It’s the Christmas season, and you will be going to countless movies in order to avoid talking to the family you’re visiting. BUT WHICH ONES? It’s important that you be well informed before making these decisions. Sure, we haven’t seen these movies yet, but we’ve seen the trailers, and that’s enough. Join us!
Often times when reviewing a trailer there is more than one to chose from. There are many in fact. There are the 30 seconds TV spot trailers. There is the original teaser trailer. There is the red band trailer the regular theatrical trailer, which sometimes has up to three variations. The reason for so many different trailers are for all the different demographics. One trailer makes it seem like a romantic comedy, the other a mad cap romp and the third is for a film the entire family must see together so you can bond and love one another once again.
Because there are a variety of trailers I usually watch them all before I decide which I will be reviewing. For “Sherlock Holmes”, there are two theatrical trailers, both the exact same length. And for this review, I will be reviewing them both, against each other.
Trailer #1 v. Trailer #2
The first 33 seconds are the same, so we can skip that.
Now the raging river splits in two! In trailer #1 Sherlock Holmes says, “Well! There isn’t any time to waste then. Is there?” then hops out of his chair and jumps out a window while being shot at. In trailer #2 Sherlock Holmes says, “Well! There isn’t any time to waste then. Is there?” then we cut to him as he rolls on the ground and jumps out a window while being shot at.
I mean come on! Trailer #1 takes this round, obviously. Check the blogs, those of us who are the true fans, who’ve been waiting for this movie forever, want to see Sherlock hop out of his chair, NOT roll on the ground! What where they thinking? Babies roll on the ground, drunk people roll on the ground. Sherlock Holmes is a sophisticated detective! Hopping out of chairs is what I expect-nay DEMAND out of such a classic, historical pipe-smoking character.
Moving on, the next 32 seconds are exactly the same.
And here we go again with the crazy changes! In Trailer #1 while in fisticuffs with a side burned man, Sherlock Holmes punches him in the face. In Trailer #2 while in fisticuffs with a side burned man, Sherlock Holmes punches him in the side. Wow, talk about two different movies! If I EVER want to get my wife to see this movie I better not let her see trailer #1. She hates violence to the face. If trailer #1 is more honest to the actual film this may be a movie for “boys night out”. If trailer #2 is more like the movie truly is, then I’m bringing my lady and a wallet full of condoms, because afterwards I’m gettin’ laid. With that sweet fist slapping action against those sexy, sweaty abs, my wife’ll barely be able to contain herself. I wouldn’t be surprised if she made us leave the theater right then. Like I said, different trailer for different audiences. That’s marketing for ya!
There are no differences in the next 29 seconds, so I’ll skip right to the end where these two trailers really let their distinctive personalities shine.
In Trailer #1, after the credit montage there are a bunch of quick flashes of action scenes from the movie. We see Rachel McAdams, fire, a gun, someone trying to shoot Holmes, someone else trying to shoot Holmes, Holmes hitting someone with a billy club, Holmes tazering someone, then kicking the fisticuffs guy.
In Trailer #2, after the credit montage there are a bunch of quick flashes of action scenes from the movie. We see Rachel McAdams, fire, a coffin, a hood being lifted of Holmes, Holmes looking into a telescope, someone trying to kick Holmes, Holmes hitting someone with a billy club, Holmes jumping down, then kicking the fisticuffs guy.
After much deliberation, I gotta go with trailer #2 on this one. Now, before you get all defensive, let me explain my reasoning. In trailer #1, we see a gun, then two scenes with people shooting at Holmes. It seems like over kill to me, no pun intended. However, in trailer #2 we have someone trying to kick Holmes, which feels more naturally Holmsy to me. More of what I expect from a classic, action packed “Sherlock Holmes” movie. Trailer #1 also has a complete lack of any hood-pulling-off and trailer #2 not only has a scene where a hood is pulled off, it’s pulled off of Holmes, our hero! That’s a win for trailer #2 in my book. By far.
Also, in trailer #2 we also get a quick glimpse of some actual, possible detective work with the telescope, which is nice. I hope there is a few more seconds of that in the full film. Both trailers have the billy club moment, so that’s a wash. Finally, we have the tasering in trailer #1. I like Sherlock Holmes taking some guy’s hat for himself, but I definitely like Sherlock Holmes tasering some guy more. Classic Holmes, always tasering those bad guys. It must have happened in at least three of the original Sir Arthur Conan Doyle books. Therefore, I gotta give it to trailer #1. You’ve got the chair hop, the guy’s guy face punch and although there’s no hood removing or hat stealing, there is tasering. And with a trailer like that, this movie is definitely gonna be the classic historically accurate homage to the original Sherlock Holmes detective stories we all love so much.
Alvin and The Chipmunks: The Squeakquel
I had a harder time reviewing this trailer than I did trying to spell squeakquel, which is really saying something. Spell check still wants to kick me in the balls.
As a friend pointed out to me, here’s the thing: First, Betty Thomas directed this movie. She did “Private Parts”, “The Brady Bunch Movie”, The TV show “Dream On”, “The Late Shift”, etc. So, she’s pretty good. At least at making easy movies into actual good films. Next, we’ve got co-writers Jonathan Aibel and Glenn Berger. Writers for “King of the Hill”, they wrote “Kung-Fu Panda” and “Monsters Vs. Aliens”. Their next project is an Untitled Jack Black project. As far as voices by people you’ve heard of, there’s Justin Long, Anna Faris, Christina Applegate and Amy Poehler. Live action, you’ve got Jason Lee and David Cross. Not bad. Each of these people I have all enjoyed in more than one movie.
Here’s the kicker. Especially for a comedy nerd like me. The story is by John Vitti. You may not know his name, but you know his work. That favorite “Simpsons” you have? He either wrote, produced, story edited or was a creative consultant(joke writer) on it. He worked on 115 episodes, including Flaming Moe’s, Kamp Krusty, Itchy & Scratchy: The Movie, Marge Vs. The Monorail, Whacking Day, Homer’s Barbershop Quartet, Itchy and Scratchy Land, Homie the Clown, Who Shots Mr. Burns Part I and my personal favorite Lemon of Troy (Writers note: This original list was MUCH longer and was forcibly cut down by my wife who insisted no one cared. See the full list on IMDB). Not to mention he executive produced “The Larry Sanders Show”, wrote for “SNL”, “The Critic”, “King of the Hill” and “Undeclared”.
With all that…let’s check out the trailer! Or should I say, trailerS.
First, the teaser trailer on Apple’s website. Probably one of the most patient and easy going, but still fun and funny trailers I’ve ever seen. They do “The Simpsons” joke of them singing along with the 20th Century Fox song, they arrive at school and find…the Chipettes! They try and keep their cool while “I Wanna Know What Love Is” plays. And we’re out. Not bad. Nice job not getting in your own way, trailer.
But let’s not let this advertising off the hook that easy. The full trailer is next. And…it’s pretty cheese ball. Literally. They do a prat fall into some snacks, Dave asks “what was that,” and Alvin replies, “Uhhh…cheese ball?” I’m gonna give them the benefit of the doubt that they know what they were saying. The trailer goes back and forth between fairly hacky jokes and high pitch versions of pop songs. However, I don’t hate every joke and I can’t fault them for the music, that’s their roots, right? That’s how they cut their teeth. Doing piercing versions of old pop songs like “Uptown Girl”. I’ll admit I still like how they sing Huuuula Hoop in that one Christmas song.
All right, maybe I’m giving them all a bit too much credit because of their credits, but I don’t wanna hate everything. People need to make money! Recently, I washed dishes at a temp job. I needed the money. And to me, writing the story for Alvin and The Chipmunks: The Squeakquel is comparable to washing dishes for Jon Vitti. And hey, this trailer does make the movie seem bearable. Not that I’m going to “Get Munk’d” any time soon. But if some Friday night I come home drunk at 2:30 after a shitty week of temping to make money so I can continue to write free comedy content for a pop culture website and this movie is on HBO Family, I might just stay up watching it until 4:00 AM. Or whenever I pass out. You’re welcome.
When the first Avatar trailer came out, people were all like “what the F? What the hell is this movie about? Like, jungle aliens or some shit?” Admittedly, those people were me. And I was drunk. But the trailer was all visual, because it’s look was the only point on interest with the film. Hey, James Cameron, some people still go to the movies to see a story. Not just visual effects.
Luckily, somehow, someway the trailer creators heard me. And with their new full-length trailer they went WAY out of their way to tell me, through all very specific dialogue, exactly what was going on. In fact, this trailer is packed tighter with exposition than a force fed tur-duck-en.
So, here now, is every single line of exact exposition in the new trailer of Avatar. Word for word. Nothing had been changed to protect the innocent. Learn and enjoy….
“He is Jake Sully. Someone would like to talk to him about a fresh start. On a new world. He’ll be making a difference. He became a marine for the hardship. He told himself he could pass any test a man could pass. All he ever wanted was a single thing worth fighting. Ladies and gentleman, they are not in Kansas anymore. They’re on Pandora. You should see their faces. They have an indigenous population called the Nabee (sp?). They are very hard to kill. This is why they’re there. Because a little grey rock sells for 20 million a kilo. Their village happens to be resting on the richest deposit and they need to relocate. Those savages are threatening their whole operation. They are on the brink of war and you (Sigourney Weaver) are supposed to finding a diplomatic solution. It opens December 18th. The concept is to drive these remotely controlled bodies, called Avatars. They are grown from human DNA, mixed with DNA of the natives. A marine in an avatar body is a potent mix. If he gets them what he needs he’ll get his legs back, his real legs. Hell yeah. The Avatar looks like him and it is his Avatar. Relaxing and letting his mind go blank should be easy for him. It’s real simple, they want him to learn from the inside and wants him to gain their trust. He should not be there. He should go back. It is his fault. But he needs her help. Outstanding. He may have gotten lost in the woods and forgotten which team he’s playing for. He’s got one hour. He knew this would happen, but everything changed. It’s crazy here. The (mumbled word) is rolling and there’s no stopping him. They’re going up against gun ships with bows and arrows. He guesses they better start then. They’ve sent them a message that they can take whatever they want, but they will send them a message that THIS. THIS IS OUR LAND.”
Get it now? Yeah, me neither.
The Lovely Bones
Apparently, a lot of kids read this book in high school, so I was definitely interested to see how lovely these bones were. The first surprise? This movie is not a “lovely” version of Fox’s “Bones” starring Emily Deschanel and David Boreanaz solving crimes while pretending to have some sort of sexual chemistry that they clearly do not. Bummer.
Surprise two, Susan Sarandon is playing a grandmother! I officially feel old. I’m not saying she’s not still one foxy grandma, definitely a gilf. It’s just that Bull Durham, when she was a sexy seductress, doesn’t feel that long ago. Mmmm…. She can teach me to pitch any day. Actually, anybody can. I have no idea how and I think it’d be a cool thing to know.
Third surprise, spoiler alert, the girl gets murdered! I was NOT expecting that. And she got killed in the 70′s? I think someone forgot to tell the set and costume designers that part. Wow, I can’t believe she’s dead. Sad, right?
Side note: this trailer makes this movie look like Dawson’s Creek and Cold Case had sex, Dawson’s Creek got pregnant and nine months and eight days later a book was born. They named it, “The Lovely Bones”. Later they adapted that baby into a movie. And I watched a trailer for that baby’s adaptation on my computer. I guess the metaphor kind of breaks down at this point. The point is, this movie is a teeny-bopper forensics crime drama. Man, nobody can get enough of these crime dramas.
Fourth surprise is less a surprise and more of an observation. The guy they cast as the killer is the most perviest looking dude in the world! He definitely got that memo about the 70′s and stuck to it. Creepy, little, blonde perv mustache. Thinning comb over for his skeeved out hair. Perv sweater vest and big wire rimmed glasses. Even carrying a paper grocery bag, probably filled with phallic vegetables he’ll make super pervy jokes about to make us all uncomfortable. In fact, I’m convinced that the director saw the Reno 911 episodes about the Trukee River serial killer who Deputy Trudy Wiegel ended up dating and said, “make him look exactly like this.”
Surprise number five, the pervy dude is played by Stanley Tucci! Holy crap, that’s acting. I never want to be in a room with Stanley Tucci ever again. Seriously. He’s a skeevy perv now and forever to me. When I have kids they will never be allowed to meet Stanley Tucci.
Overall, I’m not 16, I don’t like the idea of kids dying and Tucci skeeves the shit out of me, so I will not be seeing this movie.
Writers Note: In this review, the word surprise was overused for added dramatic effect. In real life, I’m not that much of a wuss, being surprised by such little things. 9/11 surprised me, my wife telling that me that her mother was adopting a baby from China surprised me and how funny the movie “Good Burger” was surprised me. That’s about it. The rest is really just “peaked interest”. So if you ever re-read this piece, please replace the word “surprise” with “peaked-interest” accounting for grammatical correctness.
Did You Hear About the Morgans?
Welcome to Romantic Comedy Trailers 101. So, you want to make a trailer for a romantic comedy? It’s easy. Just follow along with “Did You Hear About the Morgans?” and you can! Step one: Start with one affable star who you feel vaguely sexual about. See him at work. In this case, Hugh Grant. Show him being powerful, funny, but not quite getting it. Here, Hugh speaks to his assistant about how one goes about buying a star as a gift. Perfect. Next, show the other side of the relationship. Also an affable and lightly sexual woman. In this case, Sarah Jessica Parker. Introduce her as frustrated. Here we see Parker at a restaurant frustrated with High Grant in their relationship. Once the individual characters have been established, expose their relationship/problem together. In our example trailer, we have a montage of Grant trying to make their relationship work while Parker is over it. This trailer does a wonderful job of adding text saying “Their marriage is a disaster” and “And it’s about to get worse”. Now, the big catalyst moment. What makes this movie different? Why do we care?
In our Morgans example the characters witness a murder together and need to be placed in the witness relocation program. Together. And can not divorce! MWaahahahaha!! Awesome. Classic! Oh man, this is going to be ca-RAZY!! With him. And her! TOGETHER!!! [This was an example of what your audience should be thinking. Not what I was thinking. I am smarter than this. I only laughed a little.]
Next is the fish out of water montage, like rich people in a Wal-Mart. We are hateful people and enjoy watching people act and feel stupid, especially if they are sexually superior to us, as both Grant and Parker are to you. Not me, though. Just saying. Also be sure to put in a topical reference that dates your movie. In our example, a Sarah Palin joke is used. Remember, this montage MUST be a music montage, with music.
Have your movie come out during the holiday season. Show text on the screen telling the audience this in a comfortable, thick font.
In all romantic comedy trailers we must show the promise of learning to be a better person. Typically, the woman will be the one to teach the man what he needs to know. The woman will already know everything and have very little to learn. Show this by using your funniest scene of the movie, something “outrageous” and highly physical. An outdoors urban activity always works well for this scene, such as water skiing, rock climbing, or in this case Hugh Grant having his pants down while he is attacked by a bear.
Note: NEVER FORGET to add the sassy black woman. She is your key to calling things out. If Wanda Sykes is unavailable, which she obviously was for “Did You Hear About the Morgans?” any overweight African-America woman will do as long as she’s extra sassy.
Finally, mix in the best one-liners and physical gags from the movie (sexual double entendres work best), a deep voiced announcer speaking the title of your film like he and us are sharing an inside joke, and the promise that yes, these two leads will definitely get back together. If these moments are not in your trailer NO ONE will see your movie. Especially not me. Heck, even if you do it right I still might not see it. I’m busy.
Fade to black and you’ve got a mathematically perfect romantic comedy trailer! Thank you for joining us today on Romantic Comedy Trailers 101.
For more example, see also “It’s Complicated” starring “Alec Baldwin, Meryl Streep and Steve Martin.
When you’re mastered this, we’ll move on to creating the perfect Oscar movie trailer using “Invictus.”
Ronnie Karam has been with TVgasm since 2006 , which has given him the opportunity to make fun of hundreds of TV's most loved and hated reality whores. His plan in life was to be Julia Roberts but that plan was stolen by, well, Julia Roberts. He'll get you one day, JULIA ROBERTS!! When not making himself giggle for the gasm, Ronnie performs improv and sketch comedy at IO West in Hollywood a couple of times weekly while using the lovely California days to audition for commercial roles such as "ADORABLE MEXICAN UNCLE". Seriously. He would like to thank Jesus, Buddha and Xenu for the blessings they've bestowed. The writers here are the best around, and he's honored to be associated with them. Find video archives at CankleTV.com, or follow on Twitter @flipit