Review of 2011: The (Half) Dozen Best Trailers of 2011

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2011. The last full year any of us is going to live, if those who mistakenly believe that the Mayan calendar predicts the end of the world on December 21st next year, are correct. Which they’re not. Probably. If they were, we’d only get to see half of The Hobbit, and that just wouldn’t be right. Anyway, it’s been another year full of 365 days, as so many of them are, and it’s been filled with more trailers than you can shake a stick at.

I’ve attempted two regular features during the life of this blog, but only one of them ever stuck – sorry, Friday Encourager, it just wasn’t meant to be – and each month I run down the Half Dozen most interesting looking trailers for films released cinematically in the coming month. (Or, in one case because I was so busy with work, the best trailers for the films I’d just seen that month.) And then last year, I summarised the year with the Half Dozen best trailers of the year. But when I sat down to look at this year, try as I might, I just couldn’t pick six that summed up the year for me, so I’ve cheated and put together a full dozen for you instead.

But there’s undeniably something about trailers. When Mrs Evangelist and I watch a film, we normally spend as much time dissecting the trailers afterwards as we do the actual film. Sometimes more so, when we can’t remember all of the trailers we saw less than two hours ago. What could be better, then, than the chance to sit down and watch a dozen of the year’s best, back to back? So enjoy this start of the review of the year that was 2011, with twelve mini-movies which helped to liven up the bit between the adverts and the actual film for me this year.

Guiltiest Pleasure Of The Year Award – Killer Elite

Let’s be honest, this probably wasn’t much as a film – I didn’t even manage to see it – but the trailer had all of the biggest excesses you could possibly imagine. Guns! Explosions! Cars! A helicopter! The Stath! The Ow! The Niro! The Strahov… Strahos… That woman off of Chuck! Twangy guitars! A man jumping out of a window tied to a chair! Did I mention explosions yet! It’s like an adrenaline shot of stupidity delivered directly to the eyeballs, and I look forward to renting this and getting very drunk one night next year.

The Good Bits All In The Trailer Award – Battle: Los Angeles

And by that, I mean that the trailer had more good bits in it than the actual film did. It’s not actually one of the best trailers of the year on its own terms, but if you measure trailers in comparison to the films which they’re for, then this one is about 8000% better, as the film made me want to invent new methods of self-torture just to numb the pain of what was showing. The worst thing is, despite having two different cinema memberships, I PAID to see this film. Ugh.

The Best Summer Blockbuster Trailer Award – Captain America: The First Avenger

Summer blockbusters weren’t bad this summer, if they were based on Marvel comic characters. Thor and X-Men Babies were both pretty great, and although Captain America was just shaded by them both in terms of the actual film, it probably had the best promo. Rumour has it that the sequel will be set in the present day – if that means there isn’t a role for the fabulous Hayley Atwell, I’ll be very disappointed. (Although if it were down to me, I’d be finding tenuous excuses to shoehorn the also fabulous Stanley Tucci in again as well.)

The Artistic Impression Award – Pina

Some great imagery here – woman with a tree on her back! Man having a running jump into a cuddle! Woman with giant arms – oh wait, hahaha! LOL, as I believe the youngsters are saying these days. It’s the background music that imprinted on my consciousness the most, though – at least once I came out of the cinema with that tune in my head despite having seen an entire film after that trailer.

The Literally Coolest Trailer Of The Year Award – The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo

David Fincher knows how to put a trailer together. (Or he knows how to work for a studio that have people that put trailers together. Never quite sure how that works.) This might have been in contention for the best of the year had it not re-used a gimmick from last year’s best trailer for The Social Network of an impossibly cool cover of an existing track, this time Trent Reznor’s reworking of a Led Zeppelin track rather than the Scala cover of Radiohead that worked so well on the Facebook movie trailer. Nonetheless, this was a trailer so iconic that even the Muppets did a spoof of it.

The Give A Dog A Break Award – Beginners

It’s been a pretty depressing year for movie dogs – Tyrannosaur and Snowtown leap immediately to mind, and even My Dog Tulip is essentially a film about how smelly and awkward dogs can be – so let’s celebrate one film where the dog gets treated like most real dogs, like man’s best friend. Sadly, Beginners premiered at the Toronto Film Festival last year, so Cosmo the dog wasn’t in contention for the Palm Dog at Cannes this year, which went to Uggy from The Artist. (I’m not making this up – there really is a Palm Dog given out at Cannes. Honest.)

The Best Marketing Of A Difficult To Market Film Award – Le Quattro Volte

What do you do if you’ve essentially made a silent film which is a meditation on life and the nature of existence, with a mood and a feeling almost impossible to capture in a two minute promo? You make the trailer included here, which somehow succeeds not only in capturing that sense of mood perfectly, but also somehow captures the wonderful feeling of surprise that watching the whole film provides.

The “This Trailer Probably Came Out Last Year But The Film Was This Year And It’s Great So I’m Putting It In Anyway” Award – True Grit

I love the Coen Brothers, but I’ve never thought of myself as a fan of Westerns. Inescapably though, their best two films in the past ten years have had a Western feel, and while No Country For Old Men was a modern day take, this is a traditional Western through and through. I buy very little in terms of film to watch at home these days, mainly because I’m normally in a cinema watching new films and there isn’t time, but this was the first Blu-ray I bought this year.

The Fantastic Trailer Nothing Like The Fantastic Film Award – The Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

Don’t get me wrong, Tinker Tailor is one of the finest films of the year, but this trailer suggests a sense of urgency and threat that just doesn’t exist in the same way in the film itself. Tomas Alfredson has created a slow-burn masterpiece, but your expectations might be unfairly set by the trailer, which in itself is a majestic piece of work, with a hum and a rhythm all its own, but which might leave you expecting something nearer a period Bourne than what you actually get. I’m not generally a fan of such mis-selling, but if it gets you into a cinema to watch such a top quality film, maybe it’s not so bad.

The Blowing The Entire Movie In Two Minute But It’s Still Cool Anyway Award – Drive

The other common practice in putting together trailers is to give too much away, and sadly the trailer for Drive falls into this category. While it perfectly captures the mood and feel of the film, it is pretty much the film itself edited down into two minutes – most of the trailer runs sequentially and there are plenty of third act moments on show here. If by some miracle you’ve seen neither the trailer or film yet, then do yourself a favour – stop watching about fifty seconds in. If you like what you see, rent the film when it’s out in January. But if you watch the whole thing, then you have only yourself to blame.

The Best Marketing Campaign Award – Green With Envy

Undoubtedly the best marketing campaign of the year was for a film that’s not out until next year, and is one that you can tell will hold a dear place in my heart, as I started a blogging initiative for it that united bloggers across the nation in appreciation of its legacy. This trailer started it all, and magically I came across it completely unawares, and also managed to play it to Mrs Evangelist before she became wise to it as well. If the film itself is half as good (and the current scores on IMDb and Rotten Tomatoes suggest it will be), then we’re in for a treat in February.

The Trailer Of The Year 2011 – Submarine

But my favourite trailer of the year was the one for the debut film from IT Crowd star and Mighty Boosh regular Richard Ayoade. It might wear its influences a little too much on its sleeve when expanded out to feature length, but here everything from the instant character summary of our protagonist Oliver to the gradual crescendo of Jacques Brel’s Quand On A Que L’Amour is so expertly judged; this is as close to trailer perfection as anyone achieved in 2011.

4 thoughts on “Review of 2011: The (Half) Dozen Best Trailers of 2011

    […] Review of 2011: The (Half) Dozen Best Trailers of 2011 […]

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