Top 10 Teaser Trailers
A few rules required to avoid repetition and ensure some variety. Only one entry allowed from any director, so there can’t be three teaser trailers from, say, James Cameron. This means we can get mixture of different approaches and styles. Secondly, let’s look at these trailers through the view of, would we want to watch that film after seeing this trailer? If the answer’s yes, then it has a chance of being on this list.
Oh, and this isn’t a top ten list in terms of being ranked 1-10, these are just ten of the teasers that get us pant-wettingly excited. Ahem, excuse us.
Having left us at the end of the first film with Tobey Maguire’s Peter Parker embracing his kerrazy spider abilities, this teaser serves as a reminder that there still a few complications to Peter’s relationship with others – namely, ol’ snaggletooth Kirsten Dunst’s Mary Jane Watson. It starts off serious with Mary Jane asking Peter if she loves him before being interrupted by a car smashing though the window. Dramatic and a little irresponsible by Alfred Molina’s Doc Ock, does that cafe have super-villain insurance?
Special mention – Spider-Man Original teaser
Stunning in its simplicity and reverence for a franchise that had fallen by the (way, waaayyy) wayside with the disastrous Superman IV (Nuclear Man, seriously?). This teaser in no way tells you anything about the plot, doesn’t feature the villain or a line of dialogue. The words and music (John Williams’ Krypton march, geek out!) are from Richard Donner’s seminal Superman:The Movie but that’s the point. It promised a return to the image of Superman we remembered, updating him and the setting for a modern audience and boasting some stunning imagery. For all intents and purposes it was almost too good, no film can be as good as this teaser?
Honourable mentions: Batman Begins – another updating of a DC comic that was on life support. And what a resuscitation it was. You want another? How about The Dark Knight?
The Social Network
Again, the best (and purest) kind of teaser is one that actually shows some imagination in how it assembles video and audio without revealing too much (if anything) of the final film. Fincher, we can quite confidently say, is the one of the undisputed kings of the teaser trailer. This teaser plays up Aaron Sorkin’s machine gun dialogue, with the typing mirroring the characters’ words in real-time, giving the sense that it’s an actual conversation. The fact that it’s done as a Facebook chat makes it a savvy piece of marketing and that last sentence? Ominous.
Honourable mention: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
The Matrix Reloaded
If you weren’t old enough to see the first Matrix in the theatres and only managed to see it on VHS (a what now?) or DVD, then The Matrix Reloaded/Revolutions was your chance to see it on the big screen. Knowing the kind of fandom that The Matrix inspired, as soon as the line of code flowed down the screen we were all (yes, it’s true) excited about this film. Nothing else mattered and this trailer promised explosions, shootouts, car chases and most importantly kung-fu. If you didn’t go nuts for the potential that this teaser offered, then quite frankly, you’re mental.
Honourable mention: The Matrix Reloaded/Revolutions Japanese trailer. EVERYTHING LOOKS AND SOUNDS BETTER IN JAPANESE!
Lord of the Rings
Is the word epic suitable for this trailer? It seems we need a larger (and certainly longer) word to describe what how we feel about this trailer. Several decades after Tolkien penned the books, all we had was a silly looking animated film. What we needed was an adaptation that took his prose and put it on the big screen in a way the material deserved. This trailer certainly displayed the epic-ness (that’s certainly a longer word than epic) and a presented a tantalising glimpse of Tolkien’s fantasy world being translated for the big screen.
This list needs an animated film and it needs one that isn’t one of those fluffy (re. crap) teaser trailers that studios put out. Funnily enough, animated films don’t necessarily grab the viewer in a way live action does; but they do provide an introduction to the characters and reveal the tone, the premise and interplay between the characters and the reality they live in. Quick, sharp and full of wit, this kind of trailer is best emphasised by Pixar’s effort for Monsters Inc. We do wonder though, is that Susie Boyle Sully’s talking about the Susan Boyle? And bonus points for confusing magnolia with Mongolia.
Honourable mention: It’s Dori and she’s aDORIble.
We know Zack Snyder has his moments of brilliance and some of utter wankness but he does turf out a good teaser trailer and 300 is probably the best teaser (or trailer for that matter) he’s put out. It does feature half-naked men, some freakish looking women and some great lines of dialogue (THIS IS…yeah, you know it already). This plays out with Nine Inch Nails Just as you imagined twanging in the background. You had no idea what you were getting yourself in for but it did look awesome…and golden.
Honourable mentions: Two trailers deserve a mention here, the first one is Sin City which almost beat out 300 for a place on this list. The second is Watchmen, which is deliriously good. Imagine if Watchmen had a fight with 300, it could be slowest fight recorded (*dig at Zack Snyder for slow motion*)
Terminator 2: Judgement Day
Old school, this how teaser trailers used to be down before they caved in and started showing footage of the film. In the 80s and 90s, these promos featured footage shot purely for the teaser. A few films still do this (Super 8,) but it’s (sadly) a dying art. Still we have here a teaser that shows terminators being assembled and that’s all we need to know. We really couldn’t give a darn-tootin’ about the story or what’s going to happen, we just want the promise of Arnie reprising his signature role as that mother-effin’ cyborg from the future.
Watching this teaser makes you want to watch the film again. An odd teaser as it spells out much of the story though its intertitles but perhaps the story was the main attraction to the film, especially the dramatic nature of it. It leaves you wondering how did this man fall from grace so much that he become a gladiator and what beef (cough, cough) does he have with The Emperor? An intriguing setup made all the more intriguing with Ridley Scott’s predilection for beautiful images and Hans Zimmer’s score playing over it. Plus by the time this came out we hadn’t had a decent historical epic for God knows how long, this certainly looked like changing that perception.
Honourable mention: Men in Black trailer, yes it has absolutely nothing in common with Gladiator but like the historical epic, it is in a genre that’s overlooked and tricky to pull off: the sci-fi comedy.
Like The Terminator 2: Judgement Day teaser, this features no footage from the finished film but unlike T2, it plays like an infomercial. One of the strangest teasers I’ve seen, this trailer is all about educating and selling the audience on the premise. Somehow it works, you’d be wondering if you were watching the Discovery Channel, at least until the Jurassic Park/Steven Spielberg bit comes up. Where’s this Jurassic Park again?
Honourable mentions: Let’s put all the films that nearly made it on to this list. We have the X-Men 3, Casino Royale, Revenge of the Sith, Star Trek (so, so close to getting on it), Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Cloverfield (so, so, so close to getting on the list), Independence Day, Inception, Mission Impossible 3 and Transformers.