What makes for a great movie trailer? Well, a good movie trailer is one of both precision and risk. With the insertion of one wrong clip, or the wrong bit of music, that big marketing push for a movie can be ruined. For some, a great movie trailer is one that gives you all the feels without ruining all of the laughs or plot twists. While for others, it’s all about piecing together a cohesive story in two short minutes.

There really isn’t just one best way of doing it, but we thought we’d examine a few trailers that do it successfully, without being too cliche or making us roll our eyes. Here are the best of the batch from the last few months.

1. Selma

This trailer is a rousing, tear-inducing two-minute masterpiece. This outstanding trailer manages to breathe excitement, action, and even a few laughs into a heavy, historical saga that we think we already know. And, if we don’t know, the spot shows just enough without spoiling the film. It is a rare film and trailer that can incite suspense into a retelling of a well-known and monumental piece of history.


2. What We Do In The Shadows

There’s a way to do funny trailers. Unfortunately, we don’t see great funny trailers all too often. One might consider a trailer to be funny in the moment, only to realize that all the funniest parts were already shown in the trailer. This one paints a picture of a movie without using the funniest parts to sell it – and the clips are simply an attempt to showcase and elevate that point. (And that’s how you do it.)


3. Mad Max: Fury Road

Little has been told to us watching this trailer regarding the actual plot of the film, even if we know it’s a remake, or a reboot, etc. But there’s a lot going on here that engages us. It gets your blood pumping, heart pounding, and maybe even your pupils dilating. You’re experiencing an adrenaline rush because … how can you not? The thing is, anyone can put together a crazy, action-packed trailer, but the key here is the music. It’s timed so perfectly with each shot, explosion, and moment of anticipation, you’re completely invested when this two-minute marvel ends. 


4. Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens 

So, this is interesting. Star Wars is a series we’ve all come to know and appreciate. If you haven’t seen any of the films, you’re at least somewhat familiar with the concepts behind them and the characters that make up the saga. What’s neat is that we get a sneak peek at some new characters that potentially await us in the upcoming film. We also get to hear a tiny tease of a score by John Williams, which, if it’s anything like the original (see: groundbreaking and forever engrained in the ears/minds of anyone who knows remotely anything about pop culture), it promises to be epic. 


5. Tomorrowland

The best kind of trailer is the one that follows the Golden Rule of Movie Trailers: Less is more. This trailer, for Tomorrowland, follows this rule beautifully. It begins with questions (“Who is she?” “What’d she do?” and “Why isn’t she a little bit more respectful to the police officer?”), then it takes you by surprise, and yet still retains its mystery. It provides the audience with more questions than answers, along with a nifty voiceover from Mr. George Clooney. And, for that, we thank Tomorrowland. 


6. Inherent Vice

Mixing slapstick, drama, and wit – when done right – can result in a magical movie trailer experience. Even if the movie it’s promoting is, well, a bit disjointed. Regardless, when a trailer is done right, you get a clip much like this trailer for Inherent Vice. It’s a playful glimpse of the movie, and succeeds in providing the mood and feel of the overall film, and ultimately makes for quite the sell.

(Header image by Bigstock contributor incomible.)

Looking to make your own movie trailers? Be sure to check out Bigstock’s video collection, filled with thousands of high quality, royalty-free video clips. 

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