I do love a good trailer. I'm one of those people who gets to the theater in plenty of time for the previews, and if I see a movie that has one or fewer trailers playing with it I feel gypped. It's as much part of the experience as overpriced popcorn and ill-timed cell phone usage. Man, did I see a lot of trailers this year. 2007 was my first full year of doing the Trailer Park feature here on Cinematical and the experience has strengthened my appreciation for the form. I'm not placing these in any particular order, but here are ten trailers that really got my attention this year. Some of the movies I've seen, some I haven't, some have yet to be released, but all (in my humble opinion) do an exceptional job of selling the film. My choices, of course, are purely subjective and will undoubtedly conflict with yours, so please add a comment and let us know what your favorite trailers of 2007 were.
Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer (teaser)
This one may have dropped in late 2006, but I''m including it here for two reasons: I mentioned it in a Trailer Park last January and it kicked serious ass. Sure, the full length trailer had a little more meat on its bones, but it's the teaser trailer for the Fantastic Four sequel that had people talking, myself included. The wedding of Mr. Fantastic to The Invisible Woman (a pivotal moment from the early Lee and Kirby issues of the Fantastic Four comic) is interrupted by the arrival of The Silver Surfer. The Human Torch gives chase across the skies and through the tunnels of New York. One of the first movie's biggest problems was that the Torch wasn't able to fully exercise his powers until near the end of the film, but this time we get it up front in the trailer.
No one knew what to expect when this trailer showed up with Transformers last summer, but it has since inspired all kinds of speculation as to what this movie is all about. A hand-held home video of a farewell party in New York City is interrupted by a power failure. A massive roar can be heard off in the distance and a gigantic fireball engulfs a large chunk of the city. Huge pieces of shrapnel fly everywhere, including a large chunk of metal that turns out to be the Statue of Liberty's head. This is one of those trailers that is so good you find yourself saying, "the hell with that movie I just paid to see, I want to see this one right now." To further tantalize audiences, producer J.J. Abrams and company didn't even tell anyone what the title was at first. The full length trailer that followed added more footage, but failed to be as engaging as the original teaser.
Be Kind, Rewind
The preview for this Jack Black/Mos Def comedy is so endearing that by the time it was over I stopped wondering why these guys are still exclusively renting out VHS tapes. Jack's character becomes magnetized which leads to him erasing all the video tapes in his friend's video store. Rather than buying new tapes, or even upgrading to DVDs, Black and Def stage their own remakes of several Hollywood classics, with their rendition of Ghostbusters being a highlight of the trailer. Of course these cheapo remakes become something of a hit and their newfound success brings accusations of copyright infringement.
"Get ready," this one warns, "for the violence of the lambs." Take your standard zombie movie, change the locale to New Zealand, swap your zombies for a flock of flesh hungry sheep, and you've got a trailer that this blogger is not likely to ever forget. Apparently the evil sheep can be kept at bay with mint jelly, and there's a pretty funny bit here with implied interspecies romance. I've got this one on DVD but haven't had the chance to watch it yet, but even if the film is a total disappointment we'll always have the trailer.
This one took an interesting approach with its four trailers. Presumably animation footage wasn't available for the first preview so someone got the idea to dress stars Jerry Seinfeld and Chris Rock up like bugs. The joke carried over into the second trailer, in which Seinfeld and Steven Spielberg agree to make the movie a cartoon after Seinfeld nearly kills himself trying to play the role. The brief animated bit at the end of trailer #2 gave the world its first look at the film's hero Barry B. Benson and trailers 3 and 4 are strictly animated. I thought the continuity between the trailers was pretty clever.
An over the top tale of bloody revenge with more martial arts action per square foot than should be legally permitted. A high school girl's family are slaughtered and she loses a hand in the process, though it is soon replaced with a machine gun, much in the same way Rose McGowan got a weaponized prosthetic in Grindhouse. Other influences appear to be Kill Bill, Evil Dead 2, and every kung fu flick ever made. I wouldn't be surprised if we had a future cult classic here. The trailer is unspeakably violent (I mean that in a nice way) so if such things offend you I suggest not clicking on the link, but it will definitely have the gorehounds lining up to see this one.
Grindhouse's trailers managed to imitate the style of a 1970s double feature just as effectively (if not more so) than the film itself. Both previews use the scratched film gimmick, and over the top narration accompanied by simultaneous onscreen titles to replicate the feel of a trashy trailer from the Nixon era. Obviously Tarantino and Rodriguez understood the value of trailers enough to include fake ones for non-existent movies within the main feature, so it's a shame those phony previews never made it onto the DVD releases of Death Proof and Planet Terror.
I haven't yet had the chance to see this one, but watching the trailer again just now really has me looking forward to it. The idea that a feature length 2-D animated film is not for children is an exciting deviation from the norm, and the visual style on display here (including an awesome use of black and white) is fascinating. Based on a series of graphic novels, this French language film is about a young Iranian girl's coming of age during the Islamic revolution and the overthrow of the Shah's regime.
Once more a trailer has the comic book geek in me all worked up and reaching for his inhaler. Robert Downey, Jr. plays inventor/munitions dealer/billionaire/alcoholic Tony Stark who has an epiphany following a near death experience and devotes his life to the greater good by donning a high tech suit of armor and blasting bad guys. The trailer gives us glimpses of several incarnations of the armor, including the gray and clunky prototype, the more familiar red and gold, with a few other variations shown fleetingly.
Set in a sort of alternate universe version of the 1950s, Fido is a shaggy dog story about a boy and his flesh hungry walking corpse. In the wake of a zombie war, the walking dead have been pacified and turned into domestic servants. The trailer does a nice job of establishing the period while anachronistically making good use of The Ramones' "I Wanna Be Sedated" on the soundtrack. The highlight comes in a wonderfully Lassie-esque moment when Carrie-Anne Moss runs after the mute zombie Fido asking if her son Timmy is in trouble.