In most cases, the movie trailer is the number one marketing tool to get you to go see a movie. There was a time when trailers were pretty simple—just show you some good scenes, get you interested, and draw you in. But now, it’s a lot more complicated than that, as trailers give away more and more for free. For example, we’ve all seen trailers (especially for comedies) where all of the best scenes are stitched together for the trailer, and then you go see the movie and it’s a complete letdown, because you’ve already seen the funniest stuff 20 times already and it’s not funny anymore. The studios think this is great because they tricked you into paying for a movie ticket. This can happen for horror movies, too—for example, when the trailer for QUARANTINE (2008) came out, and gave away the ending of the movie!
Then there’s that other annoying trend where a trailer shows you THE ENTIRE STORY of a given movie. This happened for me with movies like LEGION (2009) and PRIEST (2011) -which, coincidentally, both starred Paul Bettany. Not only do you know every important plot twist in the story, but, after seeing the trailers several times, you feel like you’ve already seen the movie and have no desire to see the “longer” version.
It’s sad, because there was a time when movie trailers were an art form and left you wanting more.
As someone who goes to the movie theater almost every single week, I see a lot of movie trailers. And I see a lot of the same ones multiple times (which can be torturous, if you hate certain trailers), I thought it might be interesting to write a column where we take a look at a few upcoming trailers and what we have to look forward to (or dread) in the future.
Here’s a few that stood out recently:
Liam Neeson is a Navy admiral. Taylor Kitsch (from the FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS TV series) is a rebellious recruit going to officer school, and he’s dating Neeson’s daughter. Alexander Skarsgard (Eric Northman from the HBO series TRUE BLOOD) is another officer. During maneuvers, they come across something that looks like the ruins of a ship floating in the ocean. Some guys go to check it out. Someone touches it and is blown out to sea by some kind of energy. The sinking ship turns out to be some kind of giant Transformer wannabe— a hissing giant robot. The Navy ships blast it, with disasterous results.
A lot of people have been complaining about this one, because they played the game BATTLESHIP as a kid, and don’t remember any alien giant robots in it. In fact, as far as I can remember, the game takes place during World War II. I’m sure whoever came up with this concept thought it was brilliant, and I’m sure whoever he/she pitched it to thought it was, too. But just about everyone who has seen this trailer thinks it looks stupid. And I have to agree.
Having gone out of my way to avoid the TRANSFORMERS movies, I have no desire to see a lame rip-off of that series. I’m not a big fan of movies where cars and ships and vehicles transform into giant robots. That said, I’ll probably have to review this one when it comes out.
Based on the trailer, I’d give BATTLESHIP an “F” if I had to grade it, even though Neesom is okay, and I like Kitch (although he was HORRIBLE as Gambit in X-MEN ORIGINS: WOLVERINE), and I really like Skarsgard. It’s nice to see Kitch and Skaarsgard trying to break into movies. I just wish it wasn’t this one.
Will I be completely surprised by the actual movie? I doubt it. But there’s a first time for everything.
See the trailer for yourself here.
THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN (aka SPIDER-MAN 4)
This time around, Peter Parker isn’t a science nerd. He’s played by Andrew Garfield (THE SOCIAL NETWORK), as some kind of cool loner kid who wears a hoodie in class. In this version, his girlfriend is blonde Gwen Stacy (which makes sense, since in the comics, he went out with her for years before she died and then he got involved with Mary Jane), played by Emma Stone (EASY A). This new trailer (which I saw before COWBOYS & ALIENS) does not reveal who the bad guy is going to be (I’m not sure how many villains are in this one, but I know one of them is The Lizard), but we do see Peter get bitten by the radioactive spider yet again. And, at the end of the trailer, we see a bunch of stuff from Spidey’s point of view as he’s climbing walls and swinging over buildings, and I can’t tell if it’s cool or way too much like a first-person video game.
Based on this trailer, this one could go either way. I have no idea why we need to see Spider-Man’s origin story again— everybody already knows who he is, and how he got his powers. The movie also seems to disregard the three Sam Raimi films that came before it (which is just dumb). I don’t mind a darker take on the character, and anything would be an improvement over SPIDER-MAN 3 (Raimi quit at the perfect time). Andrew Garfield looks way too cool as Peter Parker (at first, I had a hard time accepting Tobey McGuire in the role, but he was a good enough actor to grow on me. Who knows if this kid is.). I am dreading having to sit through the same story I already saw in the first SPIDER-MAN (2002) movie, which is my biggest problem with the trailer, and so I’d give the trailer a C-.
Let’s hope the movie is a LOT better than what we’ve seen so far.
I couldn’t find this new theatrical trailer for THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN on Youtube yet.
RISE OF THE PLANET OF THE APES
James Franco is a scientist who discovers a cure for Alzheimer’s disease that can regrow brain cells. He uses it on a chimp who becomes increasingly intelligent, perhaps even surpassing his human counterparts. At one point, they close down the experiment and put the chimp in a zoo, where he feels completely alienated from his wild(er) relatives. The chimp escapes, uses the drug (in gas form) to transform more apes and monkeys. They all get intelligent and decide to take over, using tools like axes and clubs (why no guns?). Apes jump down from trees to attack cars on a bridge. This is how it all begins.
Based on the trailer, this is the origin story of how we got to THE PLANET OF THE APES (there was a variation of this origin in the third original APES movie, 1972’s CONQUEST OF THE PLANET OF THE APES). It’s also somewhat of a reboot, because, as far as I can tell, it has nothing to do with Tim Burton’s HORRIBLE remake of the original movie (thank God!) That alone gives it positive points. James Franco is also a plus. The intelligent chimp looks really odd (obviously there’s a lot of CGI at work here, rather than the make-up effects of the original movies), and sometimes it looks cool and sometimes it looks incredibly fake. The same thing goes for the other intelligent apes at the end of the trailer.
I give this trailer a B. It could go either way. Either it will be a complete surprise and charm the hell out of me, or it will be awful (although I can’t imagine ANYTHING being as awful as Burton’s take on this subject). I’m hoping for the the former. This one will be interesting, because it comes out this weekend, and I’ll be able to compare the trailer and the movie right away.
A friend of mine who saw the trailer said something to me like, with all the technology we have today, why wouldn’t we just use high-tech weapons and wipe the apes out in five minutes. Seriously, I don’t have an answer to that one. Yet. Hopefully the actual movie addresses this.
See the RISE OF THE PLANET OF THE APES trailer for yourself, here.
That’s it for this installment. As more trailers gnaw at my brain tissue, I’ll shine the spotlight on them.
© Copyright 2011 by L.L. Soares