by Paul Deeter
It's easy to rev an audience up for a new film when you can piece together the parts that work best for advertising. Films done from directors like Zack Synder or Michael Bay work in bite size bits, with visual moments prettier than the main course of the whole movie. And yeah, sometimes its hard to follow through on the lofty ambitious trailer that sets out to promise just as quality of a film. Unfortunately, here are 5 example of trailers that sometimes just outdo the final projects.
300 - (2006)
What Zac Snyder gets so right in all his movies are his visuals, and much like Watchmen in 2009, the film 300 works best in silence with the beautiful cinematography and CGI on display. His movies almost work best in montage, as was proven again in Watchmen; arguably the film's best scene is its opening sequence with the song "The Times They Are A-Changing" playing to a sequence of the heroes and anti-heroes as they make ripples throughout US history. But while the trailer of Watchmen is excellent in its own right, the trailer for 300 is downright brilliance. In perhaps the best utilization of a NIN song in a film, the hard-rock instrumental track "Just Like You Imagined" from their 1999 album The Fragile blasts loudly to the sun-soaked visual action of our heroes in slow-motion. The song is missing from the film, probably appropriately to honor the film's historical setting (even if most of the movie is already pretty modernly done). But seeing this trailer in 2006, with lines like "Our arrows will blot out the sun!!" to be countered with "Then we will fight in the shade!" The red font of the credits to a stormy backdrop, just works. And that song!! I can't go on enough.
2. Terminator Salvation (2009)
Here's one that actually does outdo its movie, and wouldn't you know another trailer with a NIN song!! There seems to be a pattern going. This trailer effectively breathed modern visuals into an old franchise with a promise of a star-studded reboot that just didn't deliver. Despite a solid box office return and the lead work of Christian Bale and Sam Worthington, the movie was a dud. It received a 33% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes, with a 53% audience consensus. The trailer however, promises a nitty-gritty and very dirty Bale performance among intense robo-action and other action elements. I didn't like it in 2009, and I probably wouldn't like it today. I'm a diehard Bale fan, but here he just seems bored. And although the movie's trailer utilizes "The Day the Whole World Went Away", the movie does not! Lame!!
3. The Walking Dead S4 (2013)'
It's my post I'm allowed to cheat if I want to!! In 2013 after a mixed Season 2 and an improved Season 3, Season 4 of The Walking Dead didn't promise a changed setting from the prison-yard (which admittedly worked way better than the farm) but definitely pumped up the stakes with a dangerous amount of walkers piling onto the fences and a very tired group of survivors. The dirty and haggard group of our characters are more than fatigued, they're hopeless and depressed. The taut energy of the zombie action mixed with what made the series best: the character development, promised a more mature season of TV than the dreadful second season. When things aren't looking to hot for our heroes, the backing track of the song "Serpents" by Sharon Von Etten threatens "I am searching for your crimes" while blurbs pass for the solid reviews of this season. It's so goddang promising, and it maybe let on better to on overall okay season. The Walking Dead has probably had more downs than ups, at least in my opinion, but the vision and the tone of the series can be shown here at its highest highs. Also, I should note the show did use the song, just an acoustic, quieter version.
4. It (2017)
"When you're a kid, you think the universe revolves around. One day, you realize that's not true." We start the trailer watching Georgie chase after his toy boat knowing his doom as soon as he puts on his yellow slicker. You barely get a glance of his face the whole trailer, but It lives among them. He haunts a slide projector and red balloons appear floating around mysteriously. All the kids agree one thing is consistent. They all saw a clown. And with how little we see, our imagination plays up the idea of what "It" looks like. Of course we get nonstop clownage in the full length 2017 film, for better or worse. But here we get a bit teased. The trailer asks the question "What are you afraid of?" This trailer, definitely.
5. Friday the 13th (2009)
Okay this one does fall into some basic horror trailer territory. We've got the heartbeat background sound. We've got the "don't breathe or he'll find you" moment too. But the darkly modern color pallet and promising Jason design do their best to offer a reason to come see Jason rebooted for the 12th time. Too bad the movie didn't follow through on some of the excellent built tension here, including the countdown to 13 and some really solid moments of action spliced in to promise a lot more than it could deliver. It's a total dud of a film, maybe the worst of the series. But damn it had a good trailer.