The Best Trailers Of 2012
THEATRICAL TRAILER: the official theatrical piece, usually cut from the first (very long) cut of the picture or sometimes (if there is no first cut yet) from dailies (all the shot footage, including all the different takes and angles), maximum length of a trailer is two and a half minutes.
TEASER TRAILER: A first, short theatrical preview piece (usually not longer than a minute and a half), cut from a few selected takes and scenes while the picture is still being shot.
For those of you who think it’s okay to show up to a film after the coming attractions – move along. No self-respecting movie geek would dare miss the previews. And don’t get us started on the individuals who arrive during the trailer you’ve been dying to see only to move through your line of sight during the all-important money shot.
In most cases, trailers are the first thing the casual moviegoer sees of an upcoming release – be it next month or next year. But sometimes that’s all it takes to plant the enthusiastic seed of “I have to see that!” There’s no denying it. Trailers are visual forces of nature. They are emotional magnets. They are harbingers of things to come and herald what might be.
While not all of them turned out to be everyone’s cup of tea, the unsung heroes in the editing room behind these previews are what had us going to the theaters in 2012 in record numbers. Along with the official synopsis of each movie, below is a compilation of some of the best trailers from this past year. So get your drink & munchies, have the volume up & the lights down low and find your favorite seat – the coming attractions are about to start.
BEASTS OF THE SOUTHERN WILD
In a forgotten but defiant bayou community cut off from the rest of the world by a sprawling levee, a six-year-old girl exists on the brink of orphanhood. Buoyed by her childish optimism and extraordinary imagination, she believes that the natural world is in balance with the universe until a fierce storm changes her reality. Desperate to repair the structure of her world in order to save her ailing father and sinking home, this tiny hero must learn to survive unstoppable catastrophes of epic proportions. “Welcome to the Bathtub!”
THE RAID: REDEMPTION
Deep in the heart of Jakarta’s slums lies an impenetrable safe house for the world’s most dangerous killers and gangsters. Until now, the rundown apartment block has been considered untouchable. Cloaked under the cover of pre-dawn darkness and silence, an elite swat team is tasked with raiding the safe house in order to take down the notorious drug lord that runs it. But when a chance encounter with a spotter blows their cover and news of their assault reaches the drug lord, they find themselves stranded on the 6th floor with no way out. The unit must fight their way through the city’s worst to survive their mission
THE DARK KNIGHT RISES
Warner Bros. Pictures’ and Legendary Pictures’ “The Dark Knight Rises” is the epic conclusion to filmmaker Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy. It has been eight years since Batman vanished into the night, turning, in that instant, from hero to fugitive. Assuming the blame for the death of D.A. Harvey Dent, the Dark Knight sacrificed everything for what he and Commissioner Gordon both hoped was the greater good. For a time the lie worked, as criminal activity in Gotham City was crushed under the weight of the anti-crime Dent Act. But everything will change with the arrival of a cunning cat burglar with a mysterious agenda. Far more dangerous, however, is the emergence of Bane, a masked terrorist whose ruthless plans for Gotham drive Bruce out of his self-imposed exile. But even if he dons the cape and cowl again, Batman may be no match for Bane.
MARVEL’S THE AVENGERS
When an unexpected enemy emerges that threatens global safety and security, Nick Fury, Director of the international peacekeeping agency known as S.H.I.E.L.D., finds himself in need of a team to pull the world back from the brink of disaster. Spanning the globe, a daring recruitment effort begins. Starring Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner and Tom Hiddleston, with Stellan Skarsgard and Samuel L. Jackson, and written and directed by Joss Whedon, “Marvel Avengers Assemble” is based on the ever-popular Marvel comic book series “The Avengers,” first published in 1963 and a comics institution ever since.
RISE OF THE GUARDIANS
We were doing fine until Alec Baldwin, along with his Russian accent, proclaimed “it is our job to protect the children of the world – for as long as they believe in us, we will guard them with our lives.” Waterworks were pouring out. RISE OF THE GUARDIANS is an epic adventure that tells the story of a group of heroes – each with extraordinary abilities. When an evil spirit known as Pitch lays down the gauntlet to take over the world, the immortal Guardians must join forces for the first time to protect the hopes, beliefs and imagination of children all over the world.
Les Misérables is the motion-picture adaptation of the beloved global stage sensation seen by more than 60 million people in 42 countries and in 21 languages around the globe and still breaking box-office records everywhere in its 27th year. Helmed by The King’s Speech’s Academy Award®-winning director, Tom Hooper, the Working Title/Cameron Mackintosh production stars Hugh Jackman, Oscar® winner Russell Crowe, Anne Hathaway, Amanda Seyfried, Eddie Redmayne, Aaron Tveit, Samantha Barks, with Helena Bonham Carter and Sacha Baron Cohen. Set against the backdrop of 19th-century France, Les Misérables tells an enthralling story of broken dreams and unrequited love, passion, sacrifice and redemption – a timeless testament to the survival of the human spirit. Jackman plays ex-prisoner Jean Valjean, hunted for decades by the ruthless policeman Javert (Crowe) after he breaks parole. When Valjean agrees to care for factory worker Fantine’s (Hathaway) young daughter, Cosette, their lives change forever. Les Misérables, the show of shows, was reborn as the cinematic musical experience of a lifetime.
CLOUD ATLAS explores how the actions and consequences of individual lives impact one another throughout the past, the present and the future. Action, mystery and romance weave dramatically through the story as one soul is shaped from a killer into a hero and a single act of kindness ripples across centuries to inspire a revolution in the distant future. A lofty, gorgeous, trailer that boldly tugged at the heart-strings.
MEN IN BLACK 3
Agent Jay traveled back in time to 1969, where he teams up with a younger version of Agent Kay to stop an evil alien from destroying the future. The time-traveling, third installment of the Men in Black franchise reunited Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones. The trailer was jam-packed with car chases and monocycle pursuits, as the famous, black-suited duo employed a brand-new collection of galactic gadgets to fight off retro aliens. Proves a successful and fun 3rd chapter to a franchise can be accomplished.
Paul Thomas Anderson’s sixth feature film, THE MASTER, unfolds a vibrantly human story inside this atmosphere of spiritual yearning on the cusp of 1950. The film follows the shifting fortunes of Freddie, portrayed by Joaquin Phoenix, a volatile former Naval seaman unable to settle down into everyday life, and the unpredictable journey he takes when he stumbles upon a fledgling movement known as The Cause. Coming to The Cause as an itinerant and outsider, Freddie will ultimately become a surrogate heir to its flamboyant leader: Philip Seymour Hoffman’s Lancaster Dodd. And yet, even as The Cause probes the mastery of human emotions, the camaraderie between Freddie and Dodd will mount into a fierce and intimate struggle of wills. The first feature film shot using 65mm film stock in several decades, THE MASTER is brought to life by a devoted cast and crew who have crafted a visually alluring and emotionally provocative portrait of three people pursuing a vision of betterment.
Director Ridley Scott takes fans on a gripping sci-fi adventure that “kicks ass so hard and often that it’s impossible not to be thrilled by it.” (Peter Travers, Rolling Stone).Archeologist couple Elizabeth Shaw (Rapace) and Charlie Holloway (Marshall-Green) discover a star map that they interpret as an invitation from humanity’s forerunners, the “Engineers.” Determined to find out more about them, the couple boards the scientific vessel Prometheus, created and funded by Peter Weyland (Pearce), CEO of Weyland Corporation. Lead by mission director Meredith Vickers (Theron) and monitored by Weyland’s android David (Fassbender), the team of explorers find a clue to the origins of mankind on Earth and embark on a thrilling journey to the darkest corners of the universe where they fight a terrifying battle to save the future of the human race.
A LOOPER GLOSSARY
Looper: A low level assassin who works for a mob in the future, killing targets they send back and disposing of the bodies.
Gat Man: A higher level gangster, the Gat men work locally with more typical thug responsibilities. They tend to look down on Loopers as a lot of untrained dandies.
Blunderbuss: A short stout hand cannon used by Loopers. Powerful but with a wide spread – impossible to hit anything more than 10 yards away, impossible to miss anything closer.
Gat: Generic term for a gun, but colloquial name for the Gat Men’s high caliber revolver. Powerful, accurate and reliable.
TK: Short for “telekinetic.” By 2040 a very low grade telekenetic power has developed in about 15% of the general population. Far from being a superpower, it’s weak and short range, and mostly used for bar tricks.
Closing Your Loop: A stipulation in every Looper’s contract that he may some day be required to kill his future self, thus closing his contract, getting a huge pay-off and erasing any trace of the very illegal arrangement with his future employer.
THE EXPENDABLES 2
The Expendables are back and this time it’s personal… Barney Ross (Sylvester Stallone), Lee Christmas (Jason Statham), Yin Yang (Jet Li), Gunner Jensen (Dolph Lundgren), Toll Road (Randy Couture) and Hale Caesar (Terry Crews) — with newest members Billy the Kid (Liam Hemsworth) and Maggie (Yu Nan) aboard — are reunited when Mr. Church (Bruce Willis) enlists the Expendables to take on a seemingly simple job. The task looks like an easy paycheck for Barney and his band of old-school mercenaries. But when things go wrong and one of their own is viciously killed, the Expendables are compelled to seek revenge in hostile territory where the odds are stacked against them. Hell-bent on payback, the crew cuts a swath of destruction through opposing forces, wreaking havoc and shutting down an unexpected threat in the nick of time - five tons of weapons-grade plutonium, far more than enough to change the balance of power in the world. But that’s nothing compared to the justice they serve against the villainous adversary who savagely murdered their brother. That is done the Expendables way..
THE MAN WITH THE IRON FISTS
Quentin Tarantino presents THE MAN WITH THE IRON FISTS, an action-adventure inspired by kung-fu classics as interpreted by his longtime collaborators RZA and Eli Roth. Making his debut as a big-screen director, co-writer and leading man, RZA – alongside an exciting international cast led by Russell Crowe and Lucy Liu – tells the epic story of warriors, assassins and a lone outsider hero who all descend on one fabled village in China for a winner-takes-all battle for a fortune in gold. Blending astonishing martial-arts sequences from some of the masters of this world with the signature vision he brings as the leader of the Wu-Tang Clan and as one of hip-hop’s most dominant figures of the past two decades, RZA embarks upon his most ambitious, stylized and thrilling project to date.
Joining Crowe, RZA and Liu in the cast are Rick Yune, Jamie Chung, Cung Le, Dave Bautista, Byron Mann, Daniel Wu and Pam Grier.
Liam Neeson (Schindler’s List, Taken, Taken 2) stars as the unlikely hero Ottway in this undeniably suspenseful and powerful survival adventure. After their plane crashes into the remote Alaskan wilderness, a roughneck group of oil drillers are forced to find a way back to civilization. As Ottway leads the injured survivors through the brutal snow and ice, they are relentlessly tracked by a vicious pack of rogue wolves that will do anything to defend their territory. Adrenaline-fueled, action-packed and loaded with some of the most intense and brutally realistic attack scenes ever filmed, The Grey is being hailed as “a thriller you can sink your teeth into!” (The Washington Post)
Stunts always play a large role in Bond films and SKYFALL is no exception. Director Sam Mendes, Second Unit Director Alexander Witt and Stunt Coordinator Gary Powell worked closely together to create a physical and believable journey for Bond. It was important for both Mendes and Powell to approach the film from a more realistic point of view. The action started on the pages. “Writing action sequences is one of the great challenges and the great joys of being a screenwriter,” says screenwriter John Logan. “The challenge as a writer on Skyfall was to find ways to make the action as ‘Bondian’ as possible – which to me means it’s tough, it’s real and it’s heightened.”
As you can see in this trailer, no actor had more stunts than Craig. Javier Bardem describes watching Craig take on the role: “There is some physicality to the role that you have to be prepared to do, but of course mine compared to Daniel’s was nothing. And he does the action scenes so easily “From the outside, watching him, I was thinking, If I were you, I wouldn’t be doing that!” Bardem laughs. “I mean, I did a little bit, but nothing in comparison to with what Daniel did.”
HYDE PARK ON HUDSON
Not quite the lofty follow up to THE KING”S SPEECH as we had hoped, this preview had all the makings of finally giving Bill Murray that long-awaited Oscar. The end result was a stark look into the all-too-human side of one of history’s iconic leaders.
“Hotel Transylvania is a story about a father and a daughter… it’s just that the father happens to be Dracula,” says Genndy Tartakovsky, director of the Sony Pictures Animation film, Hotel Transylvania. “Like all fathers, he’s an overprotective, psychotic, and endearing guy who’d do anything for his daughter, but unlike other fathers, he’s the Prince of Darkness.”
In Hotel Transylvania, it turns out that the world’s most famous monsters (including Dracula, Frankenstein, the Werewolf, the Invisible Man, and the Mummy) are just like regular people, with families and problems and a need to get away from it all – but unlike humans, they have to live in hiding from a world that thinks they’re, well, monsters. What better place to hide than Hotel Transylvania, which Dracula himself operates as a sanctuary from the rest of the world and has been human-free since 1898? But Dracula has issues of his own – his daughter, Mavis, is a teenager – in fact, she’s about to turn 118 – and as she becomes a woman, the vampire’s greatest fear is losing his relationship with her. Well, his two greatest fears are losing his relationship with his daughter and garlic, but that’s another story.
We were ready to go on another wild and wily trek with Quentin Tarantino’s masterpiece DJANGO UNCHAINED. The trailer had us hooked right from the start – almost made us forget Franco Nero in Corbucci’s DJANGO (1966). “I like evoking the Django title for what it means to Spaghetti Westerns and that mythology,” Tarantino says. “At the same time, there’s a 40-film series of nonrelated DJANGO rip-off sequels that are their own spot of Spaghetti Western history. I’m proud to say that we are a new edition to the unrelated DJANGO rip-off sequels.”
The macabre and lurid tales of Edgar Allan Poe are vividly brought to life – and death — in this stylish, gothic thriller starring John Cusack as the infamous author. Boy were they ever. When a madman begins committing horrific murders inspired by Poe’s darkest works, a young Baltimore detective (Luke Evans) joins forces with Poe in a quest to get inside the killer’s mind in order to stop him from making every one of Poe’s brutal stories a blood chilling reality. A deadly game of cat and mouse ensues, which escalates when Poe’s love (Alice Eve, She’s Out of My League) becomes the next target. Intrepid Pictures’ The Raven also stars Brendan Gleeson (In Bruges) and Oliver Jackson-Cohen (Faster).
THE HOBBIT: AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY
Boy we couldn’t wait to return to the Shire. THE HOBBIT: AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY follows title character Bilbo Baggins, who is swept into an epic quest to reclaim the lost Dwarf Kingdom of Erebor from the fearsome dragon Smaug. Approached out of the blue by the wizard Gandalf the Grey, Bilbo finds himself joining a company of thirteen dwarves led by the legendary warrior, Thorin Oakenshield. Their journey will take them into the Wild; through treacherous lands swarming with Goblins and Orcs, deadly Wargs and Sorcerers. Although their goal lies to the East and the wastelands of the Lonely Mountain, first they must escape the goblin tunnels, where Bilbo meets the creature that will change his life forever…Gollum. Here, alone with Gollum, on the shores of an underground lake, the unassuming Bilbo Baggins not only discovers depths of ingenuity and courage that surprise even him, he also gains possession of Gollum’s “precious” ring that holds unexpected and useful qualities… A simple, gold ring that is tied to the fate of all Middle-earth in ways Bilbo cannot begin to know.
SEEKING A FRIEND FOR THE END OF THE WORLD
SEEKING A FRIEND FOR THE END OF THE WORLD stars Golden Globe Award winner Steve Carell and Academy Award nominee Keira Knightley. Set in a too-near future, the movie explores what people will do when humanity’s last days are at hand. As the respective journeys of Dodge (Carell) and Penny (Knightley) converge, the two spark to each other and their outlooks – if not the world’s – brighten. Director Lorene Scafaria had us in tears when the end finally came.
This is how you do a teaser! In August Laika, the makers of Coraline, brought us PARANORMAN, a stop motion, ghost-filled zombie comedy in 3D. The delightful movie starred the voices of Kodi Smit-McPhee, John Goodman, Anna Kendrick, Casey Affleck, Elaine Stritch, Leslie Mann, Christopher Mintz-Plasse and Jeff Garlin. “You don’t become a hero by being normal.” Amen to that brother!
Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane (as well as this year’s Oscar host) brings his boundary-pushing brand of humor to the big screen for the first time as writer, director and voice star of TED. In the live action/CG-animated comedy, he tells the story of John Bennett (Mark Wahlberg), a grown man who must deal with the cherished teddy bear who came to life as the result of a childhood wish…and has refused to leave his side ever since. The trailer has us skeptical until we saw the hilarious final product!
HITCHCOCK is a love story about one of the most influential filmmakers of the last century, Alfred (Anthony Hopkins) Hitchcock and his wife and partner Alma Reville (Helen Mirren). The film takes place during the making of Hitchcock’s seminal movie PSYCHO. The trailer had us fascinated and left us wanting to see more once the film finally arrived in November.
In a return to the world of Wes Anderson, MOONRISE KINGDOM was thought by some to be one of the best films this year. Set on an island off the coast of New England in the summer of 1965, MOONRISE KINGDOM tells the story of two twelve-year-olds who fall in love, make a secret pact, and run away together into the wilderness. As various authorities try to hunt them down, a violent storm is brewing off-shore — and the peaceful island community is turned upside down in more ways than anyone can handle. Bruce Willis plays the local sheriff. Edward Norton is a Khaki Scout troop leader. Bill Murray and Frances McDormand portray the young girl’s parents. The cast also includes Tilda Swinton, Jason Schwartzman, and Jared Gilman and Kara Hayward as the boy and girl.
A dramatic comedy set in the world of male strippers, “Magic Mike” is directed by Academy Award® winner Steven Soderbergh (“Traffic”) and stars Channing Tatum in the title role. The film follows Mike as he takes a young dancer called The Kid (Alex Pettyfer) under his wing and schools him in the fine arts of partying, picking up women, and making easy money. Also starring Matthew McConaughey, Matt Bomer, Joe Mangianello, Olivia Munn, Riley Keough, Cody Horn and Adam Rodriguez.
ABRAHAM LINCOLN: VAMPIRE HUNTER
Not to be confused with the Spielberg-ized version of the 16th President, filmmakers Tim Burton and Timur Bekmambetov (Director of Wanted) brought audiences this edgy thriller about the untold story that shaped our nation. Abraham Lincoln, history’s greatest hunter of the undead, must risk the presidency, his family and his life to protect America from bloodthirsty vampires. Thrust into an epic fight against the ruthless killers, Lincoln must rely on those around him. But it’s unclear who he can trust in this intense and violent thriller that’s ablaze with plot twists, blood-pumping action and spectacular special effects!
THE TWILIGHT SAGA: BREAKING DAWN PT. 2
Okay so maybe it wasn’t anything you’d ever venture out to see – even on a dare – but you knew we had to show the trailer for the final TWILIGHT movie. The conclusion to the series, THE TWILIGHT SAGA: BREAKING DAWN — PART 2, illuminates the secrets and mysteries of this spellbinding romantic epic that has entranced millions of teenage girls – and sometimes their Moms.
KILLING THEM SOFTLY
This wicked trailer was one of the best of 2012. Three dumb guys who think they’re smart rob a Mob protected card game, causing the local criminal economy to collapse. Brad Pitt plays the enforcer hired to track them down and restore order. KILLING THEM SOFTLY also features Richard Jenkins (THE VISITOR), James Gandolfini (“The Sopranos”), Ray Liotta (NARC), Scoot McNairy (MONSTERS), Ben Mendelsohn (ANIMAL KINGDOM), and Vincent Curatola (“The Sopranos”). Max Casella, Trevor Long, Slaine and Sam Shepard also make appearances.
THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN
The Amazing Spider-Man focused on an untold story that tells a different side of the Peter Parker story and starred Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, Rhys Ifans, Denis Leary, Campbell Scott, Irrfan Khan, with Martin Sheen and Sally Field. The film is the story of Peter Parker (Garfield), an outcast high schooler who was abandoned by his parents as a boy, leaving him to be raised by his Uncle Ben (Sheen) and Aunt May (Field). Like most teenagers, Peter is trying to figure out who he is and how he got to be the person he is today. Peter is also finding his way with his first high school crush, Gwen Stacy (Stone), and together, they struggle with love, commitment, and secrets. As Peter discovers a mysterious briefcase that belonged to his father, he begins a quest to understand his parents’ disappearance – leading him directly to Oscorp and the lab of Dr. Curt Connors (Ifans), his father’s former partner. As Spider-Man is set on a collision course with Connors’ alter-ego, The Lizard, Peter will make life-altering choices to use his powers and shape his destiny to become a hero.
Inspired by a true story, THE SAPPHIRES follows four vivacious, young and talented Australian Aboriginal girls from a remote mission as they learn about love, friendship and war when their all girl group The Sapphires entertains the U.S. troops in Vietnam in 1968. Cynthia (Tapsell), Gail (Mailman), Julie (Mauboy) and Kay (Sebbens) are discovered by Dave (O’Dowd), a good-humored talent scout with a kind heart, very little rhythm but a great knowledge of soul music. As their manager, Dave books the sisters their first true gig giving them their first taste of stardom, and travels them to Vietnam to sing for the American troops. The film was shown at the St. Louis International Film Festival in November and was met by a cheering audience as the credits rolled. See this charming film!
MADAGASCAR 3: EUROPE’S MOST WANTED
Finally we leave you with Alex the Lion, Marty the Zebra, Gloria the Hippo, and Melman the Giraffe. Over the summer this fearless foursome were fighting to get home to their beloved Big Apple and of course, King Julien, Maurice and the Penguins were all along for the comedic adventure. Their journey took them through Europe where they found the perfect cover: a traveling circus, which they reinvented – Madagascar style.
Contributors: Michelle McCue and Melissa Thompson