Trailers are a huge part of film-going culture, even moreso in this era of streaming video when the release of a trailer has gone from being merely something that suddenly shows up at your local multi-plex to being something that gets hyped and tweeted all across the internet. In this category I choose the best trailer of the year, but let’s make a couple of rules clear. One, this is judging the best trailer to a 2012 film, not the best trailer that was released in the 2012 calendar year. Trailers for 2013 movies that have already been released will be eligible next year. Also, I’m only going to be looking at trailers for movie’s that I ended up seeing so I can know that it accurately captures the spirit of the film and that it doesn’t spoil too much of the film.
- Argo:This is probably the most traditional trailer of all the nominees, but it does a lot in a rather modest way. For one, it manages to summarize a fairly complicated scenario in a very efficient way while keeping the piece exciting and enticing. It also adds a number of nice tricks like the “shredded document” title cards and just when you thing the trailer is leaning to far toward one-liners it brings in Aerosmith’s “Dream On,” which is the perfect song to re-emphasize the seriousness of the situation while still making it look like a good time.
- The Dark Knight Rises: This trailer came late in TDKR’s advertising campaign but I think that it’s clearly the best of the film’s many many trailers. What makes this trailer stand out is that it’s advertising the year’s biggest and loudest action blockbusters and turns it into one of the quietest trailers ever to grace a summer tentpole. The people who cut the trailer leaned on some of the subtler moments Hans Zimmer’s score and some key bits of dialogue in order to ramp up the tempo.
- The Master: I for one would have been sold on The Master if they had just put Paul Thomas Anderson’s name up on the screen for two and a half minutes before flashing to the title card. When a film has this kind of promise it’s best to create trailer that simply gives the audience a quick taste of what to expect and then leaves them wanting more. That’s what this trailer does by giving the audience a glimpse at the film’s style, period, and themes and then gracefully exiting. All the while the film used that metronome-like sound to give a sense of the madness beneath the surface.
- Prometheus: What I love about this trailer was that, in this world where branding and franchising is everything, they never once whore out the Alien name. It certainly hints at the original film in a number of cool ways that only the fans will recognize (E.g. that sound effect from the original trailer and flashes of the stargazer) but it never overtly billed itself as a prequel to Alien. Do you know the balls it took to do that?
- The Woman in Black: Fake nursery rhymes have been a staple of horror cinema since the days of “one two, Freddy’s coming for you.” This trailer has a good one and I like the way that it makes it the centerpiece rather than the film’s less savory aspects (like Daniel Radcliff). The trailer also adds some appropriately creepy sound effects and shows just enough of its eerie imagery to intriguing the audience without revealing all that much. Then it ends on a quality scare. If only the movie was this good.