Top 10 Trailers of 2011

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A trailer usually has less than two minutes and thirty seconds to dazzle the viewer and put a movie on his or her radar.  The Internet allows studios to go beyond this theater-mandated time limit and not only run a longer trailer, but also ones that have been approved only for the emotionally mature online community.  But no matter the runtime or how many times a character can swear, the trailer still has to grab your attention.  They can sell us on a premise we didn’t know we wanted, and can find a way to make us even more excited for a movie we were already itching to see.

Hit the jump to check out my picks for Top 10 Trailers of 2011.

[Note: To be eligible for the list, the trailer had to come out this year even if the movie it's promoting doesn't come out until 2012]

10. The Artist

I’m not sure how you make a trailer for a silent film, and it’s not like there are a lot of examples to go by.  The Weinstein Company put together an admirable effort and while they went a little too far through the plot, it’s not like the movie is built on twists and turns.  More than anything, the trailer does a fine job selling a vibe and, like the film, telling a story without speaking.

9. Coriolanus

It’s a little funny that the trailer credits the movie as “From the Screenwriter of Gladiator and The Last Samurai” when characters are spouting Shakespearean dialogue, but it also does an excellent job of showing how Shakespeare’s plays don’t have to be contained to their original setting.  The characters are timeless and the trailer convinces the audience to take a shot on Call of Duty: Modern Shakespeare.

  • “The Beast at Our Door” by Groove Addicts
  • “It’s Here” by T.T.L

8. The Muppets

There were more than enough parody trailers for The Muppets, but this was the one that finally made me feel like we were getting a real Muppet movie.  Also, you can never go wrong having muppet chickens cluck Cee-Lo’s “Fuck You”.

7. The Pirates! Band of Misfits

Any movie that includes the line “And some of you are just a fish I dressed up in a hat,” is worth your attention.”  Throw in jolly lepers and non-decorative sea monsters, and the trailer for The Pirates! Band of Misfits makes it one of my most anticipated movies of the spring.

6. Shame

This trailer manages to convey the adult nature of the material, the stylish visuals, hint at the stellar performances, explain the central conflict, and all to Carey Mulligan‘s heartbreaking rendition of “New York, New York”.  Bravo.

5. Paranorman

I’m already a sucker for stop-motion animation, and Paranorman seems to be using the approach for a delightfully macabre family flick.  The use of Donovan‘s “Season of the Witch” is great, and I love that the trailer gives you a moment at the end to admire the design of Norman’s toothbrush.

4. 21 Jump Street (Red-Band Trailer)

This trailer accomplishes a miracle: it makes me excited for a movie starring Channing Tatum.   It doesn’t hurt that the flick is apparently going all-in as a hard-R comedy rather than try to be a tortured parody of the 1980s TV series.  There are plenty of great jokes in here, Tatum and Jonah Hill looks like they’ll play well off each other, and it looks like Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller have made an easy transition to live-action filmmaking.  Now the trick is to avoid further trailers so I don’t spoil any more of the jokes for myself.

3. Prometheus

The teaser trailer for Ridley Scott‘s Prometheus shows what all that “Alien-DNA” talk was about.  Not only does it feature imagery from his 1979 classic sci-fi horror film, but the teaser is brilliantly cut in the same style as the trailer for the original movie.  People who have never seen Alien watch this trailer and get excited for a sci-fi flick coming out next summer.  Alien fans watch this trailer and get chills.

  • “Judge and Jury” by Audiomachine

2. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

I thought this trailer would simply be a bit of Howard Shore‘s Fellowship of the Ring score, a few brief seconds of footage, and then the title.  Instead, we got a real trailer that not only helped to introduce us to new characters, but more importantly, transported us back to Middle-Earth in a heartbeat.  It’s not just seeing familiar faces and settings that make the trailer work.  It’s when we hear the instrumental version of the dwarven hymn as we sweep across a gorgeous vista that we know that Peter Jackson is bringing us back to the world we fell in love with ten years ago.

1. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

When I saw this trailer back in May, it instantly made me want to see the movie even though I already knew the story was no good.  Now I’ve seen the movie, I found it lacking, and this trailer still makes me want to see the flick.  It’s got the best tagline (“The Feel Bad Movie of Christmas”) and if you haven’t downloaded Trent Reznor and Karen O.’s cover of “Immigrant Song” by now, then you’ve ruined your holidays.

Monday: Top 10 Posters of 2011

Tuesday: Top 10 Trailers of 2011

Wednesday: Best Performances, Directing, and other Miscellany of 2011

Thursday: Worst 5 of 2011

Friday: Top 10 of 2011

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  • John

    Prepare for that “NO TDKR TRAILER??!?!?” backlash.

    EThought, to be fair to the fanboys, it was a very well cut trailer.

  • John

    *though

  • Strong Enough

    To all Matt Goldberg haters cause I know your gonna comment

    SHUT THE F*CK UP and no one cares

    wheew glad i got that out the way. okay now has to be the best trailer of the year.

    • Matt Goldberg

      …I care…

      • Hunter D.

        I just laughed out loud at that. Now everyone at the library is staring at me.

  • Strong Enough

    PROMETHEUS

  • Tony

    Coriolanus and Shame are great trailers, awesome to see them on there. One that wasn’t on there though was The Grey and I thought that was a great trailer.

  • SaadGKhan

    Worst top 10 trailers of 2011 list.. its just terrible..
    No Harry Porter, No Tree of Life, Melancholia, Martha Mary Marlene & No “Like Crazy” … Are you kidding me..
    more I don’t remember but there were many better than 21 Jump Street, The Pirates! Band of Misfits,The Artist & Paranorman…
    C’mon Anna Kendrick’s 50/50 was even better than Paranorman’s promo & even MI4 gives Chills and what about Dark Night Rises & The Avengers Promos ? seriously this is the worst list Ever in History.

    • Liam_H

      Derp Derp Derp Derp…

      Its all subjective, its better than him choosing a whole bunch of trailers that are from the big blockbusters.

      • SaadGKhan

        Okay leave the blockbusters but Like Crazy, Drive, 50/50, We Need to talk about Kevin, Melancholia & MarthaMaryMarlere are not block buster big budgeted movies… but their promos made the movie more promising before they came out with powerful reviews.

  • Agarina Madsen

    21 Jump Street? Are you for real?

    • Jim

      Apparently he is. Although this looks sort of like “The Sitter” with a badge.

  • Eddie7833

    Much better than the posters good job Matt I definitely agree with the girl with the dragon tattoo cuz even Disney made a parody of it for the muppets! Amazing!

  • SoS

    HaHa hatred towards Matt has grown so strong that he’s got his own set of defender trolls out!
    Who needs Twihards when you have Matthards.

  • Russell_OZ

    I loved the CORIOLANUS trailer! It definitely did the job and made me want to see it. It looks awesome!

  • ipolos

    Crap list. Rise of the planet of the apes was a boxoffice success because of its damn trailer (the international one). But hey, apparently Pirates band of misfits was better!! Jesus man…wtf

  • Sandip

    how about The Dark Knight Rises?

  • brandon

    This should be a list of the top 10 trailers from the last 4 months.

  • Ty

    DRIVE

    That is all

  • Ty

    DRIVE

    That is all.

  • cobby

    I think john carter first trailer was pretty stunning and should be on list

  • dawko

    Matt Goldberg is getting paid to enlist these shitty movie trailers lol :D

  • XS

    Number 1: THE DARK KNIGHT RISES trailer. Epic.

    You also forgot the X-MEN FIRST CLASS trailer (awesome music).

  • dryerthanyou

    100% agree with the #1

  • mx

    no another earth?! WHAT?

  • Tim

    ^^ Planning on renting that from RedBox today!

  • dudeabides

    needs Martha Marcy May Marlene, TDK, Tinker Tailor, Moneyball, The Dictator

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  • Sugreev2001

    So many amazing trailers aren’t included.I’d personally pick The Avengers,Dark Knight Returns,X-Men:First Class,Amazing Spider Man,Brave,Tinker Tailor and The Hunger Games among the best this year.Infact there were way to many great trailers this year,only a top 20 would justify.

  • Jimmy D

    The man is stating his top ten, not yours, please excuse him for not asking your opinion before stating his, if your that upset then go make your own website and watch people bitch bout u

  • L.

    You don’t have to mention that you don’t think TGWTDT story is not good enough in every freaking article you create.

  • ipolos

    My comment may have come off as aggressive, I apologize! Tis the holiday season! Matt, even though you didn’t include rise of the planet of the apes on your list, it’s no reason for me to get upset. I’m really jet-lagged hence easily flustered! Happy New Year!

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  • junierizzle

    For me it’s:
    1. TDKR
    2.DRIVE
    3.MI:4

  • sam

    No mention of “The Dark Knight Rises” or “X-Men:First Class”.
    Shame.On.You!

  • Ash Talon

    21 Jumpstreet? Really? It looks awful. And it’s terribly cut. Not sure what you see in that trailer. Everyone I know that saw it (and we’re loosely involved with the film) thought it looked terrible.

    I actually think the GI Joe: Retaliation trailer was rather well cut. It gives you just enough information to get the story and also has some good imagery.

    Drive had a good trailer as well.

    The reason that The Dark Knight Rises trailer is not on this list is obvious. It’s not a very good trailer. It’s boring. And features that awful shot of the football field collapsing. If anything, it’s an anticlimactic trailer.

    Same problem with the Avengers trailer. It’s not very well cut. I think it’ll be a fun movie, but the trailer(s) have been very lacking so far.

  • fravit

    I agree with most of these picks. For many of these trailers, they piqued my interest in movies I would otherwise pass up, which is exactly what a trailer should do.

    While I LOVED the Dark Knight Rises trailer, it wasn’t because it was a well made trailer – it was because I was seeing footage (ANY footage) from the movie. That movie is already highly anticipated and really doesn’t need a well made trailer if you think about it. Same applies for Avengers and many of the other big names people have mentioned.

    Whether a movie itself will be good or not has nothing to do with how well the trailer is cut. We all know there have been plenty of good trailers for bad movies.

  • Jim

    Not putting “The Dark Knight Rises” trailer on the list seems a little odd. As to “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo,” you “knew” the story was “no good?” Also odd. I presume someone mentioned to you that it’s based on an international bestseller…

  • Tom

    Although a lot of people on here seem to be very rude in how they say things Matt, I definately think they have a point… seriously.

  • Ashton

    No Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows trailer? Fail.

  • rises

    to Bane don’t like this

  • Hunter D.

    21 Jump Street will surprise! The guys who made it were behind Clone High USA, one of the best animated sitcoms ever made and a great high school melodrama spoof. They also went way above the call of duty on Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs. I agree that the trailers have been odd, but the behind the scenes talent is stellar. Give it a chance.

  • Banekilla

    The Hobbit should have been NUMBER ONE on that list. I can´t remember seeing a trailer cut and scored like that. Very original and unexpected. They even showed the redesigned trolls and they have only been shooting for a couple of months. Honestly it felt like a full trailer, not a teaser. Best. Trailer. Ever.

    Second place TDKR.
    Third place PROMETHEUS.

  • Kent

    10. We Need to Talk About Kevin
    9. The Dark Knight Rises.
    8. In the Land of Blood and Honey
    7. Martha Marcy May Marlene
    6. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2
    5. Margaret
    4. Like Crazy
    3. Snow White and the Huntsman
    2. The Hunger Games
    1. Titanic

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  • Darius

    Maybe it’s because I’m not excited for it, but I didn’t think the Hobbit trailer was very good. I don’t think it did a good job getting any non-fans interested.

    I kinda agree with Kent though and I’m not even trolling. That Titanic 3D trailer is great. It makes me want to see Titanic. Think about how hard that is.

  • addict89

    damn u !! r u insane ????????? where is DARK KNIGHT RISES ??

  • Bane47

    Happy new year everyone…!
    When The girl with the dragon tattoo is ashes…..you have my permission to put The Dark Knight Rises trailer#2 on the 1st place of the certain TOP!!

    RISE!!!

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