None of the top 10 most engaging Super Bowl commercials (according to TiVo) were the movie previews that ran throughout. It used to be that some of the most talked-about ads were previews. I’m thinking of the year when the shot of an exploding White House made Independence Day the must-see movie of the summer of ’96.
Not so much this year. Here are all the trailers that ran during the Bowl game, and a quick rundown on how well the ad amped up excitement, on an anticipation scale of 1 to 10.
(For the record, here a chart of which ads inspired the biggest buzz on Twitter. I’m pretty surprised at the #1, to be honest.)
Universal Pictures: “Cowboys & Aliens”
“Must See” factor: The alignment with Iron Man suggests a neat postmodern spin on old-school metallurgy.
“Yawn” factor: Didn’t we already see Deadwood Gulch turned into an industrial action zone in Wild Wild West?
Overall anticipation: Daniel Craig with stubble pushes this up to a 5.
Paramount: “Transformers: Dark Of The Moon”
“Must See” factor: A riveting steely pulse for a soundtrack; that fantastic shot of a malevolent bot twisting through a city street like the mecha-Tasmanian devil.
“Yawn” factor: “More than meets the eye” is bound to become “less than meets the eye” after a few sequels.
Overall anticipation: 7, hoping for guilty pleasure action vulgarity. Think we’ll get it?
“Must See” factor: You want pecs the size of Casaba melons? Chris Hemsworth’s got them right here, baby.
“Yawn” factor: This is one of the movies Natalie Portman is going to follow up her Oscar win with?
Overall anticipation: The effects look all over the map, but it settles in at about 5.
Paramount: “Super 8”
“Must See” factor: Stephen Spielberg isn’t directing (J.J. Abrams is), but this still looks like it bears the master’s imprimatur in classic Close Encounters mode.
“Yawn” factor: Is this scary or wondrous? Light or dark? The preview suggests it could be anything.
Overall anticipation: Because nobody does summer like Spielberg, and Abrams’ Star Trek was solid fun, this gets an 8.
Marvel: “Captain America”
“Must See” factor: A cool 1940s look and Chris Evans’ amusing transformation from 98-pound weakling to puffy, muscle stud.
“Yawn” factor: None of the action shots looked altogether … exciting?
Overall anticipation: If Evans maintains a sense of humor about himself, it might be worth a 5.
Universal Pictures: “FastFive”
“Must See” factor: Cars! Crashes! Stunts! Vin! Boom! Aaaaah!
“Yawn” factor: At five movies in, they have to be on cruise control.
Overall anticipation: A 6, but only if I get to drive one of those cars.
Disney: “Pirates Of The Caribbean: On Stranger Tides”
“Must See” factor: Johnny Depp seems to let his freak flag fly further with each new entry.
“Yawn” factor: So does the budget, and doesn’t each of these more or less feel the exact same?
Overall anticipation: Depp’s scream lifts this to a 5, but it’s seriously time to put this series out to pasture.
20th Century Fox: “Rango”
“Must See” factor: Maybe it’s just True Grit lingering, but doesn’t this whole thing suggest a Coen brothers cartoon?
“Yawn” factor: Still unsure as to what this is going to be about, but I doubt that matters.
Overall anticipation: I’m not automatically predisposed to ‘toons, but this gets a 7.
20th Century Fox: “Rio”
“Must See” factor: Pretty tropical colors.
“Yawn” factor: Sass overload.
Overall anticipation: Par for the course: 5, even being stuck (as we are) in the dead cold of February.
Universal Studios: “Limitless”
“Must See” factor: The biggest “concept” of all these previews, technically.
“Yawn” factor: Sure Bradley Cooper is good-looking, but does anyone buy him as a neo-Stephen Hawking?
Overall anticipation: Surprisingly limited: 4.
Disney: “Mars Needs Moms”
“Must See” factor: The same neon-hued palate that almost saved Tron: Legacy.
“Yawn” factor: “Fire butt-blasters.” Ha. Ha.
Overall anticipation: A strict 4. Hope Pixar’s Cars 2 is better than this year’s batch of Super Bowl cartoon movies.