For big screen comic book adaptations, fanboy word of mouth can be a double-edged sword.Everything is speculated on, from the possible casting of big-name celebs to play seminal villains or heroes right up to the possibilities of what might happen in the sequel.If there’s a hint of bad casting, constant script revisions or even the dreaded delay, a project can be dead in the water before the viral campaign can even begin.
With this much scrutiny on a project, the trailer for the film is key.An effective trailer piques interest, has great visuals, doesn’t give too much away and gives fans and those curious about the film just enough to make them talk about what they’ve just seen with others.With that in mind, please consider the following ten great trailers, all of which were able to do what they were designed to do; get you to care about seeing this film, whether or not the film was a turkey or a soaring eagle!
The ‘official’ trailer for Watchmen can help make you forget all the lawsuit craziness surrounding the film.From the haunting use of the Smashing Pumpkins’ “The Beginning is the End is the Beginning” to the scenes of Dr. Osterman actually becoming the big blue ball of science known as Dr. Manhattan, the trailer teases us with glimpses of the likes of Silk Spectre and Rorschach in perfect likeness to their graphic novel counterparts.The action shots reveal enough to us to capture some memorable scenes from Moore’s work and the contrasts of dark and light seem to match the tone of the book as well.Even if you’ve never read the book, the trailer will definitely give you incentive to see the film version.
The trailer for this seminal superhero movie is specifically devoid of action shots, save the destruction of Krypton, but the humanity and visual awe of seeing Christopher Reeve fly across the screen in 1978 is what lands it here.America’s hero was finally being brought to the screen, and the trailer, even though most of the focus is on Marlon Brando as Jor-El, brings dignity to the character and sets the stage for a truly majestic film.Raves were spoken about the special effects in this movie, and judging by this trailer, the hype and build-up was worth the wait.The narrator’s tells us that Kal-El will call himself Clark Kent, but the world would know him as Superman.Christopher Reeve would become known as Superman, and the trailer gives us enough to hook us into the fascinating origin of the world’s greatest hero.
3.Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer (2007)
Doug Jones and Laurence Fishburne are the true stars of this trailer, as the body and voice, respectively, of the iconic Silver Surfer.The Surfer performs amazing feats (going though buildings, doing a peek-a-boo from underneath his board) all the while setting the stage for what we were all hoping for: Galactus.Although the payoff of the Purple One didn’t quite happen (a cloud?) ,the trailer does give us some nice visuals of Egypt, London and other locales preparing for their close-ups as dinner.The trailer paints the Surfer as having amazing powers and the ability to be almost beyond capture or containment.There are also some teasers with Dr. Doom and the various involvement of the rest of the FF.Some thought the movie disappointed, but the trailer certainly makes the Silver Surfer look worth the money.
4.Batman Returns (1992)
Batman himself doesn’t play a large role in his own trailer for the sequel to the success of 1989’s Batman, but the trailer is highly effective at presenting two important things: Penguin and Catwoman.Gone are the days of the purple top hat wearing fop from the 1960’s.The trailer hits us right away with images of a vengeful, morose Danny Devito as the foul one, skulking in the sewers, plotting unholy evil.We next see a deranged Michelle Pfeiffer, sexy and savage as the leather-clad Catwoman.The trailer also gives a wonderful set up of the tension involved in the Batman/Catwoman and Bruce Wayne/Selina Kyle storylines.Shots of demented clowns and mayhem set against the backdrop of Christmas draw us in to Tim Burton’s vision of a world going mad and the characters who can’t wait to see it burn.The shots we do have of Bruce and Batman set him as the dark but dedicated savior of the city he sees falling apart around him.
5.Iron Man (2008)
Could there have been any other choice but Robert Downey, Jr. to play Tony Stark/Iron Man?Given what we all know of Downey’s background, the fit to play Stark seemed perfect on paper, but could he pull it off?Based on the trailer, a resounding yes was uttered.Stark’s snarky and suave demeanor is evident right away, and we even get a good sense of the circumstances that changed the Stark smirk to a grim expression of reality.With a very real-world setting, the trailer throws us immediately into the urgency of Stark’s capture and escape.There are even a few teasing shots of the early armor, as well as some promising shots of the finished product, that give fans and newcomers alike the feel of how much of an evolution the character of Tony Stark and Iron Man was going to take.Factor in some great aerial shots of Iron Man soaring high above the Earth, and you’ve got a trailer you can't help but talk about.
6.Sin City (2005)
Stunning visuals and slick colorization set against a black and white pop art wonderland set the immediate feel of this Frank Miller big-screen adaptation.Even the illustrated images of characters from the gritty noir work blend into perfect likenesses, due in large part to great casting.The trailer gives us enough of a feel for the rough, hard-boiled edge that made the comic such a cult hit without excluding those who perhaps have never heard of the comic, let alone read it.Everything about this trailer puts the viewer in the thick of the action, from the firing of a gun to the high-speed action of a car chase.Even if the story doesn’t particularly interest you, you’ll see the film for the superior cinematography and saturation of color in just the right places.For many, Jessica Alba and Rosario Dawson don’t hurt either.
7.The Dark Knight (2008)
If Batman Begins was about a man establishing himself in a corrupt city, then The Dark Knight is about that city becoming a battleground for a showdown between anarchy and order.The city is featured prominently in this trailer with awe-inspiring shots of Batman and the Joker interacting with the skyscrapers and cityscapes.Terrific glimpses of the mayhem ahead are shown, with clips of Heath Ledger’s unhinged Joker narrating the rationale for the panic and fear we are seeing play out.These scenes are even more effective when paired with the shots of the steely, calm Batman.And what to make of Harvey Dent’s role as a crusader in this film?You’ll have to watch the film to find out, but the trailer does a nice job of establishing him as a character that could go either way.
Mike Mignola’s creation couldn’t have asked for a better trailer in his first feature film outing.The Dark Horse character gained attention from a lot of outsiders, not to mention over 100 million dollars, at the box office, probably due to great word of mouth based on this great trailer!Fantastic glimpses of characters such as Abe, Liz, and Hellboy himself help to tease fans of the series and interest the unfamiliar.The trailer does a lot to give us an idea of the powers, presence, and humor of the big, red hero, perfectly played by Ron Pearlman.We even get to see the “Big Bad” of the film, and the epic nature of the film is revealed to us in some wonderful displays of character power, battle, and gruesome monsters.The trailer gives us an idea of the ride that the film would take us on!Obviously lots of people signed on; Hellboy II: The Golden Army came out earlier this year.
9.Spider-Man 2 (2004)
Picking up where the first movie jaw-droppingly ended, the trailer for Spider-Man 2 gives us everything it can and then some.Awesome shots of Spidey flying around the city: check, the humanity of Peter Parker as he tries to find balance in life: check, doubt and questions about his relationship with MJ: check.Pair all of that with some very cool shots of Alfred Molina’s Dr. Octopus and you have a worthy trailer already.Add to that the relentless hate Harry Obsourne has for Spider-Man and that has us lining up for tickets the day before its release!Battle scenes are previewed, sweeping shots of the city and Peter Parker actually shown throwing away his Spidey costume almost make this trailer a movie unto itself.Thankfully though there was a lot more story left to tell.
10.30 Days of Night (2007)
The film itself may have received mixed reviews, but when looking at the trailer, the film, based off an imaginative graphic novel, appears smart and well-crafted.What would someone do in a town populated by vampires when sunlight was virtually non-existent for a month?The trailer is effective more for what it creates in our minds rather than any pure gore or terror it shows.There’s a claustrophobic air to the trailer, as townsfolk huddle into their homes to withstand a vampire buffet of sorts.Josh Hartnett is a little wooden in the trailer, but the air of entrapment and a hint of desperation at least garner interest in what might happen, and makes us wonder how exactly this town will survive the thirty days.A nice use of greys and blues help to add to the atmosphere of a desolate and desperate town.