Perhaps this is the calm before the summer season storm because it’s been a rather light week for movie promotional material.
Even before the Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2 trailer arrives, we’ve got a double dose of Kristen Stewart to share. First up is the new trailer for Walter Salles’ On the Road. The cast is a major plus, but as someone who isn’t particularly familiar with Jack Kerouac’s work, the trailer is lacking a story structure that’s solid enough to make me want more. Then there’s the trio of featurettes for Snow White and the Huntsman. For a film that looks incredibly action-packed and exciting, these videos are a little on the dull side, especially the one about the costume work. If you watch just one, I’d recommend the one that focuses on director Rupert Sanders and the set design over the one on Charlize Theron’s Queen Ravenna.
In the summer blockbuster department we’ve got a new set of character posters for The Avengers and while they aren’t anything particularly original, there’s a little more to this set than past designs. We’ve also got a trailer preview for Prometheus. It’s nearly impossible to pass judgment on a trailer preview, but in Prometheus’ case it does feel rather unnecessary as opposed to, let’s say The Twilight Saga, where every single frame of material is scrutinized. Then again, it does serve as a good reminder that the trailer is on the way and entices me to keep a lookout.
Lastly, before we get to the best and the worst of the week, how about some material from two new films hitting theaters on Friday? First up is a PSA from the boys of 21 Jump Street featuring one of the film’s most nauseatingly hilarious moments. Then there’s The FP’s Urban Dictionary. I guess the joke isn’t that funny if you haven’t seen the movie, but, then again, doesn’t that make it good promotional material? You’ve got to catch the film if you want to get in on the joke!
The Best Stuff
1. The Hunger Games Clip 3: Oh, come on; you had to have known this was going to make it into the Best Stuff this week! But, regardless of my fondness for The Hunger Games, yet again, Lionsgate makes a smart move, using clip #3 to build on what they’ve already established with clip #1 and clip #2. We got a little action, a heart to heart and now we see how the game is played – well, how it’s played before the tributes hit the arena. The high concept version of The Hunger Games is, the government forces a group of teens to fight for their lives in a game at the end of which only one survives. However, there’s so much more to the Hunger Games than that, and that’s what we’re getting a taste of right here. The battle in the arena isn’t only about your ability to use a weapon; you need help from your sponsors too and, in order to attract those sponsors, you’ve got to win the audience over, especially if you come from a poorer district like Katniss and Peeta. Check out what Peeta does in order to win over some hearts …
2. Ted Poster: When it comes to filmmaking, toys somewhat have the animal effect. Throw a puppy into a feature and certain moviegoers come running regardless of the content. As long as there are no signs of anything bad happening to that animal, I tend to be part of that crowd. Apparently the same is true of stuffed animals because this image of a guy doing his business next to a teddy bear instantly caught my eye. (In a totally non-perverted way, of course.) Not only does this image get the point across – this is a movie about a guy and his teddy bear – but it hints at the tone of the film too, a little on the crude side. Then, slap Seth MacFarlane’s name on it and you’ve got Family Guys’ generally 5.5 million+ viewership interested.
3. The Loved Ones Teaser: I’ve had my eye on this one ever since it got some serious festival buzz, but that was quite some time ago already. However, The Loved Ones had absolutely no trouble reeling me back in, showing off a short and, er, not so sweet teaser. Yes, part of the point of promotional material is to pull in folks who might not have sought out your movie on their own, but another major plus of movie marketing is that it helps people figure out whether or not a film is for them. Well, this teaser certainly puts its foot down, letting you know exactly what you’re in for should you drop the cash come release time, and I’m totally in.
The Worst Stuff
1. Dark Tide Clips: A movie about sharks should be far more exhilarating than this. We’ve got four new clips from the Halle Berry-starrer Dark Tide, none of which makes the film look like a viable thriller, rather a lifeless melodrama. The first clip is geared towards dishing out shark details and while the information is rather interesting, in terms of the film as a whole, it’s too unclear exactly where this fits in. Clip two, on the other hand, undoubtedly establishes the relationship between Kate and Jeff (Olivier Martinez), but does so through incredibly trite dialogue. Then it seems like nobody can figure out what else to say because we’re left with an awkwardly long silence. In comes clip three and in comes the melodrama. Not only do we have no clue why Berry’s character is throwing a fit, but she also seems the slightest bit drunk. Last up is an underwater piece, the kind of material most are probably itching to see. While this 37 seconds does show some promise, it’s abruptly cut short – too short to build any intrigue. Overall, the scene selection feels too haphazard. No, you don’t want to give an entire plot away via pre-release clips, but you do want to use them to create enough of a cohesive story to make moviegoers want more.
2. Meeting Evil Trailer: Minus that tacky police detective, the first portion of this trailer isn’t all that bad. A guy loses everything and is seemingly framed; I can get on board for that. However, then we jump into the meat of the trailer and the order of events gets a little foggy. I get the sense that the interrogation happens towards the end of the film and perhaps that Samuel L. Jackson’s character is the one framing Luke Wilson, but then Jackson’s character tells Wilson’s that he’s the only one that hasn’t give up on him. So does that mean the framing happens before their characters meet? Oh wait; no. The interrogation material comes back, so that definitely means Wilson is talking about Jackson’s character there. And who knew Jackson’s character was a cop? Is this Lakeview Terrace all over again? There’s nothing wrong with keeping moviegoers guessing, but when it comes to promotional material, you’ve got to keep it tight enough to suggest there’s a solid story, something that someone can watch just once, understand and want more of. In this case, I’d rather just watch Lakeview Terrace again.
3. Battleship Trailer: I’ve picked on Battleship for looking like Transformers 4 quite a bit, but this new trailer is the ultimate. If this trailer didn’t have “Battleship” stamped on the end, it really could just continue the Transformers franchise. The explosions, the alien robotics, even the noises they make, just about everything in this trailer forces your mind in that direction. And sure, Dark of the Moon made a killing at the box office, but just because Battleship looks as though it could be part of that family, it’s not and that inherently makes it feel like a knock-off. Then there’s the fact that this trailer isn’t a trailer for a film with a well-developed story; it’s a visual effects reel. Yes, it does provide the general premise, but it doesn’t reveal any layers whatsoever, suggesting Battleship could be all surface value – basically exactly what we’re seeing here.