Trailer Tuesday, understatement edition: the worst trailers to the best movies

Trailer Tuesday, understatement edition: the worst trailers to the best movies

Luca Fontana
Zurich, on 07.04.2020
Translation: Eva Francis
Sometimes it's not the movie that sucks, but the trailer. This week’s edition of Trailer Tuesday is about the worst trailers to movies that turned out to be totally worth seeing.

Last week, I showed you some of the best trailers to disappointing movies. This week, I’m doing the opposite: here are the worst trailers to the best movies.

*Trailer Tuesday, letdown edition:** the best trailers to the worst movies


The Abyss

Uh, well. Sure, I'm totally for not revealing the whole story in the trailer (I'll get to that later). But the trailer to «The Abyss» shows hardly anything. Nothing at all, to be precise. A little bit of underwater scenery and James Cameron being his heroic self. That's it.

Unsurprisingly, «The Abyss» is possibly the most unknown of all James Cameron movies, although it remains unrivalled in terms of underwater thrill and excitement. On top of this. The mysterious underwater monster was entirely computer-animated. It looks incredibly realistic by 1989 standards. And also by 2020 standards. I’d say it would have deserved an Oscar for best visual effects.

Cinema release: 11 August 1989


«In a land of timeless beauty, William Wallace was a man of peace. But when they threatened his world, he was driven to war.»

Welcome to the 1990s, where Don La Fontaine’s deep voice is heard mumbling powerful but meaningless sentences. At best. Most of the time, it just vocalises what the trailer shows. To make sure that every single one of us knows exactly what’s going on.

In the case of «Braveheart», the trailer is basically a string of confusing battle and gooey love scenes. Nothing – absolutely nothing – indicates that this might be one of the best films of the 1990s and go on to win five Oscars, among others in the categories «Best Picture» and «Best Director».

Cinema release: 24 May 1995

Cast Away

This one’s from our reader ArcTic.

The «Cast Away» trailer spoils the ending. Case closed, see you next week.

There's nothing more to be said. A trailer that spoils the ending of a movie is a terrible trailer. Wait a second, is that James Horner's main theme from Mel Gibson’s «Braveheart»? Yup, it is. But that doesn't make the trailer any better.

Cinema release: 22 December 2000

The Cabin in the Woods

To be honest, I'm a little conflicted about this trailer. In some way, I think it's terrible, as it's one of those ridiculous 1970s horror slashers that shows a group of teenagers go into a forest far away from civilisation. It's all about sex, drugs and alcohol – just like any idiotic teen horror movie. Then the murdering monster appears, serving even more clichés. Of course the pretty girls are guaranteed to die. Monsters are emerging from the lake. Good ideas like «Let's split up, then there's more chance of finding the monster» and stuff like that follow.

Here's the thing: since the trailer promises this average standard teen horror movie, the fact that the movie turns out to be a totally immersive and clever thriller is a pleasant surprise. It makes all the clever twists and turns impossible to foresee. The trailer sets the bar low, making it easy for the movie to surprise. That's if you still want to see it despite the lousy preview. Does that make it a good or a bad trailer?

Cinema release: 25 March 2010

Edge of Tomorrow

Amazing, mind-blowing movie. In my opinion, this movie deserves to be in the lists of the best films that the 2010s had to offer. It beats me why it never is.

This could be due to the super boring trailer, which, with that lullaby music in the background, doesn't bring across anything of the thrilling, great and heart-wrenching story. «Edge of Tomorrow» is so much more than just one of those Tom Cruise movies in which he's the larger-than-life hero who kills aliens by the dozens.

That doesn’t come across in the trailer. Instead, it makes sure our expectations are as low as they could be.

Cinema release: 28 May 2014

Bonus: Independence Day: Resurgence

Our reader orange71113nero actually pointed this one out as a good trailer to a bad movie. But it’s such a good example that it can’t go unmentioned.

I liked the first one very much when I was a child, so I was really looking forward to it. But it was so boring. I wouldn’t score it higher than 5/10 and won’t watch it again. But I’ve seen the first one a dozen times.

Gloomy. Threatening. Gives you goose bumps. It’s a fantastic trailer for the sequel of the cult movie «Independence Day». Bringing back actors from the first part, Jeff Goldblum and Bill Pullman, it’s spot on and hits our nostalgia. So does the gripping President's speech from the first part. This is what trailer perfection looks like.

... and turns out to be a sequel to forget.

Cinema release: 22 June 2016

Next week we'll do something new. I'm not yet sure what that’s going to be. Have a good idea? Let me know by commenting below.

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Luca Fontana
Luca Fontana
Editor, Zurich
I'm an outdoorsy guy and enjoy sports that push me to the limit – now that’s what I call comfort zone! But I'm also about curling up in an armchair with books about ugly intrigue and sinister kingkillers. Being an avid cinema-goer, I’ve been known to rave about film scores for hours on end. I’ve always wanted to say: «I am Groot.»

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