Yesterday, Eric D. Snider mentioned an interesting exercise by The New Republic's Christopher Orr. Annoyed at the recent glut of trailers that give away the entire film, he decided to write a review of 21 (which hits theaters today) based only on the trailer. Eric thought the "review" was actually pretty accurate, and I agree. I also agree that the trailer is egregiously inconsiderate of people who'd have liked to go into the movie unspoiled at least as to the third act. It's a shame.
But I'm sure you agree that it doesn't have to be that way. Trailers don't have to give away the game, and they don't have to be tacky and ham-fisted either. They're a marketing tool, of course, but trailers are also -- or can be -- an art form in their own right. Sometimes a trailer is such a skillful composition of images, sounds, words and music that it winds up having more of an effect on me than the movie I'm in the theater to see. (Often, too, the trailer turns out to be better than the movie it's advertising, which is always a disappointment.)
So while yesterday Eric asked you for examples of trailers that pissed you off because they revealed too much, I'd like to know which recent trailers you've loved. Not necessarily which ones you think advertised their movie in the optimal way, but which ones have been great in themselves -- scary, rousing, moving, beautiful. Take a look at some of my favorites and sound off after the jump.
Here are a few examples that I think represent the pinnacle of the form. (For more high points, check out Matt Bradshaw's list of his favorite trailers from last year.)
Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl - A pretty traditional action-packed clip show, but what a clip show: it clearly and impeccably shows off the movie's cast, its special effects, its humor, and its absurdist undead-pirate swashbuckling, all at once. And the last seconds, set to that awesome Klaus Badelt-penned theme, actually managed to quicken my pulse.
A.I. Artificial Intelligence - Okay, so the fact that this is one of my favorite movies of all time probably biases me in retrospect. At the same time, I distinctly remember the chill that went down my spine as I watched this tone poem of a teaser for the first time, and the twinge of excitement I felt at seeing the words "A Steven Spielberg Film" twinkle onto the screen toward the end. Seeing it now makes me want to cry; maybe there's something to be said for trailers that play particularly well after you've seen the film.
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003) - Scary and gorgeous -- I love the way they play with the color palette here, opening with the beautiful sepia-toned images and descending into darkness. Those flash-to-whites in the middle are a stroke of genius.
Magnolia - Two trailers in one, really, but both are amazing. The character introductions set to the Aimee Mann song is incredibly intense but somehow still lucid, hitting all the notes it needs to -- it makes you want to meet these people. And to this day I remember the words that appear on the screen during the more traditional second half: "Things fall down. People look up. And when it rains, it pours." That's one beautiful tagline.
The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers - The use of an orchestral version of Clint Mansell's Requiem for a Dream theme during that ridiculous montage nearly made me wet myself. The dialogue they use is so familiar now that it almost seems clichéd, but imagine seeing this after being blown away by The Fellowship of the Ring and panting with anticipation for the second installment. Appreciating this trailer at the time pretty much required having seen the first film, but it was transcendent for the fans.
Your turn. My list was heavy on "big" films -- can anyone think of any recent indies that had magnificent trailers?