I love trailers & teasers for films! Often times they are better than the movie itself. As we all know, it's an art form all and its purpose is to lure you to the movie theatres, to make you spend your money and see this film. It's meant to entice you, seduce you, intrigue you, and influence you. I'm ranking these movie trailers as to how much they intrigued me at the time of their release, making me really want to go see the film they were showcasing. Here's a list of my personal favorite teasers and trailers.
#20 - Fight Club
Directed by: David Fincher
One of my all time favorite films, this trailer is what initially sparked my interest in the movie. There's nothing too fancy about this trailer, but something about the editing is shrewd and gets into your brain, it has lots of information, yet doesn't reveal the core plot points. It made me insanely curious to see this film, the cinematography of Jeff Cronenweth was obvious and delightful to see, and the editing had a story progression to it that draws you in wanting to see how this seemingly structured chaos will all turn out.
#19 - Spiderman
Directed by: Sam Raimi
Well crafted, with simple and effective editing, every cut and every frame is well timed and flows together very nicely, plus add to the fact that comicbook fans had been waiting a long time for a big budget spiderman film to come through, this trailer nails everything it needs to do very efficiently and beautifully.
#18 - The Fellowship of the Ring
Directed by: Pete Jackson
Seeing J.R.R. Tolkien's world realized for the first time (with the exception of Ralph Bakshi's semi-failed attempt) is enough to send any lover of the fantasy genre in mad delirium after seeing this. Just as a new age of visual effects was dawning, we are given this first of many trailers that will introduce us to the Lord of the Rings Trilogy and how it will be in our film consciousness from 2001 to 2003.
#17 - The Social Network
Directed by: David Fincher
Before I had even clicked on the link to see this trailer for the first time, my expectations were extremely low; "A Facebook movie?! ...ugh!" were my thoughts, but I couldn't help but be mesmerized by the look of the film and how well crafted the trailer was. It did it's job very well; it left me wanting to see more.
#16 - The Iron Giant
Directed by: Brad Bird
In terms of structure, this is a very typical trailer, but given the fact that WB had badly marketed this film otherwise (which lead to it's poor box office success), this trailer they had cut together does the job perfectly, I remember getting goosebumps during the watching of this trailer in the movie theatre, there was no way I wasn't going to see this film, it had all the elements of a solid story and interesting characters, the trailer displays all these qualities quite nicely.
#15 - Dark City
Directed by: Alex Proyas
The trailer gives you the influx of a sci-fi/film noir mix while giving you the sense of something totally original and mind-bending is at work here. I remember being very captivated and fascinated with what this film had to offer.
#14 - Star Trek 6
Directed by: Nicholas Meyer
I'm a big Star Trek fan, and in my opinion, out of all 12 films, this one has their best trailer. The pacing, the dialogue/voice-over matching with the imagery being cut back and forth, all makes the film look like far more of an action space battle mystery drama than it actually was. For any lover of this old franchise, this trailer seals the deal to make you go see the film, it has everything you need, shows you the whole summary of the main plot (without revealing too much) and has a natural progression to how it displays the information to the viewer. You even see Kirk getting vaporized!
#13 - The Matrix Reloaded
Directed by: Andy & Lana Wachowski
After such a mind-blowing first film, the anticipation for its sequel was massive! So the trailer had to be amazing, it had to grab your attention, had to showcase more of what the first film delivered (plus more!), had to convince the viewer that you were going to be in for a wild and crazy ride, and this intense trailer does exactly that.
#12 - The Two Towers
Directed by: Peter Jackson
With the epic soundtrack from "Requiem For A Dream" playing over the relentlessly cool imagery, you can't help but get shivers up your spine, expertly edited and assembled, this trailer evokes the sense of doom, dread, grand battles, high-fantasy, heroic, self-sacrificing themes that would come with the film. You get all the energy, war, drama, and adventure that you had come to expect from the first film only magnified in this trailer.
#11 - The Phantom Menace
Directed by: George Lucas
As much as I eventually learned to hate this film immensely, I must put the first trailer on this list, because for what was the MOST anticipated film release EVER, the trailer did as good a job as it could possibly have done; To get millions of people insanely excited over this film... including me! I watched this trailer a hundred times when it was released on the Apple trailers website, analyzing every shot over and over again, and I would get goose bumps each time I'd see Darth Maul getting that double-lightsaber out.
#10 - Her
Directed by: Spike Jonze
A lonely writer develops an unlikely relationship with his newly-purchased operating system that's designed to meet his every need. This trailer doesn't quite capture the full magic that the final film delivered, but it gets pretty close, and it masterfully draws you in and makes you very very curious. You know your in for a bit of an artsy film, and a bit of an unconventional love story and a mind-blowingly awesome performance from Joaquin Phoenix, in fact, his acting shines through in the trailer so much that it was the main reason why I wanted to see this film as fast as possible.
#9 - 300
Directed by: Zack Snyder
Oh yes! Nothing gets your blood pumping like a testosterone-filled, raw, action-packed, 6-pack abs, R-rated, sword-clashing epic medieval war film. You know EXACTLY what you're in for with this movie and Zack Snyder's unique visual style is brought into the spotlight for the first time.
#8 - Prometheus
Directed by: Ridley Scott
A prime example of the trailer being better than the film. I was so pumped and excited to see another Ridley Scott Alien film that I couldn't sleep, especially after seeing their viral video/commercial campaigns they had released online (my favorite was Happy Birthday David). The trailer does an excellent job of leaving lots of mystery as to what will happen with the story and the characters, and showcases the stunningly awesome ships, costumes, set designs, scenery and flawless visual effects. But most importantly, the trailer injects that sense of death, dread, and doom that is inevitable with an Alien movie.
#7 - Enemy
Directed by: Denis Villeneuve
This trailer definitely got me hooked almost immediately, that sense of a deep mystery-puzzle is very apparent right away, I couldn't help but be immensely curious about how this film would turn out.
#6 - Terminator 2
Directed by: James Cameron
This is just plain cool! If you were already familiar with the first film, well this simple teaser would certainly get your heart racing. It shows you nothing from the actual film, just the terminator cyborg assembly line, then the reveal of Arnold and slam in the 'T2: Judgment Day' metal slabs and you've got everyone hooked!
#5 - Where The Wild Things Are
Directed by: Spike Jonze
With an Arcade Fire soundtrack, great editing, no spoilers to the story, and beautiful imagery, you can't help but want to see this film. For me it tapped into that inner child, that wanderlust, that sense of seeking out adventure in manners that made me think of films like Goonies and Labyrinth. This trailer makes you feel something strong, taps directly and deeply into your emotions, giving you a very good taste of warmth and a heart in the filmmaking that I hadn't felt since the Jim Henson movies.
#4 - Inception
Directed by: Chris Nolan
With the fantastic visual effects and hints at a much deeper story and intriguing character developments, this trailer shows you so much and yet doesn't really tell you anything about what the plot is, it's a big conundrum that leaves the viewer feeling like they NEED to see this film just to discover some answers for all the questions the trailer raises. It practically hypnotizes you to go see it.
#3 - The Incredibles
Directed by: Brad Bird
Most people don't remember the first teaser that came out for The Incredibles, it was only in theatres, and it was under two minutes in length, none of the scenes in the teaser appear in the movie at all (a common tactic Pixar would do back then). Pixar/Disney had fun making teasers that was a self-contained little stories that evoked the mood and atmosphere that the film will have. The Incredibles was no exception to this technique and it works amazingly well. I remember laughing out loud in the movie theatre and getting the feeling that I couldn't wait to see this film, I remember my disappointment when I saw the release date was 12 months away! Talk about a long wait, but it planted the seed in my head and I KNEW I was going to LOVE this movie, a full year before it was released. The teaser tells you EXACTLY what the film's themes are without giving away any of the story. It's quite honestly the perfect teaser trailer.
#2 - Watchmen
Directed by: Zack Snyder
I saw this trailer in theatres and it blew me away. I had been following the production blog online for over a year, watching the making of videos and all the information that was being leaked regarding the film. Ever since I had read the comics in 1987, I was a big fan of the source material, my expectations were going to be high. I remember the rumors going around Hollywood in the mid-90s regarding Terry Gilliam making a 12 part mini-series with HBO to adapt this story, and it had always been regarded as a property that was 'un-filmable'. But After seeing Zack Snyder's "300" I was confident he had what it took to make a solid comicbook-to-film adaptation. This trailer attacks all your senses and it prepares you for the crazy movie he wants to deliver to you.
Critiques and audiences didn't like the final film for the most part, but despite what problems the movie may have had, I still loved the final product, and for me, this trailer (for both fans and for those who had never heard of the graphic novel) are sure to be curious about seeing the movie, it personifies the film quite perfectly. There may be no sign of the typical DC superhero characters that we are all more familiar with. but you can tell there will be many storylines, subplots, and a big cast of colorful characters. The trailer is a visual feast with a killer soundtrack, giving you only a hint of what the story is about, but implanting the sense that you'll be in for a hell of a ride.
#1 - The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo
Directed by David Fincher
This is my all time favorite trailer. The version that first got leaked out online (then promptly removed) has a few more graphic imagery worked into the cut, but the premise was the same, cut on the beats of the music, occasionally the lyrics match up to the content of the visuals and it all masterfully displays the intensity and raw, dark nature of the film. Jeff Cronenweth's impeccable cinematography is shown in this fast-cutting teaser, see my full breakdown of each shot here.
I was unaware of the books that this film was based upon, but it made me quite curious as to what it was all about. Of course it reveals nothing of the story, I was just left guessing and speculating as to what the plot could be, and loving the visual style and the progression of it all. Each time I watched the trailer I couldn't blink, I held my breath, and I was feverishly trying to decode what was happening. Trent Reznor, Atticus Ross and Karen O re-imagined "Immigrant Song" (a Led Zeppelin classic rock tune) for the incredible soundtrack, listen to the whole thing here.
I think the reason why I love this teaser so much is that it gets directly into my brain, it tells me that I need to see this film, in fact it just demands it. I know it's going to be an intense film, a complex film, and potentially quite dark and twisted too.
Honorable Mention - Star Wars Trilogy Special Edition (1997)
This was the promo for the theatrical re-release of the first three Star Wars films, all restored and re-mastered (but including the first round of awful CGI FX added into it). There's something about this trailer that truly captured the dynamic fun, energy and sense of adventure that those films had (even though this marked the beginning of George Lucas's attempts at ruining the films). None the less this trailer does an excellent job of convincing you to go see these films in theatres. And to mash up all three movies into one trailer is just incredible to see, masterfully edited with a great finishing touch of Yoda bathed in the red glowing light of Luke's X-wing as it flies away, so awesome. I remember watching this trailer online, the tingles went up my neck, I was soooo excited about seeing the originals in theatres, it tapped into my nostalgia like nothing else.