Best/Worst Movie Promos of the Week: Superheroes and Super Tributes

Best/Worst Movie Promos of the Week: Superheroes and Super Tributes

Feb 10, 2012

The Avengers Super Bowl SpotThe Super Bowl came and went and left a number of TV spots in its wake. Of the bunch that didn’t make it into “The Best Stuff” and didn’t seep into “The Worst Stuff,” Act of Valor is the standout, keeping the focus of its Super Bowl ad on brotherhood. Football brotherhood? Army brotherhood? Makes sense. On the other hand, what’s with the spot for Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace 3D? Did someone just realize Episode I can’t compare to the original trilogy? Is that why a nice chunk of the footage here comes from A New Hope?

Moving out of Super Bowl territory and into the land of clips and trailers, we’ve got a new piece of Journey 2: The Mysterious Island. Nope, this is definitely not my thing, but for kids and families, the Bright and cartoonish action could be rather fun. As for trailers, a big one just arrived, the trailer for The Bourne Legacy. The piece is a bit oddly structured, the creators sticking a little too closely to that cutout video effect, but for Bourne trilogy diehards, this trailer is a likely crowd pleaser.

On the other hand, the trailer for Dorothy and the Witches of Oz undoubtedly solidifies the film as something that should have been made for TV, but it stays out of the worst of the worst thanks to three simple words: “In Glorious 2D.” Also just missing out on sinking into the bottom three is the Scorpion Beer/Casa de mi Padre commercial, as it goes zero for two – I don’t want to see Casa de mi Padre and I don’t want to drink a Scorpion Beer.

Enough of that. Let’s get back on top. Here are the best movie promos of the past week, followed by the worst.

The Best Stuff

1. The Hunger Games Trailer 2: With any theatrical release, we’re bound to get more than one trailer. The problem comes when that second trailer is a mere restructuring of the first. For any old movie that just seems like a big waste of time, but for something highly anticipated, a fresh trailer with just two or three new shots can be incredibly disappointing. Not only is the second theatrical trailer for The Hunger Games brimming with new footage, but the video itself is almost like a mini character piece, making it the perfect follow-up to the first trailer, which functioned as more of a story overview.

Rather than run with a hodgepodge of a promotional campaign, merely tossing material out to the public as it comes, Lionsgate has been running with an incredibly effective layer tactic, using every single marketing tool to build off one another, upping the ante every step of the way. Film clips should be coming our way next and, should those be as successful as what we’ve seen so far, The Hunger Games won’t only be a likely hit, but a good movie, too.  

2. The Avengers Super Bowl Spot: It’s tough to arouse emotion with a mere 30-second TV spot, let alone a TV spot that drops after an action-packed theatrical trailer. However, the folks behind The Avengers Super Bowl spot not only succeed in establishing a darker tone, but also manage to run with the film’s top asset in a fresher way. Rather than catch our heroes banding together and poking fun at one another in between battles, this spot keeps the focus on the severity of the situation. The Avengers aren’t just coming together to show off their powers and take part in your typical superhero banter; they’re taking on a serious threat. That sensation bleeds through the entire TV spot, evoking new emotions when the team suits up. The chills are still there, but there’s also an impressively threatening undertone that’s quite unsettling.

3. The Amazing Spider-Man Trailer: Do we really need another Spider-Man movie? According to this trailer, maybe we do. I’m most certainly not in the know in terms of the source material, so when it comes to Spider-Man’s origin, Sam Raimi’s 2002 film is all I know. The thought of Marc Webb’s version altering that has been rather unsettling, but, quite appropriately, the marketing team waited until the second trailer to show off the portions of the new film that take the story in a new direction, showing that the hero still has some similar roots.

The new suit looks pretty incredible, with a degree of detail that makes the action all the more mesmerizing, and hearing more than a mere tacky line or two coming from Andrew Garfield while in that suit helps ground the character more than we’ve ever seen before. The action itself also looks quite convincing and is particularly effective in this trailer thanks to the decision to show what appears to be a solid chunk of scenes rather than mere snippets of punches and web-slinging. While it’s a nice treat to get to see Rhys Ifans’ Lizard in action, Webb’s Spidey-vision is surprisingly absent. A good chunk of the first trailer was devoted to showing off that technique and it wasn’t particularly satisfying. As trailer two skirts around that element, it’s now the only thing I’m concerned about come July 3rd

The Worst Stuff

1. The Lorax Super Bowl Spot & Clip: With all the movies that hit theaters each year, you’ve got no choice but to make your film stand out. “Eye-popping,” “jaw-dropping,” “high-flying” and “heart-stopping?” You’re trying to lure an audience in with those adjectives? Sorry, but we've been there, done that. While The Lorax has the appeal of coming from the beloved Dr. Seuss book, that doesn’t mean the filmmakers can sit back, relax and let the source material do the work for them. So far, what we’ve seen of this film suggests it’s packed with colorful cartoonish images and a ton of very childish jokes, and the same is true for its Super Bowl spot.

Hot on the heels of that Super Bowl spot came a rather problematic clip of the film. Zac Efron’s Ted and Ed Helms’ young Oncer-ler look so similar, and with this clip arriving out of context, it’s rather tough to tell the two apart. Then, of course, in come some more unfunny gags.

2. Battleship Super Bowl Spot: Sure, Transformers: Dark of the Moon went on to earn over $1 billion worldwide, but that doesn’t mean a copycat will do the same, and a copycat with wholly different source material nonetheless. How did a movie based on the Battleship board game end up like this? We’ve known Battleship bears some similarities to the Transformers movies for quite a bit, but the film’s Super Bowl spot feels like Battleship is merely trying to cash in on Transformers’ success and nothing more. In fact, some of the footage here looks incredibly similar. The high-rise destruction? The crumbling skyscraper? We got 45 straight minutes of that in Dark of the Moon and you’re force-feeding us more? No thanks.

3. ATM Italian Poster: Please let the domestic poster for ATM be better than this Italian one. It’s pretty easy to get the concept of this film across, so why resort to such tactless imagery? Isn’t the ominous figure lurking in front of the ATM machine enough? Apparently not, because this designer felt it was necessary to not only photoshop the cast into that ATM machine, but put the word “Help” on the window, too, just in case you didn’t get it. Not only is this design insultingly obvious, but it’s also just lazily assembled. Did no one notice that the portions are incredibly off? Alice Eve, Josh Peck and Brian Geraghty look like they’re holed up in an ATM booth for giants – and the bad guy is the giant.

ATM Italian Poster

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