A good trailer can show you everything yet tell you nothing. Trailers have to sell the audience on a full movie in only two minutes. They have been known to move an audience emotionally and sometimes make them believe that if they skip that movie, they’re missing out. Most of the time, trailers do exactly what they’re supposed to: provide a quick, enticing example of the film without giving away too much. We’ve all seen many good and bad trailers, but what about those trailers that are so good, the movie can’t even come close to it? We found 10 of ’em. Turn down the lights and crank up the volume as we look at those previews that deserve more acclaim than the actual films they’re advertising. Don’t believe us? Check the movie scores and see for yourself.
1. Barb Wire (1996)
According to the trailer, Barb Wire is one of the greatest action movies ever made. This trailer promises gun fights, car chases, sex, explosions, and rock ‘n’ roll. Technically, all of those things are in the movie, but not in any way that’s good. You’ve got Pamela Anderson (probably the most successful Playboy Playmate of all time) at the height of her career, clad in tight leather, blowing stuff up. It’s based on a comic book (before everything was). What’s not to like about that movie? A lot. But this kick-ass trailer cut to Shampoo’s “Don’t Call Me Babe” is everything the feature wanted to be.
2. Driven (2001)
To be fair, the trailer for Driven does tell you flat-out that it’s from the same director (Renny Harlin) as Deep Blue Sea, but the pounding music and F1 footage really gets the blood pumping. This trailer promises a movie full of thrills, cheers, intensity, romance, drama, and Sylvester Stallone. Too bad the movie is a huge, silly snooze-fest. This movie premiered to very poor critical and audience reactions, and disappeared after two months when a little movie called The Fast and the Furious came out. Don’t be surprised if you missed this one. If your curiosity is piqued, it’s available to watch on Amazon.
Fact: The band White Zombie makes every movie trailer ten times better. The trailer for Escape From L.A. was clearly made before trailers had that “here’s-the-title-and-best-shot-of-the-trailer-you’re-about-to-start-watching-right-now” bumper at the beginning. This was also before trailers all started with their respective “bands” (green/red) every single time. The audience thinks the feature is about to start. Then, they laugh. Then, there’s confusion. Then, Snake Plissken! He’s back! Then you see the actual movie and realize it’s a loud, almost lazy sequel to a classic film. Though this movie is still appealing in a cheesy way, it’s nowhere near as good as the original. This trailer, however, represents all that is cool about the movie without the cheese.
4. Godzilla (1998)
It’s the late ’90s. The memory of Independence Day as one of the biggest movies you’ve ever seen is still fresh. You’ve also seen Jurassic Park a few times. You know who Godzilla is. Do the math. Imaginations were running wild at just how awesome it could be. As the movie release date got closer, we started seeing ‘Zilla popping up on fast food cups and music videos before anyone got a decent glance at the movie in an actual theater. After a full year of hype, we finally saw the movie…and it was quite a disappointment to say the least. But this trailer still rocks.
5. The Matrix Reloaded (2003)
The trailer for The Matrix Reloaded made audiences drool a little. The long wait was finally over. All of our questions would be answered. This was going to be the biggest movie of the year. This trailer blew people away, but the final product ended up being more confusing and awkward than anyone could have predicted. We were all bummed. Watching this trailer, you can just make up your own awesome story line. It might actually make more sense than the real one did.
6. Pearl Harbor (2001)
The Pearl Harbor trailer is classy, respectful, and emotional; basically everything the movie isn’t. But the idea of the director of Armageddon doing a brutal war film with modern effects and a hot young cast really didn’t sound like the worst ingredients for a hit. This was a trailer that made the audience well up in silence. It was to be a surefire Oscar-winning movie that everyone must see once in their life. There wouldn’t be a dry eye in the house. This was going to be difficult to watch…turns out, it was, but not in that way.
It’s hard to imagine a time when Star Wars wasn’t everywhere. This trailer premiered, and it was to be the first time a new Star Wars movie had graced the silver screen since the ’80s (not counting the re-release of the original trilogy in the ’90s). We didn’t see the terrible acting and writing. We hadn’t gotten to know Jar-Jar or that annoying little moppet, Ani. We didn’t see the crap. We saw the majesty. We smiled. We cheered. We cried. Then, we saw the movie, and fans have been divided ever since.
8. Streets of Fire (1984)
In case you’re now asking, “How did I miss this!?” remember there’s a reason for that. The Streets of Fire trailer promises an electrifying fast-paced “rock ‘n’ roll fable.” What it delivers is a campy slow-crawl with a few fun moments. This classic trailer offers a look at every great part of the film (minus the wonderful performances by The Blasters). In fact, the music in this movie is worth noting. Get your hands on the soundtrack, but ignore the movie. This trailer is all you need. Though, since you’re probably curious, the movie is also available on Amazon.
9. Sucker Punch (2011)
Some people say that if you don’t like Sucker Punch, you don’t get it. Yeah, um…we all got it. We just didn’t want it. This movie shouldn’t be boring, but it is. It’s pretty to look at, but the tone of the movie is so very off. The trailers for this movie were all awesome and hyped people up for months ahead of the movie’s release, especially this rarely-seen third trailer known simply as the “Painter” trailer, set to Silversun Pickups‘ “Panic Switch.” This little music video makes the movie look like the magnum opus it was intended to be.
10. Suicide Squad (2016)
Too soon? Tough. Even if you like Suicide Squad, you have to admit that it failed to live up to your expectations, expectations set by this awesome preview set to the song “Bohemian Rhapsody.” Queen has the same effect as White Zombie. (In no other context would that last sentence make sense.) This trailer is downright majestic, one of the best of all time. In fact, it was too good. The studio decided to hire the trailer creators to re-cut the actual movie, giving us the editing nightmare that we have today.
Catch every new trailer as soon as it premieres right here.