— Jake —
Silence has the potential to be my favorite film of 2016. The film is based on a formative and life-changing novel I read during my college years. Given its source material, cast, and direction it’s almost impossible that I will not love this film. With that being said, you’d think it would be difficult for a trailer to do anything other than maintain my level of excitement for Silence. Yet it blew me away in ways I never thought possible. It gives us a glimpse of what the film has in store for the viewer, and it conveys the tone of Endo’s original novel: hopelessness and doubt in the midst of faith. Following this trailer, Silence is truly one of the most anticipated films for which I have waited in my life thus far.
5. La La Land
— Sam —
This is actually the only La La Land I saw before going to see the movie. Because of that the song featured within it, “City of Stars,” became an iconic part of the film. Ryan Gosling’s soft whistling is a fantastic way to begin and end the trailer. The choice to encapsulate all of the action of the trailer under the song without any actual dialogue also seemed beautiful to me. Especially for a musical this just seemed like a great way to advertise a film. I am a big fan of the way it gave a bit of mystery to what might actually happen in the film. Even the small details of this trailer were beautiful to me. The swirling blues and purples behind the font was a perfect representation of the dreamlike quality of a lot of the finished film. It speaks volumes that this one lone teaser trailer made this one of my most anticipated films of 2016.
4. 10 Cloverfield Lane
— Joe —
The marketing for 10 Cloverfield Lane was absolutely genius. Reveal this small-time movie produced by J.J. Abrams to actually be part of the Clover-verse and drop an incredible trailer that tells us so much without actually telling us much of anything, and do it all barely two months before the film’s release. The music in the trailer (“I Think We’re Alone Now” by Tommy James & The Shondells) is key. Not only does it fit the film in a very creepy way, but I love how they use it to display the uncertainty in the film. It starts out and everything seems to be going great, but the song gradually slows down as we start to see some really dark images. All of these images meld together into something that tells us nothing of the actual plot of the film, but perfectly portrays the feeling of the film. Then we get the final shot of Mary Elizabeth Winstead looking outside in horror. What is it? What did she see? You’ll have to see the movie to find out.
— Jake —
The team that designed this trailer should get an award. Trailers, as American film goers have come to know them, are often not worthy of our attention. They have cheesy voice-overs (“IN A WORLD…” said with a deep and overly dramatic male voice), and they often show far more of the actual film than they should reveal. Moonlight brings an artistry to the movie trailer that I have, in my estimation, never seen in my life. As a string-driven score begins, we see shots of each stage in Chiron’s life. It hints at what kind of story will unfold, yet it reveals the perfect amount of scant detail. The final words of the trailer from Chiron, “What did you expect?” serve as a message for not only the characters in the film, but also for the viewer. Expect cinematic greatness in Moonlight. You will not be disappointed.
2. The Birth of a Nation
— Jake —
This trailer is comprised of two parts, which are equally compelling in different ways. One part features a rendition of “Strange Fruit,” a haunting tune originally written and performed by Billie Holiday about the lynching of African-Americans in the first half of the 20th century. This casts a foreboding tone for the actual film, which it certainly earns. The second part, for me, is the most compelling. Featuring one of the best scenes of film in 2016 interspersed with other shots, we hear Nat Turner preaching to his fellow slaves from Psalm 149. In the film, this is only the beginning of Nat Turner’s Rebellion. The trailer masterfully foreshadows what is to come.
1. Rogue One
— Jake —
I don’t know that I truly understood the brilliance of this trailer until after seeing the actual film. As a trailer that includes multiple shots not found in the movie itself, it still conveys the message and themes of Rogue One masterfully. The score and the opening dialogue hooked me, but what made this trailer was the second half. The sound of the klaxon, the interspersed shots of Director Krennic, Jedah, Death Troopers, AT-ATs, and the battle on Scarif rendered me (quite literally) unable to move, blink, or breathe when I saw this for the first time. Saw Gerrera’s strained and menacing voice, however, is what sets this trailer apart. By the time he asks his final question, “What…will…you…become?” I will openly admit this Star Wars fan since childhood was ready to fight the Empire right alongside Jyn, Captain Andor, and the rest of the Rebellion.