Star Wars Episode 2: Attack Of The Clones
In this film’s teaser trailer, Vader’s heaves provide the tempo. Cutting in and out of black, brief awesome imagery of a grown Anakin, Boba Fett, and nostalgic bites of space battles fill the black. The snippets are thrilling, promising even (We hoped for an improved return). But at that point we hadn’t seen Hayden Christensen’s awkward portrayal of the soon to be iconic villain, or witnessed George Lucas’s taxing foreboding. Episode 2 is often regarded as one of the worst in the Franchise.
Prometheus was oh so hyped by the trailer. An intense electronic screeching, the original Alien fade-in title technique, Michael Fassbender as an A.I. and that epic wide shot of a collapsing spacecraft and rollicking spacemen, the film could hardly be anything but great. But despite those wonderful special effects featured in the trailer, the actual film was quite uneven and plodding. Fassbender was just as compelling as we’d hope as an A.I. but the rest left much to be desired.
Christian Bale, one of the world’s most beloved Sci-Fi Franchises, and Nine Inch Nails makes for a good 2-minute trailer. But “MCG” is no James Cameron, and this film no T1, T2, or even T3. Another cool assembly of striking visual shots, and pumping music, misled me, I will admit. And what I got in return was inane dialogue, uninspired action, and an always loud and angry Christian Bale.
Battle: Los Angeles
I shouldn’t have been swayed by this trailer, it’s just another in a then soon to be string of L.A/Manhattan apocalyptic happenings (Can we at least set it in Chicago sometime?). I’ll attribute the hype to composer Jóhann Jóhannsson, who is among my favorite musicians and admittedly won me over here. That coupled with actor Aaron Eckhart, who until then was making smart career choices. I was always cautious because Liebesman was in the director’s chair, but the trailer made me hope longer than I would have.
Zach Snyder started in commercials, so it’s no wonder that he’s heavily involved in the production of his films trailers. As a fan of the epic graphic novel, I had high hopes and high expectations. The trailer exacerbated that, I got hyped. Another “Smashing” song accompanied the trailer, The Beginning Is The End Is The Beginning, and Snyder has a voyeuristic visual eye to really make a strong impression in trailers time. The result was 3 hours of a mixed bag: An odd tonal balance, flat emotional scenes, striking visuals, questionable changes, and an occasionally inspired recreation or two from the graphic novel. I came away disappointed.
Man Of Steel
Here’s Snyder working his infernal magic again, weaving a lie. I was always cautious of the brooding superman. The nihilistic blue-filtered vibe that D.C has absorbed into it’s aesthetic. But again, some nice visuals, and an honest looking father/son scene with Kevin Costner made me coax my doubts and hope for the best. Again it was a pretty mixed bag, and it featured 9/11 style destruction enough to exhaust audiences of it for a decade. But apparently that actually wasn’t the case.
Cold In July
By the trailer, Cold In July looked to be a slick indie throwback with neon visuals and an electronic score. It is not as it first seems. A dramatic twist comes out of left field and alters the entire structure of the film. Refreshing at first, but ultimately hypocritical, Cold In July thinks it has something interesting to say on violence. But it doesn’t, it’s entirely an aestheticized celebration of it masquerading as murder with consequence.
I was sold just by the names and concept. Linklater, filming the same actors over 12 years. This had to be movie gold. The trailer looked quite good. Set to an excellent song (Family Of The Year- Hero) and featuring what looked like an honest, emotional, coming of age tale, it could not fail. Alas, it did. Linklater is no Truffaut, and this is no important rise from adolescence. The package was too fanciful, and it tried too hard to be relatable without provoking relatable emotion. It relied on nostalgia. That word implies a sort of illusion.
The Godfather 3
Featuring ample footage from the classic Godfather I & II, the trailer persuaded us that the third film could not possibly falter as the concluding chapter in Coppola’s beloved fairy tale. It looked to be a continuation of the trends set by those films. Romantic mob melodrama, gorgeous cinematography, artful compositions of violence, it seemed to have it all. The trailer primed it to be a classic by boasting the success of the first two films. As we know, it did not totally succeed.
Crash presented an Urban Soap Opera, complete with characters slow-mo pacing and close-up emoting to Adagio for Strings. It looked to be a star-studded ensemble with the possibility of raising a classic Urban Myth. However, it was too contrived, virile, and ethically questionable and heavy handed. Popular opinion (for whatever it’s worth) likes to render it one of The Academy’s most mistaken Best Picture winners.
So if to take away anything, keep yourself level-headed when approaching trailers. If a 3-minute highlight reel can make Battle: Los Angeles look like a promising film, then I fear for what else can sway me.