Today we’re doing something a little different. Instead of looking at one trailer, I’m going to look at all the trailers for one movie and discuss the marketing campaign as a whole. Why? Because I couldn’t pick just one trailer, and they were all making fun of themselves, doing my job for me.
Guardians of the Galaxy brings together a band of misfits to protect the galaxy from annihilation. Is it out of this world, or should it be launched out of this world? Well, let’s take a look at the trailers and find out. (If you want to see what I’m talking about, you can find the trailers here, here, here, and here.)
So who stars in this movie? Chris Pratt from The Lego Movie plays Peter Quill/Star-Lord, Zoe Saldana from Star Trek Into Darkness is Gamora, Vin Diesel of Fast Five voices Groot, Bradley Cooper of Silver Linings Playbook voices Rocket Raccoon, and wrestler-turned-actor Dave Bautista of Riddick portrays Drax the Destroyer. We also have The Hobbit‘s Lee Pace as the villainous Ronan the Accuser, Doctor Who‘s Karen Gillan as Nebula, How to Train Your Dragon 2‘s Djimon Hounsou as Korath the Pursuer, plus John C. Reilly, Glenn Close, and Benicio del Toro. Cameos include Nathan Fillion, Josh Brolin, and of course, Stan Lee.
As you can see, we have a pretty monumental wall of talent for a cast, and it’s all under the hand of writer/director James Gunn, who surprisingly doesn’t have that much directing experience. Films he has directed include Super and Slither, comedies with horror, sci-fi, and superhero elements, so the subject matter isn’t new to him. I haven’t seen his work, though, so I can’t comment on how his style affects this film.
First, let’s talk about the teaser trailer. Teasers exist not to tell the story but to introduce the characters and give you the feel of the movie. This trailer accomplishes that task perfectly, teasing us with an epic, Indiana Jones-like opening with powerful music and then taking it all away as soon as Star-Lord opens his mouth. In terms of character, we learn that Star-Lord isn’t as cool as he thinks, and by way of tone, we see that this is a comedy, and with build-up like that, it won’t be disappointing.
We then get a formal introduction courtesy of Nova Corps member John C. Reilly, giving us everything we need to know about the characters (a good thing, since only about seventeen people on the face of the planet knew who these guys were before the trailer came out). The lineup shows us they’re dangerous, crude, crazy, and kind of ridiculous at times. Then we get a bizarre scene in which Star-Lord proves to be really possessive of his headphones, which feels important and out of place at the same time. But who cares? It leads us into the best trailer music choice ever: “Hooked on a Feeling” by Blue Swede. The chorus of “Ooga-chaka ooga ooga” provides the perfect driving force for the action montage, which is possibly one of the best I’ve ever seen in a trailer. Plus we get a couple of glimpses of Nebula. Is it weird that I find a bald, blue, half-robotic woman strangely attractive? Yes? Okay.
Anyway, we get the most accurate description of the Guardians of the Galaxy I’ve heard in these trailers, and then the trailer ends with the strains of the seventies song grooving right along. They may have been hooked on a feeling, but I was hooked on the movie. The trailer was fun, action-packed, and willing to laugh at itself. It’s ridiculous, and it knows it’s ridiculous, and it’s all the more fun for it.
The first full trailer gives us more of the story. First, it goes more into depth about the meeting between Korath and Star-Lord, replaying the fun while adding in some epic action. Then we hear the song for this trailer, “Spirit in the Sky” by Norman Greenbaum, another rocking fun soundtrack choice. The trailer quickly reminds us who our heroes are, gives us a glimpse of the villain, and sets up the basic premise of the plot: our anti-heroes are the only ones standing between Ronan the Accuser and the galactic domination. Then we hear Rocket’s first words, “Oh yeah!” and we already know he’s going to be awesome.
Then we get even more awesome action mixed in with a poor frightened security guard, a planetoid that might actually be a giant severed head (I’m told that’s their headquarters, called Knowwhere), and some really pretty powers courtesy of Groot. Star-Lord calls his teammates losers, but then says they have a chance to do something good (cute seen with Groot here; I think I’m going to like him) and something bad (like showing off abs and bare backs to the camera). Insert a wisecrack from Rocket, more epic action, a glimpse of relationships (romantic between Star-Lord and Gamora, perhaps?), and then Groot discovers the magic of tape decks, we hear the old familiar anthem “Hooked on a Feeling” once more, and we see the whole team together as John C. Reilly says, “This might not be the best idea.” Funny, that’s what the studio said when they green-lighted this project. And boy, were they wrong.
Still, they were smart enough to hedge their marketing bets, as a more standard trailer was released for the United Kingdom. This one reminds us of the other projects Marvel has produced (in case you were worried they weren’t going to deliver this time), and uses epic music throughout rather than the seventies groove we’ve associated with the film so far. It replays many of our favorite moments from past trailers, but it also gives us an idea of how Peter Quill wound up in a galaxy far, far away, lets us hear Gamora for the first time, and ends on a couple of solid jokes to remind us that it’s not all serious business. All in all, a much safer trailer than we’ve seen so far, but still worth the watch.
Finally comes the extended look trailer. These I tend to be wary of because they often give away too much of the movie, but while this one contains new material and information, it still doesn’t give away the story. It starts right where we left off before the “safe trailer,” with the tape deck playing “Cherry Bomb” by the Runaways. We learn that “losers” means “folks who have lost stuff,” showing the common bond that makes them a team. We see more of Ronan and the Collector, and we get a glimpse of a planet collapsing in on itself, proving that the galaxy is in very real danger. And we get plenty more good jokes, including the extended ending that shows what could be an entire scene from the film. No essential information is given away, though, and while it almost feels as though we’re getting too many jokes too early, it does give us a taste of what the team dynamic and the film as a whole will feel like.
So based on the trailers, do I recommend this movie? Do you even have to ask? I’ve wanted to see this film since the teaser trailer came out, and every trailer since has only made me want to see it more. I know next to nothing about the characters and the story, but I know I’m going to love it, and I think lovers of sci-fi, Marvel movies, comedies, the bizarre, and generally awesome things will love it too. Will I see it in theaters? Absolutely! And you can give the credit for that to the best marketing campaign since the trailers for Godzilla.
Until next time, I’m the Nerd King. Nerd King, man. Legendary trailer reviewer? Forget it.
Guardians of the Galaxy is owned by Marvel Studios.