The Top 15 Movie Trailers
large;”>The Top 15 Movie Trailers
by Matt Hamilton
It’s the holiday season, and what does that mean? All the big blockbuster release their movie trailers in order to create buzz, build a social media fan base etc etc. A great trailer can do a lot for a movie, it’s turned into an art, a mini movie. Sometimes a trailer can be good where the movie sucks (Reindeer Games, Terminator Salvation) and sometimes a trailer can suck where the movie is good (Tower Heist, apparently).
In honour of the great The Dark Knight Rises, The Avengers, and The Hunger Games trailers, I countdown my list of the top 15 trailers EVER! It is mostly a contemporary list because trailers used to suck major ass and it’s amazing anyone ever went to the movies.
The first Transformers movie wasn’t as terrible as I was expecting. It still has the classic Michael Bay flag waving, cardboard characters, and destruction for the sake of destruction but with Steven Spielberg Executive Producing it seemed to have forced Bay to actually look at the story which led to a Michael Bay flick that isn’t shitty. (Where Spielberg was on the sequels remains to be seen) But the trailer does a good job of giving the fan boys enough nerd stuff, has great sound design, and the momentum builds at a great pace. The trailer is better than the movie, but that’s the point of the trailer.
14: The Raid – Red Band
This movie premiered at the Toronto Film Festival this year and chances are you’ve never heard of it. After watching this trailer, you will need this movie in your veins because it is so badass and has about 5 moments where you go “Ohhhhhh sick.” (provided kids still say ‘sick’) A hardcore foreign action flick I am dying to see. No talking, just watch.
13: The Expendables
The definition of a Guy’s movie, The Expendables is a homage to the hard core 80’s action flick featuring 80’s action stars. Stallone, Li, Rourke, Statham, Lundgren, Crews, Couture, Austin, Willis, and Schwarzenegger, how could it go wrong? Sadly, it goes a little wrong with incoherent action sequences, cheesy digital blood, and a misguided Statham subplot but it’s still likeable due to nostalgia. Oh, by the way, the sequel not only includes bigger roles for Bruce and Arnold, but Jean Claude Van Damme and Chuck Norris join the cast. Yeah. Awesome.
12: The Blair Witch Project
Yes, Paranormal Activity is scarier. But that movie wouldn’t have been possible if it weren’t for this. The first movie to successfully use the web as the main crux of it’s marketing campaign. It did such a good job, a lot of people thought they were watching a true story. Now it is common practice to blast the web with advertising but none has ever been as effective as this. I still remember opening weekend, it pulled in 29 million (adjusting for inflation that’s about 45mill with today’s ticket prices) on 1100 screens. To put that in perspective, a blockbuster today will open on about 4200 screens. There were line-ups down the street, even in Victoria.
11: The Strangers
I still haven’t seen this movie but it is on the list. Once it hits Netflix of course (what, you want me to go out and RENT IT?!?! What is this? 2002?) The movie was delayed for years, which means the studio didn’t have much faith in it so stuck it on the shelf. But, this trailer definitely helped create public opinion and turned this dump off flick into a 50+ million domestic gross. Not bad. The trailer = creepy as shit.
10: Knocked Up
The red band trailer that started the red band craze. Much like another trailer on this list, this trailer just provides a scene. But in this scene we get exactly what the movie is about. A funny movie about a serious topic, it’s vulgur, raunchy, funny, and features a then popular Seth Rogen and Katherine Heigl. Oh how times of changed, Seth Rogen over exposed himself to the point where even good movies like Zack and Miri Make a Porno and 50/50 underperformed at the box office and Katherine Heigl only picks movies that are destined to be Razzie Contenders (Killers, The Ugly Truth, Life As We Know It have an average Rotten Tomato meter of 17% – yikes )
John Woo’s first big time North American film (Hard Target didn’t prove too successful) has a really clever trailer to a pretty silly idea. The spinning one take at the beginning is clever, then cue the kick ass music and sequences. Face/Off enjoyed really solid reviews (94% on Rotten Tomatoes) and a lengthy box office run for an R rated action flick (245 mill worldwide) and this trailer makes me want to watch it again.
8: Garden State
The quirky, offbeat indie hit benefited from a hip soundtrack, strong word of mouth and a clever trailer that has 3 words. It’s all music but we get the vibe from the trailer perfectly. This catapulted Zach Braff to stardom who then catapulted himself back to obscurity with a slew of mediocre films. This features my favorite Natalie Portman performance.
Fresh off the Oscar nominated phenomenon that was The Sixth Sense, M. Night Shyamalan’s follow up was his take on the superhero genre, before the superhero genre blew up. The trailer is very much like the film, slow, patient, and meticulous. Instead of giving us 30 scenes cut manically together, we get 1 (for the most part) that doesn’t tell us much but gives us the hook. Combined with the eerie score and the success of the last movie, the trailer leaves us with that “Ohhhh, I want to see that” feeling. The one thing I really like about this movie is how it essentially the first act of a superhero movie, the protagonist discovering his powers, but stretched over a whole movie.
6: Independence Day
What is almost the first blockbuster in a sense (one of the first summer movies to feature special effects as a character), combined with the ominous score and the slow reveal, the trailer has that “whoa” factor once shit starts hitting the fan. ID4 was a huge hit, made Will Smith a star, and turned writer/director Roland Emmerich into a blockbuster making son of a bitch (10000 BC, The Day After Tomorrow, 2012, Godzilla). While the characters were cliché and cheesy, dialogue on the nose, and the story unoriginal, it was still a fun ride.
5: Where the Wild Things Are
Spike Jonze adaption of the classic children’s novel of the same name. The book is 13 sentences. Literally. The writer was on a deadline and spat this out the night before it was due…then it become a sensation. The trailer is so fun and effective you would have no idea the movie was so downbeat. It also features a trailer only version of the Arcade Fire’s Wake up.
4: The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
The rare trilogy where the first movie is a banger, and each subsequent film is better than the one before it. Frodo and the boys gotta get rid of that ring. We know. But this trailer shows that all the kids play before is over. Shit’s about to get real. Like now.
The ominous and pounding score is now infamous fodder for fan made trailers everywhere. And it’s rad. This trailer takes an intricate subject, explains it enough for people to understand, then hammers it out of the park with great visuals and sound design. Nolan knows a thing or two about trailers, The Prestige almost made the list, as did Batman Begins. He turned a heady, risky sci-fi/action movie and turned it into a blockbuster. Not an easy task.
I remember when I saw the teaser in the theater, it sparked a “BOOOOO” from the crowd and people laughed, for just cause. The much delayed and hyped Avatar teaser wasn’t that impressive and seemed cheesy. Then James Cameron stepped it up a notch and dummied the second trailer. My favorite part is when he lists all his movies, and they’re all bangers. As if to say ‘Not sure if you remember but I’m fuckin’ rad.’ And now Avatar is the biggest movie of all time. Check mate.
1: The Dark Knight
Batman Begins was good and itself features a gnarly trailer. And led to excitement for the sequel, but it wasn’t fever pitch excitement…until this trailer (and the 6 minute bank robbery scene that played in front of I am Legend) just blew things up. There were fan boy cries heard round the world when Heath Ledger was announced as The Joker, those were quelled instantly after this. His unfortunate death months after the release of the trailer and the buzz around his performance catapulted The Dark Knight to the highest opening weekend ever (which Harry Potter has since surpassed…until next summer). Should be noted, Christopher Nolan is the man.
So, what do you think? Do you disagree with any of Matt’s Choices? Think he missed any great trailers? Leave us a comment below or on the Rockey Shores Facebook Page and tell us which one. If you’re really a keener, you’ll include the link so we don’t have to go looking for it ourselves. You can also connect with us on Twitter, or just share the links with our YouTube Channel. Thanks for checking out this week’s post.