Thursday, June 25, 2009

The Low Res Double-Oh Trailer Tournament: So Fine You Blow My Mind

Low Res presents a 64-team NCAA-style bracket tournament to choose the best trailer of the past decade. At the end of each post, YOU make the call: which was the more effective trailer? Not the best movie, exactly, but the best two-and-a-half minutes that made you want to see said movie. You can take a look at the full bracket here, and you can catch up on the entire tournament so far here. Enjoy!

[On a formatting note: I'll be posting two matchups per post, with multiple posts each day. Remember there will be TWO polls per post in which to vote.]


2. LOTR: The Two Towers (2002)
Once again, we encounter Clint Mansell, whose Requiem for a Dream piece "Lux Aeterna" was fleshed out into this rousing, oft-repurposed orchestration that practically blasted my face off for the latter half of 2002. Of the three Rings trailers, this one probably had the most anticipation going in, and it delivered the best of all of them. Note the strategic decision to reveal one fairly significant spoiler (Gandalf's alive!), which, given that 50% of the audience already knew (anyone who read the books or a casting report), probably wasn't that big of a risk. But it was crucial to allow McKellen's voiceover into the trailer -- no one sells a line like "the defenses have to hold" better.

Awesome trailer attributes: cool song/score; iconic performance


15. Bring It On (2000)
It's an imperfect trailer -- it overrepresents the Clovers subplot that was evidently cut from the finished product, and the song at the end isn't nearly up to par -- but there are enough pros to get it by. We get exposition via some really brilliant lines ("dancers gone retarded"; "beat these Buffys down"), Kirsten lays out for us the fundamentals of cheerleading ("we work hard, we have fun, and we win national championships"), and most importantly, they make liberal use of the "Mickey"-themed post-credits sequence, maybe the best thing about the movie.

Awesome trailer attributes: funny!

The GUMMO Region

8. Watchmen (2009)
Naturally, it's the initial teaser trailer I'm ranking -- I've talked about it on the blog before, so I guess you could just read that, but to review: The blueprint for how to introduce an adaptation of a beloved known quantity to fans while giving newbies just a taste to get them curious. Many, many, many bonus points for use of the Smashing Pumpkins song (which was, to remind you, a rejiggered version of the song that appeared on the soundtrack to the geek-despised Batman and Robin), one of the ballsiest maneuvers in trailer-making I've seen.

Awesome trailer attributes: cool song/score; teaser; great tagline


9. There Will Be Blood (2007)
There were a few different trailers for There Will Be Blood, and I really hope this was the last one they made, because how could you improve on it? Beyond being a fantastic showcase for Daniel Day-Lewis's performance, it's marvel of bizarre mood-setting. The clip defies all sense by, rather than clarifying the mood of the film, it only complicates it. The jaunty music near the beginning suggests an undercurrent of comedy, though that doesn't match the scenes shown. Throughout, the music and the action are out of rhythm and the clips last juuust a bit long -- by the time the deep, almost atonal score last far into the credits, everything is off its axis. To incredible effect.

Awesome trailer attributes: cool song/score; iconic performance


Drew said...

How is Watchmen beating There Will Be Blood?

To me the Watchmen trailer is just a good song with a lot of dramatic slow-mo shots. But There Will Be Blood so perfectly hit on how original and unsettling the film is... it set the story perfectly with the clips of Plainview's monologue, escalated into the more dramatic montage without being overblown, and then sealed the deal with Plainview's little laugh before the title. Absolute perfection.

Mark said...

God, I'm loving this. Why the hell is it the Gummo region, by the way?

Joe Reid said...


Creepiest, most bizarrely awesome trailer for a movie I never saw ever.

Encore Entertainment said...

I voted for the two towers and there will be blood. their will be blood [trailer] is something special, and is tlotr 2, although i do have a strange weakness for bring it on. it's the cheerleaders.

Mark said...

Oh, yeah, I love the Gummo trailer. Madonna so doesn't fit inot that movie, that it becomes perfect. I'm a little afraid of actually watching the film, though haha

qta said...

I just want to lodge a formal complaint with the selection committee...

It is completely unfair to put the Watchmen trailer up against There Will Be Blood in the opening round. These are two of the best trailers of the decade.... I reluctantly picked There Will Be Blood.

I am LOVING this btw.

Joe Reid said...

The selection committee reluctantly admits that it may have underrated the There Will Be Blood trailer in the seeding.

The selection committee also apologizes in advance for the upcoming Cloverfield vs. Mulholland Dr. second-round match, as those two trailers have, as of this moment, been the most dominant in the voting.