Movie trailers. What can’t they do? The good ones make you sit up and take notice. The bad ones — eh, they make you flip through the channel to see what’s playing on the Lifetime Channel. Sometimes the best part of movies are the trailers; who doesn’t rush to the theaters to catch the trailers that show before the movies? It’s not a big surprise anymore if the trailers for an upcoming movie proves to be better than the actual movie. Sometimes, just sometimes, the awesomeness of a movie trailer sets the stage for the awesomeness of the movie itself. But alas, that’s not always the case. Here are our Top 5 Movie Trailers That Made the Movie Awesome (Even if The Movie Itself Wasn’t). *Why just five? Because we’re lazy, that’s why.
#5. Iron Man (2008)
To be sure, “Iron Man” the movie met and exceeded expectations, but if you weren’t a fan of ol shellhead going into the movie, you might have been tempted to give it a shot anyway after seeing the trailer. This is one of those trailers that balances comedy, character, story, and action with perfection, offering a quick, compact, and easy-to-follow Origins Story in the space of two minutes, and promising even more. And the fact that it delivered? That’s just gravy.
Money Shot: “You’ve been called the Da Vinci of our time. What do you say to that?” “Absolutely ridiculous. I don’t paint.” “What do you say to your other nickname: The Merchant of Death?” “That’s not bad.”
#4. Star Wars: The Phantom Menace (1999)
Okay, so the movie itself was bad. Excruciatingly bad. Filled with the kind of plotting that would make fifth graders cringe in embarrassment, the kind of dialogue no self-respecting high school nerd would say to his imaginary girlfriend, and characters that, to put it bluntly, could only have been dreamed up by an old guy who has lived in isolation at his “ranch” for the last two decades. And don’t get me started on the acting. (Natalie Portman. Why? Oh God, why?) But nevertheless, the trailer sold it. You’ve been waiting for 20 years, and here it is. Star Wars. New. In theaters! What self-respecting movie geek could have said No?
The Money Shot: Darth Maul + double-edged lightsaber = Screw you, Lucas!
#3. Transformers (2007)
Say what you will about Michael Bay, but the guy knows how to shoot an action sequence, which makes cutting trailers for his movies child’s play. “Transformers” was a movie that every boy who grew up in the ’80s had been dying to see for years, and although the promise of Optimus Prime and company live and projected on the big screen was filled with all sorts of geeky possibilities, we were also worried about how the robots would look. “Could it actually work??” As it turns out, yes, it could, and Bay’s trailers showed us there was nothing to worry about.
The Money Shot: Optimus Prime strikes a pose for battle.
#2. Underworld (2003)
Kate Beckinsale is a classy, gorgeous English rose who made men swoon in “Pearl Harbor”. The classic Hollywood beauty by way of the UK. Then one day she decides to slip on a tight black pleather outfit and camp out in the middle of the night, hovering over the masses from a high perch, and in the pouring rain, no less. Before you know it, she’s leaped off her perch and into the fray of — action, guns, werewolves, vampires, Kate Beckinsale in tight pleather, more action, more guns, more werewolves and vampires, and even more Kate Beckinsale in tight pleather.
The Money Shot: Which part of “Kate Beckinsale in tight black pleather” didn’t you understand?
#1. The Matrix (1999)
It starts with a woman in tight black pleather (starting to see a pattern here?) making an impossible jump between two rooftops, then quickly cuts to Keanu Reeves doing what Keanu Reeves does best — speaking in short, confused audio clips. Then the question: “What is the Matrix?” If you weren’t thinking to yourself, “Holy shit, I’ve never seen anything like this before,” while watching the trailer for “The Matrix”, then you weren’t watching the same trailer as the rest of the world. But what really sells the trailer, and the movie itself, is the mystery (“What is the matrix?”). You were desperate to find out, and that’s what makes a great movie trailer. The fact that the film itself exceeded all expectations was just an added bonus.
The Money Shot: One word: Bullet-time.