Tag Archives: Ridley Scott

Top 5: Crap Films with Amazing Trailers

Movie crowd

Trailers are an art form unto themselves.  They sell the film more than any other form of marketing.  Sometimes a trailer is so good that it’s a mini-film of its own.  The very best leave you completely assured that when you walk into the movie it’s advertising, you’re going to walk out a fist-pumping veteran of a crucial, life-altering movie experience.  However, sometimes that awesome trailer that you watched 100 times to amp up for the movie, turns out to be much better than the actual final product.  Here are five, in order of release, which wrote a check they couldn’t cash (though that doesn’t mean the trailers still aren’t fantastic if you can erase the memory of the actual film).

 1. Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace (1999) dir. by George Lucas

Before we knew what midichlorians, pod racing or Gungans were, we got our first peek at new Star Wars footage for the first time in 16 years and every person in that theater was completely quiet, studying every frame.  UNTIL Darth Maul ignited the second blade on his saber, and then you could have scraped the lot of us off of the ceiling.  It’s easy in retrospect to see red flags, but not many of us walked in expecting anything less than awesomeness.

 2. Where the Wild Things Are (2009) dir. by Spike Jonze

This is still one of the best trailers I’ve ever seen.  The song, by the way, is “Wake Up” by Arcade Fire, which needs to be compulsory listening for all people all the time.  Where the Wild Things Are was one of my favorite books as a child.  Maurice Sendak got the misfit, bestial energy of little boys, and this two-minute trailer is a much better adaptation than the full go.  A book with 37 sentences in it needs a whole lot of padding to reach a two-hour film.  This book didn’t need it.  The trailer did the job and still does; capturing the iconic imagery and themes of the book with the perfect marriage of Arcade Fire’s best song.

 3. Sucker Punch (2011) dir. by Zack Snyder

In 2011, Zack Snyder was coming off 300 and Watchmen and was one of the hottest directors in Hollywood.  Sucker Punch was a mystery film, but though it was completely confusing as a trailer, there were giant samurai fights, steampunk Nazi battles, science fiction cities, and an amazing dragon.  Check, check, check and check.  What I should have paid closer attention to was the trailer’s own warning “You will be unprepared”….for how deeply creepy (not in a good way) this film is.  The fantasy vignettes in the film are visually stunning action pieces.  It’s what connects them that is super, super…..no, “creepy” is the precise word.

 4. Prometheus (2012) dir. by Ridley Scott

Ridley Scott returning to the Alien franchise after what it had endured since 1986 seemed to be perfect, and this trailer cemented it.  This was a sure thing.  It looked gorgeous, had a great cast, and it looked like we were in for a terrifying introduction to where the xenomorphs originated.  What we got was a ponderous, question filled, few answers given, cryptic mess.  The aliens are tadpoles?  Does that make them amphibians?  Why is that a thing that even popped into my head?  Probably because I spaced out while someone trudged down a corridor for another 10 minutes.  And it’s STILL better than Alien: Covenant.

 5. The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (2013) dir. by Ben Stiller

Much like the trailer for Where the Wild Things Are, this works almost as a music video, this time to “Dirty Paws” by Of Monsters and Men.  If you’ve never read the short story, it’ll take you 15 minutes and it’s brilliant, and the same problems that sunk Wild Things did so in Mitty.  This two-minute short film tells you the story of a repressed, bored, lonely man who dreams of doing great things and then one day sets off and does them.  It accomplishes it with almost no dialogue.  It remains a fantastic trailer and all of the movie you ever need to see.

Revisiting all of these has my emotions in this place:
Disney Pixar's Inside Out

 

Movie Review: Alien Covenant (2017) “Some Things Should Remain a Mystery”

 

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Here’s my advice to you: if you’re going to go see Alien: Covenant in the theater and you have not watched Prometheus since it came out, you will be vastly better informed if you give yourself a refresher course.  Now, if you hated Prometheus, that’s going to be a problem, because Alien: Covenant picks up 14 years after those events and the end of Prometheus spawns by far the most interesting parts of Covenant.  The quick and dirty of my opinion on Covenant, because I am going to have to get into spoiler territory a bit, is that I think two episodes into Ridley Scott’s demystification of the origins of the xenomorphs have convinced me the entire endeavor is a mistake.  Sometimes things become a lot less interesting the more you know about them (Wolverine’s origin should still be a mystery, for example).  Prometheus was gorgeous, dreamed big, was massively flawed, but was admirable in its ambition.  Covenant provides answers….eventually, but is criminally boring in getting to them with 75% of Prometheus‘ budget (no one will be calling this film “gorgeous”).  It’s not Aliens 3 or Resurrection….but, honestly, it’s not even Prometheus. Continue reading Movie Review: Alien Covenant (2017) “Some Things Should Remain a Mystery”

In Theaters This Week (5/19/2017): Alien Covenant, Diary of a Wimpy Kid 4, Everything Everything

Each Thursday we look at what is going to be coming out in theaters this weekend, show you the trailers for the big releases, predict the box office winner and just generally give you enough of a carrot to pull you through the rest of the work week.  This week boils down to whether Alien: Covenant can shake off the Prometheus effect enough to take down Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. Continue reading In Theaters This Week (5/19/2017): Alien Covenant, Diary of a Wimpy Kid 4, Everything Everything

My Favorite Scene: Aliens (1986) “Ripley vs. The Alien Queen”

First of all, shame on YouTube for not having one of the greatest fights in film history in one clip, and yes, the annoying intro for each part ruins the flow, but believe it or not, this is the best take I could find on the infamous climax in the second film in the Alien Franchise.  While Alien was a horror movie, James Cameron (remember when he wasn’t just the Avatar guy?) came in and made Aliens a war film.  It’s a total toss-up as to which is the better film.  They’re both perfect at what they were trying to achieve.  Back when sequels that matched the original really only had Godfather Part II and Empire Strikes Back as peers, Aliens completely matched its predecessor.  Instead of just one xenomorph, now there was an entire hive, which leads to the reveal at the end of the film of one of film’s greatest monsters: The Alien Queen.  Whereas in the first film, Ellen Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) is really just a survivor and a victim, in Aliens she becomes a warrior.  Weaver broke ground on what a woman could do as the star as an action movie, and remains the standard (she even managed to shake an Oscar nomination out of the Academy for something cool, which still blows me away).  From the discovery of the Queen and her nest to the loader battle in the dock, this titanic battle of two mothers over their “children” still remains one of science fiction’s greatest moments.
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My Favorite Scene: Alien (1979) “The Chestburster”

Yes, as you may have surmised from the above still, if you don’t know anything about Alien…..there’s a dinner surprise that gets a bit gory.  We’re under two weeks from Alien 6 (counting Prometheus), and Alien: Covenant is getting fairly positive reviews so far, but nothing like the groundbreaking science fiction that were the first two films in the series.  Alien came along two years after Star Wars, and it couldn’t be more different and be in the same genre.  This crew of essentially space truckers stumbles across one of the greatest, most ingeniously horrific, monsters in cinema history.  The horror of the Alien isn’t just that’s it’s a pretty perfectly designed killing machine.  It’s the life cycle of the creature itself.  From the freaky eggs, to the “face huggers” that implant the victims in a manner that would seem to be the most disturbing part of the process until you get to the ….hatching.  When the alien grows to a certain size and no longer needs its host, it simply leaves in the most direct way possible.  I cannot imagine what it must have been like to sit in a theater in 1979, having no idea what this thing was, and watch this dinner scene from hell unfold.  People must have been clinging to the ceiling.  It’s one of the most horrifying, most shocking scenes ever filmed.  And it’s not like things get better, because the next time you tend to see the buggers, they look like this:
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and that tends to be the last thing you ever see.
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