ByLuke Quine, writer at
20. Aspiring Filmmaker. Opinionated Film-Watcher.
Luke Quine

False advertising it may be, but these trailers sure do a good job at it.

I once saw a quote in the comments section of a YouTube video that resonated with me on some level:

Modern films; great trailers, terrible movies. Older films; terrible trailers, great movies.

Now, I don’t know how much I agree with this quote, it seems extremely sweeping and without any real evidence to back it up, but it got me to thinking. What are the best trailers of all time? And did the movie itself match up to the hype? So in the end I decided to write this article, giving my opinion on what the five best movie trailers of all time are, and whether the actual movie was all that great in the end. For this reason, I am only including trailers for movies I have actually seen myself, I’m sure I am missing some glaring ones but if I haven’t seen the movie, It’s not on the list. Simples.

The Dark Knight (2008)

We all know that The Dark Knight is one hell of a movie. It is consistently regarded as one of the greatest cinema achievements of all time, and rightly so. It is a thrilling, tense, complex, mature and sprawling crime drama- and is truly remarkable. If you haven’t seen it (I don’t know why you wouldn’t have by now), you must do ASAP- it will change the way you look at superheros. So for a movie so brilliant, a trailer needed to accurately show the audience what the film was capable of without revealing too much information so as to spoil it. This trailer did just that. It is very exciting, displaying the main theme of chaos while inserting just enough humour so as to not bog down the audience in the drama. Expertly crafting Hans Zimmer’s score with Heath Ledger’s acting to entice the audience, the trailer sets out to grab your attention and my god, it does not disappoint.



Battle: Los Angeles (2011)

This trailer was fucking amazing. Like, seriously, seriously good. I remember when this was released I watched it over and over again, showing my friends and family. It was truly emotional and enthralling. The music choice was captivating and the way that it didn’t show you any of the plot past the fact that an alien invasion was occurring was a stroke of genius. It meant that the general public viewing the trailer had to know more- the drama was just too much to ignore. Then I saw the movie. That stroke of genius actually turned out to be a marketing ploy to cover up the fact that there actually was no other plot past the fact that an alien invasion was occurring. Seriously, the movie absolutely sucked. The writing was dreadful, the acting was at best mediocre, the action was boring, repetitive and not at all on the scale that the trailer suggested. In fact, the big set pieces of action you see on the trailer are IT. There are no more scenes like that in the movie, and even most of that occurs as passing news reports on the television. In short, an exceptional trailer for an exceptionally terrible movie.



The Evil Dead (2013) Red Band

Again, this trailer was really fantastic. It beautifully gives you a taste of the inventive and wickedly disgusting gore on offer in this rather underrated remake of the 1981 classic. The trailer is intense from start to finish, unaplogetically giving you a taste of the intense violence and unique visual style. Like Battle:LA, the music is excellent used to add to the drama as well as being light hearted enough to keep the tone fresh and exciting rather than too horrifying. The movie was slightly underwhelming, it didn’t quite live up to some of the bold claims that it made in the marketing campaign, including one that states it is the most terrifying movie experience ever- it wasn’t. However, what the movie lacked in scares, it certainly made up in visual style and gore factor. I actually really enjoyed the movie in the end, yes, it wasn’t as good as the trailer suggested or, for that matter, the original movie, which was one of the best horror films of all time, but it certainly was a fun time at the cinema.



Watchmen (2009)

The first Watchmen trailer was exceptional. When I first saw it, I decided right then and there that I MUST see that movie. That’s what trailers are for, right? To make people want to see the movie- and this one certainly achieved that goal. The opening first 15 seconds or so are, in particular, extraordinary. I knew nothing about Watchmen when I first watched this, but that didn’t matter, the trailer hooked me in straight away with its quirky characters, unique style and excellent soundtrack. The movie got a lot of hate when it was released, especially from the graphic novel fan boys, but I enjoyed it immensely- it was complex without being over-complicated, unique without being too artsy and bold without being too in your face about it. Also, having read the graphic novel since viewing the film (I loved it that much, it spurred me on to do so) , it was incredibly faithful and beautifully directed and edited. Haters, calm yourselves, this movie was awesome.



The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2011)

The trailer that grabs my number one spot is exactly that, the number one best trailer of all time. It is perfect in every way. The music, the excellent editing, the flashes of intense text and the constant build up of tension all serve to create a couple of minutes of incredible imagery and exhilarating action. The main tracking shot of the trailer underpins the whole sequence, with it being cut too frequently in the midst of the other shots in order to drive the focus and build up the suspense. What is at the bottom of the road? Why is the whole trailer focused on that one house? Its extremely intriguing. What it does the best, however, is the almost effortless way it reveals absolutely nothing about the story and plot while still enticing the audience to see it. The movie itself is also quite remarkable. The acting, writing and direction are all impeccable. This is one remake that certainly holds its own.



Do you agree with my choices? Leave your comments below!


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