the time has come…to round out the year in trailers. Over 300 compilations of footage have featured on this site over the last 12 months, enticing people around the world to fork out their hard-earned cash (and time) on tickets…as well as streaming subscriptions! But with some incredible films due for release next year – as well as having already been released this year – there were distributors, agencies and editors that have done some brilliant work in transforming them into what are ultimately works of art in their own right. Here are ten of these that, in the opinion of this film fan, have topped out 2019 in cinema…
10. Top Gun: Maverick – Teaser 2 (MOCEAN)
The recently-released new look at sequel to Tony Scott’s hit hits every single note that you can imagine a Top Gun fan needing to be sold on director Joseph Kosinski and star Tom Cruise’s return to the danger zone. Harold Faltermeyer’s iconic theme, and real footage of Cruise and his co-stars battling g-forces, what more do you need? Paramount and MOCEAN’s trailer acts of a piece with the first tease released earlier this year at San Diego Comic-Con: not only building off the previous piece (which was focused more on Cruise) by reintroducing the Top Gun academy itself, but putting ultimately the film’s big selling point – the real-life dogfights – front and center, affording them to not reveal anything more of the storyline. The combination of visuals and score make this an exhilirating watch in IMAX, where the trailer is presented in an expanded aspect ratio.
9. Lucy in the Sky – Teaser (Giaronomo)
This meaty first tease for Noah Hawley’s directorial debut is as idiosyncratic as the film itself. Fox Searchlught and the Giaronomo team build a transfixing symphony of stunning visuals (and aspect ratio changes), all anchored by the simple yet so powerful use of an orchestra build-up as the score, and – of course – the presence of Natalie Portman. When this dropped closer to the start of the year, this trailer blew many away; certainly a great example of a piece that outshines the film itself. The rework of the main melody of the Beatles’ Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds at the end is also an inspired touch, immediately getting ahead of questions regarding the film’s re-titling from Pale Blue Dot.
8. Bombshell – Teaser (Workshop Creative)
Theron. Kidman. Robbie. For Lionsgate and the team at Workshop Creative that’s enough to hook audiences towards director Jay Roach’s look at the Fox News sexual harrassment scandal, in an incredibly refreshing – for today’s trailer landscape – teaser that’s an exercise in minimialism. This is in many ways thanks to the footage from the film itself carrying such intensity in a single scene, without which the choice to focus solely on that in this teaser would simply not have worked.
7. Marriage Story – ‘What I Love About…’ Teasers (Mark Woollen & Associates)
The opening scenes of Noah Baumbach’s acclaimed film utterly beg to be used in this way for the promotional campaign, setting out the central tenet of the film for audiences almost perfectly – and this is exactly the apprach that the Netflix and Mark Woollen teams take, utilising a dual-teaser format that is still seldom seen. While both pieces use an identical structure and share a lot of the same footage, it’s in the subtle details outside of that – such as who is performing I’ve Been Loving You Too Long – that serve extremely well to distinguish the two different points of view.
6. Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker – D23 Special Look Trailer (The Hive – Disney In-House)
What better way to hype the finale of a saga spanning four decades than with a trip down memory lane? An obvious idea perhaps, but one executed expertly by the team at Disney’s The Hive to incredible effect – this trailer was initially intended to hype up the crowds at D23 over the summer but then was released online and in theatres, where it still generates goosebumps galore for anyone with a connection to Star Wars. Frederick Lloyd/Ursine Vulpine’s Reverence Ultima, incorporating several of John Williams’ iconic melodies into a single track, adds an epic scale to the proceedings – driving that it has all led to The Rise of Skywalker.
5. Tenet – Teaser (agency unknown)
The thing about trailers for Christopher Nolan’s films is that you can tell, even without any footage, just from the way they’re put together and scored, that they’re trailers for a Christopher Nolan film. And with this first look at the director’s mysterious espionage epic Tenet, this also extends to how it’s been released – or rather, not – still remaining cinema-exclusive for that #MaximumEffect. There’s good reason why – it is, like the Bombshell teaser also on this list, an exercise in minimalism. And the minimal footage, coupled together with Ludwig Göransson’s pulsating score, really works best when presented big and loud. But it’s the details that hint towards the film’s timey-wimey nature: the ‘time has come’ taglines, the backwards-moving smoke, each of the shots we see of John David Washington’s ‘new protagonist’ in front of that pane of glass actually being different takes, the bullets moving back towards the screen from the rotating title card… Maybe it should have been released online to allow exploration of these. But with Nolan, mystery and intrigue are part of the game. Between this initial teaser and the frighteningly intense 6.5 minute prologue playing in IMAX (that one would have loved to include on this list) – in contrast to the still excellent but ever so slightly more straightforward-feeling recent trailer – it appears Nolan and Warner Bros. are crafting something special for the discerning audiences willing to partake in the theatrical experience not just for films, but for their marketing as well.
4. Uncut Gems – Trailer (GrandSon)
Now this is, as some would call it, a ‘banger’ of a trailer. A trailerized upgrade of Travis Scott and The Weeknd’s Pray 4 Love powers this glimpse at the crazy journey that the Safdie brothers have in store. The teams at GrandSon and A24 have expertly managed to slow things down just enough to present Uncut Gems as a pitch to audiences, while still keeping the adrenaline rush, particularly in the back third, that defines the final film. But the best thing is the selection of moments that have since become GIFd and memed to oblivion while still feeling fresh when they appear on the timeline – ‘I heard you’ve resurfaced your fucking swimming pool‘! That Furby! That ‘Yas’!
3. The Irishman – ‘The Call’ Trailer (Open Road)
The trailer that announced to the world with the four little words ‘A Martin Scorsese Picture’ kicking things off – the maestro is back. And what an announcement that was. Unlike later trailers which took a more leaned-back approach, this first look at Martin Scorsese’s epic is darker, and kicks off with Joe Pesci’s return to the big screen, as Russell Buffalino, to introduce us to Robert de Niro’s Frank Sheeran and Al Pacino’s Jimmy Hoffa – the conversation between whom serves as the backbone of this goosebumps-inducing tease. Like with Uncut Gems, the GrandSon team and Netflix pepper the trailer with some now-iconic moments – Pesci’s ‘you might be demonstrating a failure to show appreciation’ still chilling – and striking visuals that look beautiful on any screen you see it on. One can imagine just how brilliantly this trailer would play theatrically.
2. Avengers: Endgame – ‘To The End’ Trailer (The Hive – Disney In-House)
While their Star Wars piece earlier in the list had 9 movies to put together, The Hive’s final trailer for Avengers: Endgame had 22…how do you fit them all in under two and a half minutes? By focusing on character – an approach taken both in the edit and the music, with Trailer Music Brigade’s score weaving through leitmotifs from Brian Tyler’s Iron Man right through to Ludwig Göransson’s Black Panther, before culminating in an epic rendition of Alan Silvestri’s main Avengers theme. Combined with the rapid-fire middle section individually highlighting every film to date, this trailer brilliantly shows off the scale of Marvel Studios’ narrative endeavour, as well as – just as powerfully if not even more so than the Star Wars one – hammering home that it’s really all been leading to this. Even after Endgame‘s release, the effect is still there – a revised version celebrating the Infinity Saga hyped up the crowds at San Diego Comic-Con over the summer.
1. Ad Astra – ‘Message’ Trailer 2 (Wild Card)
There’s something chilling about a classical-sounding track being set as the backdrop to an epic space oddysey. And that juxtaposition is played to incredible effect in 20th Century Fox/Wild Card’s second piece for James Gray’s latest, with Jon Opstad’s contemporary dance piece Ignis IV, together with the framing voiceover of Pitt’s Roy McBride sending a message to his father (Tommy Lee Jones), providing a powerful emotional anchor to this journey through the void of space. Each shot, each cut, each piece of dialogue used, is so carefully considered – much like in the film itself – this trailer is a fantastic example of marketing coming into its own right as a work of art.
What are your favourite trailers of the year? Let us know in the comments or on our social media…