Movie Trailer Tuesday: I, Frankenstein

(Blah!!! Spoiler Alert, though if you watched this preview, you can be sure I’m not spoiling anything worth your time).

This is just gross and leaves you with the same feeling that you’re about to see something in the vain of Van Helsing of The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (ie. the filmmaker’s brutal rape of a classic literature character). Frankenstein has been morphed into an action hero that eventually finds himself in the middle of a war between demons and flying gargoyles that become human when they land on the ground. Yep, Mary Shelley totally envisioned this when she created the Horror genre’s second easily most recognized monster, depending on where you rank Dracula.

While this trailer continues to magically one-up itself by horrible surprise followed by horrible surprise (there is an army of Frankensteins waiting to join the battle!!), the least ironic thing in this trailer is that the production company, Lakeshore Entertainment, in charge of this future disaster purchased this script from the same guy that did the Underworld movies. You know, the Vampires vs. Werewolves movies that shouldn’t have become a trilogy. Very original to move onto Demons vs. Gargoyles. After this thing gets released and sets itself up for two straight Netflix sequels, I wouldn’t be surprised to see this production company take on Mummies vs. Creatures From the Black Lagoon.

So, this film may have some redeeming qualities and it may not be completely awful, but this trailer feels like it should have been for Underworld 12, or Bill Nighy slums it again in B-Horror Movies until a better role comes along.

P.S. Now before any of you comic book nerds get ornery, I am completely aware that this is based off a graphic novel, which only goes prove what “The Spirit,” “Constantine,” and “Howard The Duck,” have already done: not every half interesting comic book or graphic novel should be made into a movie.

Movie Trailer Tuesday

First thing’s first: It’s 11/12/13 and that kind of thing is rare. Take a moment to do something you wouldn’t normally do – talk to you boss about that promotion you deserve, surprise that someone special with a gift, talk to a stranger on the bus. Ok, now on to today’s movie trailer:

The name of the animated movie game is, “appeal to kids and parents alike.”

In other words, try to be like Pixar and share stories that delight and enchant children, while entertaining parents with clever jokes that fly over the heads of the little ones.

We will not no for sure until Thanksgiving, but Disney’s trailer for their upcoming Frozen offers the potential for that wonderful, magic formula. 

The film will be what the film will be, but I was happily surprised by this trailer and the entertainment this winter-time film could offer for animated feature fans of all ages.

And if  this official trailer has not managed to convince you, try this scene clip, which manages to use physical comedy on multiple levels in a way that reminds me of some of Pixar’s best animated shorts.

- Words by Jeff

Movie Trailer Tuesday – The Grand Budapest Hotel

The day the trailer for the newest Wes Anderson film, The Grand Budapest Hotel, came out, I read descriptions like “Wes Andersony” and the like.

Wes deserves such descriptions, but it’s hard to argue with excellence.

A few of his films (I’m thinking about the time we spent 2 hours on a train with Adrien Brody, in particular) feel like Wes but do not deliver. But, when Wes is on, there are few better movie-going experiences.

Most importantly, you know what you are going to get: an adventure of the most whimsical, fun, awkward and well-acted sort. I will be honest, it is nice to have something as reliable and remarkable as a Wes Anderson film in an age when products – and even services – are no longer made to last or to delight, but to suffice.

- Words by Jeff

movie trailer tuesday – ted

Since I finished commenting on trailers for 2011 best film nominated pictures last week, I figured writing about a brand new trailer for a movie no one expects to get nominated for anything would be a good direction to go.

 

Did this trailer make me want to see the movie?

Kind of.

I love the premise.

The story of the kid and his favorite toy, or intimate best friend, that magically comes to life was just waiting for a clever twist. The first 37 seconds of the trailer made me enormously excited. Unfortunately, the following 2 minutes deflated my hopes almost entirely.

The 2 minute 30 seconds of TED Universal has chosen to show me lead me to believe that much of the film will be a lot like Family Guy. The motel fight scene is a gag used in FG no less than 346 times. As is the schtick on the couch with the trashy girls. Oh, and Ted humping the cash register makes me think of Brian getting drunk and acting out, another tired gag from the show.

The premise has promise, but it is hard to imagine from the trailer that it will follow through.

Regardless of Ted‘s success, expect a South Park spoof soon. Mark my words.

Was the trailer effective as a commercial?

Yes.

This movie is not for me.

I do not watchFamily Guy anymore. I am not seventeen. And I do not smoke pot.

This trailer was made for people (mostly male), who fit at least two of the three requirements above.

I think the film will do well and I might even see it on DVD at some point or with my brother (who does, by the way, fit two of the three requirements above).

But, disregarding how I feel about the film based on the trailer, I think the trailer does a good job of baiting the hook for the right audience. And the scene where the bear is driving did make me chuckle. I do not think this movie will be devoid of laughs, I just think it will disappoint me.

Good marketing, and good products and successful films, is not about making something everyone will love. Not anymore, anyway. It is about making something that as many people as possible will love. If you try to make the product and the ad for it entice everyone in the whole world, you will fail. If you try to make the product and the ad for it appeal to folks you know are likely to like what you have on offer, your success rate (obviously and naturally) increases.

The Ted trailer is effective as a commercial because it does not try to get stuck-up, pompous, crotchety grumps who hate laughter and having fun like me to spend money seeing it because that would be a waste of time. Instead, it (smartly) targets mostly male stoners, who thinkFamily Guy is funny between the ages of 17 and 25 (whether in actual years or in maturity).

Side Note: This movie is not brought to us by a Fox-owned studio or affiliate. Hmmmmm…..

movie trailer tuesday – money ball

 

Did this trailer make me want to see the movie?

Actually, yes.

What could be more boring than baseball for most folks? Watching a film about baseball.

And, if you want to kick the boring equation up a notch, make the film be about a low scoring, low-paid, low-star power team.

Yet the trailer makes the viewer want to see what Brad Pitt is doing in this Baseball flick.

Even more importantly, the trailer makes the story seem compelling to different types of viewers – folks familiar with the book and story want to see how the film handles it; Baseball buffs want to see how history is handled by Hollywood; And casual passers by are sucked in because of the clever dialogue and created interest through thoughtful, careful use of film footage.

Was the trailer effective as a commercial?

Yes.

Simply because it highlighted the right parts of the product (the film): Brad Pitt, The theory of Money Ball, Aaron Sorkin’s witty writing, and the previously mentioned baseball historical context.

Unlike most film trailers, Money Ball‘s trailer did not tell the entire story. It gave a hint, a taste.

Like great commercials for any product, this trailer gave a look at the interesting, emotional, touching, compelling pieces of the product, without going to far.

Two Bonus Questions (and Two Bonus Answers):

1. Why is Brad Pitt always around the best actor award, and never goes home with it?

He has been a good actor for a long time and has become under-appreciated for that reason, along with his fame and frequent tabloid appearances. He might try waiting a year or two for his next film, then taking another roles like Tree of Life or Money Ball. I bet if we had not seen him for a few years he could have one for either one (or both) of those roles.

2.Will Movie Trailer Tuesday End Now That You Have Analyzed All Nine Oscar-Nominated Films?

Not a chance!

movie trailer tuesday – tree of life

 

 

Did this trailer make me want to see the movie?

Absolutely!

Tree of Life‘s trailer is an exception to the rule I have been beating like a dead horse every Tuesday.

I did not know many people who had seen this film when I saw it, but I found the trailer irresistible. It is mysterious, thought provoking, even inspirational.

The quick clips, their organization, and the absence of dialogue or narration make it difficult for the viewer to ever really figure out what is happening. There is something aggravatingly fascinating about the lack of a clear story arc and any semblance of a traditional trailer formula.

The emotional, epic music acts as a bed underneath the perplexing and compelling imagery.

The viewer sees faces he or she knows, but a few quick glimpses of Brad Pitt looking stern or Sean Penn looking really tired is the extent of the use of the familiar here. Everything else feels foreign, exciting, and maybe even a little dangerous.

Was the trailer effective as a commercial?

Yes!

Terrence Malick is a one of a kind filmmaker, so it only makes sense that a trailer for one of his films should stand out as being unlike any trailer in recent memory.

And this brings me to an important point about movie trailers: Much like the films they sell, movie trailers are almost all pretty much the same. Unfortunately, trailers for films that are more creative than the average still follow standard trailer formulas. Advertisers that work with many different products (the good ones, at least) seem to push the accepted standard far more often than whoever is making all of these stale film trailers. The trailer for Tree of Life is not overly complicated or mind blowing. It is simply different from the 99% of the trailers around it. Sure, the film being marketed is different than 99% of the films being made (making it easier to make a new feeling trailer), but  I am not proposing anything outlandish here. Instead of telling the audience the entire plot and story in 2 minutes, how about taking a little extra planning time with the material and using the same film footage to confuse and delight the audience?
Why more studios do not work to create trailers that stand out from the crowd is beyond me. But Tree of Life is proof that an unconventional trailer can get people into theaters to see your film.

 

movie trailer tuesday – midnight in paris

Midnight in Paris is the best movie I have seen in a long time, so this post might be a little biased. I will do my best to treat the trailer as though I do not have a huge crush on the film itself.

Did this trailer make me want to see the movie?

Not really.

Was the trailer effective as a commercial?

No.

Like so many films I discuss on Movie Trailer Tuesday, the main reason I saw Midnight in Paris was word of mouth from people I know who’s opinions I trust.

A film as original and exceptional as this one is hard to make into a trailer.

Woody Allen is used to handling films like this, but Hollywood is not. Hollywood is accustomed to making trailers for formulaic movies with predictable plots, mainly sequels and novel-based pieces without an original idea within the entire project.

This trailer is better than many of those made for 2012 Best Film nominees, but it really does not convey the wondrous experience the film delivers.

Quick side note:

The best decision Woody Allen ever made just might be putting Owen Wilson in this film (especially if Allen himself was the other option). Had Midnight been made 20 years ago, it might have been an inferior film because of Wilson’s absence. Wilson is entertaining, energetic, and funny throughout. The “Holy-shit” face he pulls several times during his midnight adventures is one of the best film faces I have ever seen. That one expression conveys more than most actors can put forth with over-animated monologue deliveries and melodramatic emotional breakdowns. As my wife often says, “The best actors convey emotion with their faces and movements, not their words.”

movie trailer tuesday – the artist

 

Did this trailer make me want to see the movie?

Yes!

The trailer for The Artist is proof that music and visuals can be moving on their own. I have not yet seen this film, but apparently the entire production is a testament to this point as well.

I get easily frustrated by people who say there is not anything original out in the world any more. People are creating interesting, compelling pieces of art all the time. Some places, like Hollywood or Detroit, have a lot less of this going on than they used to. But original art still exists (Midnight in Paris is another great example in film).

Sadly for Hollywood but happily for The Artist, this trailer had more originality and magic than most films.

Was the trailer effective as a commercial?

Yes, again!

I never saw this trailer while the film was in theaters. Had I had the opportunity, I would have seen the film within days. As a commercial this trailer is engaging, curious, and filled with question-creating and imagination-igniting moments.

The Artist is currently only available to me by pirated download from the internet. If there was a legal way for me to watch it right now I would be doing that instead of sitting here writing about it. The trailer is that well done.

But a trailer this good raises a question I have posed before: Does a good film make it easier to make a good trailer?

Another, broader, way to ask this question is: Does a good product make it easier to create a good marketing campaign?

movie trailer tuesday – the descendants

 

Did this trailer make me want to see the movie?

No. Not really.

I ended up liking this movie quite a bit, but I saw it because of what friends told me about it not because of the marketing campaign.

The Descendants ended up being pretty popular and garnered an Oscar nomination for Best Picture (which is why I’m talkng about it here in the first place), so obviously the marketing for the film worked to some extent. But I would not have seen this film based on this trailer alone.

The story is interesting but too much of the trailer is just George running around or pulling faces. The rest of the trailer reveals most of the plot in an obtuse way that usually turns me off.

It is difficult to craft an interesting trailer for a movie like this since there is not much action to go off of. Yet I refuse to believe there is not a better way to frame a heartfelt, thoughtful film like this one for the masses. Perhaps trailers like this are proof that marketers still think audiences are dumber than they are.

Was the trailer effective as a commercial?

Nope. The effective commercial was the gaggle of people I knew who saw The Descendants and loved it.

I did not like this film as much as some people I know (and I must admit that something must have made them want to see it) but the fact that the commercial, which is supposed to be the hook, failed to capture me says a lot. Mainly, that marketers of films still cannot, generally speaking, make ads that do the film justice.

Good trailers are rare enough that I am frequently scratching my head. Where does all of that money go?

movie trailer tuesday – hugo

Did this trailer make me want to see the movie?

No.

The corny music and the chase scenes with Borat made Hugo seem cheesy and childish. I know the film ended up alright, receiving several Oscars and a Best Picture nomination, but if we are strictly talking the trailer here – barf city.

I have not seen the film, but by all accounts it is superior to its trailer.

The trouble is a good trailer is what brings people in to see your film.

According to Wikipedia, Hugo had a “final budget of between $156 million and $170 million,” and grossed about $180 million at the box office. A $10 million profit is not bad, but I cannot help but wonder if the terrible trailer had something to do with a somewhat sluggish box office performance. Of course, having Martin Scorsese’s name attached to the film must have helped counteract the cruddy trailer, as folks were no doubt curious to see how this purported children’s film would take a left hand turn in the second act and transform into a bloody gangster flick.

Was the trailer effective as a commercial?

No. An effective commercial makes you want to purchase the product on offer. This commercial made me want to watch The Departed.

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