Sure, it only makes my job tougher sorting through a slew of successful promotional material in an effort to narrow down the top three, but that’s a painstaking process I’m beyond thrilled to tackle as it suggests the feature film future is looking good.
Sadly, that also means some impressive pieces won’t receive their due honor. Captain America: The First Avenger was on the verge of snagging two spots in the promotion section courtesy of its incredibly thorough and exciting new trailer, as well as an amusingly clever Dunkin Donuts commercial. There’s also the new trailer for Mission Impossible – Ghost Protocol, which blew me away, not necessarily because it’s a well cut piece, but more so for its ability to make me curious when I’m not the slightest bit interested in the franchise.
Settling in somewhere in the middle of the spectrum are the new trailers for War Horse and the teaser for Brave. If you’ve been keeping up with this feature, by now you likely know I’m big on story, and while the visuals in the War Horse trailer are stunning, without reading a synopsis I get nothing more from this footage than it being a film about a boy and horse -- and that’s certainly not enough to get me to buy a ticket. Similarly, Brave continues to flaunt its stellar animation, but has yet to deliver that emotional clincher to create a connection to the film’s heroine.
As for our weekly dose of demotions, one genre managed to snag them all. Check out the new Best/Worst Movie Promos of the Week for the breakdown.
1. Immortals Trailer: Anyone familiar with director Tarsem Singh’s work knows he excels when it comes to imagery and, based on this trailer for his upcoming film Immortals, it looks as though he’ll continue to raise the visual bar. The video comes packed with sweeping landscape shots, well-composed close-ups, and wildly unique costume designs. But, of course, these elements are only part of the equation, as these stellar visuals will be rendered almost entirely useless without an engaging story. At this point, the trailer does what it needs to do by laying out the basics; Hyperion (Mickey Rourke) unleashes the evil titans, igniting a war that ultimately requires godly intervention. As long as subsequent trailers reveal a little more of the meat of this story, particularly the chemistry between the characters, Immortals is in good shape. No pun intended.
2. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 Horcruxes Featurette: While I do understand the concept of these Horcruxes, ultimately, with roughly a year or more between films, some of the details get lost in the cracks, and that’s after seeing each Harry Potter film multiple times. For folks who’ve only seen each movie once, or perhaps missed one or two along the way, this Horcrux featurette is incredibly helpful and serves as a very fast catch-up session. Sure, many out there will opt for a Harry Potter marathon prior to July 15th, but the rest will likely appreciate this quick and easy approach. Even better, this featurette doesn’t just list the facts, rather it uses past footage and cast interviews to convey it in an impressively engaging manner. Then Warner Bros. takes it one step further by teasing the final film, giving us a taste of what’s to come and what’s at stake. The video gives you so much but still manages to leave you wanting more.
3. The Three Musketeers Trailer 2: The Three Musketeers earns its spot on the promotion list for being the most improved of the lot. It’s a good thing this promo piece didn’t exist back in March because the very first trailer for this film would have undoubtedly earned a spot in the demotions department, right alongside its mess of a poster. While this new trailer does reuse quite a bit of footage from the first, it also adds tons more as well as a far better sense of the story, labeling the players and providing a sense of what everyone’s gunning for – or sword fighting for, for that matter. Clearly I still have Transformers: Dark of the Moon on the brain, but what the old and new Three Musketeers trailers prove is that impressive visuals are nothing without a compelling story. Sure it’s fun to see dashing men poking and prodding each other to death, but if you couldn’t care less about what they’re fighting for, it becomes nothing more than a brief visual distraction. In this new trailer, we get the slightest taste of what’s at risk, making the material far more alluring.
1. 11-11-11 Trailer: If a trailer for a horror film isn’t the least bit frightening, odds are the feature film won’t be either. The problem stems from the portions of the story told in the trailer. The most intriguing part of this film is the basic premise, that on 11-11-11, an evil otherworldly entity will invade the Earth. This nonsense about the main character’s dying father and car crash? Not necessary – or at least in the manner in which it’s presented. Rather than focus the viewer on 11-11-11 right from the start, we get the story of some mopey guy who wants to die. Skip all of the personal emotional nonsense, for now at least, and scare us with the truly twisted material. We don’t hit the “scary” portion of the trailer until more than a quarter of the way through and, not only is the imagery included in that montage not particularly frightening, but the editor slaps on some inappropriate effect, reminiscent of shaky cam style films.
11-11-11 TRAILER from 11 11 11 on Vimeo.
2. Apollo 18 Trailer: The tagline for this film should be, “Been there, done that.” Based on this trailer, the filmmakers behind Apollo 18 think that just because they put a paranormal entity in space, they automatically differentiate their film from Paranormal Activity. Inexplicable shadows? Demons using humans as hosts? People being dragged into the darkness? Like I said, been there, done that. The teaser trailer released back in February did a much better job at separating Apollo 18 from the lot, highlighting the portions of this piece that are original and sucking the viewer into this rather fresh environment. From there, it slowly transitions into the more horrific material, ensuring the stakes are high before getting to the horror of the piece, ultimately making that horror far more frightening. In the theatrical version we simply get part happy and part horror and neither suits each other.
3. Final Destination 5 Poster: This poster is horrific and not in a good way. You know what this design reminds me of? The one for the franchise’s fourth film, The Final Destination. You know what I thought of The Final Destination? Garbage, and that’s coming from a dedicated FD fan. The biggest problem with the fourth film is the reliance on the third dimension. It’s as though the filmmakers thought if they threw enough fire and car parts at the audience, everyone would forget a proper story is necessary. Well, I can’t judge FD5 on this poster, but it does lead me to believe that it’ll wind up using 3D as a crutch as well, which would be incredibly disappointing. Again, as a hardcore fan, I’ve still got my fingers crossed tight, but sadly, this poster does dash some hopes.