There is a massive online backlash over the trailer for the upcoming Ghostbusters remake… and it is a remake. It has become known as the most disliked movie trailer… ever.
I think the whole backlash is getting out of hand. I watched the trailer and thought it looked “okay” at best. There have most definitely been far worse movie trailers before. I admit that I have no desire to go and see the film though, but the trailer was not that bad.
But this got me thinking about trailers and how you can’t really judge a 2 hour film on a 2 minute clip. Let me look at another example: that last trailer for Batman v Superman made the film look amazing, when in fact the film was horrible. Trailers can be very misleading.
Then I got to thinking about movie trailers in general and some trailers I lovingly remembered sprang to mind.
So here, I’m going to take a look at some of my favourite movie trailers. Whether the film itself was any good or not isn’t important. I’m just going on the quality of the trailer and what is showed, how/why it was good. From simple teasers, full trailers to sheer master class examples on how to do an effective movie trailer.
Back To The Future: A great example on how to do an amazing teaser. Bearing in mind that when this was released, nobody knew anything about the film at all. It starts of with the household name of; Steven Spielberg and that alone is enough to get you hooked. Then its is this abstract collection of futuristic looking lights, wires, etc along with a few quick shots of the DeLorean itself. Before revealing the star of the film, Michael J Fox who seemingly disappears in flames while the rousing “Back in Time” from; Huey Lewis and the News plays in the background as the title of the film appears.
A great little trailer for a film that would go down in history as an all time classic.
Godzilla (1998): This one was released in 1997 when Jurassic Park fever was still quite high as it was the same year that The Lost World: Jurassic Park was released. In fact, many people believed this was a trailer for Jurassic Park 2 at the time. Its a clever, misleading teaser as The T-Rex was the big bad monster of movies then and hugely popular. The way the museum curator builds up and talks about the impressive stats of the T-Rex, only for it to be literally crushed by the foot of something even bigger. This teaser was a great way to have a little pop at Jurassic Park while promoting the up and coming new Godzilla flick. It showed us that the T-Rex may not be the king of movie monsters for much longer.
Brilliant little trailer, shame the film itself was not very good though.
Schindler’s List: What an stunning trailer. Pretty much silent, except for a few instances and some haunting music in the background. This one really hits home the horrors of the Holocaust without revealing too much of anything. A powerful and moving trailer for a film that was just as equally powerful and moving… nuff said.
This is how you do a trailer well.
The Shining: This one is very unnerving. You have big names like Stanley Kubrick, Jack Nicholson and Stephen King appear on screen all while some strange but wondrous music builds in the background. Yet we are just looking at a hallway with a pair of elevator doors at the end… and nothing else. Nothing appears to be happening, there is no action, we do not see any of the stars of the film as the music just keeps building and building. Its memorising and pulls you in as you can’t take your eyes off the screen as you wait for something to happen… an finally it does.
Kubrick, Nicholson, King. Who wouldn’t want to watch this film? This trailer is hugely effective, suspenseful and yet it shows nothing.
Spider-Man: The first teaser of the big budget Spider-Man film from Sam Raimi. This one is fairly controversial as it was quickly removed following the events of 9/11. A nice little action scene that got to showcase the new Spider-Man and didn’t contain any main footage from the film itself. Its quite heart pumping and offers an adrenaline rush. This one got me really looking forward to a Spider-Man film from one of my favourite directors.
An effective trailer that leaves a lasting impression and really got people talking… before 9/11 that is.
South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut: A great sense of humour with this one. The narrator’s build up as he describes cutting edge technology, millions of dollars budget, best animators in the world, etc. Just for it to cut to the crappy animation South Park is famed for while Cartman does his infamous “German dance”. Its a funny little trailer that really got people looking forward to the film.
Quite surprising the film came about while the TV show was still in its infancy. But this trailer got us South Park fans hyped.
The Exorcist: Wow, what a trailer. This one just shows some disturbing images of the film that flash up and really shows nothing of the film itself. Some interesting titbits about this one. It features the original score for the film before it was ultimately rejected from the final cut and the trailer was even pulled from cinemas as it was deemed too scary at the time. Just try to imagine watching this in a darkened cinema on the big screen…
One of my favourite films and a really unsettling trailer. Though, if I’m honest. I feel it goes on a little too long. I think this trailer would have been better if it was slightly shorter.
The Birds: Hitchcock was a master of his craft and this trailer proves just as much. Its more like a mini movie in itself coming in at just over 5 minutes long. Hitchcock takes us though interesting lecture about how we humans mistreat birds. Killing them, eating them, caging them, using them for trophies, etc. This is a wonderful little talk as Hitchcock beautifully uses the English language to paint a picture of why birds are the subject of his latest film and the whole thing is very calm. Then as Hitchcock goes to pet a caged bird, things take a disturbing twist…
I love me some Hitchcock and this is one of my all time favourite trailers and all without showing a single frame of the film. Hitch’s trademark dry humour is rampant in this one and really makes for a great watch. But he made an even better trailer just a few years before this one…
Psycho: Yes, Hitchcock again. Best film trailer EVER! Just like his; The Birds trailer, this one is like its own mini movie. We join Hitch as he takes us on a tour of the infamous Bates Motel and house. Hitch describes very specific events from the film, but still manages to hold back on any major spoilers. His marvellous wording as he covers the murder on the stairs, “the twisting of the… well I won’t dwell on it.”, is sublime. The way Hitch talks to the audience and give subtle nods and references, cheeky little winks as if he is tormenting you. “This picture has great significance because… lets go to cabin number 1”, arrrghhhhhhhh the teasing is almost unbearable. All leading up to a surprise in the shower…
My favourite trailer for one of my favourite films and based on one of my favourite books. Nobody does movie trailers better than Hitchcock. This trailer works brilliantly as a prologue as it just hints at pretty much every major scene in the film without telling us all the details. Then watch it after the film as an epilogue and you can see just how well crafted the trailer is and all the clues Hitch was hinting at.
Well there you go, a few of my favourite trailers. But I have many more trailers I really enjoy, though nothing tops Psycho. I may cover more at a later date…