With the big reveal of the 10 Cloverfield Lane trailer last week that left the cult of J.J. Abrams fans on the internet in shambles, I've decided to continue the fun with a starter list of some of my favorite movie trailers. Trailers have always been a big part of my life. It was a running game among my friends when I was younger to time how quickly I could guess each trailer before every movie we saw in the theatre. I averaged about 5-10 seconds at my peak. There are a bunch that have stuck out in my mind, for good and bad movies alike. What good is a trailer if it can't make a bad movie look enticing? Below is the first installment:
Unlike most trailers, the marketing campaign for Cloverfield was so on point that I didn't have the opportunity to find it online before I saw it in the theatre. Cloverfield rocked found footage before found footage became overdone (i.e. Chronicle), and stepped it up from the level of The Blair Witch Project. The trailer goes from an awesome house party to complete chaos in an instant as New York falls under siege by something. I clearly remember being in the theater and turning to my friend saying, "Godzilla? It's gotta be a new Godzilla movie right?" And then the head of the Statue of Liberty came flying at me and my brain exploded. With an ambiguous title like Cloverfield, no one knew what was happening, and it was great.
The 10 Cloverfield Lane (2016) trailer is also pretty darn awesome. We literally descend into chaos. My thought process as I first watched this: Happy house and family? Wait...Bunker? Wait...hostage situation? Hold on...locked in? CLOVERFIELD SEQUEL?! Awesome, awesome music. Awesome tidbits of info released with each passing second. Such a great trailer.
Brick is one of my favorite films, highlighting Joseph-Gordon Levitt's acting chops before he blew up in a certain movie whose trailer is mentioned next. The film has the plot of a 1930's film noir that is set in a modern-day California high school. With that, the mystery builds and builds in the trailer as we're presented hints and clues without any sort of resolution. A great background score builds suspense and the creepy factor.
In my mind (no pun intended), Inception is one of the most innovative movie concepts ever made. When working with the concept of dreams, you're allowed to have insane visuals. The Inception trailer capitalizes on these visuals, my favorite being an outdoor street folding up and around Leo DiCaprio and Ellen Page. Furthermore, while trailers will often use music that evokes a mood but is unrelated to the film, Inception is backed by the score of heavy downbeats that plays throughout the entirety of the actual movie.
Where the Wild things Are (2009)
When you make a movie out of one of the most popular children's books of all time, you better have a great trailer. Spike Jonze delivers with a joyous romp that acts as a music video for Arcade Fire. There are some really nice juxtapositions between the boy's real life and his imaginary life as we are brought deeper and deeper into his alternate world. By the end, people and Wild Things are getting tossed and flown around like crazy and you just want to join in.
Night Watch (2006)
Oh Night Watch. I can easily say this is the trailer I've watched the most in my life; it had me captivated. Being from Russia, it was released overseas long before I had any chance of watching it. So I screened the trailer a couple countless times then went out and bought the DVD as soon as it came to the States. Well surprise, surprise, it's not a very good movie. At all. But the trailer delivered a barrage of crazy images and a soundtrack featuring M83 (a band that is literally famous for their music being in hundreds of trailers) and I was hooked. The second movie, Day Watch, came out in 2007 (I also own it on DVD for some reason) and the third one has yet to come to fruition.
Sin City (2005)
Let's forget the Sin City sequel happened and focus on the original. Before every guy in my high school class bro-ed out over 300, Frank Miller released the even better Sin City. With an epic cast of A-listers, the trailer not only highlights all the big name stars but transposes the major characters to their actual graphic novel counterparts, proving the extent that was taken to make each frame of this epic movie look like a still from the comic. The trailer has a great musical choice as well: Cells by The Servant which quickly became one of the top-played songs on the off-brand MP3 player I had at the time.
Let's throw a documentary in here, since at one point I wanted to be a documentary filmmaker. Murderball was Oscar nominated but unfairly lost to March of the Penguins. The trailer takes you through the ups and downs that are synonymous with the day-to-day struggles of quadriplegics and paraplegics. However, these guys are badass...and play wheelchair rugby. A great trailer to entice people into a far less popular film genre, this one has the emotional power of a big, Hollywood produced trailer without the budget.