It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Well, maybe not for our worst three movie promos of the week, but at least they still have time to kick things up a notch before their releases.
However, even though there was an obvious bottom three this time around, the promotional material released this past week has generally been pretty solid. Of course the big news is the debut of the first trailer for Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey and, even as someone who wasn’t exactly caught up in The Lord of the Rings craze, An Unexpected Journey is looking pretty good. In other big budget, CGI-to-the-max news, we also got the trailer for Bryan Singer’s Jack the Giant Killer and the combination of a doe-eyed Nicholas Hoult plus some wicked flaming tree throwing giants should make for a blast of an adventure.
In the weird but intriguing zone, we’ve got the new international trailer for This Must Be The Place. I get the sense that Sean Penn’s character will likely drive me nuts within minutes, but this trailer is just odd enough that it leave you needing to know more. Salmon Fishing in the Yemen finds itself in a similar situation with well-known leads taking a dip in a rather unusual story. I used to think the title, Salmon Fishing in the Yemen, had figurative meaning, but, no, it quite literally refers to Salmon Fishing in the Yemen.
Now, how about a pre-Christmas treat? Let’s get on with the best of the best in this 30th edition of Best/Worst Movie Promos of the Week …
The Best Stuff
1. Prometheus Trailer Countdown: Remember when Summit released that teaser for the Breaking Dawn – Part 1 trailer? It frustrated me to no end; since when do we get teasers for trailers? But, still, there was no denying that it was an excellent means of promotion. However, in the case of Prometheus, not only is the countdown to the release of the trailer a smart marketing move, but the videos are particularly well done whereas the Twilight effort felt like a lazy ploy to up the already sky high hype with mere snippets of the trailer. These countdown to the trailer pieces for Prometheus, on the other hand, are more like behind-the-scenes/teaser hybrids. All three videos are well cut, exhibiting a stellar pace that makes you feel as though the 30 seconds fly by way too fast and, even with such a short and sweet running time, they still manage to offer a taste of the tone of the film. With trailer teasers of such high quality, it should come as no surprise that the actual trailer is downright fantastic and very deserving of this spot in "The Best Stuff," too. Check it out right here.
2. The Dark Knight Rises Trailer: The new trailer for The Dark Knight Rises wastes no time sucking you right back into Christopher Nolan’s franchise. The piece has a chilling start with a child’s rendition of “The Star-Spangled Banner” spliced together with a clearly menacing Bane. Then a voiceover from Alfred is seamlessly woven in, opening the door to yet another layer of the franchise. And this is all before we even hit the 30-second mark! This trailer holds nothing back, giving us a peek at what’s to come for Jim Gordon, a look at Selina Kyle as well as snippets of Miranda Tate, John Blake and Nixon. Still not enough? Wait until you hit the action in the football stadium. This trailer is packed with so much, it successfully satiates your need for pre-release material all while still leaving you itching for more. What better assessment of a trailer could there be?
3. The Baytown Disco Poster: The Baytown Disco? What’s that? That’s exactly what I asked myself when I came across this poster and that in itself speaks to the image’s promotional power. The technique of using smaller visuals or items to create a larger picture is generally quite effective, as it tends to pack that power to make you need to take a closer look. Pair this poster’s smaller components with the wider view and a tagline as tough as “A Southern Whip-Ass Extravaganza,” and you can basically figure it out without even plugging the title into Google.
The Worst Stuff
1. Wrath of the Titans Trailer: Yup, this trailer proves it; I really don’t need another Clash of the Titans movie, and that’s not just because the first film isn’t all that good, but now more so because we just saw Immortals. How many swords and sandals films can we stomach? Then there’s this trailer itself, which doesn’t make the movie seem all that special, rather just more of the same – wicked visuals and battle sequences minus an engaging story. And while I might enjoy listening to Marilyn Manson's rendition of “Sweet Dreams” while I’m going for a run, it’s far too obvious use here makes it a tacky attempt at pumping up the adrenaline.
2. Contraband Clips: Isn’t Contraband supposed to be an action movie? Okay, it’s crime, drama and action, but still, all the promotional material released thus far has totally put the focus on the film’s more exciting moments, including a trailer packed with guns, helicopters, car chases and violent threats via Giovanni Ribisi. Yes, going with “talkier” clips could have worked, but the ones chosen are, well, kind of boring. Perhaps I still haven’t shaken off The Rum Diary but Ribisi’s bad guy just isn’t as threatening as he is likely intended to be. And then there’s Walberg and, at this point, we generally accept the fact that it’s more fun watching him beat people up than hearing him speak. If this collection of clips included more like “Run,” hopes would be much higher for Contraband.
3. Gone Poster: It’s tough to know exactly what a marketing team’s intentions were, but this new poster for Gone leads me to believe that the folks behind the design are banking more on Amanda Seyfried’s star power than the quality of the film itself. It’s tough enough to put together the pieces of the plot unveiled in the film’s trailer, but if you caught this poster on the street, you’d have absolutely no clue what this movie is about whatsoever. If you had any interest in seeing Gone it wouldn’t be because of the semi-silhouette lurking in the background, the menacing man in the foreground or the ambiguous tagline; it’s because of Amanda Seyfried and if she could only pull in $12 million alongside Justin Timberlake for the opening weekend of In Time, odds are, riding on her face and name won’t snag Gone even half that.