8. Spider-Man 3 (2007)
The trailer for Spider-Man 3 is similar to the other two Spider-Man trailers in the series, as it focuses on the hero, his outstandingly choreographed swinging around the city, and the film’s special effects, sparing plenty of time to hone in on the emotional aspects of both Peter Parker’s family and love life. It presents the strain he has always faced while leading multiple lives, but spends just enough time to introduce its fundamental villains.
Director Sam Raimi successfully created the Spider-Man film franchise, depicting Peter Parker’s backstory with plenty of depth and heart, crafting memorable villains, and producing two great superhero films loved by fans and critics alike.
The only thing left to do was finish his trilogy, creating the elusive perfect trio of sequels so rarely accomplished by a director. Spider-Man 2 had been executed perfectly, telling a richer tale than the first with added depth and an improved script, and so the odds were stacked in Sam Raimi’s favor to again surpass his previous work.
However, the final product is overstuffed with villains as it tries to wrap up a story all at once; it’s an overcrowded, bloated mess, incoherently bouncing from one scene to another. Spider-Man 3 attempts to squeeze in as much as possible instead of focusing its attention on one point, and in doing so the film provides inadequate stories and insufficient screen time for fan-favorite villain, Venom.
It has been stated on several occasions that the production company became increasingly involved in the creative direction of the film, adding various aspects, likely dooming it from the start. Not to mention, the trailer doesn’t include an emo Peter Parker dancing around a restaurant, which is enough to prove that it was superior to the feature length film.
7. Alien 3 (1992)
Off the back of Ridley Scott’s intense Horror masterpiece Alien and James Cameron’s equally impressive Sci-Fi Action follow up Aliens, the third installment was ultimately commissioned. After several production issues and shifts in screenwriters and directors, the franchise was eventually handed to then-unheard-of director David Fincher.
This was his first feature length film at the start of his career; most of his previous work revolved around music videos, and this was a big step up in the caliber of work headed in his direction. It was a risky maneuver, but it was clear to see the production team had faith in the young director with an eye for style and atmosphere, traits he has magnificently implemented time and time again over the past 20 years.
The trailer sticks to the template of its predecessors, opting for a gradual build up, showcasing its stunning visuals, and simply insinuating that the film would be heading to planet Earth. The excitement only builds with the promised return of arguably the strongest female character in the history of Science Fiction, the formidable Ripley, played by Sigourney Weaver, along with the addition of new characters played by Charles Dance and Paul McGann.
The film, plagued with creative interference from the production studio, has since been disowned by David Fincher, who was brought in at the last minute; he had to come to terms with feature length filmmaking, while simultaneously rewriting the script and shooting the film that was already in production. Initially, Alien 3 discredits the whole of Aliens, having most of its surviving characters killed off in the opening credits, which didn’t go unnoticed by the previous cast and production.
This was prior to taking one of the most feared movie monsters of all time, the notorious Xenomorph, and turning it into a messy CGI “B-movie” creature, eradicating all the intense terror and horror skillfully created in the previous two installments, a state to which the beast has never been returned.
6. Godzilla (1998)
Godzilla uses a sequence not featured in the film’s original cut to form a trailer. It is a simple scene: A school trip to a history museum, with a tour guide describing characteristics of a Tyrannosaurus Rex while the bones of the dinosaur tower over the schoolchildren. The ground begins to shake and the tension builds, and an enormous lizard foot breaks through the roof, demolishing the T-Rex skeleton as though it were the size of an ant.
This is a terrifying gesture toward the size of the titular creature, cementing itself as the ultimate predator while taking a tongue-in-cheek bite out of Jurassic Park and its relatively tiny dinosaurs. A second trailer was also produced, which shows one of the more remarkable scenes included within the film, a scene involving an old man fishing on the harbor and a huge and ominous wave heading for the coastline.
After Independence Day, director Roland Emmerich was back, leaving behind aliens and focusing on Japan’s biggest import. Generally conceived as a metaphor for nuclear weapons and locally known as Gojira, it had not yet been given the American remake treatment and expectations were high for the depiction of the cultural icon.
The film was universally panned due to its deviations from original source material, poor screenwriting, and cardboard acting, picking up the most nominations at the Golden Raspberry Awards that year. Despite the monster itself being quite a manifestation with regards to its special effects for the year it was released, the film is depreciated by its many plot holes and overqualified cast painfully dealing with an incomprehensible script.
5. Fantastic Four (2015)
Fantastic Four assembles a cast of Hollywood’s finest young actors, including Michael B Jordan, Miles Teller, Jamie Bell, and Kate Mara. Helmed by Josh Trank, director of the beloved surprise hit Chronicle, it would be hard to not get excited over the prospect of this film.
The trailer looks powerful and moody, oozing with style and charisma from the impressive cast. The franchise was set to get the cinematic treatment it deserved after the 2005 catastrophe, and in doing so, create another superhero saga to continue Marvel’s success.
However, the trailer’s moody and stylish look, which at first seemed promising, turned out to be the film’s doom: it is a gloomy, joyless mess that drags on without providing anything noteworthy, lacking in humor, awe, and entertainment. A superhero film with nothing to adhere to, providing no escapades or character journeys, Fantastic Four is lost in its own making of dark murkiness.
There’s a sense that all the actors involved are on autopilot, simply sailing through a superhero movie with a sense of self-gratified achievement because they’re starring in a Marvel film. Unfortunately, simply being invisible doesn’t make one immune to negative reviews.
4. The Matrix: Reloaded (2003)
A delayed black screen lingers for what feels like minutes followed by the Matrix’s instantly recognizable green computer coding strings appearing on screen. Flashes of recognizable characters then appear, forming the first teaser trailer to The Matrix Reloaded.
The notion of a sequel to the Wachowski’s original Sci-Fi Action film is formed, and spectators become immediately enthusiastic with wonder and hope, questioning where the story will progress and how revelations of the previous instalment will materialize. Information about the film is very limited, leaving fans to come up with their own theories prior to the film’s release.
The Matrix arguably should have been left as a standalone film, as it was a flawless Action film, cast superbly, and with a fresh and original concept that tied up perfectly at the end. Financially, it was a huge success, which was likely the only reason for its warranting sequels.
However, The Matrix: Reloaded suffers at the hands of its own makers, due to its characters’ intentional lack of emotion throughout the film; there is little to cling onto past the original outing. Relying less on story and more on creating well-choreographed action sequences, the entire film plays out like an old school videogame before the incorporation of emotion or meaning, which only declined further into nothingness with the third film.
3. Superman Returns (2006)
Debatably one of the most awe-inspiring and beautiful trailers of the last 10 years, Superman Returns teased its imminent approach to cinemas. With the combination of John Williams’s original goosebump-inducing score and Marlon Brando’s voiceover, the trailer filled audiences with nostalgia and excitement, giving little away about the new installment aside from a glimpse of the new man in the suit, Brandon Routh.
The use of the franchise’s original voices and music plucked at reminiscent heartstrings, while the provided footage showed off beautiful visuals bringing the saga into modern day.
Director Bryan Singer, who at the time was singlehandedly constructing incredible, modern-day superhero movies, was in the chair once more, after his triumphs with X-Men and X-Men 2. Alongside him was Routh, the fresh-faced newcomer, who was full of charisma and flair, looking set to cement the modern-day version of America’s greatest superhero. It also had an incredible supporting cast, including Kevin Spacey and Frank Langella, actors who need little introduction.
However, the feature length version, which is often considered the worst Superman film of all time, failed to please audience and critics alike. Weighing in at 154 minutes, it accomplished very little in the way of character or plot building, and chose to concentrate more on its visuals and action sequences, both of which were diminished past the two hour mark as the film became lacklustre and drawn out.
It was common opinion that the film should have attempted to achieve the same feats of 2005’s Batman Begins, opting for a darker, grittier tale, an approach later implemented by Man of Steel. Between its negative reviews and a lack of adoration for frontman Brandon Routh, the franchise was halted in its tracks.
2. The Village (2004)
Back in 2004, director M. Night Shyamalan was at the crowning point of his career, having inspired and captivated crowds with his past releases, including the gripping Oscar darling, The Sixth Sense, and his homespun, ahead-of-its-time vision of a superhero movie, Unbreakable.
The director showed a great deal of potential as a force to be reckoned with, with an eye for unique storytelling and visuals, and he was masterfully creating work like no other. Despite slightly missing the mark in 2002 with his take on the alien invasion tale, Signs, momentum continued to build around the director as the trailer was released for The Village.
Avoiding key points within the tale, the trailer sets the scene in what looks like another century a woodland community with people who greatly fear something that lives within the surrounding forest and governs their lives. Shyamalan looked to have created an epic dark fairy tale, the details of which were clandestine and clouded in dense, gloomy visuals.
M. Night Shyamalan’s films are all about mystery and suspense, cleverly setting the climax and twists in front of you throughout the film without audiences noticing the big reveals that are to follow. The Village, like its predecessors, successfully manages to conceal its truths until the end; however when the twist drops, you feel cheated.
The plot twist pokes so many holes within its own universe, makes it feel unrealistic, highlights the impracticalities, and depreciates the rest of the story. This was the start of a downward spiral from which the director has only recently begun to recover.
1. Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace (1999)
The Star Wars saga could be the most treasured franchise of all time. From the army of loyal fans, some of whom dedicate their lives to everything Jedi, to the critics and filmmakers that use Lucas’ Space Opera as a basis for comparison and influence in a number of aspects of filmmaking, the saga is cherished.
The original trilogy changed filmmaking forever with a collection of stories loved by all, passed on through generations of families with love and adoration. Upon the announcement that a new trilogy of prequels was to be created, outlining the history of characters already held dear by many, the masses were more than a little enthusiastic.
The first trailer portrays the galaxy far, far away with which we were all acquainted, showing familiar entities as well as introducing us to a host of new beings and objects. Immediately feeling comfortable with these new images, the sentimentality of nostalgia took over, and audiences could not wait to familiarize themselves with this extended universe.
However, what followed was amazement: dream-crushing, soul-destroying amazement. This was a film so devoid of human emotion and wonder, its originality and vitality replaced by computer generated visuals and a dead-eyed mascot in the form of the universally-loathed Jar Jar Binks.
What had once made the beloved saga stand out from the rest had vanished in an ill-conceived vision of how the franchise should proceed. A young Darth Vader, Anakin Skywalker (played by Jake Lloyd of Jingle All The Way fame), was unspeakably wooden and without depth.
Understandably, Lloyd has since given up a career in the performing arts. Even a stellar cast of supporting actors, including Ewan McGregor and Liam Neeson, could not save the film. In fact, few of these otherwise fine actors provide a memorable performance, with the possible exception of McGregor in Episode 3: Revenge of the Sith.. Like a bland CGI podrace, the doomed trilogy of prequels never truly gets out of first gear.
Author Bio: Dan Carmody, born and raised in Doncaster, England, an area with very little in the way of film connections (The Full Monty was filmed down the road). When not working full time as a Civil Engineer, his one true passion is cinema, relating back to the early 1990’s when his mum showed him a lot of Horror films way before he should have been allowed. An avid follower of all genres, both classical and modern. Also enthusiastic about video games, making lists, and cheese.