So, my penchant for reviewing indie horror and foreign films (as well as my obsessive analyzing of classics) will no doubt lead some folks to the conclusion that I'm a total movie-elitist-slash-film snob... which doesn't really upset me all that much, if only because I kinda am...
This admission aside, you might think such preferences wouldn't necessarily translate to film #trailers, but I'm here to confess to you all that it absolutely does, -albeit, unintentionally.
I mean, don't get me wrong, I think there are some totally solid genre-film trailers... For example, Saving Private Ryan. Also too, 2014's Godzilla promo (and while the actual film was quite a disappointment in my estimation, nevertheless it had a great trailer that actually exceeded the very movie from which it was made). So, see? I'm not intentionally snobbish w/r/t my trailer preferences...
And to be fair, if this was a top 20, or maybe even top 10 list, then sure, Saving Private Ryan and Godzilla (among others) would probably make the cut. They definitely get honorable mentions, either way.
But top 5?
Top 5 is sacred, man. A top 5 list should represent the pinnacle of style, artistry, and mastery, which pretty much guarantees that the totally snobby part of myself needs to be given free range to over-analyze anything and everything until any trailer that is less than perfect is filtered out, and only the crème de la crème remains.
And so. Below represents just such a list for your consideration, contemplation, derision, and / or mockery. (I welcome all of the aforementioned).
5. Terrence Malick's TREE OF LIFE (2011)
An avante garde trailer for an avante garde film. This is in my top 5 if for no other reason than its beauty. #TerrenceMalick, the master of the anti-plot, non-linear storytelling and au naturale lighting has given trailer-makers a lot of material from which to craft a preview that is almost as artful and numinous as the film itself. Bonus points for creating something so moving and elegant without having to resort to an accentuating text or voice over. A great example of letting the imagery speak for itself!
4. Darren Aronofsky's REQUIEM FOR A DREAM (2000)
Frenetic editing, bizarre camera angles, and trance-inducing light-work make both the film and trailer for #RequiemForADream unforgettable. If you've seen the movie, then you know that this 1 and 1/2 minute spot is the perfect amalgam of the visual hyperkenetics that #Aronofsky is known for, particularly in his early work. I'm pretty sure that a trailer this innovative will always pique my interest, no matter what the film is about, plot or theme wise.
3. Ridley Scott's ALIEN (1979)
#Alien is nearly 40 years old, and this trailer still scares the bejesus out of me. Considering that the film itself was so terrifying (for its time) that it purportedly had audience members vomiting and running out of the theater, little surprise then that the promo created for it could easily be it's own visceral short film about the very nature of fear itself. Well done, Scott & Co. Well done.
2. Daniel Myrick and Eduardo Sánchez's THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT (1999)
There are some trailers that you just never forget seeing for the first time. The original #BlairWitch promo is, for me, one such trailer. It was the summer before my junior year of high school, some random night wherein I had stayed up irresponsibly late, and there it appeared before me on good old cable television. Whatever show or movie I was watching would soon be forgotten, but the commercial for the first ever "found footage" horror film would never leave me. Which I'm guessing is precisely the point. So, say what you want about the film itself, but Myrick and Sánchez stumbled onto advertising gold with this one.
1. Spike Jonze's ADAPTATION (2002)
The reason this is and always will be my all-time favorite trailer is because I have never seen a promo -before or since- that so perfectly and succinctly captures everything the feature-in-question is about. Not to mention it's set to Queen's "Under Pressure," (this is the perfect song for the film, both in mood and lyrical content) and actually manages to highlight (without spoiling) every single main character, theme, and plot point... This hasn't been accomplished with such adept precision in all of film history as far as I'm concerned, and it's a truly great work of art as far as trailers go.
Well, that's my list. I'm sure there are other trailers out there of equal value or, perhaps even better. This just represents one guy's personal take, and as such, I look forward to reading any further insights/opinions /trailer suggestions in the comments section!
Thanks for reading! ~JD.
What is your favorite movie trailer?