Fine, I’ll Say It: This is a Crappy Trailer for Lincoln


Yes, everyone is super excited for Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln, which will almost assuredly have Daniel Day Lewis win another Oscar for his make-up job alone. I, too am looking forward to the film, but I have to say that good lord, Spielberg needs to remember how to fashion a compelling trailer.

What we see above is “War Horse with Abraham Lincoln,” as in, way, way too much melodrama and random, unmeaningful scenes strung together with John Williams playing over them. Not to say that the movie won’t be good, but this trailer is a bit too saccharin for me. And after seeing War Horse? I’m worried Spielberg might be going a bit too sentimental for his own good lately.

Perhaps this is all blasphemy, but I had to say something. Hopefully future trailers will inspire more confidence than this one.

  • E. Lee Zimmerman

    Well, to be fair (and to the best of my knowledge), trailers edits are not done by the director; they’re usually overseen by some stooge in marketing and press relations … but I’ll see your sentiments, and I’ll raise you some schmalz. For my tastes, Spielberg and historical revisionism lost my interests probably a decade ago. It isn’t that he doesn’t continue churning out respectable films; they just don’t seem to have any heart any more. At this point, I’d rather see “Michael Bay’s LINCOLN” than I would “Steven Spielberg’s LINCOLN.”

  • David R

    Like Zimmerman said, trailers are made to sell product. For every trailer I see that accurately reflects the movie it’s selling, there’s another that simply doesn’t. War Horse did well, King’s Speech did well, and it will be a long time before people stop advertising historical dramas this way.

    Where I do disagree with Zimmerman is that Spielberg’s heart isn’t in his craft anymore. War Horse wasn’t exactly a challenging movie, but it was a well-crafted, surprisingly effective piece of Old Hollywood feel-good film. Tintin had loads of energy and visual innovation; moreso than maybe any other animated movie I’ve seen to date in some ways. And I generally like the Spielberg that’s been around since, oh, Saving Private Ryan. I can’t think of a movie of his that’s come out since then that I just didn’t care for.

    (It’s frankly difficult for me to take anybody completely seriously if they’re willing to put Michael Bay over Steven Spielberg, for any facet of a director’s skill set. But I’m trying, Zimmerman, I really am.)

    That said, I’ll be disappointed if Spielberg has decided to actually take the Amistad approach to this movie, but I’m not willing to bet that opinion on a trailer that says little more than “There’s a Lincoln movie on the way.” Especially when you have someone as choosy as Daniel Day-Lewis in the cast list.

  • dolaction

    I believe it comes down to Lincoln’s voice. I’ve been to historical places where Lincoln’s voice boomed and echoed throughout the museum and I got goosebumps. I felt like I was watching a “Tropic Thunder” version of the film, it just doesnt seem right. Maybe because I expect it to be more epic than the man, or maybe the man was more epic than we will ever know. He is more of a myth or legend these days, but I guess that comes with the passing of time.

  • Johnny

    Considering the movie comes out in four months, I doubt we’ll get many more trailers. Maybe one more a month before release.

  • Benny

    Yeah as someone mentioned before, no one involved with the film has anything to do with the creation of trailers, that’s all the studio so have a go at them. Even so far to the extent that not even John Williams would have done the score for the trailer, why would he? The studios usually hire some no-name or even more commonly they just use stock music they have in their archives. It’s a pretty standard affair.

  • eLTeezy

    Too many flippin’ slow-fade transitions! Kept making me blink and my eyes feel stupid!

  • Plank

    I couldnt agree more. The film looks like your typical overly sentimental drivel that leaks out of Speilbergs ass. I can’t wait for 2 hours of facial reaction shots and an absurd happy ending.

  • MetFanMac

    @dolaction, this is definitely a case of Reality Is Unrealistic, as many contemporary accounts decribe Lincoln as having a high-pitched voice. (Reminds me of a bit of lampshading in the Crichton novel “Timeline”, where people sent back in time to record historical events (including the Gettysburg Address!) deliver disappointing videos because of how prosaic or unheroic the actual historical events were.)