Tag Archives: teaser

Desperation, In all its Facets

Wow….first Tootsie gets in the Criterion Collection, and now this.  Truly these are the Last Days.  I cannot believe this is actually real.  I mean I sincerely hope that I will find in the next few days that video of Kimmel announcing it is another of his good-natured pranks.  If you cannot tell already, this episode of Art of the Trailer is going to be more editorial than usual, because I have something to confess.  Forgive me audience, for my people have sinned:

First, this is the dumbest premise I have ever heard for a movie.  It is a standard, run-of-the-mill watery Christian Rom-Com, which already lies low in my book.  Fake emotions, contrived plots, and a heavy Bible Belting of a gospel message are sure to alienate those non-believers who walk into the wrong theater and become a rallying cry of small Christian communities around the country.  From the first half of the trailer, it seems like the film could run with an interesting, if not stock desperation narrative so common of early 2000s.  But by making this a “Christian Movie” the filmmakers muddle their intended audience and make a film that no one wants, and one which might actually do harm to the gospel.

This is a large soapbox of mine.  The short version is this:  “Christian Movies” are made with two conflicting purposes in mind, which make them ineffective towards any serious audience.  There is a place in this world for films meant to bolster the faith of people who already believe.  Those movies will not receive mainstream release as they are intended for a niche market, therefore loaning themselves towards a distribution plan mainly centered on Lifeway Christian Stores.  Conversely, movies like God’s Not Dead or Son of God are typically made to evangelize (spread the faith) to people who do not believe (and intercongregationally lauded for so doing).  However, production quality is sacrificed in favor of having the moral focus be the point, and furthermore the films rarely produce something more than a good “Be nice” message with a lot of “God” thrown in.  By trying to talk to two definably opposite groups, films in the “Christian Movie” category fail to land with anyone.

Thus, in the coming days, you will see a number of articles about the existence of this film.  Some will be rightly critical of it, and will hopefully come from a large number of Christian groups as well as from the masses of secular (non-Christian) critics.  However you will see some poor souls who will happily promote this movie, saying it has potential to bring someone to salvation.  I propose the thought that more people have been saved by David Cronenberg and his work than have by shlocky, poorly constructed “Christian Movies”.

However, to appeal to the purposes of this blog, let me look at what the trailer does specifically which in my eyes seals its doom.  First of all, let’s ignore the inherent sexism of the first 13 seconds of the trailer – it would require a whole other post about the problems inherent in creating an atmosphere of anxiety over being the “last one standing”.  Immediately we are presented with an ad within an ad, which to be clear is not clever.  This leads us to single most non-sensical point of the trailer – are there no other dating sites for this Mean Girl to apply on?  From there, the trailer careens on to divulge the entirety of the poorly constructed plot, highlighting primarily the painfully forced faith journey Gwenyth takes.  Ultimately, this trailer provides us with everything we need to see the lack of serious commitment and real-world understanding the filmmakers put into this piece.

Christian audiences are the easiest to dupe.  We label ourselves as SHEEP for heaven’s sake!  People of the faith lost it when in 2008 Miley Cyrus publicly thanked “god” for her success at the Nickelodeon Kid’s Choice Awards, and yet we now see how that turned out.  It takes nothing to raise the Army of the Lord to rally behind something or someone, praising it as a sign of hope left in the world.

And what is worse, this thing, which some people are going to say is a great thing – something that can bring people to Christ – is ONE GIANT ADVERTISEMENT!!!  You cannot call it product placement when the product is the central facet of the film and when the movie BEARS ITS NAME!!!  This is like if Community sponsored the Subway movie, though I might actually watch that film.

In summation, PLEASE go watch this movie.  Watch the train wreck; see how terrible it is.  The only way to redeem the fact that this will soon be a major motion picture is if we make this the new The Room.  Please spread the word about this movie.  Let us together douse it in the fires of internet lampoonery, and finally drive the message home to Christian content makers that we will not settle for, nor be converted by, terrible art.




Doug Walker Talks Trailers

Doug Walker, the Nostalgia Critic, did a great top 11 list of trailers.  I love his analysis of #8 – showing people look in awe at something and NOT showing us that thing is a sure-fire way to draw audiences in – and only think he should have moved #3 up a few slots.  Though, his explanation of the #1 trailer is very interesting and definitely worth paying attention to.  He is a great critic and his thoughts on this subject desire a bit of love.  Enjoy!

Teenage Mutant Ninja What Now?

Well it has finally arrived: the first visual proof that the best BAD film of next year will undoubtedly be Michael Bay’s over-serious Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.  Somehow embodying the gritty clout (and supporting actor) of The Dark Knight, throwing in some Inception-esque ice-capades, and ending with a joke that miraculously gives hope for the portrayal of Mikey – this first trailer proves something I am loathe to admit:  I LOVE Michael Bay’s marketing team.  Check out the trailer and then come back for the review after the jump.

Time and experience have taught me not to touch a hot stove, not to pick fights I cannot win, and not to EVER see a film Michael Bay’s hands have touched.  As much as I enjoy his very early work (namely Armageddon and Pearl Harbor), it didn’t take long to figure out that he was smoke and very large flash with little substance.

And yet every single time one of his movies is coming out (and yes, I know he didn’t direct this film), I find myself wrapped up in an swirl of trailers and printed material which somehow manages to draw me in while touting the Bay influence.  I was burned by the offensively bad second Transformers film, but come time for the first Dark of the Moon teaser and I found myself justifying and hoping for a change.  Of course I was let down by the film itself, but the trailers did get me into a theater seat.  And to be honest, Age of Extinction is doing the same thing (though with a much larger grain of bitter salt warning me).

But when I started to hear about this latest endeavor by Producer Bay, it wasn’t his involvement that invoked the most incredulity.  That came from the idea that anyone wanted to do a live-action reboot of the TMNT.  And yet watching this trailer gets me excited to see the film.  I still expect the central premise to be completely bonkers and most of the plot to be ridiculous and superfluous, but this trailer makes me want to sit through it anyway.


Interestingly, the three aforementioned films all employed a multitude of trailer houses, not united under a single marketing head as I initially expected.  Ignition Creative and Industry Creative created the incredible teaser for Dark of the Moon; AntFarm made the one for Age of Extinction, and – if they weren’t such humble people – the credit for this interesting trailer could be given to some excellent, currently anonymous Trailer House.  Though I cannot say this was the focused effort of a single marketing conglom, and I do not have time to give each creator credit for their part in the work, let me briefly say what works about each of these first teasers.

Dark of the Moon‘s first glance left me thinking that Bay had turned from his super-“hip”, sexist, and racist appeal to what middle school boys think is cool, and decided to make a more heady film with much higher stakes than whether LaBeouf would get with Megan Fox.  Cleverly disguising itself as an alternate history, found footage movie (a la Apollo 18 of the same year), this piece perfectly follows the rules of a teaser: drawing me in, presenting something intriguing, and only just paying off what’s actually going on before pulling a title screen over it and letting you wait months for the next tidbit.

Age of Extinction on the other hand, takes a different approach (if nothing else, you’ve got to give credit to Bay for having an amazing sense for Subtitles).  Though they commit the mortal sin of trailer making – telling me the whole story in its 2.5 minute timespan – and though the aesthetic of the film seems to not have progressed much in the three year gap, what sold me on this film is that Bay seems to have simultaneously found his roots and jumped the shark….TRex?  On the one hand, the trailer paints an excellent portrait of NOT SHIA LaBEOUF!!!!  Marky-Mark and his not-Megan-Fox daughter seem to be a very relatable, human pair of protagoni – unlike the college dropout and eye candy of the previous trilogy.  Meanwhile, we have DINOBOTS!!!!!!  I still expect a very poor narrative in the film, but this trailer makes me seriously consider breaking my moratorium on seeing a Bay film.  Because Dinobots…..

And finally, this trailer.  Despite the aforementioned Batman and Inception elements rampant throughout the teaser (which almost certainly point to another poorly constructed attempt to make a hero dark and gritty), what interests me about this trailer is that it looks so unbearably fun.  I know that much of the ridiculous humor that made the show great will be excised and that at its core it will be a very stupid movie which will likely give a strong showing at next year’s Razzies, but all of the characters just seem to be in their element.  Mikey is funny, Leo is serious; we see Donnie using tactics and Raph doing something brash.  Even William Fichtner seems to be having a sinisterly fun time as Shredder (yet to be seen if he goes the way of Jeremy Irons in D&D or not).  It looks like a fun romp that will no doubt reach for its roots in bringing some parody back to superhero stories.  I expect nothing less than a humorous ride from this upcoming flick.

If nothing else is said, it must be this:  the marketing teams and trailer houses who work on these projects do such a good job, they make me temporarily forget the bile produced by Bay in the past and remind me that cinema can be a purely entertaining experience.  I spend so much time watching cerebral movies that sometimes I forget that good, dumb fun can be helpful for the soul every once in a while.  Just when I want to walk away and never let Bay disappoint me again, his trailers come along and subconsciously invoke that inner part of me that really needs a bad movie to keep things in perspective.  Without these teasers, I would forget how to connect with my fellow cinematic buff, and thus I owe a sort of debt to the unnamed Production Company that made this incredibly enjoyable thing.

And that, dear readers, is the Art of the Trailer!   Thanks for reading!

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Hello all.
It may seem that I haven’t been posting to Art of the Trailer recently though some great trailers have been coming out. The case is that I have been waiting.  Waiting for my prediction to become true so I can say to you all “I CALLED IT!!!”

No, I am not talking about my Golden Trailer Predictions – though the results of my forecasting should be up tomorrow. I am referring to the call I made in my review of the third trailer for the highly anticipated Dark Knight Rises:

The subtle tension of silence surrounded by chaos was a magnificent choice. Just like the first trailer, the stakes are instantly set high and my attention is devoted to catching any glimpse of exactly how awesome this movie is going to be….Marvelous job by the marketing team and I think it safe to say that this is where the bar is set for the next generation of Movie Marketing.

To state it another way, I was predicting that we would start to see a slew of trailers that play on the silence of the moment and a single, powerful audio track to create intensity and poignancy that builds to a mounting climax.  I am sure I have been getting on my friend Ryan’s nerves because I keep insisting that he just wait and see – soon every trailer will be trying to cash in on this technique.  And I was right. 🙂

While waiting for another video to load, I found myself watching a trailer for the upcoming Snow White and the Huntsman.  This trailer actually pre-dates the Dark Knight Rises one, and as such it demonstrates a lessened version of the effect the latter teaser pulled off.  Still, you can see the trending features of a very quiet trailer, usually with one underlying soundtrack that builds very slowly to the climax, while the rest of the trailer is carried by the best lines of dialogue. Utilizing hushed tones which invite the audience to lean forward in their chairs is the new and coming wave in a world of loud, dubstep, “last shot of thing flying at camera” trailers.

And so we arrive at the real reason this post exists.  Early this morning, a trailer dropped for what is sure to be the most anticipated musical film of the year – Les Miserables.  And the second I saw it, I knew – I was right:

This trailer captures perfectly that auditory tone that is so rapturous to modern film viewers.  The marketing team didn’t reinvent the wheel on this one – Claude-Michel Schönberg’s musical touched our hearts once before and he does it again here through the magnificent voice of Anne Hathaway.  “I dreamed a dream of time gone by” is arguably the most powerful standalone bar of music from the show and so this trailer utilizes it perfectly.

Please do note the formula of the trailer, which perfectly matches up with that of the Dark Knight Rises one.  Starting off almost silent, a powerful yet quiet voice speaks words that instantly raise goosebumps on our flesh.  From there, the trailer builds to a spectacular crescendo around  0:56 and another powerful moment at 1:10.  The last bit of the trailer diverges from form slightly to end on a decrescendo of volume but almost like a breathless whisper, drawing every ounce of your being into its spell as the title screen unfolds – ending on the wonderful tagline “The Dream Lives”.

Two important things to note about the way this teaser handles things.  First and foremost, it is one thing to raise goosebumps with a powerful moment, and entirely another to maintain that feeling throughout a minute-and-a-half long clip.  The Les Miserables teaser does this masterfully, allowing Schönberg’s music to carry the emotional tone and craft our feelings, so that at no moment of watching it is the magic broken.  I hope to see more trailers in the future that can handle such powerful feeling throughout a trailer.

Second, and I do find this very interesting, it seems that the trailer uses the dynamic score and song to overshadow the lack it has of any particularly interesting cinematography.  The first 40 seconds showcase a few interesting shots and camera angles, but for the most part the trailer focuses on giving plenty of face time for all of the primary actors.  This is very different from the Dark Knight Rises trailer which featured the now iconic IMAX cinematography which Christopher Nolan loves to sprinkle into his superhero films.  I don’t think we have much to worry about in that department but it is interesting how the teaser leans towards the auditory rather than the visual.  Very different from modern stylings.

Overall think this is an excellent first look at what I am sure fans have been looking forward to for many years now. The trailer assures us that each actor and actress seems to fit into their roles, that the overarching tone of the film seems to be about right, and most importantly that the music appears to be phenomenal – just as it should be.  I am not sure whether to declare this the “Year of Anne Hathaway Trailer Voiceovers” just yet but thus far she does have two of the best trailers of the year under her belt and I can only expect good things from both of those to films.  I know I a very excited to see one of the best musicals ever created brought to the Silver Screen and I cannot wait for the next trailer to give us just a bit more of that Dream that Never Dies.

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The Men are Back!

Well it is that time again, folks!  Another quandary into the art form that is a 2 minute trailer.  It markets and sells the picture, but it also has a style and a form which I find just as interesting as many movies themselves!  This week I turn to something that was a blast from the past.  I remember watching movies 1 & 2 as a kid and really enjoying them, so to see that the series was coming back was a happy surprise.  So, without further ado, please enjoy the Men in Black 3 trailer and then keep scrolling for my analysis.

As GLaDOS says, it has been a long time. 🙂  I have distinct memories of watching this with my friend Isaiah in the basement of his old house and laughing so hard at the witty banter between Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones.  I also remember being really creeped out by the “Bug Man”.  Anyway, I really enjoyed the first two movies and seeing this trailer brought back a lot of the good memories.

The first 5 seconds of this trailer are SPECTACULAR!!!  Without need of obvious name dropping or anything more than a simple question, the audience can all feel the anticipation of what is to come (the logo all decked out also certainly helped).  After that we get what is know as “Fan Service” – deliberately marketed images and dialogue designed to tickle the outsider’s fancy enough to stay interested while giving the fan boys & girls what they have been waiting for. Lots of cool flashback shots to stuff from the previous films remind us of how good those were and get us excited for this coming one.

About 0:19, we get a shift into the new stuff and it looks pretty cool.  The new werewolf-looking bad guy and the graffiti alien, along with some NEW witty dialogue from Smith, all work to assure audiences that this third installment still has the style of the previous two but that it will be kicking it up a notch from there.

Then at 0:38, we start to get into the actual story arc of the movie.  What really works for this trailer (as I have been over many times already) is the blending of the old style with some new tricks.  I could honestly see this film having come out right after #2, yet the storyline does go to a whole new level, showing how long they have taken to craft it. The “Secrets of the Universe and nothing more” line really solidifies that union.  I think the premise given there is really spectacular and I look forward to seeing how far they let that go.

After that it gets a bit weird – but really that is on purpose.  Will Smith walks into his own offices with no apparent time change and then gets a clearly different answer than he was expecting to here.  This scene seems really odd just because at this point we have no idea where we are in time.  Last time I checked, Agent K was alive and now he is dead?  This is the brilliant design of the editor, showing us that MIB3 will be crossing the boundaries of Time.  We get a clear mental preview of where the film is headed by a simple editing trick 🙂

Best of all, the trailer climaxes on a really strong note.  The “Time Jump” joke clarification probably wasn’t needed but it gets us the necessary setup.  Anyway, Smith leaps off of the Empire State Building and we cut to a great POV shot as he falls towards the NYC pavement.  What works so well is the ramping music and the fact that, as he gets closer to the ground, we don’t really know whether he will pull out of it or not.  He just keeps getting closer and closer until CAMERA TILT onto an entirely different plain where the title slide is!!!  Holy Mackerel, that was sick!  You get some brief sense of vertigo followed by a visual metaphor saying, “This film is going to mess with your head!”  Really awesome stuff!

Finishing it off, playing up the theme really punches in how well this finale will cap off the MIB Trilogy in a magnificent way. The final scene we get with future J on past K’s desk gives me hope that the new actor will do at least decently and mostly acts as the “How will this work out?” hook needed to get the fan base buzzing about it again.  They had a great trailer prior, but this just stirs the pot a bit more, which is exactly what they are looking for.

Overall, I thought it was a great trailer that really got me pumped for the revival of a childhood favorite.  Whether all this hype will transfer into the film itself is yet to be seen, but I know that the marketing team can rest easy knowing they put out one heck of a trailer.

Final Rating:  5//5

Yup!  There you go!  If you can’t tell, I am excited 🙂  I really think this film is going to turn out well, and if the trailer has anything to say about that (and I think it does), then I don’t think I have much to worry about.  If you think I am full of it and have been zapped by their little Neuralyzer, let me know in the comments below.


I wanted to take some time to say thank you.  This year has been great and I really appreciate you taking time to read my analyses of the art form that is a Trailer.  It has meant a lot to me over this year to see the viewer count rise and know that it all comes from people like you spreading the word and getting your friends to check it out.  So, from my heart to yours, my deepest thanks and a warm wish that you have a Happy Holiday season this year.

That being said, let me tell you what I am planning for next year!  Like most of you I assume, I will be taking a Christmas break from my work and thus this will be the last post of 2011.  However, don’t fret as I have big plans to kick off my second year as a blogger and critic.

As we kick off 2012, check back for my WEEK-LONG NEW YEAR TRAILER EXTRAVAGANZA!  On January 2nd, I will unveil my review of the brand-spanking new Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey trailer!  Following that, each weekday for the first week of the new year, one new trailer review will go up on the blog at noon.  Trailer season is in full swing and I have every intention of being on top of it, so stay tuned for a week chock full of great reviews for some very big trailers!

Again thank you for a fabulous year and I look forward to seeing you all in January.
Merry Christmas and God Bless!

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DiCaprio’s OLD!!!

Well hello there!  Long time no see.  It has been so long since I have posted, and I know that this is old news now, but I wanted to share this trailer for Clint Eastwood’s biopic – J. Edgar.  It really caught my eye as something that looked particularly good – delving into deep questions about the construction of our nations identity.  DiCaprio’s performance in this short teaser seems to be incredibly well done and I know that I am really looking forward to the full film now.  So please enjoy this trailer and with any sort of luck I will be posting more trailers like this in the coming days.

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GameTrailers.com Top 100 List

Hey All!
I came cross this during the week and thought it was really awesome. Gametrailers.com, the leader in you guessed it – Video Game Trailers and News – just wrapped up its breakdown of the Top 100 Video Game Trailers of all time.  I think they did a really great job of being objective and fair, and in my opinion they did pick the best (though maybe not in the same order as I feel it should be).  Check out their list and see what great commentary they have on why they picked what they did:

Top 100 VG Trailers of All Time

Because Gametrailers.com has the worst video player in the history of the world, I have posted a list of links below for the Top Ten Trailers – from 10 to 1:

Welp!  There you go!  I really look forward to watching all of the trailers on the list.  Thus far this is the most comprehensive listing of Video Game trailers I have come across so please check it out, let me know what you think in the comments below (did they get it right?) and be ready for a great trailer this coming Friday!

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