You may have noticed that it’s nearly Christmas and, as such, all self-respecting film critics have taken it upon themselves to compile a best film of the year list. Fortunately, I am neither self-respecting nor a film critic, and so I won’t bore you with mine. Instead I have noticed what the critics haven’t; people no longer have time to watch whole movies. And why would they? They can just watch the trailers online.
Old trailers were shit. They avoided spoilers, had crap voiceovers and basically ruined the film. (That is, aside from this trailer, which is probably the best ever made). Modern trailers, by contrast, are beautiful things. Professionals spend hours taking all the good bits from a film and editing them together into two glorious minutes. So, for the person who doesn’t deign to visit a movie theatre but still longs to experience the magic of the cinema, here is your must see list.
10. A Good Day to Die Hard
Bruce Willis is back. His son is with him. And they are about to seriously fuck some shit up in Moscow. This trailer is awesome for a number of reasons: it doesn’t mess you around with intricate plotting, it has shitloads of explosions, there are quips galore, some sneaky references to earlier Die Hard movies and more bullets than Michael Haneke’s entire filmography. Enough said.
9. Dark Shadows
Sages tell me that this film wasn’t great. I don’t care. This trailer wins points for style, humour and an exquisite soundtrack mixing Curtis Mayfield, T-Rex and Barry White to maximum effect. Johnny Depp’s vampire struggles to fit into 1972, having spent centuries in a coffin. He also resumes a long running feud with a local witch. There are explosions, laughs and even a little horror to sweeten the deal. Terrific.
8. The Master
This is probably the best acted and most beautifully shot trailer of the year. There’s a cheeky snippet of haunting score in the background while a narrative of religion, bromance and mental illness plays out. While this is undeniably a difficult trailer, the dialogue is fractured and often spreads across a number of shots, it is also rewarding. Phoenix’s performance is haunting, and Hoffman’s charisma shines through.
7. Iron Sky
Simply by virtue of its premise, this trailer is one of the year’s best. Basically, there are Nazis on the moon, and they’ve grown strong enough to launch a takeover attempt. Making a comedy trailer about Nazism is controversial, but it works well here, as the editor opens with an attack on New York before unleashing further waves of action, death and Nazis. You’ll want to watch this trailer over and over.
6. The Cabin in the Woods
If any trailer really played with the audience this year, then this was it. The editor sets up a conventional Evil Dead-esque narrative and then hits us with enough postmodernism to turn Charles Dickens into Kurt Vonnegut. Basically, this is Slaughterhouse-Six, but condensed into two minutes and with a hint of sex thrown into the bargain. What’s not to love?
5. Berberian Sound Studio
Look, another trailer playing around with conventional horror. Yet while Cabin tried to go all Truman Show on us, Berberian just uses sound to fuck over our minds. Unlike some of the trailers on the list, this is tautly edited down to well under two minutes, yet it sacrifices nothing because of that. Both homage to Italian giallo horror and a master class in the terror potential of watermelons, this really packs a punch.
4. The Man With the Iron Fists
This one packs even more of a punch. The clue is in the title. This film is directed by the Wu-Tang’s very own RZA, and I like to imagine the 36 chambers are just rooms with this trailer playing on repeat. Why? Because it’s fucking incredible. Lucy Liu and Russell Crowe kick ass. RZA actually punches someone’s eye out. The dialogue is brief, the music sharp and the fight scenes are insane. Imagine Kill Bill, but everyone is Bill. Yes.
3. Django Unchained
Iron Fists wanted to be a Tarantino trailer. This actually is. Hello. The trailer has a muted start, introducing the horror of slavery, before exploding about a minute in to the remixed strains of James Brown’s The Payback. The dialogue is as good as any trailer of the past year, the cinematography stirring and Leo DiCaprio steals the show in his 20 seconds on screen as a plantation owner. All in all, well worth your time.
This trailer raised the bar in epic. I actually watched this movie: big mistake. I should have just re-watched the trailer 30 more times. It first introduces to a mission to discover our ancestors before watching said mission unravel spectacularly. The special effects here are glorious, the narrative jaw-dropping in scope and the action exhilarating. Ridley Scott has surpassed himself.
1. The Raid
The best action movie of 2012 only lasted two minutes. Set only to an electronic score, this hits you with more action than any other trailer ever. It is a non-stop thrill ride of extreme violence. Actually I lie, there is a little bit of framing at the start, but there is more death, destruction and incredible fighting tekkers in here than the entire of WW2 (possibly). You will need a rest after this trailer. Get watching.