Good trailer, bad movie: the films we were duped into seeing


Have you ever watched a trailer that got you excited about a movie? I hope so, seeing as that is their main purpose. It’s supposed to get you excited and bring you into the theater, right? It’s such a rewarding feeling when the goodwill that a film’s trailer has built up is rewarded with a satisfying final product.

It’s also a kick in the teeth when the film does not live up to that potential or just flat out stinks. It’s time to take a look at some of those trailers whose quality didn’t exactly portray what kind of a mess we were stepping into. When trailers are used properly they are a boon to any movie, but if it doesn’t accurately portray the finished product it is not doing the movie or itself any favors. These trailers did their job of getting some of us into the theater, but they couldn’t stop us from walking out.

Sucker Punch

Sucker Punch - Trailer #1

Let’s start off with the movie trailer that inspired this article. Sucker Punch was directed by Zack Snyder and it shows. Snyder has always had a talent for visuals, but his films are often lacking in actual story and characters. This trailer pumped that up to 11. It starts off giving you just a hint of the story. You can piece together that the main character is in a very bad home situation and she’s somehow placed in an institution. She’s intent on escaping and she can do that by going into these imagined realities to search for five items. The trailer then goes bonkers and throws everything at you at once. You’ve got nazi zombies, dragons, robots, jetpacks, bunny assault mechs, shadow ninjas, and a buttload of action. I still associate the song ‘Panic Switch’ with this trailer. When that song kicks in the trailer just ramps up and is firing on all cylinders.

I was so excited about what could be done with this movie when I saw this trailer. I thought someone had gone and ripped the most interesting scenarios out of their imagination and that would be on full display. Instead, there was a story that felt like a kind of Inception rip-off that squandered the actors involved in it. Oscar Issac is in this for goodness sake! The crazy worlds we saw were essentially video game levels, one for each item, and there was no rhyme or reason to them. Why are they fighting nazi zombies to get a map? Why is obtaining a knife shown in her mind as fighting robots on a bullet train? Most video games have more creativity in their levels than what was presented here. It had such promise, but all of the imagination on display was just window dressing for a rather shallow experience. This is easily the most disappointed I’ve been with a movie after being so excited by a trailer.


This is a polarizing one. Prometheus is the prequel to the Alien series that didn’t really want to bother being a prequel. It may have fared better had it chosen to be its own thing or to more faithfully devote itself to being an Alien prequel, but it did neither. It tries to do both and fails.

The trailer starts off with some of the beautiful imagery that the whole movie boasts. It starts breaking down the basic premise. Scientists have found a map that was left on Earth and they want to go explore where it leads. The trailer starts building up the tension and offers glances at the environment that raise so many questions about what is going on, where the story is going, and a whole host of other mysteries. You get glimpses of the space jockey and the crashed ship from the original Alien. The music builds to a fever pitch with the intensity of what is going on, driving you to have further interest in the film and piquing your curiosity about how it connects to the Alien franchise..

Unfortunately, as you may have guessed, it never quite gets there in the movie itself. The movie is very happy to ask questions and present interesting philosophical quandaries but doesn’t seem to have a desire to answer any of them. What was with that giant head? It’s just a head apparently. How does this connect to the first Alien movie? It doesn’t really, except in very broad strokes. Is that the space jockey from the first movie? It is not and that crazy head is actually a mask. Is there a xenomorph? Not really, and what is there kind of screams “This is sort of connected to Alien but not really!” Seeing this movie was wholly disappointing because it didn’t feel like it brought anything to the table that validated it to exist. The trailer promised what couldn’t be delivered. We didn’t need an Alien prequel and this made that case apparent.

The Perfect Score

The Perfect Score - Trailer

I will not blame a single soul if you did not know that this movie existed. The Perfect Score came out in the early 2000s and does it ever show. It was actually the first movie that Chris Evans and Scarlett Johansson were in together, which is kinda the only thing of note about it.

However, the trailer is awesome. It starts off with one of those math problems that made your head spin in school. I’ve never actually sat down to try and figure this one out, but maybe it’s not as difficult as I remember? (I’m not in school anymore so I keep my distance from such things.) It then goes into the generic, but fine intros for characters and their motivations. The thing that is obvious in hindsight is how certain lines and reactions are taken from different scenes that are miles apart in the movie to create a good back and forth. This is common in plenty of trailers, but the interactions in the trailer are better than the actual movie! There’s also something about the way that Chris Evans says thievery that shows that the man was born to play Captain America.

The 2000s trailer song then kicks in and the trailer hits its stride. There’s some teenage outrage, daydreamed scenarios, and what feels like genuine heart coming when a character is asked if they could be anything what would they be. This trailer came at the perfect point in time for me. A teenager who was gearing up for SATs myself and getting all the questions of what do you want to with your future. I was excited to see this because I felt like it was speaking to me and would have the kind of genuine emotion that seemed to be coming towards the end of the trailer. Nope. That scene in the trailer is not even in the movie. The movie itself is incredibly bland. It’s inoffensive but it is light on laughs, plot, and character development. It hurts when you think a movie will vibe with you and act as  a reflection for everything you are going through and then it just ends up being forgettable.

Battle: Los Angeles

Official BATTLE: LOS ANGELES Trailer

Wow, what a trailer. This may be one of the best trailers I’ve ever seen. It’s not the best at reflecting the product that you are getting, but as far as pulling some emotion the visuals and song combining really get it done. The trailer starts off by showing photographic “evidence” of UFOs throughout the years. Then that song kicks on. What a perfect piece of music to set this tone of despair. The use of muted sound effects from the movie to add emphasis to events happening is key. The military is gearing up, we are on the back foot, and an alien invasion is kicking off. All the action keeps ramping up as things look more and more hopeless. Shaky cam footage and news reports painting a picture that we are losing all over the globe. The action keeps a tone of “we are fighting back but we are losing.” It also brings an element of a horror movie with people are being dragged away and the threat of aliens right behind you. It ends on such a melancholy tone that you are curious to see how this could all go down.

It is no shock to you at this point that the movie in the trailer is hardly what we get. This movie retains almost none of the tone put forth in this trailer and none of the subtlety. Most of the footage used for the trailer is contained in the first act of the movie. There are glimpses of later events, but they really play up the initial battle. Battle: Los Angeles suffers from many problems. Outside of Aaron Eckhart, who is trying way too hard for a movie like this, the acting is mediocre and the action makes you numb to it after a time. The trailer promised that it would have impact and emotion behind this conflict, but it just comes up short. A trailer that haunting deserved a better movie.

Suicide Squad

Suicide Squad - Official Trailer 1 [HD]

Suicide Squad is currently everyone’s favorite whipping boy. The Academy Award winning Suicide Squad got a very negative reaction when it first came into theaters and this trailer is a big reason why people felt mislead and duped. It set up Suicide Squad as a successor to the Guardians of the Galaxy crown for the DCEU. It starts off with Queen — so far so good — and gives us a brief glance of our soon to be squadmates. We get a formally-Tom-Hardy-cast Rick Flagg giving us the rundown of everyone and their skills. Captain Boomerang jumping out of the bag and immediately punching people is one of those moments that just works. The trailer sets up a light, fun tone emphasized by Bohemian Rhapsody kicking into full gear. The whole squad starts fighting together and all this other craziness starts coming out of nowhere. There’s someone in a panda suit firing a machine gun, Jared Leto’s Joker running around causing mayhem, and it’s hard to make out a lot of what exactly is going on. Everyone seems to be having fun with it, though!

The movie itself didn’t embrace the weird and the fun that could be had with this material as it promised in the trailer. The trailer is full of energy and the movie, well, isn’t.  It was mainly disappointing because this trailer promised a lightening up of the DCEU after a rather dark Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and instead we got more darkness and yet another skybeam. The fun, wacky vibe of the trailer wears off quickly and you are stuck with a movie that doesn’t seem to know what it wants to do. This was a wasted opportunity, but there is still hope. James Gunn taking over the next version of Suicide Squad may be able to bring something like what we expected from watching this film’s trailer.