Happy 2014, everyone!
The start of a new year is always a good time to reminisce about the past and look ahead to the future, so I’m taking this opportunity to do both in one blog post. Allow me to introduce you to a new segment called the Crown Jewels. Basically, it’s my collection of Top Ten lists, based solely on my own opinion. These lists might include favorite movies, characters, actors, or any number of other possibilities. If your favorites didn’t make it on the list, it’s probably for one of three reasons: I don’t know enough about them, there weren’t enough places on my list, or I don’t like them. Take your pick.
So this week, as we prepare to journey into a brand new year, let’s take a look at the past with the Crown Jewels of 2013’s trailers.
There are a lot of other trailers that deserve to be on this list, like Saving Mr. Banks or Oblivion. But Pacific Rim topped them all in one scene. The Jaeger mech suit slowly approaches the Kaiju monster, dragging a ship behind it. Then it heaves the ship into the air and swings it at the creature, smashing it into the side of his face. Now, I’m not one for flashy violence for the sake of flashy violence, but if you’re going to make a movie about Transformers versus Godzilla, every moment should be this over-the-top awesome. For me, it hearkens back to the time when Ace took a baseball bat to a Dalek. Normal people will find plenty to enjoy in this scene without classic Doctor Who references. In any case, it perfectly encapsulates what I wanted out of this movie without descending into complete stupidity, and that’s all I ask from a trailer.
The movie White House Down may not be the world’s best or most original movie, but its trailer couldn’t be much better. It shows off all the insane fun the movie has to offer, and it made me laugh like no other trailer this year. Well, except for The Lone Ranger, but this was trying to be humorous. A hero who tries to talk himself out of dangerous rescue missions before doing exactly what he said was so stupid? A president who cares more about his sneakers than his own personal safety? A villain who whistles patriotic music before blowing up the Capitol Dome? It’s all so brilliantly absurd that I can’t help but want to see the movie, which means this trailer has done its job.
This trailer doesn’t tell me much about the story except that a guy who frequently imagines adventures suddenly gets a real adventure of his own. So why does it grab my attention? Only because of some of the most beautiful cinematography I’ve seen in a movie trailer. Look at that shot where Walter plunges into the ocean. You can practically feel the water washing over you. Every moment of screen time, even ones that take place in grey rooms, is rich and warm and full of life, much like this movie is trying to be. Whether or not you think the film succeeded, the trailer certainly did.
Again, brilliant cinematography and vibrant colors make this trailer stand out, but so does the music. I know several people who claim the pop music doesn’t work for The Great Gatsby and that 1920s era jazz music is a vital part of the setting. However, the point of the jazz music then was to show the opulence and decadence of the time, and to me, nothing says over-the-top and culturally degrading like modern pop music. The loud music and bright colors blend for a perfect modern take on a time period much like our own, only classier.
I’ll admit, I may have overhyped this movie, but the trailer made it easy to do it. With spaceships crashing into things, Natalie Portman punching Loki, and the God of Thunder’s hammer swinging, how can you not expect an amazing movie? The ominous voice-over by Anthony Hopkins about darkness surviving emphasizes Christopher Eccleston’s villain, and of course there’s the final scene which parallels Indiana Jones. All in all, this is a trailer that is surprisingly more satisfactory than the movie.
How does this superhero movie trailer top the one that features my favorite Marvel hero? It overpowers it with pure awesomeness. People fall from planes, Tony Stark’s house and suits get blown to pieces, and dozens of Iron Man suits fly in at the end, all to the most epic music I’ve ever heard in a trailer. It feels like the most dangerous threat Iron Man has ever faced. In fact, the trailer builds up the villain so much that I’d venture to say the trailer is actually better than the movie, and that takes some doing.
I miss the days of hand-drawn animation, but when computer animation looks this good, I’m not about to complain. Take a look at that landscape and those freezing effects. Is that not absolutely gorgeous? Put that together with quirky, likeable characters, some funny jokes, and a giant snow monster, and you’ve got the makings of a good movie, or at least a good trailer. In addition, my experience reviewing this trailer was made even better by the assistance of the lovely Jennifer McDonald from J. O. News. What more could I ask for? Well, apparently something more, since I’m only at Number 4 on the list.
Could a true Whovian not have this trailer in his top three? By putting David Tennant and Matt Smith together, it manages to fit every moment the fans have dreamed of into one two minute video. Comparing sonic screwdrivers? Check. Complimenting brainy specs? Check. Synchronized arm crossing? Check. The continued tradition of “You’ve redecorated . . . I don’t like it”? Check. Plus appearances by John Hurt, Billie Piper as Rose Tyler (sort of), and Jenna Coleman as Clara Oswald, in addition to shots of the Time War and a misleadingly brief glimpse of the Zygons and Queen Elizabeth I . . . every fanboy bone in my body is pleased every time I watch this trailer.
If you read my review of this trailer, you know exactly why it made Number 2: Benedict Cumberpatch. And this trailer shows him off like nobody’s business. Whether he’s standing on the street with his collar popped, threatening the lives of everyone on board the Enterprise, or punching people into the air and stomping on their faces, you can tell it’s going to be his movie. Throw in a gorgeous red forest and a crashing starship and you’ve got yourself an awesome trailer.
It’s the trailer for my favorite movie of the year based (loosely) on my favorite book of all time. How could I not put this at Number 1? With its perfect cast and nonstop action, the trailer had me hooked from the start. In fact, every trailer for this movie had me rocking in my seat, trying to hold back a squeal of pure delight. And if you need more reason to like these trailers, every single one introduces Smaug brilliantly. The movie may not be perfect, but the trailers are as close as they can get.
And those are my Crown Jewels of last year’s trailers. Let’s hope the coming year brings us many more trailers like them.