The 10 most misleading movie trailers

The 10 most misleading movie trailers. By Simon Miraudo.

Earlier this week, a Michigan woman sued the distributor of existential crime thriller Drive – and, bafflingly, her local cinema – for promoting the picture with a trailer that made it seem like a fast-paced, action-packed, Fast and Furious-esque vehicle. For the first time in the history of the internet, commenters and bloggers sympathised with the poor movie marketers who merely wanted to convince people to see a damn good film. In this case, we’re on their side too (Drive is really that good). However! Let’s not forget all the times we’ve been fooled by trailers in the past, having been promised storylines, scenes, characters or – in the case of all three Transformers films – quality that just wasn’t in the feature-length film. Read the most damning examples below, and be sure to share your own suggestions in the comments section!

1. Inglourious Basterds

The trailer: Brad Pitt and his bunch of merry basterds rip off countless Naht-zee scalps in this non-stop barrage of righteous revenge seeking.

The film: Here’s hoping you like long speeches delivered by veteran Austrian soap star Christoph Waltz (turns out, we actually do)!

2. Alien3

The trailer: The Alien is back, and this time … it’s coming to Earth!

The film: Did we say Earth? We meant ‘prison planet inhabited only by bald, middle-aged, British guys’. Also, the surviving characters you loved from Aliens are dead. Just ‘cause.

3. Sweeney Todd – The Demon Barber of Fleet Street

The trailer: Johnny Depp and Tim Burton team up for another macabre masterpiece. Start inscribing those Oscars!

The film: Oh, and it’s a musical. Start inscribing those Golden Globes.

4. The Road

The trailer: Only one man is badass enough to protect his son and Charlize Theron from the cannibal hordes in an apocalyptic wasteland: Viggo! Prepare thyself for Mad Mortensen: Beyond Thunderoad.

The film: A loooot of walking. Theron’s barely in it and Mortensen can barely breathe.

5. Kangaroo Jack

The trailer: Get ready to laugh. A talking, rapping, CGI kangaroo will cause a whole lotta trouble for Anthony Anderson and Jerry O’Connell.

The film: It’s just a regular, non-talking kangaroo. Also, you will not laugh.

6. In Bruges

The trailer: A motor-mouthed crims-on-the-run action comedy inspired by Guy Ritchie and Quentin Tarantino.

The film: A haunting, thoughtful crims-on-the-run dramedy inspired by Ingmar Bergman and Michelangelo Antonioni.

7. Bridesmaids

The trailer: Melissa McCarthy is going to annoy you in this.

The film: Melissa McCarthy should get a Best Supporting Actress nomination for this.

8. Pan’s Labyrinth

The trailer: If your kids love E.T. and Harry Potter, they’ll adore Pan’s Labyrinth (which is not at all a foreign film)!

The film: How do your kids feel about scenes in which Nazi soldiers stitch their faces back together? What about eye-less, paedophilic creatures that eat children?

9. Primeval

The trailer: Look out, there’s an alien serial killer on the loose!

The film: Wait, it’s just a crocodile? Lame.

10. Man of the Year

The trailer: Imagine if Robin Williams was President!

The film: Imagine if Robin Williams was President.

Discuss: Which trailers have fooled you in the past?

13 Responses to “The 10 most misleading movie trailers”

  1. How was Sweeny Todd Misleading? They sing in the trailer, the movie is based on a well known musical, it was advertised as a musical, everyone walking in knew without a doubt that it was a musical and if they didn’t then they were idiots.

  2. Excellent blog post Simon. Can’t really fault it. Lolz about Pan’s Labyrinth being mistaken for a kid’s film = nightmares aplenty!
    Can’t think of any particular trailers that mislead me but in terms of going to the movies and getting something far from what you expected, Danny Boyle’s 28 Days Later has to take the cake for me. I hadn’t seen any trailers, or read any internet buzz/magazine articles about it and went along to a screening in a near-empty cinema in Melbourne and just about wet myself. Scary and gripping as all hell when you didn’t know what was coming…

  3. My husband and I went in to “Click” believing it was going to be another lighthearted Adam Sandler romp thanks to the trailer. Definitely didn’t expect the darkness, and actually liked it a lot more than we thought we would. I’m also going to blame the trailer, although can’t rightly remember, but there was certainly something that had scaredy-pants me thinking “The Brothers Grimm” was a nice fairytale movie. As someone with a fairly low tolerance for anything remotely scary, I definitely didn’t get what I bargained for!

  4. How could you leave out two sci-fi movie trailers?

    I Robot -the trailer promised a tonne of crappolla action -only for the movie to turn out half decent (gratuitous in-your face advertising aside that is.)

    Blade Runner -marketed as an action blockbuster for fans who thought Star Wars had waay too much talking…. The most misleading trailer ever, and then there’s the whole “directors cut” editions that followed. Weren’t half of them studio re-releases rather than anything the director envisioned??

  5. When my husband and I went to see “I am legend”, we thought it was just a movie about a man living in post apocolypse New York, we didn’t know it was going to be so bloody scary and tense with vampire things that eat people. There was no mention of that in the trailer.

  6. What about Clubland it advertised as a comedy but it was an awful drama.

  7. V for vendetta was such a misleading trailer – it made the movie look pretty crappy but when I got around to watching it on dvd it’s one of my favorite movies ever

  8. The Pan’s Labyrinth trailer gave a pretty accurate depiction of the darkness pervasive in the film. The scenes were indicitative of violence, and the music haunting. One of the quotes included even described it as a “fairytale for adults”. No parent or child watching that trailer would have mistook it for something as light and fun as HP or ET.

  9. Bladerunner comment. I thought it might be an just an action movie disguised as sci fi, but it had brains. Wish more science fiction flicks had this much style and depth.

  10. Star Wars Episode 1 The Phantom Menace. I thought it was going to rock. It really didn’t. Three words Jar Jar Binks.

  11. May all time fave is the trailer for The Last Airbender from the Ironman II DVD. Although it DOES give a pretty good idea in general about the movie, if you watch it closely, almost every single scene in the trailer was cut from the movie.

  12. In the trailer of Puss In Boots, he says “and nothing will distract me” then he gets distracted by a light on the ground. The ” nothing will distract me” part was not in the movie! Ugh!

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