new image that keeps things simple and striking. No surprises from Happy Feet Two or The Muppets, but both still get appropriate new designs.
So, what are this week’s big winners and losers? Here we go …
1. Red State Red Band Trailer: So Red State isn’t getting the best reception, as it only has a 33% on Rotten Tomatoes with 12 reviews submitted, but as I’ve yet to see the film, that holds no bearing upon its promotional material. With the film’s September 1 video-on-demand release on the horizon, Kevin Smith teases us with an ultra violent red band trailer. As someone without an appreciation for torture porn and brutally unnecessary violence, I was surprised to find myself mesmerized by this two minute and 30 second cut. As sick as it is, it’s incredibly intriguing and you just can’t turn away as you’re desperate to find out the details of this curious scenario. I hear the mash-up between the violence and harsh humor doesn’t work in the feature film, but here it turns something that’s seemingly twisted and sick into a fun and exciting off-kilter combat extravaganza.
2. Knights of Badassdom Trailer: Looking for a good time? This trailer is an advertisement for just that. You know exactly what you’re in for the moment this trailer begins, courtesy of the serious, yet somewhat mocking voiceover. The characters are instantly likeable, donning amusingly unique costumes and spitting out absurdity after absurdity. Even better, once you think you’ve got a handle on what’s going down on the Fields of Evermore, we get a curveball, a supernatural curveball á la Jennifer’s Body. The whole thing is incredibly ridiculous, yet, at the same time, is quite appealing, although perhaps not enough to entice most of us to give LARPing a go. The piece also packs a nice chunk of chuckle-worthy gags although not enough to suggest the trailer ruins all the fun. With all of the topics the film industry has used and abused, LARPing has gone almost entirely untapped and seems to be far more colorful than many of the wells we’ve run dry.
3. Paranormal Activity 3 Teaser: There’s no writing about this one without admitting I’m a big advocate of this franchise. The first was an absolutely horrifying blast and despite my skepticism, the sequel made for the perfect follow-up. Can they do it again? Based on this teaser, the odds are in Oren Peli and Jason Blum’s favor. I’m a big fan of trailers that use full scenes to lure audiences in. It gives the viewer the opportunity to get to know the main players without divulging too much by using various snippets to create a montage of the story. However, we do already know these main characters; they’re young versions of Katie (Katie Featherston) and her sister Kristi (Sprague Grayden). Part of the appeal of the series’ second film is how well it ties into the first, providing a new perspective on what we learned the first time around. The filmmakers are going the same route with round three, but throwing the story way back to when the girls were just kids. Sure, we may be in for some of the same old tricks, but like this teaser suggests, replacing the 20 or 30-somethings with kids gives the piece gets a whole new feel and thus far, I’m liking it.
1. Battleship Teaser Trailer: The first trailer for Peter Berg’s Battleship isn’t all bad. The beginning is quite a bit of fun, focusing on a fun-loving sailor in the midst of a steamy romance with the Admiral’s daughter. Then we cut to some curious material focusing on an unknown object in the middle of the ocean for a bit of tension. The combination is ideal. If only the piece had stopped right there. Sure, we would have felt a bit duped when we hit the theater to find out Battleship is some sort of board game adaptation/alien amalgamation, but hey, it would have made for a better trailer. What is that thing and what does it have to do with the game the film is supposedly based on? This trailer makes Battleship look like a Transformers knockoff, and considering Dark of the Moon was one of the biggest disappointments of the summer, Battleship has seemingly already sunk.
2. Bel Ami Trailer: Bel Ami is the spawn of Twilight. Actually, it also seems a bit like Titanic, but minus the sinking boat. Based on this trailer, the filmmakers expect the theaters to be packed with Edward Cullen lovers as it keeps the focus on Pattinson’s character’s many flings. The problem is, for someone with no interest in watching Pattinson expand on his romantic repertoire, Bel Ami seemingly has nothing else to offer. Minus a few pointless lines of text, as the footage that follows reiterates the same exact point, we learn nothing about Pattinson’s character beyond his love for the ladies and, even then, his romances aren’t properly fleshed out to have any meaning. The bigger issue with this trailer is that it has little to no forward motion. Rather than bring us to the brink, giving us just enough and then leaving us wanting more, it feels as though we’re merely wading in information that’s repeated time and time again. Part of the blame is on the score as it does absolutely nothing to enhance the emotion and even when it does try, the efforts are misdirected and inappropriate.
3. Rise of the Planet of the Apes Clips: This is not the kind of material you want to release to the public out of context. After watching the first two clips, I was left with a pit in my stomach as they suggest the CGI in Rise of the Planet of the Apes is less than mediocre and even the slightest bit cartoonish. However, I was pleasantly surprised by the third as putting the apes alongside their live-action counterparts actually wound up making them a bit more genuine. Regardless, when you’re about to head into a film riding on the power of a hoard of CGI apes, the last thing you want is to be drowned in them beforehand. Plus, mass action like this doesn’t play well in short pieces and, even worse, will likely take away from those moments in the final film. That first clip released in which Ceasar gives Jon Lithgow’s character a hand at the breakfast table and then in the street is particularly heartwarming and memorable in terms of the action and emotion it packs. These, on the other hand, are showy and nothing more. Post-Andy Serkis introductions, Rise of the Planet of the Apes has dropped the ball when it comes to clip releases.
Rise of the Planet of the Apes - Ape Escape by teasertrailer