Okay, we all know that there’s a good number of films where the trailers are better than the finished product. The Phantom Menace, for example.
Some people (and I’ve done it myself) frequently claim “the best bits were in the trailer”, and sometimes that’s true. But there’s a LOT of truly epic teasers that are awesome in their own right, if not better than the finished product. And here’s my rundown of the top 10.
Unlike the majority of 80s movie trailers, this one doesn’t have a pompous voiceover explaining the entire plot to you. This is a good thing. Just sit back and watch the glory that is Ghostbusters.
9. Skyfall (teaser)
There seems to have been something of a backlash against Skyfall of late. I’m not sure why. Yeah the villain wasn’t anything like as scenery-chewing as in the Roger Moore years, but surely that’s not a bad thing? Still, the teaser for the movie was packed with anticipation. Bond plays Mallet’s Mallet with an MI6 psychiatrist to check his mental state; we have massive explosions, chases, gunfire and a brief glimpse of an Aston Martin DB5; and finally the line from Bond of, “some men are coming to kill us. We’re going to kill them first.” What’s not to love?
8. The Matrix Reloaded
Yes, the actual film was a complete pile of cow squirt but the trailer was truly something else. Neo has become Superman, there’s a plan by the machines to dig down into Zion, an epic chase sequence on the busiest freeway ever, and the fight between Neo and 500 Agent Smiths. Awesome. Just a shame that the actual film was this trailer with two hours of padding then…
7. Pacific Rim
Remove the cheesy Independence Day-esque speech and it’s just 2 minutes 30 of giant robots punching Godzilla in the face. Anyone have a problem with this?
6. Star Trek: First Contact
The first three Next Generation films had a habit of using footage from old TV episodes in their teasers, mainly coz the effects weren’t finished. Thankfully, by the time the main promo came out the SFX was all done.
So here, we find that in his mind Captain Picard can still hear the Borg and he knows they’re coming. Not only are they coming, they’re going back in time and only the new Enterprise-E can stop ’em. With James Horner’s epic score from Wrath of Khan playing over the top, the action never seems to stop: legions of Borg, firefights, explosions, conflict between the crew, this trail had everything a Trek fan could want.
5. Scott Pilgrim vs. The World
What starts off as a probable soppy hipster romance of some sort quickly descends into comic violence with the legend “Have you ever met someone you loved so much it hurts?” Cue Scott getting his arse kicked, the whole seven evil exs explanation and the references to what felt like every comic you ever read and every video game you ever played. Pure, unadulterated Awesome that played like a love letter to every geek on the planet. Which of course it was.
4. Lilo & Stitch (teasers)
I remember sitting in the cinema, waiting for Monsters Inc. to start, when the Disney castle flashes up on screen and the Beauty & the Beast soundtrack begins playing. Beast and Belle began dancing in the deserted ballroom and I immediately thought that this was a promo for a tenth anniversary re-release or something. Then a weird fluffy blue thing scampers across the ceiling and causes the chandelier to drop onto the waltzing couple. Belle storms off, growling “get your own movie”; ‘Back in Black’ by AC/DC fires up and we are introduced to a Disney film unlike any that went before.
There were three more teasers, each ripping the wee-wee out of a modern Disney classic: Stitch interrupts Aladdin’s magic carpet ride and drives off with Princess Jasmine; he rides a huge wave on a surfboard and wipes Ariel out while she’s laying on a rock singing; and takes the place of Simba in the opening scene of The Lion King, complete with comedic attempt at roaring when all the animals scatter in fear. All truly brilliant. Lilo & Stitch remains my favourite Disney film, partly for its inability to play by the rules but also because it contains the line, “oh good, my dog found the chainsaw!”
3. Iron Man
Tony Stark: billionaire arms merchant, alcoholic playboy, fan of AC/DC. Then he gets blown up, captured by terrorists and builds a suit of armour to escape captivity. Having seen how his weapons put civilians in harm’s way, Stark begins developing his armour further. And yeah, he can fly.
In 150 seconds, this trailer tells the uninitiated everything they need to know about the Iron Man mythos. It then throws in some jokes, great action sequences and punctuates it all with Audioslave and Black Sabbath. Because every trailer is made better by AC/DC and Audioslave, but there was no way Marvel could not use the infamous guitar riff from Sabbath’s Iron Man at some point. It’s just the law.
2. Guardians of the Galaxy
The first trailer for the best movie of the year (so far) is perfect. No spoilers, no arty bull, just an entertaining intro showing an action-packed film with a sharp sense of humour. The best moment has to be the end, cutting from Peter Serafinowicz’s descriptive comment of “what a bunch of A-holes” to the five main characters in line-up, looking like as rag-tag a bunch as is humanly possible with Blue Swede’s version of ‘Hooked on a Feeling’ playing, as inappropriate a soundtrack as possible to imagine that somehow works.
It’s just awesome. Fact.
1.Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith (teaser)
Greatest. Trailer. Ever. Bar none. We have John Williams’ score playing over Luke Skywalker looking at sunset on Tattooine, with Alec Guinness’s voiceover speaking about the Jedi of old and his pupil’s fall from grace; images of Qui-gon Jinn with lightsaber drawn, ready for battle; legions of clone troopers, ready for battle; and Anakin Skywalker’s seduction by the Dark Side and Palpatine. And then something that makes the fillings in your teeth tremble in anticipation, as Ian McDiarmid and James Earl Jones utter these three lines: “Lord Vader?” “Yes, Master?” “RISE.”
Everything else is just icing on the cake: battle scenes, lightsaber duels, new aliens, Wookiees, and Vader himself, strapped to an operating table, being raised into position in all his shiny armoured glory. Whatever you think of the prequels, this was freaking awesome.