I like getting to movies a little early. To find a good seat, sure, and to leave myself some time to stand on the concession line in case I’m in the mood for some popcorn or candy. (I prefer Junior Mints.) But there’s another reason. For me the experience starts just as the lights dim, 10 to 15 minutes before the feature presentation, and the screen is awash in a bright, vibrant green.
I love trailers. Watching them online is, next to Facebook, my absolute favorite way to procrastinate. If you haven’t tried this primo method of time-wasting, I seriously recommend it. Every now and then there will be a trailer that is so beautiful, so well crafted, it overshadows the film it precedes. The trailer that makes you forget what movie you came to see, and leaves you disappointed when you remember. Here are a few that have stood out in recent memory.
A common blockbuster companion this summer was the Spike Jonze-directed adaptation of Maurice Sendak’s beloved “Where The Wild Things Are.” If you haven’t seen this one yet, someone has probably asked you if you have. Take the hint. Square away 2 ½ minutes for yourself and watch it.
I was admittedly skeptical when I heard that the 300-word children’s book was to be turned into a full-length feature. But the trailer, at least, has pushed any fears I had aside. The Dave Eggers script seems whimsical and poignant, and the aesthetics are spot on. I’m not sure they could have animated the wild things any better. That, plus the scoring by Arcade Fire, rounds out a preview that honestly made me tear up the first time I saw it. The movie comes out October 16. I might camp out.
Wes Anderson, king of the instant cult classic, has lent his directorial Midas touch to another children’s book adaptation, Roald Dahl’s “Fantastic Mr. Fox.” Although the film uses stop motion animation, the attention to detail and rich use of color that have become Anderson’s trademarks are still there. The trailer is pure fun and worth a repeat viewing — or three. And see if you can put names to voices. Anderson’s gang is back together again, with Bill Murray, Owen Wilson, Jason Schwartzman and others, with the addition of George Clooney and Meryl Streep DRA ’75 as Mr. and Mrs. Fox.
And then there’s the trailer for “Sherlock Holmes.” I honestly still don’t know how I feel about this one. In short, and with utter objectivity, the trailer kicks ass. The movie is a sexy Hollywood retelling of the classic detective stories by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, starring Robert Downey Jr. as the title role and Jude Law as his faithful assistant, Watson.
The trailer includes, in no particular order, a pagan ritual or two, a cloaked bad guy, a five-story dive into the Thames, a possible ninja, a scruffy Downey Jr. in a bare-chested boxing match and a violent and corseted Rachel McAdams. Gun shots, knife fights, high-speed carriage chases. What the trailer lacks in integrity it certainly makes up for in excitement. I’m intrigued, for sure.
One trailer that I in fact discovered procrastinating, while writing this very article is “The Men Who Stare At Goats,” starring George Clooney (again) and Ewan McGregor. The film is a supposedly true story about a reporter who stumbles upon a top-secret branch of the military that trains psychic soldiers. The clips are funny and exciting and feature Jeff Bridges as a drug-addled, hippy squad leader (The Dude in camo?).
The trouble with an infatuation with movie trailers is that far too often the actual movies don’t live up to expectations. But that’s also the trouble with reality. The trailers are the future; the trailers are our hopes of good things to come. Here’s to hoping.