I shy away from writing top tens as much as I used to these days, but I’m coming out of retirement for something I’m very passionate about, the best trailers of the year. I fully believe that a good trailer can make or break a movie’s box office success in some cases, and I really appreciate the work that goes into making a good one.
I think there were a very decent numbers of great trailers this year, but I had to narrow it down to ten now that it’s December and I’ve seen all the ones that will be out before year’s end. Tell me if you disagree, and shout out your own suggestions, but here are the top ten best trailers of the year:
Ed. Note: Some of these trailers won’t embed because studios are jackasses about copyright. But you can watch them by clicking the thing that says “Watch on YouTube.” It might actually be better since they’re bigger format over there.
Avatar ranks pretty low on this list, and almost was left off entirely due to the fact that it turned a lot of people off to the film thanks to a heaping helping of blue alien weirdness. But this second trailer I found to be way more engrossing than the first, and there is just no denying the epicness of the action sequences near the end, and it really hits home that this will actually be a good movie once they start flashing the names of all Cameron’s past films.
I’m always a sucker for a mostly dialogue-less trailer, but the added heaping helping of gorgeous ladies swarming around Daniel Day Lewis make a trailer to remember for a whole different set of reasons.
8. Inglourious Basterds
Using Pitt’s fantastic speech from the film is a great way to succinctly sum up at a nearly three hour long movie, add that to some good old fashioned Nazi torture, and we have ourselves a great trailer.
7. District 9
The pseudo-documentary vibe of the District 9 trailer has a Cops meets City of God meets Men in Black type feel to it, and it was a much needed step up from the original “alien interrogation” trailer that was first released for the film.
6. 500 Days of Summer
One of my favorite films of the year, and I think it had one of the best trailers as well. It’s hard to compete with all the action movie nonsense flying abound, but the use of The Temper Trap’s Sweet Disposition set against the love affair of JGL and Deschanel made me watch this one on repeat for a while this summer.
5. Star Trek
Every doubt people had about this project faded away the minute this action packed trailer launched. It’s a nice little origin story in itself, as we see Kirk’s rise to power and it frames Eric Bana’s Nero as a very formidable opponent. The “fire everything!” line and the result space fight is one of the best moments in any of these trailers
4. Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince
It’s hard to say just what is so amazing about this Harry Potter trailer, as you would think by now we’ve seen it all before. But the mix of action, comedy and amazing visuals still send chills down my spine even though I’ve read this book three times and seen the movie twice.
3. Terminator Salvation
Yes, the film was a trainwreck, and actually a lot of it has to do with this trailer. The moment of revelation that Sam Worthington’s Marcus Wright is a Terminator makes this trailer pretty fantastic. However, if they had kept that a secret and saved it for the film, in my opinion the movie would have benefited greatly from that twist.
2. Where the Wild Things Are
I’m surprised a non-action film got this high in the list, but there is no denying how excellent this trailer is. The Arcade Fire’s Wake Up paired with the fairytale visuals of the film is a perfect whimsical combination. If only the film itself was this good.
It’s hard to pick which of these two trailers for Watchmen was better, so I put them both up. The first uses The Smashing Pumpkin’s The Beginning of the End is the Beginning and the second hits you with a combo of Philip Glass’s Prophecies and Pruit Igoe followed by Muse’s Take a Bow. Paired with the slo-motion visual orgy that Zack Snyder is oh-so good at, and you have the best trailer(s) of the year.