Top List Thursday – Top 10 trailers of 2014

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It’s a well known fact that trailers are not a fair indicator of a movie’s final quality. As Exhibit A in this argument, I would like you to please go check out the trailer for Transformers: Dark of the Moon again and then go watch the actual movie. And then gouge out your brains with a melon-baller.

But with that being said, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with getting absolutely pumped up for a really well put together trailer. We certainly did, several times in 2014 in fact. So here are 10 of our favourite trailers from this year.

  • Godzilla

Gareth Edwards’ Godzilla was a far cry from Roland Emmerich’s loud and dumb movie from the 90’s, and that point was never made more clearly in the film’s marketing campaign than with this “Lux Aeterna” accompanied trailer. Goosebumps. Giant, radioactive lizard goosebumps.

  • Inherent Vice

Paul Thomas Anderson’s latest flick is apparently a marked deviation from the director’s oppressively sombre previous work, and boy did this trailer sell that. Very few pieces of movie marketing this year boasted a package as completely, infectiously fun and absolutely charming as this. Moto panucaku, indeed!

  • Nightcrawler

Ladies and gentlemen, Jake Gyllenhaal has arrived. The Donnie Darko actor has been doing his thing on screen for ages now, and although he had several very solid turns as of late in the likes of Enemy and Prisoners, it was when this trailer dropped, showing us this unhinged, harrowing version of that goofy young Bubble Boy we used to know, that people really sat up and paid attention.

  • Guardians of the Galaxy

Guardians of the Galaxy was Marvel’s biggest gamble. Not only was the comic relatively unknown outside of hardcore comic book circles, but they were also making a movie unlike anything else in texture and tone out there. This was risky business for them, and they could have taken the safe route and tried to dress this up as “Avengers in space” and called it a day. Instead, they dove right in to the film’s offbeat tempo, embracing it’s unconventional soundtrack, and gave us arguably the first trailer in movie history where the good guys are referred to as “a bunch of A-holes”.

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  • American Sniper

Trailers have ~2 minutes to sell you on nothing more than an idea of a movie, of the kernel concept it will eventually try to bring across in its full 90-minute plus running time. The trailer for Clint Eastwood’s true-story adaptation of the story of the deadliest US military sniper in history did that in spades. By opening with an actual full-length, nerves fraying scene from the movie it told us everything we needed to know about the unflinching moral conflict at the centre of the actual movie, and left us screaming “But what happens next?!”.

  • Foxcatcher

Usually when people go “Damn, Channing Tatum!” it was preceded by the Magic Mike actor taking off his shirt, but with this trailer for Bennet Miller’s Foxcatcher it was in response to the almost horrifying intensity seen here. My full review for Foxcatcher will be up next week, but I will say that this intensity from Tatum carries through to the full movie as he turns in a riveting performance opposite an unnervingly creepy turn from Steve Carrell, even if the rest of the move doesn’t quite match up to their highs.

  • The Raid 2: Berandal

The Raid was a movie so intense, it physically exhausted you just by watching it. And when it came to the film’s sequel, director Gareth Huw Evans needed to show that he still had all that bottled insanity even if the scope had now expanded almost exponentially. He certainly nailed that in this minute and a half of absolute badassery.

  • The Avengers: Age of Ultron

“There are no strings on me!” James Spader’s haunting delivery of Pinocchio’s bastardized dialogue echoed around the world for days after the leak reveal of this trailer for Joss Whedon’s next Avengers movie, and for damn good measure. Whedon and Marvel gave us a trailer that was shockingly grim and sombre, and yet still stuffed to the brim with fanboy geek-out moments that lit up internet message boards everywhere.

  • Mad Max: Fury Road

Absolutely, positively batshit insane! There’s simply no other way to describe George Miller’s bonkers looking, long-gestating latest installment to his Mad Max franchise. With the film being stuck in development as long as it was, most people had almost forgot about it. And then that trailer dropped at Comic-Con, followed swiftly by everybody at Comic-Con’s jaws dropping to the floor.

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I was a little torn as to which trailer to include here, that original Comic-Con one or the latest one released this morning. In the end, I went with the latter because while that first trailer was more of a surprise for just how insane it looked, this new trailer is just so inventive, blending the aforementioned craziness with an unexpected operatic soundtrack that clearly tells you that Mad Max: Fury Road is going to be unlike anything else we see in 2015.

  • Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Was there ever any doubt? It took just 88 seconds for writer-director JJ Abrams and co to break the internet and reignite the fires of a flagging fandom. Irrespective of whether you actually want to see more Star Wars movies or not, there’s no denying this trailer’s gargantuan impact with the endless trailer dissections, analyses of lightsaber mechanics, internet memes, etc.

But don’t think that this trailer tops this list simply because of how froth-mouthed fans reacted to it – it really is just that good. Lucasfilm masterfully pulled off the balancing act of introducing all the new principal actors, throwing in a flurry of fan-baiting teases, distancing itself from the maligned Prequel Trilogy with a much darker tone and still revealing JUST ABOUT NOTHING from the actual story. It cannot be overstated how impressive that is.

And then for good measure, they throw in that Millennium Falcon tease and the whole world just loses its mind.

Honorable mentions: Interstellar, Whiplash, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, The Babadook, Kingsman: The Secret Service, Transformers: Age of Extinction, Terminator Genisys, What We Do In the Shadows, Jurassic World, Ex Machina

Last Updated: December 11, 2014

Kervyn Cloete

A man of many passions - but very little sleep - I've been geeking out over movies, video games, comics, books, anime, TV series and lemon meringues as far back as I can remember. So show up for the geeky insight, stay for the delicious pastries.

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