As we close out on the year, it’s a good time to not only look back but also look forward. And what better way to do this than to look at some of best movie trailers 2014 offered? There were certainly a few surprises, a few disappointments, and a few absentees. (I’m looking at you WB. Where’s that Batman v. Superman teaser?)
7. Mad Max: Fury Road– Official Theatrical Teaser Trailer (Warner Bros. Pictures)
I’ll admit, I’m no fan of George Miller’s Mad Max series (Blasphemy, I know, I know, but I’ll give them a rewatch before Fury Road), but this trailer certainly grabbed my attention. While it doesn’t offer much insight into the story, there are plenty of eye-popping visuals. Plus, Tom Hardy, Charlize Theron, and Nicholas Holt all look impressive, if not a little worse for wear. I’m still not entirely convinced of the movie’s overall quality, but it’s sure to be a beauty to look at.
6. Knight of Cups- Official Trailer #1 (Ascot Elite)
Terrance Malick is stepping out of the fields (but not the isolated beaches) and entering the brave new world of the metropolitan in what looks to an exploration into the pitfalls of fame. Each trailer for Malick’s films are like short films in themselves, offering a beautiful glimpse of the imagery and language that makes up his films. The cast looks impressive and it’s always exciting to see someone as talented as Malick step out of their comfort zone. While I wasn’t impressed with To the Wonder, I’m hoping Knight of Cups will prove that Malick still has what it takes to be considered one of the most distinct filmmakers around.
5. Inherent Vice– Official Trailer (Warner Bros. Pictures)
The first trailer for Inherent Vice feels longer than a normal trailer; perhaps it’s because of all different music cues or perhaps because it’s so packed full of details and characters. Either way, the trailer offers a glimpse into the film’s zany neo-noir story and all the peril, romance, and humor attached to it. It’s one of those trailers that doesn’t quite tell you what the movie is about but offers enough of a hook to keep even those who aren’t diehard Paul Thomas Anderson fans intrigued. Plus, Joanna Newsom’s voice is so inviting it’s hard to feel anything but inclined to check put the film.
4. Nightcrawler– Teaser Trailer #1 (Open Road Pictures)
While I think the later trailers showed a bit too much footage, the initial trailer provides a stylish, creepy, and erratic look at the underside of L.A. It also provided our first glimpse at Jake Gyllenhall’s eerie transformation. Lou Bloom’s mantra, “If you want to win the lottery, you have to make the money to buy a ticket,” becomes more desperate and hard-edged. While the film didn’t have the same level of anticipation attached to it as the other trailers on this list, it’s the best edited trailer of the year and one I couldn’t shake.
3. Godzilla– Official Main Trailer (Warner Bros. Pictures)
The teaser trailer was great, but the main trailer amped it up another notch by using Bryan Cranston’s lines as voice-over, giving it a sense of madness and inescapable dread. The use of “Requiem” from 2001: A Space Odyssey heightens the tension, making the trailer seem more like it’s going to offer you a glimpse of the darkest part of the human soul, rather than one of summer’s first blockbusters. The trailer smartly avoids showing Godzilla in full, instead offering glimpses of him and his enemies in order to keep audiences guessing, J.J. Abrams style.
2. Star Wars: The Force Awakens– Official Teaser (Walt Disney Studios)
It’s our first glimpse at new Star Wars footage! It really doesn’t need any justification. Why not? I’ll say it again; it’s our first glimpse at new Star Wars footage! Not only did the trailer turn new droid, BB-8 (yes, I’ve got the names memorized already), into one of the year’s best memes, it also offered a look at the new lightsaber design. Plus, how could you not grin when that classic John Williams score exploded through your speakers?
1. Avengers: Age of Ultron– Teaser Trailer (Marvel)
There’s only one trailer I’ve watched more times that the Star Wars teaser, and that’s the first Avengers trailer. There’s so many great moments in this teaser, so much for comic fans to sort through and regular audience members to get excited about. The teaser also features the best use of music in a trailer this year (and another reminder of why the Disney/Marvel merger was so great). I suspect that if tickets had gone on sale right after that trailer was released, most theaters would be sold out.
Worst: 50 Shades of Gray-Trailer #2 (Universal Pictures)
This was the most viewed trailer of the year. This is exactly why we can’t have nice things. The first time I saw this, I thought it had all the bland cinematic personality of a perfume commercial. Then I saw Baz Luhrmann’s Chanel No 5. Commercial with Gisele and realized even perfume commercials had more style. When this movie breaks records next year, it’s only because we brought this on ourselves.
So tell me, what trailer gems did I miss leave out? How wrong am I about the 50 Shades trailer? How many times have you watched the Star Wars and Avengers trailers respectively?
Featured Image: Nightcrawler, Open Road Films