Bait and Switch: Horrible movies that had great trailers
It’s happened to all of us. You are sitting in the theater, watching the coming attractions, waiting for your movie to start, and a trailer comes on that blows you through the back of the theater. You think, “That looks AWESOME!” and mentally make a note to check it out later. When the day comes that you can finally check out the movie you’ve been building up in your mind for months, you are disappointed. Maybe more so, maybe you are pissed. Perhaps even outright hostile towards the movie which did nothing to you except suck the will to live out of you. It’s called the “bait and switch”. Offer you one thing to get you in the theater, then give you something completely different.
Cutting together a trailer has almost become an art form in today’s Hollywood. How many times have you watched a trailer and one funny line kills you, then you go see the movie and that was the only funny thing in the entire flaming pile of “poo doo”? Too often. Movie trailers should be considered a social contract. If you promise to deliver an ass-melting action movie, then you better damn well deliver or I get to go to the director’s (or actors’, or producers’) home and suplex them through their glass topped living room table. It’s only fair.
Let’s take a look at a list of movies that had really awesome trailers, only to not deliver on said promise of awesome.
Snakes on a Plane (2006) - When the trailer for this movie started making the rounds on the internet in 2005-2006, it blew up big. Everyone was talking about it. People thought this movie was going to open HUGE. It didn’t. Turns out the movie kinda blew. The best part of the movie was Samuel Jackson and his one line about muthaf’n snakes which, by the way, was not originally in the film and added during post-production. The expectations were too high for a Grade B horror movie that works better late at night, on HBO with like 5 drunk friends. Surprisingly, it’s not as entertaining when you’ve just paid $10 for admission, $20 for concessions and aren’t completely bombed.
Mega Shark vs Giant Octopus (2009) - If you can look at that poster and tell me this movie doesn’t look like seven kinds of bad ass, then I would call you a LIAR, sir. However, glance at the top of the poster and see the names of the starring actors; Lorenzo Llamas and Deborah Gibson. Well, crap…nevermind. Surprisingly, this movie is the latest “buzz” movie on the internet. Remember Snakes on a Plane (see above)? This is Snakes on a Plane 2009, but with a much worse trailer. MUCH worse. Be prepared to be disappointed that neither Deborah Gibson nor Lorenzo Llamas is eaten by a shark or octopus. Harry from Ain’t It Cool said, “…it delivers on the title, if nothing else.”
Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow (2004) -Kerry Conran, over four years, shot a black and white trailer against blue screen in his living room and cut together effects using his own Mac. The trailer was cut to look like an old movie serial from the ’30s-’40s. This is what Conran shopped to all the movie studios, a trailer for a movie that didn’t exist. Most studios turned him down until he found some private financing for filming and New Line footing the bill for S/FX. Maybe he should have spent that four year span writing a script instead of shooting a trailer, hmmm? In the end, the movie was a gimmick. All style over substance. Very pretty and stylish, but the story and action were boring. At best, a novelty that didn’t even make back its initial investment. However the concept and trailer were top notch, too bad the entire product wasn’t.
Double Take (2001) - This movie had a fantastic trailer. There was one scene in the trailer with Orlando Jones ordering Schlitz Malt Liquor at a dinner table then when he’s informed they don’t have it, he goes off about keepin’ it REAAAAL and REPRESENTIN’. Hilarious. Steph and I were quoting it for months before the movie came out. Then we went to see it, and that was the funniest one minute and thirty seconds of the movie. I don’t actually even remember anything else ABOUT the movie other than that one scene. So disappointing, but I’m not sure how the movie could have lived up to the hype Steph and I created by shouting “SCHLITZ MALT LICKAAAA!!!!!” at the top of our lungs to each other. FYI…we still quote that scene to this day. The clip below is the Schlitz Malt liquor scene in question. It really amps up around the 1:30 mark.
Bubba Ho-Tep (2002) - Now, when I saw this trailer I thought, “Holy CRAP!! This movie is gonna be awful yet awesome at the same time! Awe-ful!!!” I mean, it had Bruce Campbell playing Elvis in a retirement home trying to fight off an undead mummy. How can this go wrong?! Well, it went horribly wrong, and not in an awesome Plan 9 From Outer Space way.
Soldier (1998) - I had really high hopes for this as an action movie. I love Kurt Russell. And I know that Carpenter movies tend to be lower budget, but they are usually fun. I saw this as a more action-y version of Big Trouble in Little China (which I loved). The trailer is even really good. However, this movie, as a whole, isn’t. Watch the trailer, at the :30 mark there is a huge planetary battle in space with tons of ships. There is no scene like this in the movie at all. There is no place for a huge interplanetary space battle in the story. So how the hell did it get in there? Hello Hollywood marketing machine. What we get with this is Kurt Russell bred as a bad ass soldier and all we see him do is teaching a little boy how to kill snakes. SNAKES. Yeah, I know.
What movies have you been super excited to see based on their trailer only to have been dissapointed?