Best/Worst Movie Promos: Pixar's Still Got It! Christian Slater and Ving Rhames, Not So Much...

Best/Worst Movie Promos: Pixar's Still Got It! Christian Slater and Ving Rhames, Not So Much...

Jun 22, 2012

Monsters University

Oh, Adam Sandler. What are you doing to this industry? A new trailer for Hotel Transylvania just dropped and while it still rocks the film’s wildly amusing premise and cute animation, yet again, Sandler’s painfully recognizable voice extinguishes all of its charm. On the other hand, Seth MacFarlane continues to win big voicing Ted. Even after a number of TV spots and trailers, this whole stuffed-bear-comes-to-life bit still works well in the new restricted featurette, suggesting the concept can easily sustain a full feature.

We also got our first taste of two highly anticipated upcoming releases and, even knowing little to nothing about the source material, the situation and environment shown off in the new Dredd trailer is exciting and intriguing. However, Taken 2 doesn’t look like it’ll live up to its predecessor. The unbelievable action worked well the first time around, but, based on this new international trailer, round two feels more like a parody.

A new clip from Savages just arrive and while it’s not all that bad, Salma Hayek’s rant isn’t as threatening as it was likely meant to be. On the other hand, Channing Tatum can convince me of just about anything – in a movie about male strippers, of course. Special thanks to Magic Mike for wrapping up this introduction with a little eye candy.

The Best Stuff

1. Monsters University Teaser: Do we really want to return to the world of Monsters Inc. over a decade after the first film hit theaters? Of course we do and this teaser proves it! The Monsters University Mike and Sully may be much younger than the duo we grew to know and love in Monsters Inc., but they’re just as charming and perhaps even more of a blast to hang out with during their college days. The situation presented is quite amusing, but what’s most striking about this first peek at the new installment is that it verifies that the world and rules created in Monsters Inc. are nothing short of genius, lending themselves to this wonderful blend of being able to hold onto the old while also making it easier to open up new doors – no pun intended.

2. V/H/S Trailer: Please excuse the lack of professionalism, but the horror lover inside me is taking over – this movie looks sick! Being an anthology, I was a bit concerned the film’s multiple storylines wouldn’t congeal well in promotional material, but the trailer does manage to spit out enough of the basics before launching into a gloriously manic sequence of some incredibly gruesome footage. We’ve got genre clichés all over the place, but the imagery is so striking and haunting, it feels fresh all over again. This isn’t a trailer that’ll entice you to catch V/H/S just to see what happens, but rather a piece that’ll leave you itching to see it just so you can see if you can handle it.

3. Celeste and Jesse Forever Trailer: Based on its brand new trailer, Celeste and Jesse Forever looks to have all the pieces necessary to qualify it as a wide appeal romantic comedy, but is rough enough around the edges to suggest that by checking it out, you’ll walk into some new territory. Ari Graynor’s rant makes for a bold opening, grabbing your attention, but also dishing out story details. By the time we hit the 25-second mark, we’re well aware of the situation between Celeste and Jesse letting the rest of the piece build their characters rather than waste any more time touching on surface value plot points. When we get to the part that Jesse reveals he’s met someone else, Celeste's meltdown isn’t reduced to a few laughs at her expense, but a few laughs that you actually feel guilty having. Before wrapping up, the trailer switches gears again, showing off a notably charming chemistry between Rashida Jones and Andy Samberg, one that, regardless of the fact that you might have a feeling where this story is going, still leaves you curious enough to explore their relationship further.

The Worst Stuff

1. Soldiers of Fortune Trailer: The trailer for Soldiers of Fortune is guilty of being a major missed opportunity. It’s a movie about a bunch of filthy reach people who opt to spend their millions getting the real military experience without the risk of dying via The Soldiers Adventure Program; how cool is that? It’s cool until this trailer entirely jumbles up the story. The opening packages the premise nice and neatly, delivering the concept via a snarky and amusing commercial, but the rest is just a jumbled assortment of confusing plot points and explosions. There are much better ways to explain Christian Slater’s character’s involvement than, “You are pimping out your revolution. There’s some kind of tourist attraction for a bunch of millionaires and you expect me to be your guide.” And at what point is it established that the game turns real and these millionaires could actually lose their lives? Ving Rhames does mention “we’re playing with real weapons now,” but considering we still don’t know what side he’s on at that point, that statement could mean two different things. Still, should that be the big shift, the material in the latter portion of the trailer doesn’t even feel much more perilous than when they were just paying for fun.

2. The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2 Trailer: Twilight fan or not, all of the films have had rock solid promotional campaigns, packed with material intently focused on exploiting whatever it is that makes the franchise the slightest bit compelling. The new trailer for The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2, however, is terribly sloppy. Rather than build to the piece’s grand finale where Bella runs into battle for the first time alongside the vampires, nearly the entire trailer attempts to exploit the action. The booming soundtrack comes in far too soon undermining what should be ominous revelations that lead to Alice’s horrifying vision. But, rather than that moment being the one to pack the punch and send the viewer into a whirlwind of peril and high stakes, we end up with something that’s wholly one-note and, therefore, not all that gripping.

3. The Master Teaser 2: A strong sense of mystery and a unique tone can make for excellent qualities in a film, but in the case of The Master, they don’t do much for the promotional campaign. Odds are the film won’t be a wide release and isn’t geared towards a commercial audience, but you’ve still got to sell it and unless you’re solely banking on famous names, you’ve got to offer some sort of cohesive sense of the story. The cryptic quality of the first teaser was one thing, but now another? Perhaps this scene can stand on its own in the full film, but with no emotional ties to either character at this point, it comes across as more of a dull discussion set to the tune of some irritating plucking. However, had we gotten a full trailer, something that offered more insight into the plot, and then this new teaser trailer, perhaps this piece would have had more weight.

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