The 10 Best Movie Trailers Of 2014: Sci Fi And Sequels Dominate Our Top Picks

By Steve Buja , Updated Dec 31, 2014 05:14 PM EST
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Moviegoing is tough these days. Most films are over two hours, not including transit, parking, and lacking in the ability to pause them. They’re expensive, rounding out at least 10 dollars, not including food and drinks. Plus, there are the other people you have to deal with (who are all jerks) and the fact that, potentially, your theater could be threatened by a terrorist organization.

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But movie trailers? You can experience the highlights of a film in just under two and a half minutes, for free via Youtube, without even having to put on pants. 2014 was a down year for movies, but for movie trailers, it was up, up, up, up. We saw teasers for teasers (hello, Terminator Genisys), leaked trailers (Age of Ultron) and the return of your childhood with the debut trailers of venerable franchises like Jurassic World.

So, we decided to run down through the year in film and offer up our highly subjective list of ‘best trailers’. We are including trailers that debuted in 2014, not just for 2014 films (a great majority of the films listed are arriving in theaters next year). So, let’s just get on with it, shall we?

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10. Star Wars: The Force Awakens - oh snap! The gauntlet has been thrown down, son! The teaser - and yes, it is just a teaser - did get me excited for one thing: the actual trailer for The Force Awakens. The trailer itself was a fairly good, but slight, look at some of the new things coming, plus a little dash of the original for us old timers.

9. Pitch Perfect 2 - yeah, it’s on here. Want to fight about it? If liking Anna Kendrick, Rebel Wilson and the rest of the Barden Bellas in an epic, Kickboxer-esque tournament about karaoke is wrong, then there is no way in hell I want to be right.

8. Gone Girl - set to Elvis Costello’s divine song, ‘She’, the trailer for the David Fincher adaptation of the novel is a great example of what we hear not matching up with what we see. The song says ‘love story’, but the cold practicality of Fincher’s imagery tells us that there is something rotten in Missouri and we need to know why.

7. Why Don’t You Play In Hell? - the first pull quote declares this film “Mankind’s greatest achievement.” and they are not wrong. Though no trailer can quite detail the utter madness that is Sion Sono’s deranged, blood-soaked love letter to 8 1/2, this one certainly hints at it.

6. Under The Skin - the ScarJo sci-fi film (which has been called the ‘arthouse Species’) is the perfect palette upon which to craft a trailer. Every shot is meticulously thought out and brought to life with a slow, steady camera from director Jonathan Glazer. Like the Gone Girl trailer, Under The Skin evokes an uneasy sense of isolation and detachment. And like the main character, it will draw you in with its beauty before, well, you’ll have to see it now, won’t you?

5. Birdman - declared as one of the Oscar forerunners, you shouldn’t call it a comeback; Michael Keaton’s been here for years. Easily one of the top ‘superhero’ trailers of the year.

4. Interstellar - the first official trailer for Christopher Nolan’s beautiful, maddening Interstellar is a perfect exercise in restraint. It lays the groundwork for everything you need to know in the first act of the film and leaves you just as McConaughey and crew are about to zap into the far unknown reaches of space. Like any good trailer, it leaves you just filled enough that you want a little more.

3. Chappie - every generation needs a Short Circuit and director Neil Blomkamp’s latest robot-suited adventure looks like it will the need for creative, original sci-fi; action and a great morality tale as he has woven in both District 9 and (to a lesser extent) Elysium. Expect many people cosplaying the titular robot come con season next year.

2. Guardians of the Galaxy - admittedly, this entire list could have been populated by any of the Marvel trailers that debuted this year, but in the interest of fairness I kept it to this, the year’s biggest hit and biggest surprise. When ‘Spirit In The Sky’ comes on, how are you not lining up to see this again and again? More humor than all of the DC films as of late.

And the number one trailer in our highly subjective list of best trailers of the year?

1. Mad Max: Fury Road - it lacks the brand recognition, overt call backs (no one is calling for Thunderdome or ‘to walk away’ as other, lesser trailers might). While other fans have been waiting a paltry 10 years for the next installment of their favorite franchise, we’ve been waiting three decades for the further adventures of Max across the post-apocalyptic outback. Keep all your other sci-fi prequels, sequels and reboots; 2015 belongs to the mad.

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