Spider-Man has been a my favorite comic superhero since I was a little kid. So when I caught this trailer in the theaters (shortly before it got yanked because of the tragic events of 9/11) I nearly wet myself. It starts off like it could be any cops and robbers type film, and many people probably just passed it off. Then something grabs the helicopter. This immediately throws the trailer into question; is it a monster movie? A horror flick? Or one of those cheesy ‘turn off your cell phone’ commercials? Then you see the spider’s web and geeks around the world began exploding with excitement. It’s a fantastic lead in and designed beautifully to grab interest and generate hype.
The Matrix Revolutions (2003)
After the big cliffhanger from The Matrix Reloaded, fans were pretty eager to get their eyeballs on any kind of footage from the impending sequel. This trailer gave fans exactly what they were wanting, yet doesn’t give away any of the many lingering secrets and questions. While many people were upset by how the trilogy wrapped things up (I personally loved it), it’s hard to not be excited by this teaser. It’s intense, and gets your blood pumping and ready for more. Regardless on how you felt about the movie living up to those expectations, it’s a great piece of marketing.
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (2005)
I didn’t care for this film. I thought it didn’t go far enough with Douglas Adams’ original work, and on the whole was filled with missed opportunities. It’s not terrible, but left me wanting more. That being said, this is a great teaser trailer, which is amazing because it gives the audience almost no information to go on but that the Earth explodes and the title of the movie. But that’s exactly why it stands out. It’s totally in keeping with the book’s sense of humor and it’s an attention grabber. It made people want to know what the heck was going on in this film, while setting up the crazy/flamboyant/nuts tone of the story. At the very least the trailer is a conversation starter, desgined to get people interested in finding out more about the film itself.
Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith (2005)
Star Wars is so influential on our culture today it’s almost scary. The vast amount of fans in the world clogged the official website’s servers when they first released this trailer and it definitely didn’t leave anyone disappointed. In a brilliant move, Lucasfilm used parts from A New Hope in order to tie the trilogies together for the trailer. Hearing Sir Alec Guinness (the original Obi-Wan Kenobi) narrating the first part of the trailer is simply sublime. It’s filled with several scenes fans had been waiting to see for almost a decade, Palpatine wielding a Lightsaber, Anakin with Sith eyes, and of course Darth Vader back in his helmet. This trailer made the wait for the film itself incredibly difficult, and I hope the first teaser for the new Star Wars films fill me with the same feeling (though that might just be cruel).
Superman Returns (2006)
While Zack Snyder’s recent Man of Steel has most definitely made Superman cool once again, I never thought Superman Returns deserved the hatred it received. I won’t take the time to defend the film here, but I’ve always thought it was a tad unfair. Regardless of your feelings on the film, this initial teaser trailer fulfilled the dreams of many nerds the world over when it first hit theaters. It gaves everyone a small hint of all the things they wanted to see with a more modern Superman film; flying, Lex Luthor, and of course Lois Lane. Hearing Marlon Brando’s voice as Superman’s father is powerful, and to this day still sends shivers up my spine. While Man of Steel has trumped this movie (and trailer) in just about all ways, I still think it’s a great little teaser.
I think J.J. Abram’s has mastered the art of the teaser trailer (just look at his recent ones with Star Trek Into Darkness and Super 8). The Cloverfield teaser is a brilliant example of what this brand of marketing is supposed to do. It gets you interested in the movie and leaves you wanting more. Some may say that it went a little extreme with the “leave you wanting more” part of it, but it manages to give you key information; it’s obviously a monster movie, you know when the release date is, and it gives a sense style of filmmaking you can expect to see. Say what you will about the film, but this trailer definitely piques your interest.
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (2009)
This is the first teaser that came out in theaters before they ended up switching the release date. So when I first saw it, the feeling was bittersweet. Fans who had already delved into the books had plenty to be excited about here, as every scene is pulled straight out of the book for this trailer. A steady ominous feeling weaves it’s way through this trailer, which truly sets the tone for how much darker the series was about to get. All around this does everything a good teaser is supposed to do…it just sucks that we had to wait so much longer for the film after this.
I imagine when this first hit theaters many people were probably confused. It looked like a comic book movie, but exuded none of the fun and lighthearted attributes most people typically associate with those films. Instead audiences are confronted by a dark and brooding teaser, filled with haunting music and a big blue naked man. Fans of the comic were no doubt elated when this teaser hit the screen, as they finally got their chance to see their beloved characters brought to life. Even non-fans were instantly intrigued by the strange and different world that Watchmen presented. With Rorschach’s classic line punctuating the end of the trailer it was truly hard to not be hooked and ready to see this film.
While some of the film’s were unable to deliver on the final product, these teasers remain fun examples of excellent advertising. After watching all these teasers again in order to compile this list, I felt the urge to sit down and watch the full films! Movies are getting better and better, and the first few years of this current decade has already provided us with a wealth of amazing teasers (The Dark Knight Rises, The Avengers, Thor 2, Star Trek Into Darkness…etc). Let’s just hope they continue to be amazing and deliver wonderful films to boot.
This is my list of amazing teasers from the last decade (the 00s, if you will), but now it’s time for you to tell us your favorites that we may have missed. Sound off in the comments below!