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(WARNING: Spoilers below, tread carefully)
I’m old enough to remember a time when you would only see #trailers at the cinema (and, for some reason, on some VHS or DVD copies of films). While it was always exciting to get glimpses of the new movies coming out, trailers are a much bigger deal today than ever before.
We don’t only get trailers now, we get multiple trailers for the same #movie. We even get teaser trailers (basically, a trailer for a trailer) and scene-by-scene, minute-by-minute breakdowns of the biggest trailers.
Trailers are great, and goddamn we love them, but they can also be frustrating. I’m sure we’ve all experienced the peculiar disappointment of being excited by a trailer only to feel as though what you saw on screen was thoroughly misrepresented.
Here, I'm going to take a look at five of the most misleading trailers in movie history.
5. 'Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber Of Fleet Street'
In my mind, this one shouldn't really count. I mean, surely everyone knows that #SweeneyTodd is a musical, right? Tim Burton's 2007 movie was an adaptation of a well-known, well-loved and award-winning stage musical. Even though Sweeney Todd had been singing and slicing his way into theatergoers' hearts since the 1970s, there were still those who did not know that this tale of mass murder also contained sing-a-longs.
Thankfully, the trailer helped to clear up any confusion. Right? Oh.
OK, so there is a brief scene of Depp speak-singing, but the trailer certainly plays down its musical elements and plays up the macabre horror-comedy that is Tim Burton's stock-in-trade.
In the UK, complaints were made to the Advertising Standards Authority and Trading Standards about the allegedly misleading nature of the movie's advance marketing. While you could argue that those audience members dismayed by the songs should have done their research before paying their money, you would think those behind the marketing should not have hidden Sweeney Todd's true nature.
4. 'Inherent Vice'
Another adaptation, this one by auteur director extraordinaire #PaulThomasAnderson. The There Will Be Blood director assembled a star-studded cast (including #JoaquinPhoenix, Reese Witherspoon, Josh Brolin, Owen Wilson and Benicio del Toro) for the big screen version of Thomas Pynchon's crime noir novel.
While the novel contains elements of black comedy, the trailer really played up the comedic elements. I mean, really.
Early on we see Phoenix's stoner P.I. Doc take a slapstick fall and then provide an exaggerated comic reaction to a photograph. Forget black comedy, #InherentVice's trailer goes all out to convince you that this is a knockabout screwball comedy.
Audiences probably should have been aware that the mind behind Magnolia and The Master wasn't about to go all Farrelly Brothers on us, and Phoenix isn't exactly Will Ferrell, but the trailer tried in earnest to trick everyone into thinking both had taken a trip to the light side.
Danish director Nicholas Winding Refn regularly treads the fine line between genius and fool, and it's understandable that his work is pretty hard to summarize in around three minutes.
That being said, the trailer for his breakthrough hit #Drive doesn't summarize the movie so much as make it look like an entirely different one.
The Drive trailer promises thrills on four wheels in the vein of the Fast & Furious franchise or Gone In 60 Seconds.
What we got instead was a moody, meditative, occasionally hyper-violent drama (with very little actual driving). A good movie, sure, but not the one anyone was promised.
2. 'The Rules Of Attraction'
Back in the early '00s, the college coming-of-age comedy was all the rage. The success of American Pie resulted in a slew of imitators, and the trailer for #TheRulesOfAttraction suggested it was another movie in that vein.
Directed by Roger Avery (co-writer of Pulp Fiction) and adapted from a novel by Brett Easton Ellis (American Psycho), the trailer downplayed the more adult orientated elements of the movie and played up the witty teenage banter.
Those expecting a teen sex comedy starring the dude from Dawson's Creek would have been disappointed by a dark movie featuring rape, drug addiction and depression (starring the dude from Dawson's Creek).
The Rules Of Attraction was many things, but Dude, Where's My Car? it wasn't.
1. 'Iron Man 3'
Batman has the Joker. Superman has Lex Luthor. And Iron Man has The Mandarin. After two movies with mediocre (at best) villains, #Marvel promised us a real battle for Tony Stark in #IronMan3, with everyone's favorite quipping scientist-genius-billionaire facing off against his arch-nemesis.
The trailer makes The Mandarin (played by a menacing Ben Kingsley) look and sound like a real threat, aping real-life terrorist iconography, but in a controversial bait-and-switch, Kingsley turned out to really be playing a drunk actor named Trevor Slattery — a man only pretending to be The Mandarin.
It shouldn't have really been a shock that Shane Black (the man behind Lethal Weapon and Kiss Kiss Bang Bang) would go for a lighthearted take on the superhero genre rather than the dark and gritty one promised by the trailer. Even so, plenty were disappointed and angry when the movie's big twist was revealed.