Movie trailers certainly help make or break a film’s success at the box office. I still think that the reason why Scott Pilgrim didn’t make much money is because it’s trailer didn’t appeal to most people. Working at a video store you constantly get to hear why people want to see a film or don’t. For most mainstream moviegoers the trailer and names of actors attached to a film dictate their interest in seeing it. The following ten trailers do a good job of showing some of the best imagery from each movie while using either a great piece of the movie score and/or popular music to sell the film.
Making a movie which all takes place in the confined space of a coffin is a tough job, and especially a tough sale. It’s an even a harder job to cut together a trailer when all you have to work with is Ryan Reynold’s screams, sweat and tears. Yet the editors found an exciting way to grasp the suspense, paranoia and claustrophobia of the Rodrigo Cortés’ thriller. A good use of the score, some twisted “Saul Bass” title sequences and a few catchy quotes from film critics around the world, make you believe your about to watch the closest thing to a Hitchcock film. I especially love the flicker of the zippo, the close up of the eye and the birds eye view zooming out to conclude the short but sweet trailer.
Despite the fact that many of us here at Sound On Sight did not like Catfish, the trailer sure did peek our interests. This trailer is a pure example of the power of marketing and word of mouth. Taking a page out of Harvey Weinstein’s marketing genius for the The Crying Game, audiences know only one thing about the film – you can’t talk about it, otherwise you’ll spoil the twist. People love twist endings. M. Knight Shyamalan made a career of it. The fact that the trailer for a documentary about a relationship formed on facebook, made to look like the year’s best thriller, is a fantastic way to sell the film and reason enough to include it on this list. Also worth mentioning is the great cover of Radiohead’s hit song “Creep”.
#8- Battle: Los Angeles (International Trailer)
Who wasn’t blown away by the Battle: Los Angeles trailers released this year? I love the eerie juxtaposition between the stellar effects, stock footage and battle scenes, playing to the electronic song “Sun’s Gone Dim and The Sky’s Black” by Jóhann Jóhannsson. Battle: Los Angeles seems to take the intelligent, pseudo-verite style of District 9 and fuse it to a more commercial, alien invasion spectacle. The trailers for the film were so good, I recommend you seek out the others.
#7- Jane Eyre
Focus Features did an excellent job in creating a trailer for Cary Fukunaga’s Jane Eyre. This new gothic horror take on the Charlotte Brontë classic, stars Mia Wasikowska as the titular Jane Eyre, Michael Fassbender as Edward Rochester, as well as Judi Dench and Jamie Bell. Even those not normally interested in period pieces, will be tempted to see this film after watching the trailer. The trailer indicates this may be one of the best looking film released next year. The art direction and cinematography look superb, the actors look at the top of their game and the score is fantastic.
#6- Enter The Void
Gaspar Noe’s Enter the Void is, without a doubt, the most divisive film of the past year, here at Sound On Sight. With that said, much like Catfish (in second place) the trailer had everyone anticipating it’s release. This is by far the best of all the trailers released for the film. The most extreme stuff is absent but it does give you a sense of the story, a bit of dialogue (lacking in the previous trailers) and offers us just enough of the film’s stunning cinematography that extends beyond the neon lights of the Tokyo night. But what really sells the movie is the decision to add bits of the rapid-fire, seizure-inducing credit sequence in the end. To set the stage for the blindingly vivid special effects, Noe and his team crafted a hyperaggressive, strobe-lit opening credits sequence, mixed to a killer techno track. See for yourself.
#5- Machete (Red Band trailer)
Many of you will remember the controversial Cinco de Mayo, “Illegal” trailer for Machete that hit the internet earlier this year. That trailer no longer seems to be available but regardless all the trailers for the film were exceptional. I’m assuming Robert Rodriguez who is a master editor cut these bad boys up himself. The trailer for Machete promised everything the film delivered without spoiling too much while helping the movie generate a lot of buzz, not least of all because of the participation of Hollywood problem child Lindsay Lohan. I love the grindhouse intro, cheesey voice over, grainy film stock and the great tag lines. Back the fuck up and watch!
#4- Hobo With A Shotgun
While making Grindhouse, the movie which first played host to Machete’s fake trailer, Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino held an online contest for aspiring filmmakers, to see who could come up with the best, grindhouse style movie trailer. The winner was Jason Eisner for his fake trailer to Hobo with a Shotgun. Fast forward a few years and like Machete, the fake trailer has been turned into a feature film and is heading for it’s world premiere at the Sundance film festival this coming January. And like the original fake trailer, the actual trailer for the full length feature is twisted, unhinged, bloody and extremely violent. The film looks like the kind of straight-to-video gorefest you’d rent on a whim from your local store in the 80s perfectly showcasing how the film looks to ape the stylistic design of old-school exploitation flicks, with its synthesizer score, bawdy content, and low-budget look.
#3- Social Network
There were two great trailers for The Social Network released. The first featured the music of Kanye West, but I decided that this version was a far better representation of the emotional journey of Mark Zuckerberg’s character. Including (once again) the cover song for Radiohead’s “Creep”, helped the movie catch the attention of those initially turned off. A great movie deserves a great trailer and I’m not sure they could have done better. Bravo!
With big movies come big trailers and a sign of a good trailer is when after watching the trailer, the film is still shrouded in mystery. Of course I also have to mention the incredible song “Mind Heist” by Zack Hemsey which plays throughout the trailer. It has elements of an obvious tribute to Hans Zimmer, who composed the score for the film, but seems a bit edgier than Zimmer’s work. A movie trailer is a work of art. The editors have to choose their frames carefully to find ways to engage and move an audience in a small amount of time. Inception is a prime example of how a trailer should be done.
#1- Tree of Life
It has been a long time coming, a problematic journey to final cut (no stranger in the filmography of Terrence Malick), but Tree of Life is finally on it’s way to theatres. Malick arguably one of the greatest filmmakers who ever lived only releases a movie every 5 to 12 years, so there is always a reason to be excited when you see the trailer for his latest masterpiece. Yes it is safe to say Tree of Life will be a masterpiece. The trailer alone stands taller than 90 percent of the films released this year. Malick’s strong suit has always been his ability to tell a story visually and the trailer provides enough visual exposition to understand the characters involved, yet remains mysterious and powerful. “There are two ways through life, the way of nature, and the way of grace”… genius …simply incredible. I can’t wait.