10 Movie Trailers That Were Better Than the Actual Movie

Fox News Magazine

The goal of a movie trailer is to make theatergoers want to see a movie, but sometimes it accomplishes that goal a little too well.

In other words, a great trailer has the ability to make a sub-par movie seem watchable. Maybe it was because the editing was misleading, or because the cast and crew looked so amazing, or perhaps it was simply because the trailer was packed with 90 seconds of the movie’s only worthwhile scenes and an overly sentimental soundtrack — whatever the reason, certain movies fall short of the promises they make in the preview.

Granted, not every movie with a great preview is bound to disappoint, but we’ll be damned if we (and the critics) weren’t a little bummed after finally seeing.

1. “The Village”
When “The Village” came out, director M. Night Shyamalan was already on his way to becoming a one-trick pony (the trick being that his films almost always employed twist endings on par with old episodes of “The Twilight Zone.”) But in 2004, fans were still eager to find out the secret of “The Village,” and can you blame them? The trailer was highly intriguing. Unfortunately, Roger Ebert described the twist ending was “so witless … that when we do discover the secret, we want to rewind the film so we don’t know the secret anymore.”

2. “Where the Wild Things Are”
The trailer for “Where the Wild Things Are” managed to capture the wonder and excitement of Maurice Sendak’s 1963 children’s classic while acclimating viewers to Spike Jonze’s live-action take on the source material. It was an impressive feat, albeit one that set a high bar for the finished film. Some reviewers loved it, but more than a few — including those from The New Yorker and Salon — found the movie too depressing for children.

3. “John Carter”
Judging by its preview, “John Carter” seemed to be about a cowboy-type guy from the 19th century who grabs a sword and becomes a superhero on a distant planet. What more could people want from a big-budget summer blockbuster? Apparently, the answer to that question is “a lot,” because “John Carter” turned out to be a huge critical and commercial disappointment. The Guardian thought it was “a doughy feast of boredom” and the New York Times simply called it a bad movie that “should not look this good.”

4. “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty”
Ben Stiller’s “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” bolstered its trailer with a catchy tune and whimsical visuals (the latter of which were seemingly taken straight from Wes Anderson’s playbook), but the full-length movie arguably offered little more. The Wall Street Journal‘s reviewer called it “lifeless” and stated, “I don’t know what this film was trying for.” Richard Roeper didn’t enjoy “Mitty” much more, calling it a “wildly uneven venture that too often plays like an extended ego trip for Stiller.”


5. “The Monuments Men”
“The Monuments Men” looked like it was going to be a rousing World War II heist film with a quirky ensemble cast à la “Ocean’s Eleven” (Look! It’s Bill Murray! And John Goodman! And that short guy from “Seinfeld” and those Christopher Guest movies!) But critics trashed George Clooney’s direction, especially for giving the film an uneven tone that wavered between comedic and gravely serious (as noted by The Sydney Morning Herald and Total Film).

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