Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Low Res 2013 Movie Awards: The Trailers

So, okay, I'm going to try to get this years awards in under the wire, starting, as I often do, with the trailers. I actually got a head start on these back in December when I posted about the year's best trailers at The Wire.

Beautiful Creatures
The Bling Ring
Frances Ha
Man of Steel
The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

How could a trailer front loaded with Emma Thompson dressed in a Sunday church hat and speaking in a hilarious southern accent have done anything but convince audiences to flock to their local multiplexes by the dozens? The teaser for Beautiful Creatures is an intoxicating blend of gothic atmosphere, top-notch actors (Viola Davis! Jeremy Irons!), doomed lovers (our favorites Alice Englert and Alden Ehrenreich), Emmy Rossum as diva'd out as you please, and a whole lotta Florence + the Machine. At the very least, this should have earned Creatures—the best possible version of the supernatural teen romance genre that Twilight foisted upon us—a bigger box-office haul than The Mortal Instruments. Alas.

The use of Sleigh Bells' "Crown on the Ground" in the first teaser for Sofia Coppola's The Bling Ring turned out to be a fine preview for the opening scene of the film itself. In both, it serves as a siren alarm for the teen delinquents as they strut around L.A. in a haze of larceny and selfies. Coppola's movies have always been smart about their music choices, and this trailer took that tendency and ran with it.

The truth-in-advertising people were probably very happy with the trailer for Noah Baumbach and Greta Gerwig's Frances Ha, since the clip was a perfect distillation of that film's goofy charm and appeal. That the David Bowie song that scores the bulk of it actually appears in the film doesn't hurt either.

It took them three tries, but Warner Bros. finally delivered the stirring trailer that a hero like Superman really deserves. Zack Snyder's film did not end up impressing the critics, but by harnessing the grandeur of Hans Zimmer's score, it certainly seemed like it might live up to expectations.

All too often, a brilliant teaser—brief and punchy and evocative without being explainy—can give way to a humdrum trailer, if only due to the inflated expectations. Good for the people who cut the trailers for The Secret Life of Walter Mitty for following up their rather poetic teaser with a longer trailer that doesn't lose any of the first clip's impact. Doubling down on the Of Monsters and Men track with José González's (sadly Oscar-ineligible) "Step Out" really pays off.

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