Trailers are very hard to get right. After all, they’ve only got two minutes to tell an audience what a movie is about without spoiling it, all the while hoping to have sparked enough interest to get people to want to see the film. So it’s no wonder that trailers often go wrong. There’s nothing worse than one that makes a perfectly good film look bad - or that ruins a movie because it already included all of its best scenes.
We’d say that making trailers is all about the fine balance between showing off and holding back, and pretty much an art in itself. We’ve got lots of admiration for those who get it right, and so after careful consideration, here’s the 9 we think manage it with panache.
1. Logan (2017)
This Logan trailer made us weep, and we’re not ashamed to admit it. It’s all down to the contrast. Gone are the shiny X-Men and their cool mansion. The trailer shocks us by showing our beloved Wolverine and Professor X stranded in a sort of depressing apocalypse, all set to Johnny Cash’s devastating cover of ‘Hurt’. Add to that that we pretty much know that it’s Hugh Jackman’s last turn as the character, and we’re feeling all the feels.
2. Lilo and Stitch (2002)
We love how Disney makes fun of itself in these hilarious series of trailers. They show the adorable alien invading some of the animation studio’s most iconic scenes, and it’s nothing short of brilliant. Seeing the likes of Belle or Aladdin shout ‘get your own movie’ is perfect, attention grabbing stuff.
3. Back to the Future (1985)
This is Back to the Future teaser is pure cinematic art. It’s beautifully shot, suitably mysterious, and closes on Marty McFly’s dead-cool smile. We know that we’re in for some time travel in epic style, and that’s all we need in order to get hooked.
Back to the Future is available now on Sky Cinema
4. Terminator 2: Judgement Day (1991)
Trailers often err by over-explaining the film they’re selling. This one cleverly steers clear of this issue, relying instead on viewers to put the pieces together (pun intended). We’re shown an assembly line constructing a new model of T-800 Terminator, moulded to look like Arnold Schwarzenegger. It’s clever, threatening and funny all at once.
5. The Dark Knight (2008)
Few trailers showcase characters quite like this one. But the Dark Knight peeps clearly knew that the Joker was going to be the film’s main attraction - and they utilised this fully by making his voice-over the centrepiece of the preview. Within a few short minutes, we know that this isn’t going to be just any superhero film.
Find The Dark Knight in On Demand > Movies > Virgin Movies
6. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (2001)
This trailer is a cornerstone of many a childhood. It gave us our first glimpse of the Harry Potter world on film, and how magical it was. There’s also hints of the sweeping (now classic) soundtrack by John Williams, and you can spot all of the series’ actors looking remarkably young. It was breathtaking then - now it’s also wonderfully nostalgic.
Find Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone in On Demand > Movies > Virgin Movies
7. Pride and Prejudice (2005)
This Pride and Prejudice trailer makes us smile in all of the right ways. First, it’s brilliantly cut, jumping adroitly from scene to scene for maximum comic effect. Then we just adore the excellently cheesy, American-accented voice-over. And as if this wasn’t enough, the preview closes on great stirring music and characters saying lots of nice things about love.
Pride and Prejudice is available now on Sky Cinema
8. Kill Bill Vol. 1 (2003)
It’s smooth, it’s cool, it’s witty - this Kill Bill Vol 1 gets across Quentin Tarantino’s vibe just right. Two minutes in, we already love the Bride, hate Bill and find ourselves wondering where we can sign up to a martial arts class, because they’re clearly the awesomest thing. Also, can we get that soundtrack anywhere?
Find Kill Bill Vol.1 in On Demand > Movies > Virgin Movies
9. Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015)
Does anyone not get the chills watching this? The Force Awakens was perhaps the most anticipated film EVER, and it needed a trailer to punch its weight. We weren’t disappointed: this is beautiful stuff. The preview quietly introduces the film’s three main characters without revealing too much, shows off some awesome actions sequences, and closes by hinting at classic features of the franchise. The soundtrack has us under its spell, and we’d happily watch this again and again (and in fact, we have).