There’s a certain art to making a great movie trailer. And frankly, hardly anybody seems to have mastered that art.
Indeed, for every halfway-interesting trailer that comes out there are ten more that give away the entire plot, deliver nothing but obvious jokes about farts and crotch punches or are simply a series of incredibly fast jump cuts with weird music playing over them. In short, they are crap.
Which is why we’re so happy to celebrate the 10 Best Trailers of 2012. Because when a trailer is great, it’s not just memorable and exciting to watch, it’s also defying the odds. And in today’s Hollywood, that kind of risk-taking is the rarest thing of all.
10. ‘Man of Steel’
Zack Snyder faced a significant challenge when putting together his first trailer for “Man of Steel.” After all, there have been so many Superman movies in the past that fans already have very specific ideas of how a Superman film should look. Snyder had to both surprise and somehow satisfy fans with his first clip, making his take seem like something new while still being familiar. And he knocked it out of the park and clear into the stratosphere with this elegant and powerful clip. You will believe a man can fish.
With it’s heady and offbeat mix of gritty political intrigue and Hollywood in-jokes, “Argo” could have been a very tough sell for director Ben Affleck. As complex as the real life story is, boiling it down to a two-minute clip that both does the film justice and makes any kind of sense … well, it was no small task. The fact that “Argo” is now an international box office hit and a frontrunner for the Oscars shows you exactly how well he succeeded. Will it win Best Picture? It’s too early to tell, but it’s definitely in the conversation for Best Trailer.
8. ‘Life of Pi’
The story, on the face of it, is simple: A kid gets shipwrecked with a bunch of zoo animals. But what Oscar-winning director Ang Lee has done with the trailer for “Life of Pi” is anything but simple. With its literally breathtaking renditions of nature in motion, “Life of Pi” is a trailer best seen on the biggest screen you can find, preferably in 3-D. But in lieu of that, you can at least lose a little bit of your breath right now by checking out one of the most visually stunning clips in years.
7. ‘Zero Dark Thirty’
Stark and severe, the trailer for Kathryn Bigelow’s follow-up to her Oscar-winning masterpiece “The Hurt Locker” exudes menace and tension from the first frame. The voiceover, the grainy satellite imagery and the black lines of redaction inching relentlessly across the screen create a sense of creeping unease that mounts with each passing moment. And when the payoff comes in the form of a shouted “When was the last time you saw Bin Laden?,” it hits like a punch to the stomach. A serious film and a deadly serious trailer.
6. ‘Django Unchained’
Quentin Tarantino is pretty much unmatched when it comes to style. And almost nobody uses music as well as Tarantino does. It’s no wonder then that his trailers are consistently among the best Hollywood has to offer. And this clip for his upcoming revenge drama “Django Unchained” is certainly no exception, with bold colors, cool dialogue and that unmistakable Tarantino style. The “D” may be silent, but your jaw hitting the floor isn’t.