Tagline: “What are the odds of getting even?”
Translation: We’re going out with a smirk.
The Gist: This kicks off with Al Pacino threatening an offscreen actor with “people who really know how to hurt in ways you can’t even imagine”—and it hits its stride when George Clooney nyah-nyahs, “I know all the guys you hired to come after me; they like me better than you.” The rest is a cavalcade of celebrities in ludicrous getups (like Don Cheadle in a star-spangled outfit) capped by another inimitable Clooney eye roll. A near-perfect use of star power.
Fantastic 4: Rise of the Silver Surfer
Tagline: Rise of the Silver Surfer.
Translation: Since the four main characters were kind of blah, we brought in a ringer.
The Gist: This dull trailer sets up one action shot—the Torch chasing the mysterious Silver Surfer—and rides it until the end. But since we’ve seen better chases (and effects) before, there’s no payoff—especially since the Surfer looks so generic.
Tagline: “Revenge is like a poison.”
Translation: Spidey goes dark.
The Gist: Sony nails three money shots that exemplify the franchise’s universal appeal: a romantic spiderweb, some horrific black goo, and web-slinging action. The only downside? The new baddie looks like the Mummy.
Tagline: “Our world will be transformed.”
Translation: Hey, Toy Story, wanna fight?
The Gist: For a film based on the evergreen Hasbro toys, Michael Bay’s sci-fi pitch flaunts the graphics. Yes, they’re unreal. And they’re stunning. Without revealing too much (just glimpses of robots), the techno action summons the apocalyptic cool of the Terminator movies—especially Shia LaBeouf, who faces the end days in a Strokes tee.
Translation: No, not just mice—Pixar mice.
The Gist: This trailer sells yet another toon about rodents—but this trailer does nothing to distinguish itself from the pack. Sure, the graphics are slick, but Pixar can’t trade on its name alone anymore.
The Simpsons Movie
Tagline: “In 2-D.”
Translation: Dumb as ever. Funny as ever.
The Gist: Mocking Pixar-style graphics, this trailer smartly avoids 3-D and the social satire you might expect. Instead, it distills the appeal of The Simpsons into one slapstick joke: Homer carefully aims for a nail, and just when you think he’s going to hammer his finger, he gouges his eye out instead. It hardly matters that you—“D’oh!”—know the punch line already.