In honor of Super Bowl/Puppy Bowl Sunday, we rate the commercials for studio tentpoles running during the game. Much of this footage debuts in these ads. And remember: Every 30 seconds cost $3 million.
Angels and Demons: Having never seen or read The DaVinci Code, we're really not sure what to expect from its sequel. Apparently it involves half-angel/half-demon gargoyles and the word ILLUMINATI, which can be read the same way upside down and looks like something a Suicidal Tendencies fan would have tattooed along his upper back. A few quick flashes of a crucifix branding iron, Ewan McGregor, and a helicopter didn't do much else to tell us what was going on or why we'd want to see this. Scary music though! That choir is clearly trying to tell us something. Turn around, Tom Hanks! The Statue of David is about to stab you!
Execution: 4 Anticipation: 3
Land of the Lost: The crack synergisticists at NBC Universal have done it again, making The Today Show's Matt Lauer a key figure in Land of the Lost. We get a brief glimpse at Cha-Ka and some Sleestaks, Will Ferrell screams a lot and acts wacky. This turns out pretty much exactly how we imagined it would.
Execution: 5 Anticipation: 4
The Year One is the first project written and directed by Harold Ramis since 2002's Analyze That, so it's arriving with high hopes. After watching this two minute scene, we're having trouble honing in on what tone they're going for. The laughs are pretty broad, the language is modern, the performances a little too relaxed. Michael Cera is basically playing George Michael in a caveman outfit; then David Cross and Paul Rudd show up saying they're Cain and Abel (which kind of threw us. Which story are they telling, exactly?) Still, we respect the ballsiness of choosing one simple scene and not bombarding us with every funny line in the movie squeezed into a 30-second spot. (Though we're sure that's coming.) We're cautiously optimistic.
Execution: 4 Anticipation: 6
Star Trek: A vast improvement over the first trailer, we lost a lot of the cheesy dialogue but still get Bruce Greenwood telling a young Kirk, "I dare you to do better." ("I don't know—maybe endorse an internet travel site, or start a YouTube show where you can complain about how John Cho didn't invite you to his gay wedding.") We even meet young Bones, who looks as though he's about to utter his first "Dammit, Jim."
Execution: 8 Anticipation: 8
Fast and Furious 4: With a subtly backhanded tagline ("New Model, Original Parts"), this is probably the most brainless offering, and yet we want to see it. Paul Walker, Vin Diesel, Michelle Rodriguez: the gang's all here. And with about six words spoken in the entire spot, it still kind of thrills us that Walker can make his three sound wooden.
Execution: 7 Anticipation: 7
Rise Return Revenge of the Fallen: Holy crap, that looks awesome. We bow down before the Bay.
Execution: 10 Anticipation: 9
G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra: We're still convinced this movie was made by France-hating eight-year-olds. No sign of The Doctor™—he must be at one of those latex breath-control fetish parties.
Execution: 4 Anticipation: 4
Up: After the next-level shit going on in Wall-E, it's hard to get excited about a crotchety old man floating around underneath thousands of helium balloons as the annoying kid next door drops the GPS system for comic relief. Still, this is PIXAR, so we're prepared to be dazzled once that house touches down somewhere interesting.
Execution: 8 Anticipation: 7
Monsters vs. Aliens: That material as done-to-death as this still managed to make us smile a few times (there's some nice Dr. Strangelove touches in there) bodes well, though the "lovable monster misfit" thing just feels so tired to us. But don't listen to us. This will make a gazillion dollars.
Execution: 8 Anticipation: 6