The AV Club just ran an article on favorite film trailers. As a huge fan of trailers (like I usually like them more than I like the movies. I’m the person who if I’m late to a movie and I know I’ve missed the trailers, then I might as well not go to the film at all), it made me think about some of my own favorite trailers. I often use film trailers in my classes that I teach, as they are excellent to visually rhetorically analyze.
Six of my favorite trailers to do this with are: Alien/ Prometheus, Dark City/ The City of Lost Children and Looper/ 12 Monkeys. As the AV Club mentions, the Alien trailer is essentially perfect. What I love to talk to my students about is how the Prometheus trailer essentially tried to hit all of the same beats (almost exactly in some instances). Then we analyze how each works within those beats. Dark City and The City of Lost Children both have trailers that use some similar tones and effects create hauntingly evocative moods. 12 Monkeys and Looper also have propulsive trailers (also, it’s just so awesome that Bruce Willis was in two of the best time-travel films of all time).
Of these 6 films, all but Prometheus sit in my list of favorite films. I don’t argue that a good trailer equals a good film (because man has that been proven wrong) or even that a good movie automatically has a good trailer. However, the making of trailers, I do argue, is obviously an art form.