After a slow start to the week, we finally amassed enough new promotional material courtesy of the marketing teams abroad. While the domestic promotional departments were enjoying their country’s independence along with the obligatory BBQs and fireworks, the international designers were hard at work helping fill the slots in this week’s promotion section while the few slipups took care of the demotions vacancies.
Just missing out on top honors were two featurettes for Captain America: The First Avenger, both of which are worthy watches as they pack a great deal of back story and behind-the-scenes material. Sliding down the scale the slightest bit is the first trailer for 5 Days of War. While a good portion of the material suggests the film could teeter upon being a bit cliché, the action is alluring enough to build curiosity.
The new trailer for The Myth of the American Sleepover finds itself in a similar position, as while the festival honors are a major draw, the trailer itself makes the film look no better than Prom. As we trickle down closer to the bottom of the barrel, we find Taylor Lautner and his Field of Dreams 2: NFL Lockout parody. While I do appreciate any attempt to make light of a poor situation, thanks to The Twilight Saga, most things featuring Lautner become instantly tacky.
Don’t worry Twilight fans; Jacob Black will live to see another day as there are three other items more deserving of the demotion status. What were they? Check out the best and worst promo material of the week below.
1. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2 Clip: With only a week left before the final Harry Potter film hits theaters, the promo material continues to pour in and I’m eating it right up. Of the slew of clips released, this one showing our leading trio hunting down a Horcrux in Bellatrix Lestrange’s vault at Gringotts really made an impression courtesy of Transformers: Dark of the Moon. Who needs gigantic battling robots when you can create tension with mere metal plates and cups? Not only is the CGI itself quite impressive, but so is the ingenuity of the spell. Harry, Ron and Hermione are sorting through a room packed with trinkets for a particular item that holds a piece of Voldemort’s soul. If it were me, I’d be touching everything and be dead in a minute courtesy of the doubling frenzy, but poor Hermione triggers the spell by accidently knocking an item over. Accident or not, the Gemino Curse rages on leading to a mass of items that could either obscure the actual Horcrux or perhaps crush our heroes to death – albeit highly unlikely, of course.
2. Conan the Barbarian International Trailer: The incredibly violent red bend trailer might still be my favorite, but this new international trailer for Conan the Barbarian offers something none of the others do, a look at Conan’s past. I enjoy my fair share of action and bloodshed, but I’ve got a problem with films that ditch storytelling and character development for sword slashing and impalements. When the Conan promo material first started to drop, it made the film look as though it was merely about this enormous man slaying his enemies and nothing more. However, since the red band trailer caught my eye, I was curious enough to check out this new international one, and to my surprise it’s successful in adding a whole new layer to our hero, and a rather endearing one at that. Now that I’ve finally gotten a taste of what’s fueling Conan’s thirst for blood, I’ve got no problem getting behind his mission.
3. Final Destination 5 International Poster: What a relief! After a disappointingly bland and thoughtless domestic poster, the marketing team of Final Destination 5 delivers a winner for the folks abroad. Whereas the first poster seemed to be a mere copy/paste of the poster for The Final Destination, this international one embraces a pivotal moment that will ultimately define the franchise’s fifth film, the opening kill. Even better, just as the return of Tony Todd suggests film #5 is returning to its roots, so does this image as it keeps intact the design that’s graced every installment’s poster from day one, the skull. Sure I prefer the subtly of the designs for the first three films, but at least this new one for film five suggests the final cut packs a little creativity and perhaps even some humanity as, unlike the poster for the fourth film, this one has people in it – albeit teeny tiny people.
1. Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy International Teaser: First off, all this score makes me think of is the scene in Inglourious Basterds when Shosanna’s escorted to her lunch meeting with Goebbels and crew. However, once I got passed my Basterds obsession, the Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy trailer still had little to offer. Having never read the John Le Carre book upon which the film is based, all this video amounts to is a bunch of famous faces muttering dialogue in heavy English accents. While the trailer does manage to get the basic point across – there’s a mole in the British Secret Intelligence Service – it achieves nothing more as the piece isn’t cut together in a manner that lets one clip build off another. In fact, none seem to have tangible relationships to one another. Gary Oldman spends a portion of the piece comparing his character to another, but not once do we see who this other person is. And, if that was deliberate as it has something to do with the mystery, there should be something in this material to suggest that.
2. Spy Kids: All the Time in the World Trailer: Okay, perhaps I’m not the target audience for this one, but that still gives Dimension Films no right to market Spy Kids: All the Time in the World as a complete gimmick. This video is of the quality of a commercial promoting a toy in a Happy Meal, not a professional feature film. First off, the storytelling portion of the trailer is particularly weak, merely showing off the most mindless of plot development. Again, I know this is a film for kids, but come on; young moviegoers have to be smarter than this. And that’s not nearly the worst of it. Sure the franchise has had cartoonish visuals from the start, but this just looks like flat out poor CGI. Twenty-four or five-years-old, I would never tolerate that dog for an instant. It only gets worse from there. Before wrapping up, the Spy Kids trailer does the ultimate in gimmicky marketing; it shows its 3D elements flying over an audience. Come on. Do you really have to stoop that low? Oh, wait, maybe they do as perhaps that was the only bridge to take the editing team from ditching fast food toy commercial land to moving into infomercial territory to sell the fourth dimension, aroma-scope. For free? Who cares? I’d pay not to see this.
3. The Skin I Live In International Trailer: And that’s strike two for Pedro Almodovar’s The Skin I Live In. Two trailers in and still I’ve got no clue what this film is about. Well, actually I caved and finally read the official plot summary, but what’s a paragraph without a gripping trailer to provide a taste of what the actual film has to offer? At this point, it feels as though Almodovar is teasing us with his material and, rather than build my curiosity, all it’s doing is making me increasingly frustrated. I had a similar problem with J.J. Abrams’ campaign for Super 8. It was fun for a bit, but ultimately, I got sick of it regardless of how much faith I had in Abrams’ abilities. Sure, Almodovar consistently makes great features, but it’s not the type of material conducive to this style of marketing. Should the The Skin I Live In arrive to rave reviews, I might wind up checking it out, but at the moment, I’m feeling far too alienated to care.