Chris Nolan and J.J. Abrams trailers, under lock and key


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When did trailers for action movies get good? And when did they go behind the velvet rope? Two new trailers for two secretive projects come attached to “Iron Man 2”: for Christopher Nolan’s “Inception” and J.J. Abrams’ “Super 8.” (Is there a movie on Earth that wouldn’t want to be in that pre-Robert Downey Jr. slot? The rich indeed get richer.)

The “Inception” piece, featured above, is the better of the two, not least because it finally casts light on what the movie is about (dream policing and subconscious thievery, it turns out). You can watch it here, though it’s meant to be discovered and watched only after one plays this online game. Movie marketers might wonder why in the name of Catwoman a studio would cut a trailer and then hide it inside a video game. But when your name is Chris Nolan, less is often more, and a velvet rope may be the best invitation of all.


The other trailer, for Abrams’ “Super 8,” is less persuasive. Little is given away in this initial teaser about this recently announced 2011 creature movie that may or may not be a follow-up to “Cloverfield” (it probably isn’t); it basically lets you know that someone or something scary once escaped after a train crash near Area 51. But we don’t see much beyond the train crash, except for said something trying to bust its way out of a crate, which makes the “It Arrives” pronouncement that accompanies it feel a little overblown, or even cliche (though the “Super 8” closing is intriguing enough).

The trailer’s popped up on YouTube, but Paramount has done its best to remove it, or at least not to offer it online yet. (The versions that do exist were clearly pirated with a hand-held camera from inside a movie theater, so we won’t link to it). But the strategy is a little perplexing.

Unless you’re trying to get people into theaters to see “Iron Man 2” because of the trailer, why not make it available? From the looks of it, it’s more gritty than cinematic, and doesn’t absolutely need to be seen on a big screen. And a trailer isn’t a piece of content you’re trying to get people to pay for, like a “Daily Show” episode. It’s a piece of marketing. What’s the point of withholding it?

In any event, the marketing for the closely watched film has begun. Or not begun.

-- Steven Zeitchik

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