The Half Dozen Special: Super Bowl Trailers 2013

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The half time conga line seemed like a good idea at the time, but when it was still going three hours later...
The half time conga line seemed like a good idea at the time, but when it was still going three hours later…

Super Bowl XCMPLL (or something) last night again desperately tried to live up to the hype of being the world’s biggest sporting event, and with it brining an entourage of nonsense that would make J-Lo look positively understaffed. But for those in the UK deciding to sit up all night and take in the “entertainment”, they will have to wait for the one thing that makes each year’s Super Bowl a guilty pleasure for me, and that’s the trailers. Yes, American Football might be the dullest sport in existence – it’s not the game itself, which isn’t as good as any other kind of football, from gaelic to Aussie Rules, but the fact that a game divided into four fifteen minute periods typically takes around three and a half hours from start to finish (don’t get me started, just don’t) – but it does provide not only an annual popular music concert, but a host of pocket-bustingly expensive commercials.

The going rate this year at peak time was around $7 million dollars a minute, so only the über-rich studios can afford more than the standard 30 second package. It pains me to think about how many actual independent films you could make for that kind of money, but it’s best not to think too hard about that on a morning like this. The asking price did put off a number of big studios, so nothing here for the likes of Pain And Gain, The Hangover Part III, The Great Gatsby, Man Of Steel, Despicable Me 2, Pacific Rim or Monsters University, and of course you’ll see that saving passed back into your ticket price when those films get to cinemas later in the year. (Disclaimer: not bloody likely.)

Those studios that have got more money than sense have splashed the cash, but is it all worth it? What can we actually learn from thirty seconds or a minute of footage with more edits in it than a year’s worth of Michael Bay’s dreams? Let’s find out.

Oz The Great And Powerful

Learning points:

  • Just because you can do something, doesn’t mean you should
  • You can spend huge amounts of money on CGI and it still looks as authentic as a toy shop
  • Any excitement about Sam Raimi doing flying monkeys is instantly killed when immediately followed by the words “Rated PG”

World War Z

Learning points:

  • People still think the “getting hit by vehicle from out of shot” schtick has mileage in it
  • Those people are wrong
  • Apparently one of the great unexplored zombie themes in movies, after slow and fast zombies, is Worker Ant zombies
  • That there is some kind of mystery to the zombie plague (if the final exchange in the trailer is important enough to feature here)

Iron Man 3 – Extended Look

Learning points:

  • Robert Downey Jr is some kind of god (not The God, but probably a god of sorts)
  • This year’s fashionable in-thing is holes in planes that people will get sucked out of
  • That each Iron Man suit undergoes rigorous testing (so as to understand how many people it can carry)
  • That testing doesn’t stretch to protection for the user, given how badly cut up Tony Stark is despite being in a powerful metal suit


Learning points:

  • That putting The Rock in your movie doesn’t necessarily make it interesting
  • That an old cynic like me can’t help but snigger when a father and son look lovingly into each others eyes
  • That if that’s the best action from your movie for a thirty second highlights reel, that you’re probably not going to keep my attention for much longer

Fast & Furious 6

  • That Fast & Furious 6 knows what worked about the last one, and takes no shame in giving you more of the same
  • That it absolutely, positively is in no danger of taking itself seriously any time soon (and amen to that)
  • That you can drive a car out of the nose of an exploding plane without seriously damaging the car, unless it then rolls over
  • That cars are cool, but tanks are cooler

The Lone Ranger

Learning points:

  • That Johnny Depp might not be The Lone Ranger, but he absolutely is the star, making Armie Hammer the most undersold lead since Michael Keaton’s Batman
  • That Pirates Of The Caribbean is enough of a thing now that you can express it with a picture to save time
  • That the schtick of men outrunning giant fireballs also hasn’t got old in Hollywood yet
  • That apparently it takes seven people to executive produce this stuff these days, which is a lot when it looks a lot like Pirates but in the Old West

Star Trek Into Darkness

  • That Benedict Cumberbatch can do everything better than you. But you probably already know that. (Also, is it just me that wants to see him and Chris Pine in a remake of Annie, Get Your Gun? Okay, just me. Moving on…)
  • That sometime between now and the 23rd century, St. Paul’s Cathedral will have to be moved further away from the river Thames (it looks miles away in that trailer). Maybe it’s global warming or something
  • That if planes with holes in are the equipment of choice, then London is the must-see destination of this summer / the future (see also Faster & Furiouser)
  • That we are apparently supposed to still be guessing who Cumberbatch’s “John Harrison” actually is. (If it’s not either Khan or Gary Mitchell, then I’ll eat my phaser. And of those two I think the former much more likely.)