07
Feb
12

Super Spots 2012

Darth Vader wasn't too keen on this year's crop of Super Bowl trailers. And he wasn't the only one.

The Super Bowl. Probably the single biggest sports day in America every year. With approximately 111 million people tuning in to this year’s game, it’s understandable why commercial spots reportedly were coming in at $3.5 million for 30 seconds–with a captive audience you know your commercial is going to be seen by a lot of people.

With that in mind, I didn’t think this year’s crop of trailers provided any Earth-shattering splashes. Almost all the trailers shown this year employed a good mix of combining new and old footage. What I didn’t like this year was the whole “teasing” or “previewing” and even releasing of trailers and commercials days before they were to air. To me, you spend all this money to play it before a captive audience and I just feel it dilutes the commercial by releasing it online before the game. Isn’t the point to try and make people stay to watch your commercial and not give them a reason to not watch it during the game? I don’t know, maybe that’s just me.

In any case, there were some things that got me excited for the upcoming crop of films that we’re going to get later this year. A thing to remember about these “mini-reviews” is that they mainly talk about the level of excitement that I felt for the film after watching the trailers AND NOT on the potential quality of the films.

THE HUNGER GAMES :: Pre-Game :: Excitement Level: 4/5

As we’re only about six weeks out from release, it only made sense that Lionsgate released a trailer from the film. While there was old footage shown, I thought we got a lot great new footage as well. Of the new stuff that we saw, I think I enjoyed seeing the interaction between Stanley Tucci’s TV host character and the District 12 tributes in the scenes where they’re being interviewed. The sacrifice of the Reaping and the hardship of the games themselves were definitely conveyed well in the trailer as well. On a side note, fans will be happy to know that this trailer wasn’t just limited to being seen during the Super Bowl. The minute long trailer is also a theatrical trailer and will be playing in front of select movies at a theater near you.

21 JUMP STREET :: Pre-Game :: First Reaction :: Excitement Level: 3/5

I thought there were some really great one-liners that this trailer brought out that definitely are playing up the comedic vibe of the film. I don’t really recall ever watching the TV series, but I don’t think it was a comedic television series. Jonah Hill we all know can bring the funny and hopefully by playing off straight-man Channing Tatum will make the new 21 Jump Street a fun action comedy.

 

GHOST RIDER: SPIRIT OF VENGEANCE
Pre-Game :: Trailer :: First Reaction :: Excitement Level: 2/5

Wasn’t too excited by this trailer. Probably the best thing going for it is that there seems to be some really well done CGI action sequences which come through from the trailer. Other than that, there’s not too much to write home about.

ACT OF VALOR :: Pre-Game & 4th Qtr :: First Reaction(s) :: Excitement Level: 4/5

Probably what I liked best about this trailer was that they mixed great footage with Eminem’s Not Afraid–which by itself was pretty good to begin with. However, what really made it better was that they sync’d it to the chorus; which I thought really fit with the theme of the film and the scenes they showed in the trailer. Inspirational, harrowing, a sense of brotherhood . . . all the things Navy SEALS represent or convey.

 

SAFE HOUSE
Pre-Game :: Trailer :: First Reaction :: Excitement Level: 3/5
I think it’s safe to say that anytime you have Denzel Washington going guns-blazing, in hot hot heat, and getting into Ryan Reynold’s head (which all appear in this trailer) . . . you’re going to end up with a fun time at the movies. The trailer plays up the movie’s strengths: the chemistry between the two leads and showcasing the action. Formulaic to be sure, but it’s got everything you need for a solid star driven action film.

THE DICTATOR
Pre-Game :: Trailer :: First Reaction :: Excitement Level: 2/5
I actually think it was a good movie to cut this trailer for the Super Bowl. With the exception of the introduction about knowing the final score of the game, all the footage is from the current theatrical trailer. When it played, everyone at my viewing party seemed to get pretty good laughs out of it–a good indicator that the current trailer hasn’t had too much exposure. Personally, I’m not a Sacha Baron Cohen fan, but like I said, good exposure for the film.

BATTLESHIP :: 2nd Quarter :: First Reaction :: Excitement Level: 3/5

I don’t know if it was a good thing or a bad thing that for maybe the first 10-15 seconds of this trailer, people thought that it was another installment of the Transformers franchise. I will say that I liked seeing a lot of new footage of the aliens and a lot more action sequences. What definitely troubles me is that we actually saw the aliens themselves and I don’t ever recall the last time we’ve ever had “cool looking” aliens. After seeing the new footage in this trailer I’m a little bit more excited for the film, and hopeful as well because it was partly shot in Hawaii.

JOHN CARTER
2nd Quarter :: Trailer :: First Reaction :: Excitement Level: 1/5
I just don’t know what it is about this film, but I can’t really get excited for anything about it. I thought the clip-collaging in the shape of the film’s title was the most uninspiring thing in the world. It was as if the title of the film is more important than showing us what it’s about. Granted the extended version (linked above) shows more full screen footage that shows off the film, but what we saw during the game didn’t have that. Not good when you only have a few seconds to make a great (or not so great) impression.

DR SEUSS’ THE LORAX
2nd Quarter :: Trailer :: First Reaction :: Excitement Level: 3/5
I have no idea what The Lorax is about, but I do know it’s vibrantly animated and appears to have a few good laughs. What I like is that even though the film is from a different production company and studio than the previous Seuss movie (Horton Hears a Who), it pretty much looks to have the exact same style–definitely a good thing as those that liked Horton will probably come back for more. It should also bring in people who like great animation as well.

STAR WARS: EPISODE I – THE PHANTOM MENACE
2nd Quarter :: Trailer :: First Reaction :: Excitement Level: 1/5
What I didn’t like about this trailer was the fact that they mixed in footage from the Original Trilogy (OT). I can sort of understand why they did it (it’s because Episode I kicks off the entire trilogy in 3D), but it really felt like they were trying to bamboozle people by saying that the OT films will be in 3D.

THE AVENGERS :: 2nd Quarter :: First Reaction :: Excitement Level: 5/5

This was by far my favorite trailer from this year’s Super Bowl and I was actually kind of surprised because I hadn’t heard any pre-game buzz about a new trailer coming out. What I liked was that we saw the superheroes working together more in the clips in this trailer. The best part definitely had to be towards the end where there was the camera shot spinning around the team–talk about money shot. Then to top it all off, in the extended version (embedded above) the final sequence is of the Hulk jumping in the air and taking down some flyers. Can’t wait for May!

G.I. JOE: RETALIATION :: 2nd Quarter :: First Reaction :: Excitement Level: 4/5

You have to admit, the visuals alone definitely make this movie look exciting. The film is based off a cartoon so some of the more “out there” moments have to be expected . . . I just hope that they learned their lesson from the first installment and allocated more of the budget to the CG effects AND a better story. The Rock seems to be a solid choice to be in the film, especially since he looks almost like his character from Fast Five. Though I think the addition of Willis maybe a bit over the top.

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This year’s Super Bowl also featured a number of movie related commercials that weren’t movie trailers. I thought it was a cool and smart move by these companies to go this route as it definitely offered a different hook for their spots and overall I felt left a good impression with viewers. Something else that stood out was that a lot of the spots were also directed by feature film directors as well.

Honda CR-V’s ‘Matthew’s Day Off’ :: Directed By – Todd Phillips (dir. The Hangover)

It was probably one of the most anticipated commercials going into the weekend . . . before Honda released the trailer online. They did a really great job of teasing the spot by releasing a short 10 second teaser the Thursday going into the weekend. However, by the next day the full spot was online, which I definitely think deflated its appearance during the game. Nevertheless, I liked the spot and how it riffed off of Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, though I didn’t really notice the car in the commcercial. An extended 2+ minute version was also cut and released. In the extended version, there are more Day Off references and more shots of the CR-V.

VW’s ‘The Dog Strikes Back’ :: Directed by – Lance Acord (cinematographer – Where the Wild Things Are)

The movie reference in this commercial doesn’t happen till the end, but I thought it was really fun that VW referenced their Super Bowl spot last year by putting Darth Vader in the Mos Eisley Cantina as a post-credit stinger of sorts. Short, sweet, smart, and funny.

Chrysler’s ‘Halftime in America’ :: Directed by – David Gordon Green (dir. Pineapple Express)

Aside from The Avengers, I’d have to say that this was the commercial that I liked the most. The only movie reference that you’ll find in this commercial is that actor turned director Clint Eastwood narrates and appears in the spot. It’s edited together very movie trailer-like with Eastwood’s narration providing inspirational and uplifting words. Though I thought the metaphor was a little off, I still thought it was really well done and built on their “Imported From Detroit” message that they started last year with the Eminem Super Bowl spot.

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With another Super Bowl in the books, luckily us moviegoers won’t have to wait till the fall to see if the excitement from these trailers is warranted. Was there a particular trailer from the big game that you liked or another movie related commercial that I missed? Hit us up in the comments to let us know and share your thoughts!

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