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Yet Another Top 10 Misleading Movie Trailers

VO: Phoebe de Jeu WRITTEN BY: Michael Wynands

These films did NOT come as advertised. For this list, we’re taking a look at even more movie trailers that set us up to expect a different sort of film - be it in terms of style, tone, genre, plot or otherwise. Though we’ll try to keep it to a minimum, a spoiler alert is in effect. Our list includes “Unbreakable” (2000), “Suicide Squad” (2016), “Colossal” (2016), “Passengers” (2016), “Blue Valentine” (2010), and more! Join WatchMojo as we count down our picks for the Top 10 Yet Another Misleading Movie Trailers.

Check out the voting page for this list and add your picks: https://WatchMojo.comsuggest/Top+10+bad+trailers+for+good+movies. Special thanks to our user PeterGecko for suggesting this idea!


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Script written by Michael Wynands

Top 10 Yet Another Misleading Movie Trailers

These films did NOT come as advertised. Welcome to WatchMojo, and today we’ll be counting down our picks for Yet Another Top 10 Misleading Movie Trailers.

For this list, we’re taking a look at even more movie trailers that set us up to expect a different sort of film - be it in terms of style, tone, genre, plot or otherwise. Though we’ll try to keep it to a minimum, a spoiler alert is in effect.

#10: “Suicide Squad” (2016)

Kudos to whoever edited the trailer for this poorly received but financially lucrative DC film. Set to Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody,” the trailer promised a highly stylish, atmospheric film. It looked like it was going to be a relatively gritty flick, but one with enough quirks and dark humor to avoid coming across as gloomy. Basically… it came across as an angsty action flick with superpowers. And, for all intents and purposes, it seemed to pretty clearly set up the Joker as the villain. Sadly, this sense of identity was sorely lacking in the actual film, and the Joker was reduced to little more than a bit player.

#9: “Blue Valentine” (2010)

One word for you… “painful.” At least, that’s how we’d describe “Blue Valentine” after having seen it. The film is excellent, but it’s a depressingly honest look at how relationships begin, deteriorate over time, and eventually come to a possible end. Take a look at this trailer. It looks like a charming indie romance film. No one would have assumed it’s a rom-com, but audience members could have easily gone into it expecting another dose of heartfelt and passionate romance akin to “The Notebook” - just with more indie charms and quirkiness. Rather than an affirmation of love, however, “Blue Valentine” will rip any and all romantic insecurities you might have wide open.

#8: “Colossal” (2016)

Unlike the first trailer for most monster movies, this indie sci-fi flick was happy to reveal its large creature upfront. What it only vaguely alluded to, however, were the film’s darker undertones. When it was billed as a black comedy, most people assumed the darkness came from the fact that this kaiju was destroying Seoul. But in reality... the issues are much more personal. Given the age of the characters, the presence of beers in the trailer seems unremarkable, but in hindsight, they were our first signs of the real problem - alcohol addiction. The film also gets pretty deep into domestic abuse and toxic relationships. Not exactly the quirky ride people signed up for.

#7: “Transformers: Age of Extinction” (2014)

When you walk into a “Transformers” movie, you know what to expect. But when this trailer came out, it made us question us our assumptions. To be fair, it seems like pretty standard fare - that is until the very end of the trailer, when the Dinobots make their grand debut. Dinobots?! This changes everything. Finally, a deviation from the formula - or so we were given cause to hope. We get that a trailer isn’t a legally binding contract, but a big reveal at the end of trailer usually infers that said reveal is actually a significant part of the film. Sadly, the dinobots only showed up towards the end and were woefully underutilized.

#6: “The Cable Guy” (1996)

By 1996, we had already been treated to “Ace Ventura: Pet Detective” and “Dumb and Dumber,” understanding that Jim Carrey’s characters are totally over-the-top and more than a little intense. But no amount of zany onscreen behavior could’ve prepared us for his role in “The Cable Guy.” This trailer doesn’t hold back on the odd behavior exhibited by Carrey’s character Ernie "Chip" Douglas. What it didn’t make clear enough, however, was just how disturbing the plot would become. It’s not a dark premise serving as the basis for a funny story. It’s a dark premise that serves as the basis for a DARK and disturbing story of manipulation, mental illness, and obsession.

#5: “Passengers” (2016)

The trailer teased a compelling film: for some reason, Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence’s characters are the only two people awake on a colony ship - drama and romance inevitably ensue, as well as some life or death stakes. Who knows... had the plot, as suggested by the trailer, actually been just that, maybe this film would have been a success worthy of its stars. Unfortunately, the trailer left out the twist. Pratt’s character, Jim, was woken early by mistake, and, out of loneliness, wakes up Lawrence’s Aurora from her hibernation pod after falling for her at first sight. It’s a deeply upsetting plot, and not a role people were expecting to see Pratt play.

#4: “Unbreakable” (2000)

A director makes a groundbreaking supernatural/psychological horror film that proves to be a hit with critics and audiences. As a studio, you’re crossing your fingers that this filmmaker sticks to the genre. But then he instead goes and makes a thriller that’s hard to categorize - a grim superhero film, grounded in reality, that deconstructs the comic book hero/villain dynamic. What’s the marketing department to do? Apparently, craft a trailer that basically makes the film look and feel like a horror film. Does it accurately represent the movie? No. But hey, anything to cash in on the success of M. Night Shyamalan’s “The Sixth Sense.” No wonder audiences had mixed feelings when they saw “Unbreakable.”

#3: “Scream” (1996)

Remember this cookie-cutter ‘90s slasher starring Drew Barrymore? No? Probably because it never happened! In a classic bait-and-switch befitting this meta-horror film by master of the genre Wes Craven, the first trailer for “Scream” started off as a total cliché: an aloof, unsuspecting blonde, played by Barrymore, accepts a phone call from a sinister figure. As the trailer progresses, we learn about our killer and get some insight into the self-aware nature of the film. But based on this first trailer, you never could have predicted just what a deconstruction of the genre it would be. Most misleading of all, however, is the fact that Barrymore was playing a bit part, NOT starring.

#2: “Brave” (2012)

We understand the drive to keep the twist a secret, but sometimes, as is the case with “Brave,” that forces the editors to compile a trailer that, unfortunately, sells a very different story. By the looks of the trailer, this film was about a young princess disinterested with the responsibilities prescribed to her gender and position, who opts instead to go on an epic adventure of self-discovery. Though Merida’s character was spot-on, the whole adventure thing never really happened. What we got instead was a very intimate story about mother and daughter, as explored through the mother’s transformation into a bear. It was a great story, but not the one people had signed up for.

#1: “Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope” (1977)

Given that the original “Star Wars” is over 40 years old, even some diehard fans have never seen the trailer originally used to advertise this space opera. But go and watch it for yourself. In retrospect, the tone feels so wrong and clearly off-brand that you’ll find yourself questioning whether this is real or some odd fan-made spoof. But trust us… it’s real. From its “2001: A Space Odyssey” sounding opening narration to the overly serious, action-heavy quick snippets of footage, it feels totally alien. Honestly, it kind of comes across as a B-movie. When it hit theaters, fans got a film with a very different tone - and that’s a good thing.

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