Hollywood Rolls Out the Big Guns During Super Bowl

As I understand it, there was some sort of significant sporting event on television over the weekend. I believe it was called the Super Dish, or Wonder Plate, or something like that. Because it tends to do pretty well in the ratings, advertisers like to use this as an opportunity to debut lots of flashy new commercials. For many people, these are more exciting than the game. This year, the Hollywood studios unleashed a slew of new trailers for the year’s tentpole movie productions.

I find this fascination with Super Bowl commercials kind of odd. Normally, people find commercials annoying and just fast forward through them on the DVR. Yet commercials during the Super Bowl are an event. The day before the game, one network (not even the one airing the game!) played a promo special hyping up what commercials we were going to see the next day. How crazy is that?

Anyway, here’s a look at what Hollywood wants us to get excited about this year:

Captain America‘ seems like one of those comic books whose concept is too goofy to possibly work in live action. Previous attempts (mostly on TV) have been painfully cheesy disasters. I’ve got to say, so far, this looks better than I expected. I doubt that I’ll rush out to see this in the theater, but maybe director Joe Johnston can make it work. We’ll see.

Thor‘ is an even harder sell. I’ve never read an issue of the comic, but I’ve been told that it was really terrific back in its heyday during the 1960s. Still, the character just seems so very silly to me, and I doubt many modern kids know much about him. The trailer isn’t as terrible as I would have assumed, but it doesn’t look great either. I can’t believe Kenneth Branagh actually directed this. Is the guy really that desperately in need of a hit?

On the other hand, I think that Jon Favreau knows how to make silly fun. You won’t find any sillier a concept this year than ‘Cowboys & Aliens‘. The trailer is just OK, but I think it has potential.

J.J. Abrams appears to be trying to channel classic early ’80s Spielberg with ‘Super 8‘. I think the trailer is kind of fantastic.

Make no mistake, I think that Michael Bay’s ‘Transfomers’ movies suck. Still, the guy knows how to put together an exciting trailer. This ad for ‘Transformers: Dark of the Moon‘ looks epic in scope and has a lot of pulse-pounding, rock ’em/sock ’em, robot-on-robot action. I have no doubt that the finished product will be just as idiotic and incoherent as his last couple, though.

Does the world really need a fourth ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ movie? Did anyone even like the last couple? ‘Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides‘ looks indistinguishable from any of the three previous movies in this series.

Likewise, a fifth ‘Fast and the Furious’ movie? Really, Hollywood? That’s all you’ve got for us? ‘Fast Five‘ adds Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson to the cast roster, but otherwise just looks like more of the same. Yawn.

According to the trailer for ‘Limitless‘, Bradley Cooper takes a pill or something that allows him to use his brain to its fullest potential. This somehow causes him to drive really fast, go cliffdiving, and tell off Robert De Niro. Ummm… OK.

Battle: Los Angles‘ sure does have a lot of visual effects, but it also looks pretty much exactly the same as last year’s ‘Skyline’. And everyone I know says that ‘Skyline’ sucked really bad. This one’s got Aaron Eckhart in it, though. So, that’s a plus.

This trailer for Johnny Depp’s animated comedy ‘Rango‘ doesn’t bring much that hadn’t already been seen in earlier trailers that have been playing in theaters for a couple months. The movie looks kind of fun, though.

I loved the original ‘Kung Fu Panda’, but ‘Kung Fu Panda 2: The Kaboom of Doom‘ kind of looks like more of the same, just not as good. It’s got that typical Dreamworks sequelitis going on. Plus, the “We will wok you” pun is really lame. Really, really lame.

Here’s yet another animated comedy. From the trailer, what we can tell about ‘Rio‘ is that it’s about parrots, and…? Well, that’s about it. Not too exciting so far.

Oh no, wait, there’s one more animated kids’ movie. ‘Hop‘ is about a cute bunny who plays drums.

Let’s switch gears for a moment (Get it? Get it?) to look at ‘Drive Angry‘. Is anyone who might be inclined to go see a movie like this really going to be impressed by a trailer that boasts of it getting good reviews from dubious sources like Ain’t It Cool News? “Nicolas Cage at his action-packed best” sounds more like a condemnation than an endorsement.

When I hear the title ‘Priest‘, I think of that controversial indie movie from the mid ’90s about a gay priest wrestling with his religious convictions. This one’s based on a comic book about a preacher who fights vampires with ninja throwing stars shaped like crucifixes. So, pretty much the same thing, right? It looks a-tro-cious. How were Paul Bettany and Ian McKellan wrangled into this?

Finally, let’s wrap things up with a comedy. ‘Take Me Home Tonight‘ has an ’80s vibe to it. I can’t really tell from the trailer, but I hope Topher Grace isn’t supposed to still be playing a high school kid in this, is he? ‘Cause the guy’s well over 30 now.

OK, now you tell us in the comments which of these trailers has sparked your interest.

[via Topless Robot (twice), NJ.com, Television without Pity, Screen Rant, and Moviefone.]


  1. The longer Priest trailer looks way better than this one. I’m actually pretty excited for it!

    As far as ‘Captain America’ goes – boy do I want that movie to be good. I love the Captain and I had high hopes for the flick. Now I’m not so sure.

    ‘Thor’ looks like it might be terrible, but we’ll see.

  2. Jane Morgan

    ‘Transformers 3’ is my most anticipated movie of Summer ’11.

    This SB trailer was a little weak for a Michael Bay trailer, but most of his 30-second spots are weak compared to his full trailers.

    As far as ‘Captain America’ goes, and ‘Thor,’ I thought the movies were supposed to exist inside the same universe as ‘Iron Man’…? Based on these two trailers, they don’t look to fit at all.

    Is Marvel trying to destroy all their franchises as quickly as possible?

    Once we’re done with comic book movies, what will be the next Hollywood fad? New IP?

    • Alex

      You may note that the full Thor trailer has the same Agent Phil Coulson from S.H.I.E.L.D. (played by Clark Gregg) in it. Captain America is supposed to take place in the same universe, but in the 40’s. I actually applaud them for trying to create a consistent universe within the films. Time will tell how well it works.

      • The characters are the same, but I get what Jane is saying. From the trailers the films feel very different. There’s a reason for that with ‘Thor,’ but ‘Captain America’ doesn’t seem to be grounded in the same type of realism as ‘Iron Man.’

        Again, this is from a 30 second clip, so I’m reserving judgement until I see the movie.

  3. Alex

    While the world may not need another “Pirates” movie, this one does have Ian McShane in it, and that’s just enough to push me into the theater to see it. True, his television work (“Deadwood” and “Lovejoy Mysteries”, for those of you who remember that little BBC gem) tends to be better than his film work, but he is really a terrific actor.

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