Year in Review: Top 10 Trailers of 2013

     December 25, 2013

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Yesterday, I listed my Top 10 posters for 2013.  To the casual moviegoer, posters are something passed by in a theater lobby.  They’re in between Auditorium 1 and Auditorium 2.  Trailers, on the other hand, are part of the moviegoing experience.  If you’re at the movie by showtime, you’ve got about 20 minutes of trailers ahead of you.  They’ve become so prevalent, that studios have turned the release of a new trailer into an event.  We now have trailers for trailers, which irks me to no end.  Nevertheless, there’s still something to be said for a well-made trailer.  Like posters, studios make plenty of trailers we’ll never see for one reason or another.  Furthermore, these trailers have to abide by parameters such as available footage, studio wishes, licensing music, etc.  But if it’s done right, a trailer can turn the tide of public opinion and create anticipation for a movie like nothing else.

Hit the jump for my Top 10 trailers of 2013.

A couple notes before we begin: First, the eligibility for this list is different than the posters.  To be on the list, the trailer had to come out in 2013; it doesn’t matter if the movie hasn’t been released yet.  Second, and more importantly, seeing a finished film almost always changes the perception of the trailer.  A trailer is all about the unknown.  It leads you to an idea of a picture, and lets your hopes fill in the rest, so I agree it’s slightly unfair that this list has trailers for unreleased movies.  However, it would have taken weeks to watch trailers for every 2013 release.  Instead, I crawled through our 724 trailer articles from the past 365 days, and culled it down to these ten choices plus one honorable mention.

Honorable Mention: Foxcatcher

The trailer for Foxcatcher didn’t make the Top 10 because you can’t see it anymore.  It was leaked and then pulled down once Sony decided to bump to picture to 2014.  But if you saw the trailer during the few hours it was online, the drama is probably one of your most-anticipated films of next year.  The picture looks dark, disturbing, and Steve Carell’s performance could be jaw-dropping.

10.) X-Men: Days of Future Past

I’m actually a little surprised when people tell me this trailer left them lukewarm on the upcoming sequel.  It has got a nice blend of drama and action, and makes terrific use of John Murphy’s “Sunshine” and Hans Zimmer’s “Journey to the Line”.   The trailer also makes the film look bigger than any of the X-Men movies thus far, and we haven’t even seen the Sentinels in action yet.

9.) Inside Llewyn Davis

Oscar Isaac and Marcus Mumford’s rendition of “Fare Thee Well” is one of my favorite songs of 2013.  I sing it constantly, and I first heard it in this trailer where it was used brilliantly.

8.) Fast & Furious 6

Up until this trailer for Fast & Furious 6, I was fairly indifferent to the franchise.  Then I saw a plane ejaculate a car in a fiery explosion, and realized that there was some delightful insanity on the way.

7.) The Grand Budapest Hotel

After seeing this trailer, I would be in no way surprised if Ralph Fiennes gives one of the funniest performances of 2014.  Also, it looks like Wes Anderson hasn’t lost a step since Moonrise Kingdom.

6.) The Wolf of Wall Street

Using new hit music is common practice when cutting trailers for upcoming films, but no trailer this year did it better than taking Kanye West’s “Black Skinhead” and applying it to the chaotic, insane tone of the picture.  This trailer also gave us Leonardo DiCaprio popping-and-locking and then drops the music to let Matthew McConaughey do his crazy, hilarious chant.

5.) The Avengers: Age of Ultron

Part of my appreciation for this trailer comes from being in the room when it played at Comic-Con.  Everyone was so damn sure that the villain would be Thanos, and then everything changed.  Also, of all the trailers on this list, this is the only one that doesn’t have a single second of footage from the movie.  It was the biggest and best announcement trailer of the year.

The Top 10 Trailers of 2013

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4.) The LEGO Movie

I’m borderline in the tank for this movie, and I have to keep telling myself to try and keep my expectations in check.  That’s incredibly difficult when you see Abraham Lincoln flying away in his rocket throne.

3.) The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

I didn’t care for the movie, but it’s still a great trailer assuming you’re like me and have questionable taste in music.  I like Of Monsters and Men’s song “Dirty Paws”, and I think it’s used wonderfully here.  It also helps that the trailer has almost no dialogue and instead lets Stuart Dryburgh’s stunning cinematography do most of the talking.

2.) Gravity

The first trailer for Gravity got derisive chuckles when I saw it with an audience.  This trailer left them gasping.  Unsurprisingly, this one is a more accurate representation of the finished movie.

1.) Man of Steel

This is the best trailer of the year because it immediately makes me excited for a movie I’ve already seen.  It hits all the right beats from the moment Hans Zimmer’s score kicks in and we’re taken to the gorgeous sights of a dying Krypton (a setting worthy of a prequel).  We then move to the emotional bond between young Clark and his dad to the exhilaration of the action scenes to the triumphant tone before the title and then a playful note at the end.  Re-watching this trailer made me want to re-watch this movie.

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