5. We Own the Night (2008)
Cops and mobsters, it’s an age-old tale, one that has been refurbished time and time again, but we never get sick of them, especially when their done well. The trailer for We Own the Night felt like a story we had seen before but that didn’t stop us from getting excited, because let’s face it, it looked great. There was a level of suspense in the trailer that was hard to match, it built up a story that you just didn’t want to miss.
It was dark and edgy, it looked like a sleek crime drama with deep resonance, it had all the elements to solidify the hype surrounding it. A gritty two minutes filled with non-stop harrowing action accompanied with a score that builds tension right to the very end. We Own the Night looked as though it was on the same path as previous crime classics such as The Departed or Goodfellas.
There must have been a fork in road because We Own the Night certainly didn’t follow the same path as The Departed or Goodfellas. Where as the trailer sold us a sophisticated crime drama, the film delivers a bland and clichéd ball of mediocrity. We Own the Night tries to be like every crime drama before it rather than trying to stand on it’s own two feet and this is why it suffers from too many clichés.
The film does at least look as sleek as the trailer did but that’s about the only thing that transcends from it, the rest of the film is a monotonous affair that lacks any dramatic moments or emotions. The narrative seems so intense and interesting in the trailer but as the film unfolds we’re left with a mundane story that has no characterisation. We Own the Night isn’t a terrible film, but it’s not a great one either, and it certainly doesn’t live up to the anticipation or potential that the trailer portrayed.
4. Suicide Squad (2016)
Suicide Squad was one of the most anticipated super hero movies ever made, in fact it was one of the most anticipated films period, and that was before the trailer even came out. After the trailer dropped, super hero fans and film fans in general were overly psyched due to the badass action that unfolds, all whilst synced to Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody, what more could you ask for?
It looked like a lot of fun, it was rapid, it was frantic and most of all it proposed the same crazy and savage tone as the actual comic books. The humour even seemed on point with amusing jokes peppered throughout and Jared Leto’s Joker looked absolutely insane, it was nothing but pure entertainment. Everything seemed to be in place for the DC Comics comeback.
Not only was it not the comeback for DC Comics, but it was possibly the worst film adaption DC Comics has ever seen (yes, even worse than Batman v Superman). How can a trailer build up so much false hope? The crazy and savage tone we were served in the trailer quickly disappears once the film begins and instead we are given a fruitless, cringeworthy ‘blockbuster’ that is painful to sit through. The little bits of humour we see in the trailer don’t transcend to the film, instead we are left with desperate attempts at humour which completely miss the mark practically every time.
Probably the most anticipated element from the trailer was Jared Leto’s Joker, his insane antics had everyone talking. But, as we’ve learnt, never judge a book by it’s cover, because let’s face it, Leto’s portrayal of the Joker was borderline embarrassing. Sometimes when things seem to good to be true they usually are and the trailer for Suicide Squad is the perfect example.
3. Gravity (2013)
Space is a terrifying place; the fear of the unknown is suffocating yet fascinating which is why it makes the perfect location for a film. Some of the best films ever made are set in space and when the trailer for Alfonso Cuarón’s Gravity was released, it seemed we had another one to join the ranks. Within the first 15 seconds we were all on the edge of our seats, gripping the closest object we could find as Sandra Bullock spirals out of control through the depths of space.
For the next minute and a half that grip never loosens, we’re completely transfixed by the striking visuals and harrowing sound effects which combine to create a build up of pure anticipation. Also, the sharp editing matched to Bullock’s quick breathing was masterfully executed. All these elements blended together made Gravity one of the best trailers of 2013.
But; as we’ve learnt from this list so far, a great trailer isn’t necessarily the recipe to a great film and Gravity is another prime example of that. Visually the film is breathtaking, it’s a technical masterpiece however; this can only carry a film so far. Everything else about Gravity is bland and monotonous, it’s predictable plot-lines and lousy twists, it’s dull characters who are hard to empathize with, all of this combined hinders your investment in the film.
Where as the trailer had us on the edge of our seat, the film had us in recline. A cliché ridden journey that never reaches the potential of its trailer. Maybe this would have been more impressive as a 3D IMAX short film instead?
2. Gangster Squad (2013)
A great cast is usually enough to get people excited for a film. Add in one hell of an appealing trailer and you’ve got yourself a bunch of exuberant film goers… what could possibly go wrong? From the opening few seconds the trailer for Gangster Squad sets the film up to be a suspenseful and invigorating experience.
Edited to perfection against Jay-Z’s Oh My God, every second of this trailer is engaging and powerful. Elegant and stylish with a dash of humour, it’s the type of trailer that gets people talking and that’s exactly what it did. An endless list of talented actors combined with an intriguing true story was certain to equal success, the trailer looked so good the thought of disappointment never really crossed anyone’s mind.
Let this be a lesson to us all, because whilst the trailer packed a powerful and impressive punch, the film followed it up with an embarrassing air swing. The stylish and elegant piece of cinema we were expecting soon dissolves into a superficial and tacky experience as we witness an unbalanced narrative filled with weak characters.
Previously we’ve seen Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone create sparks in Crazy, Stupid Love or more recently in La La Land, however; their chemistry here is bland to say the least. That powerful gangster noir we thought we had on our hands, quickly slips away due to the cheesy, clichéd dialogue and over the top acting, it almost feels like a gangster flick for comic book fans. Like every film on this list (although probably more so due to such a talented cast) Gangster Squad could have been a classic, instead it’s a forgettable film that fades into oblivion.
1. Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace (1999)
Nothing creates hype like the release of a new Star Wars film, especially when it’s the first chapter of the George Lucas’ prequel trilogy. Fans could hardly contain themselves when news got out that George Lucas would be returning to the director’s chair after a 22-year hiatus. Then, just when we thought anticipation levels surely couldn’t rise any higher, the trailer exploded on our screens.
Fans across the galaxy absolutely lost their minds, people were buying tickets to Meet Joe Black only to leave the cinema after seeing the Phantom Menace trailer, and what a trailer it was. From the moment ‘Lucasfilm’ sparkles onto the screen we’re immersed with a euphoric sense of nostalgic joy.
John Williams’ familiar score accompanied with glorious sci-fi visuals sent an anticipating shiver down our spines, the digital effects were mind blowing. Even more exciting was the reveal of Darth Maul and young Obi. Magical worlds, imaginative characters, new and familiar faces, an alluring story and heart-stopping action, Star Wars was back and it looked to be better than ever.
Oh how we were deceived. Where as the trailer showed snippets of astonishing digital effects, the film was filled with rather imprudent CGI. Had the amount of effort that went into trying to make the film look amazing gone into character development or the script then we might have had a decent film on our hands. Instead, Lucas focuses on an imagination that seems too childish and cartoonish for a Star Wars film.
The trailer gave us a glimpse of some pretty cool characters, but again we were deceived. Those ‘cool’ characters quickly turn into annoying ones, so annoying that it becomes agonizing to watch.
It’s not like the film had a bad cast either and they all looked impressive in the trailer however; with such a poor script and foolish characters they never stood a chance. As far as cringeworthy goes, Phantom Menace is up there with the best and it’s easily one of the finest trailers to outdo the actual film.