The Daily Beast recently ran a feature of the spring’s “25 Hottest Movies”, and while browsing through the trailers for upcoming releases, I realized something. There are some really terrible trailers out there. I mean, trailers so bad they are actively turning me off of the movie they’re advertising. In some cases I think it’s a matter of cutting a good trailer being a dying art, but in others I think the movie itself is probably pretty bad. Let’s a take a look at some of the worst in movie advertising.
Clash of the Titans
The presence of Sam Worthington (Avatar) alone is enough to make hate this movie. I am not a Worthington fan. He’s expressionless, charmless, and arguably without talent. And if the rumors are true, he’s a bit of a prick, too. So that’s strike one. Strike two is the trailer. This movie might actually be good, despite Worthington, but the trailer is so jumbled up with action shots and overwrought moments I can’t get a clear picture of what’s going on. And Liam Neeson must be poor, because there is no reasonable explanation for his presence in multiple terrible-looking movies this year (The A-Team being the other one). I do like the concepts in Clash of the Titans; Zeus in sparkly armor is way better than Zeus in a toga, and today’s computer technology is much more suited to this kind of SFX extravaganza than the technology of 1981, when Clash was first released. The trailer also gets editing points for joining action and music so perfectly. However, if you don’t already know the story, the trailer tells you zip about what’s going on, and just when you’re being amazed by something mythical like Medusa or the Kraken, it cuts back to Worthington’s blank face. FAIL.
Saturday Night Live movies are always risky. While there are some great ones like The Blues Brothers and Wayne’s World, there are so many more that suck. Superstar comes to mind. I fear MacGruber will join the “sucks” pile, despite the presence of two of SNL’s strongest performers, Will Forte (hugely underrated), and Kristen Wiig. The movie also has traditionally good Val Kilmer (The Bad Lieutenant, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang), Powers Boothe (TV’s Deadwood), and Ryan Phillippe (Stop-Loss, Breach), as well as inevitable appearances from SNL alum like Maya Rudolph (Away We Go) and Bill Hader (Adventureland). Despite its good looking cast, this movie looks lameshits based on the trailer. “MacGruber” is a MacGyver parody sketch, and Forte can deliver laughs with his straight-faced earnestness, but even in ninety-second short form, “MacGruber” more often than not falls flat on SNL. I worry deeply about a ninety minute movie, and the trailer does nothing to alleviate those concerns.
Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time
Oh…this movie will be so bad. Brought to you by the people behind Pirates of the Caribbean, Prince of Persia is the big-screen adaptation of the enormously popular video game of the same name. Bad sign #1: Video game movies are usually pretty fucking bad. Bad sign #2: The casting of Jake Gyllenhaal. He’s a good actor and he got insanely in shape to play the sword-slinging prince, but he’s white. Can we not cast an ethnic actor in this role? This is a very high-profile movie, even if it does look terrible. It might have been nice of Disney to exert themselves and promote actors of non-Caucasian descent. There are some very talented and attractive Middle Eastern actors out there. Let’s audition those guys. You don’t have to cling 100% to the video game, but getting the ethnicity of the main character right seems like a good place to start. Bad sign #3: Jake G’s accent and hair. Looks terrible, sounds terrible, will only add to the overall terribleness of the movie. Bad sign #4: Disney held this movie for a year. I don’t care what reasons they gave (they ranged from not wanting to compete with Transformers 2 to something to do with the potential SAG strike), you don’t hold back movies you’re confident in. I can only assume from the delay that Disney is aware this movie is bad.
Sex and the City 2
Do we still have to care about Carrie Bradshaw and her horrible, self-involved friends? I always hated Sex and the City for its shallow view on women, but the later seasons did see some growth and maturation among the ladies. Except for Carrie–she remained as selfish and petulant as ever. I found the whole SATC thing horrifying and unlikeable, and the movies only add to my contempt. It’s a fucking recession–people are out of jobs, losing their pensions, dealing with real hardship. Who wants to see four slutty women fucking their way through a movie about spending and the high life that never stops? Now, if this movie was about Mr. Big losing everything and he and Carrie having to learn to live on a budget like the rest of us–maybe. Also, for a concept that’s supposed to be about celebrating the magnificence of New York City, it looks like a good portion of the movie happens in a non-New York desert. That’s just false advertising.
Shrek Forever After
Please stop making Shrek movies. Please. Stop.
Wall Street 2: Money Never Sleeps
I hate titles with colons. Either call this movie Wall Street 2 or call it Money Never Sleeps. This might actually be a good movie. The cast is solid, headlined by Shia LaBeouf (Transformers, Eagle Eye), Carey Mulligan (An Education), and an unfrozen Michael Douglas reprising his role as Gordon Gekko. Oliver Stone directs, and the story centers on the run-up to the 2008 stock market crash, with Gekko recently released from prison and LaBeouf’s Jacob Moore being the young trader who partners with Gekko to bring attention to the pending crisis. Also, there’s some sort of mystery subplot about a murder, which seems pretty ancillary and unneeded. Stone can be a good director when he keeps a lid on his crazy, and Douglas can be a good actor when his face actually moves. If those two things happen in Wall Street 2, we may be in for a treat. However, the trailer is uninformative and lame, and has me checking the “for Netflix” box next to its title.