When Movie Trailers are Better than the Actual Movie

(Written in September. Still relevant…)
What makes a good movie trailer?
The other day I sat down, like a good nerd, and watched all the newest trailers on apple.com/trailers. One preview in particular, The Social Network, really caught my interest. The Social Network, seemingly by definition, should be a bad movie. Why make a movie about Facebook? What’s the point? I like Jesse (Zombieland) Eisenberg fine, I think David Fincher is always interesting, but what’s interesting about the creation of Facebook that I can’t probably just guess? I bet people argued over who created it. I bet one creator made more money. etc. But you know what?
               That trailer is awesome.
               Really for no other reason than a wonderful cover of the Radiohead song “Creep” by a girl’s choir and fast cuts between angry people being sarcastic to one another. Watching this trailer, I went through an emotional experience and I didn’t even know why; I just felt connected to what was happening. When it was over I couldn’t stop thinking about other movie trailers that had made an impact on me. And further than that, I thought about the trailers I had seen in the past that blew the movies they were advertising out of the water.
              I’m going to list some previews that really stand out to me and why, and then I’m going to list some previews that are far better than the movies themselves. I’d like to hear about previews that really stood out to you, and which ones you feel did a better job than their exponentially longer counterparts.
Best Movie Trailers I’ve seen
The Man Who Wasn’t There
                   The Man Who Wasn’t There is hands down the most moving preview I’ve ever seen for a film. And the most amazing thing about it is that it tells you absolutely nothing about the movie. The line, “The more you look, the less you really know,” pretty much explains this excellent one and a half minutes. Take a look at the trailer, it is dark, beautiful, haunting, sad, mysterious, and pretty much forces you to watch the movie.
The Shining
                  The perfect horror movie trailer. The atmosphere, like in the movie trailer, is the most important part of any horror movie. Stanley Kubrick, who cut the trailer himself, expertly creates an atmosphere that fills the audience with the dread and fear which most full length horror movies can’t do in their entire runtimes.
Where The Wild Things Are
                Absolutely fantastic. The music, the visuals, the editing, the scale. Everything. When I first saw this I didn’t stop smiling for a week.
Alien
                 This trailer always makes me want to drop everything and watch the entire series. It was so creepy upon initial release that theater managers had to warn the audiences before going into movies where the trailer previewed.
Movies outshined by their previews
Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace
                  Don’t act like you didn’t pee yourself when you first saw this. Don’t act like you didn’t pee yourself for a different reason when you saw the actual movie.
Terminator Salvation
                 This trailer actually convinced me to go see Terminator 4. And then I immediately remembered that it was Terminator 4 when I got in the theater.
Watchmen
                   This trailer promised so much. I know, I know, a lot of people like this one. But I think that trailer offers so much that is just not delivered in the final, style over substance product. Which I guess the trailer is, too, but that’s what they’re supposed to be. If I’m going to watch style over substance, I’d prefer one that is three minutes not three hours.
So what do you guys think? Any trailers that really appealed to you?

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  • It's difficult for me to make much of an argument considering that The Social Network is the only of these films that I've seen. However, I have to disagree..I really liked the movie! I think the trailer definitely showed a lot of the main points, but I think that drew people in to want to see the movie. And I mean, it won a Golden Globe..it couldn't of been that bad? Right?