For this list I looked at movies that were simply unable to live up to their incredible trailers. Trailers that were able to build an epic anticipation for the movie they were previewing. On this list are some of the best trailers ever made, which just goes to show, you don’t need a quality movie for a quality trailer…
To start off the list I picked a movie that I actually liked. The problem is the trailer is so brilliantly crafted that is should’ve been a movie that I loved. This is a trailer I watched probably 100 times before the movie came out, and I was convinced that Watchmen, released in 2009, would indeed be was worthy DC Comic follow-up for 2008’s masterpiece The Dark Knight. These expectation proved lofty and unattainable. While not a bad movie, it’s simply not the same quality of movie advertised below…
9.) Vantage Point
Now here was a movie that for some reason just seemed incredibly intriguing to me. Good cast, lots of action, and an apparent underlying mystery that it was gonna take all 8 of the principal characters to solve. What we got however was an ultra repetitive series of perspectives, that half way through the movie felt like seeing the same terrible commercial during an NFL Sunday, played ad nauseum. And don’t get me wrong, the concept seemed cool to begin, but I was amazed how quickly it got old. The trailer though, doesn’t imply any of that.
8.) Star Wars: Episode 1 – The Phantom Menace
Wow, talk about different approaches on multiple trailers. The 2 main trailers released, which were both met with applause in the theater at the time, showed what seemed to be 2 different movies. The first one focusing almost entirely on a young Jake Lloyd and the fact that he will some day grow up to be Vader. Rewatching it now, knowing the amount of ass the movie sucked, it’s hard to remember why I was so excited to watch this
terrible freaking actor little kid begin his path to the dark side. The other one however (below), shows almost no Jake Lloyd, but is instead is full of the coolest parts of the movie, namely Darth Maul and the Jedi. I have a serious problem with Phantom Menace and it seems to get worse everytime I see it, but watching the trailer below, it almost makes me want to sit through it again just for the end…then I remember how much of Jar Jar Binks I’d have to see and I just decide to skip it.
7.) Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End
Now I’m not the ‘Pirates’ fan that my colleague Darth Saeris is, but I liked the first movie, and while I found the 2nd film lackluster, the trailer for part 3 left me sure the franchise was headed for an upswing. I was especially excited for Chow Yun Fat who was listed prominently in the trailer along with our main characters. What I got however was not an upswing, but quite the opposite. At World’s End was the movie that wouldn’t end. It just seemed to run too long and the great Mr. Fat – sorely underused…
6.) Transformers 2: Revenge of the Fallen
This is another case of Michael Bay tricking my ass into a Midnight showing of a sequel I’ve been lead to believe will be better than it’s predecessor. And once again, it was not. I will admit that while the first movie, to me, got better upon a 2nd viewing, it was quite the opposite. The first time I saw it I thought it was passable, the second time though – I realized I must’ve been drunk opening night.
5.) The Spirit
Let me preface this one by saying that I really enjoyed 300, and Sin City was one of my favorite movies of the last decade. So when the teaser for Frank Miller’s The Spirit popped up on-screen at the cinema, I was understandably excited. The color scheme, the narration, and the music just signaled to me an old school, neo-noir type of feel and I couldn’t wait. What showed up on-screen once the movie came out however, was something far less cool. Sam Jackson as what amounted to a cartoon character, and all the gritty detective stuff I was looking for was traded in for stylized action and disappointment. Not only was The Spirit disappointing though, it was without a doubt, one of the worst movies of 2009.
4.) Indiana Jones Kingdom of the Crystal Skull
Released almost 20 years after the 3rd movie some people though Ford would be too old to reprise the role. But like many of you I grew up watching Indy in one of the greatest film franchises ever, so the 4th movie had me sucked in the minute it was announced. Then the first trailer hit and they started pounding the ‘nostalgia buttons’ in my head. What they should have worried about though, wasn’t Harrison Ford being too old, but a new CG-Obsessed George Lucas being TOO involved. What Spielberg and Lucas gave us felt like you took Temple of Doom and stuck it in a blender with The Phantom Menace and an episode of Loony Tunes. This was one of the most disappointing trips to the theater I’ve ever taken.
3.) The Matrix: Reloaded/The Matrix: Revolutions
Now before you cry foul and berate me for including both of these, let me explain. These movies were shot together and then released less than a year apart from one another. They did this to best capitalize on the merits of the first film, which was an instant classic. And while I feel that the trailer for the 3rd movie is actually more epic, the letdown ofReloaded severely lowered expectations for the third. So while the 2nd movie to me (even though its better than the 3rd movie) was the bigger letdown because it followed the original. The Matrix had the makings to be one of the greatest franchises ever, but even the original movie is now sullied by what came after it. So Reloaded is the better movie, Revolutions had the better trailer, and they both were massive let downs. Did that make sense?
2.) Spiderman 3
The curse of the ‘3rd Superhero Movie’. Batman Forever, Superman III, X3: The Last Stand,and Blade Trinity. All garbage, and all narrowly missed inclusion on this list only because the trailers weren’t good enough to merit mention. But Spiderman 3 takes the cake. This had potential to be one of the best comic movies of all time when it came out, following a very strong 2nd movie and with the Director and cast all returning, this movie took the world by storm, breaking opening day box office records across the globe. All based on the strength of the 2nd movie and the hope for the 3rd. Hope sprouting form the trailer below. The end result though? The bastard child of a love spat between Director Sam Raimi and the studio execs. They insisted that Venom be shoehorned into the movie, which resulted in Raimi rewriting the script around a character he didn’t have faith in and giving us one of the only movies I’ve ever seen where I booed and wanted to walk out.
1.) Pearl Harbor
And to top our list, a movie trailer that instilled so much pride and implied history that I welled up each time I saw it. Back in 2001 Michael Bay wasn’t the joke he is now. Think about it, Bad Boys and The Rock were 2 of the 90’s best actin flicks, so when the Director of those movies made a WWII epic, and put out the trailer below, it was hard not to get excited. I went opening night, with 10 of my buddies. We were all about 18 at the time, and we were expecting a Saving Private Ryan type of night, but instead got a movie more comparable to Titantic, you know, minus the 11 Oscars. A 3-Hour love story in which the battle at Pearl Harbor makes up only about 40 minutes of. The rest of the movie is a chick-flick revolving around a love triangle with Ben Affleck and Josh Harnett both chasing after Kate Beckinsale.
Honorable Mention: AvP
So there you have it, my top ten movies that were unable to compete with their own trailers. What do you think, did I miss a big one? Something on here that shouldn’t be? Sound off in Comment Section Below…
3 thoughts on “10 Epic Trailers That Lead to Disappointing Movies…”
Bang-on list! Great job.
If Pearl Harbor were like Saving Private Ryan, you would’ve thrown up on the way there.
Great list, its amazing how trailers build the anticipation and are a craft in their own right when you consider that they are massive in getting people into the theatre. i would say that watchmen is an exceptional movie and is an amazing adaptation of a very difficult source and ranks for me as one the best comic book movies. you are spot on about all of the rest in your list, some pretty shambolic and majorly dissapointing movies. The Matrix sequels (apart from some memorable set pieces) failed miserably in delivering on the potential of the amazing first movie.