Best/Worst Movie Promos of the Week: ‘Django Unchained’ and ‘Moonrise Kingdom’ Win Big with Unique ImageryBy Perri Nemiroff Apr 13, 2012
In case you haven’t noticed, The Avengers is coming. For the past few weeks we’ve gotten featurette after featurette and TV spot after TV spot, and now we land on two new clips and 20 minutes of B-roll footage, too. Of the clips, I much prefer the one featuring Loki and Iron Man, as it shows off solid performances and some serious non-action-related tension as compared to seeing Nick Fury and Maria Hill discuss the mechanics of the mission. As for the B-roll, sure it may be a little dull, but I actually much prefer it to the featurettes, which all seem to make the same exact points over and over again.
Speaking of featurettes, Battleship adds two to its pile, “Creating Destruction” and “Enemies From Another World,” both of which fail to solidify Battleship as anything other than a Transformers knockoff. We’ve also got some on-set interviews from Skyfall and while hardcore Bond fans may dig it, if you aren’t into the series, it’s just not all that interesting.
Also on the dull side is the teaser poster for The Host. The only selling power this has is Stephenie Meyer’s name and even though the Twilight films bring in truckloads of cash, it’s still a very specific audience and not a proper tool for reeling in newcomers.
Maybe this isn’t the most uplifting opening, but the best is yet to come, so here we go!
The Best Stuff
1. Looper Trailer: It’s not easy cramming all the essential plot points into a trailer. And, if you can pull it off with ease, that’s probably not a good sign. As for Looper, the mechanics of the situation are pretty complex, but this trailer is so well constructed the basics are incredibly digestible. Voiceover was a must here, and, thanks to some stellar imagery, it doesn’t feel overbearingly expository, but rather quite natural. Even better? The material is wildly fascinating, and when you think it couldn’t get more intriguing, right at the mid-point of the trailer comes a complete change of direction. Turns out standard screenplay format works wonders with trailers, too!
2. Django Unchained Teaser Poster: When you’ve got a movie that stars Leonardo DiCaprio, Samuel L. Jackson, Sacha Baron Cohen, Christoph Waltz, Jamie Foxx and more, you’d think the smart marketing move would be to plaster their faces all over the poster. Sure that might happen when Django Unchained gets an official one-sheet, but for the teaser poster it’s all about minimalism and it’s downright beautiful. In fact, this poster doesn’t even need a title. “The New Film By Quentin Tarantino” is more than enough to support this literal and striking design. If I fall for Django Unchained like I did for Inglourious Basterds, this might be on my wall come Christmas.
3. Moonrise Kingdom Scout Troop Photo: When it comes to a rather odd, but strangely mesmerizing specimen like Moonrise Kingdom that's jam-packed with curious characters, there’s really no better way to make an audience feel engaged than with a piece of promotional material like this group photo. Yes, you could watch the trailer over and over again, and might even want to, but if you just want to see a map of the film’s main players, here it is! Even with the tacky school photo-style shoot, each character’s expression, pose and position is oozing with exposition.
The Worst Stuff
1. The Dictator Clip: I think I might be over Sacha Baron Cohen. Not the actor that actually performs in movies like Hugo, but rather the one that brings characters like Admiral General Aladeen to life. Sure, The Dictator isn’t like Borat and Brüno in that it supposedly follows a more traditional storytelling method and uses conventional camerawork, but otherwise, it’s that same shtick all over again. His little bit at the Academy Awards was a major turn off, leaving the film desperate for something that suggested it was actually funny. This first clip? Definitely not it. Even with Anna Faris’ charm and comedic timing, this moment is spiteful and totally unfunny.
2. LOL Trailer: LOL just got a new trailer and, yet again, it fails to make the whole teen tech angle cool or shake the incredibly tacky feel. Regardless of whether or not this trailer was an improvement, I just can’t take a movie seriously when it stars Miley Cyrus as a character literally named Lol. The Miley-related problems continue with the fact that SNL’s Vanessa Bayer is just too good at replicating her voice, making the LOL trailer’s voiceover laughable. Then there’s the biggest issue: Cyrus seems to have lost her touch. I’m a little old for her Disney show and don’t care much for her other feature films, but she did have some on-screen charm. However, in LOL, Cyrus looks to be drowning in the teenage formula and lame dialogue. Rather than breathe life into the material and give it some original flair, Cyrus is consumed by it and might even be magnifying the clichés.
3. The Broken Tower Trailer: Just because you’re James Franco, that doesn’t mean you can do things like this. It’s admirable when filmmakers have their own style and push the boundaries in attempt to make their productions unique to themselves, but that doesn’t mean you can entirely disregard the audience. If you make a movie, you want people to watch it, right? Well, I don’t know who would ever watch the trailer for Franco’s latest directorial effort, The Broken Tower, and have any desire to see it whatsoever. Harold Hart Crane had a tumultuous and perhaps cinematic life – according to the synopsis. However, this trailer makes no effort whatsoever to hint at any narrative, making the film’s only accessible elements its Oscar nominated stars.
Sound off below and let us know which movie promos were your favorite and least favorite this week.