For one night every year, sports fans and film geeks tune into the same channel to check out the culmination of the football season and a ton of footage from upcoming movies. The Super Bowl is loved as much for its creative advertising as it is for its promise of a great game and last night's showdown between the Green Bay Packers and the Pittsburgh Steelers didn't disappoint on either front. Of course, film bloggers were kept busy analyzing every frame of new footage that aired and Super Bowl XLV gave us plenty of work to do, so today I thought I'd give you my take on the many movie spots that appeared on Fox last night.
In honor of the Super Bowl, I'm grading the spots as follows:
"Fumble" - A waste of money for the distributor. Either the footage failed to get me pumped up for the film or it just wasn't good.
"Completion" - The message was delivered. Footage entertained and looked cool but I'm still not sure it'll score in the long run.
"Touchdown" - A major victory for everyone involved. I'd buy my ticket today if I could.
And so without further adieu, here's the rundown:
JUST GO WITH IT: One of Sony Pictures only contributions to the plethora of movie spots, Adam Sandler made a brief appearance in the beginning of the game pimping his new movie and if there's one thing I took away from the ad it's this: Boobs. Brooklyn Decker's boobs. Now that alone may be enough to sell the film to the male audience, but with nothing else to offer other than mindless physical comedy, this spot turned me off of this week's rom-com. (FUMBLE)
BATTLE LOS ANGELES: This spot offered a bit more explanation of the coming invasion than we'd seen or heard in months past, and with lots of explosions, a few reveals and the promise of more epic visuals, this was money well spent. (TOUCHDOWN)
DRIVE ANGRY 3D: Going the voice-over route, Summit decided to jam the fact that this is a 3D film into our heads and justify its quality with quotes from a handful of journalists who have seen the violent picture already. It came off as an un-classy attempt to win us over. Sorry Summit, telling the world that this is "Nicolas Cage at his action-packed best" isn't enough to sell us on a film anymore. (FUMBLE)
KUNG FU PANDA 2: We saw great animation and some quick but cool clips of various action sequences from the CGI sequel, but had there not been a 2 attached to the title (or if I didn't know there was a follow-up to the 2008 hit releasing this year) I'd have thought this was a promo for a new Blu-ray product. Still, Paramount/DreamWorks got its message across loud and clear: Pandamonium is coming May 26th. (COMPLETION)
FAST FIVE: With eye-popping, over-the-top stunts that were utterly thrilling along with a montage of the sexy stars that will grace the screen on April 29th, Universal Pictures came through with a fun commercial for the fourth sequel in one its flagship franchises. The studio knows what its audience wants from this film - cars, girls and guns - and flaunted it all with pride. (TOUCHDOWN)
COWBOYS AND ALIENS: The spot can't compare to the mysterious tone delivered in the teaser trailer, but some new footage, including a reveal of either an alien or the vehicle one was riding, was more than enough to keep me interested in the genre-bending film. I don't know whether it was Daniel Craig or Harrison Ford who jumped off of a cliff and onto a flying craft, but that had me jumping off my couch in a frenzy. (COMPLETION)
TRANSFORMERS: DARK OF THE MOON: Michael Bay finally got J.J. Abrams memo - "less is more." We only saw a few very brief pieces of action scenes, but it was more than enough to wash the foul taste of that announcement trailer away. The Autobots and Decepticons are back and they're set to do boffo box office on July 1st. (TOUCHDOWN)
THOR: The Mighty Avenger brought nothing more than previously seen footage to the biggest night of advertising in America, with the exception of just a few establishing shots. Still hoping the film kicks ass, but this spot definitely didn't. (FUMBLE)
SUPER 8: Little is known, still, about J.J. Abrams enigmatic new motion picture, but that's just the way I like it. We haven't seen anything new from this film since its first teaser trailer hit theaters with Iron Man 2 in May 2010, so the hype was running strong. Abrams and company didn't disappoint, showing us character reveals, some epic disaster footage and a tone that recalls producer Steven Spielberg's E.T. and Close Encounters of the Third Kind (as promised). Using James Horner's score from Cocoon didn't hurt either. Easily the film I'm looking forward to most this summer. (TOUCHDOWN)
CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE FIRST AVENGER: The spot addressed one of my biggest concerns about the film head on. What will Steve Rogers, pre-Super Soldier Serum, look like? The success of the film could very hinge on this visual challenge and it looks like Marvel and Paramount have nailed it! Lots of reveals, as we've seen virtually no footage of the film until last night, the promise of pulpy action and an aesthetic that is like a crossbreed of director Joe Johnston's own The Rocketeer and Kerry Condon's Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow have me feeling very confident about The First Avenger. Still didn't see enough to call it a touchdown, though. (COMPLETION)
PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: ON STRANGER TIDES: Lots of Jack Sparrow, little else. I know that Johnny Depp's swashbuckling star is the major (if only) draw here, but the series has always been best when Capt. Jack has a wide array of wonderful characters to work off of (and I'm not talking about Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightley). Disney should've spent the money introducing us to some of the new characters like Ian McShane's Blackbeard and Penelope Cruz' Angelica, but sadly all we saw was Sparrow swinging from a chandelier. (FUMBLE)
RANGO and RIO: Both of the films look like cute and colorful kiddie pics that the whole family might enjoy. If they live up to their promises of grand adventure and broad humor they'll both do just fine. (COMPLETION)