‘Harry Potter,’ ‘The Last Airbender,’ ‘Alice In Wonderland’ In This Week’s Promo Police

by Perri Nemiroff

Promo Police reporting for duty. Get ready to leave reality behind, because every culprit facing interrogation this week is as fantastical as they come. On the other hand, anything is possible, right? “Harry Potter” may be all fantasy, but Universal provides a taste of the real world incarnation, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, in a Super Bowl TV spot. Also debuting during the big game, a short ad for M. Night Shyamalan’s “The Last Airbender.” “The Crazies” and “Heartless” have a go at creeping us out and “Alice in Wonderland” tacks on two more character posters.

Viral Website: “Repo Men”
The Good: The days of The Union and the development of advanced synthetic organs may be quite a ways away, but there’s something about the whole concept that actually seems sensible. This website uses that sense of validity to create a resource that’s captivating and informative.
The Bad: Artiforg? Writers Eric Garcia and Garrett Lerner came up with this whole elaborate scheme and they couldn’t think of anything more creative than a combination of the words ‘artificial’ and ‘organ?’
Promotional Power: It won’t convince you to drop $756,000 on a fancy new liver, but it will make you curious about the movie. http://www.theunioncares.com

Image: “The Crazies”
The Good: If you’ve seen George A. Romero’s original, there’s no way this photo of a squad sporting NBC suits (Nuclear Biological Chemical, not Jeff Zucker) and gas masks won’t give you chills.
The Bad: This image is virus-free.
Promotional Power: Infectious. The advertising campaign for The Crazies has been vast, but not overwhelmingly so. See it here!

Super Bowl Ad: “The Last Airbender”
The Good: You can put some hardcore rock music in the background of a video of a dog doing the butt scoot and it would be awesome.
The Bad: Yes, the footage is new, but is it really what we’ve been anticipating? Producer Frank Marshall confirmed the full trailer will give us a look at all of the main characters, but since when does anyone have any patience?
Promotional Power: We got the minimal teaser, now the more telling TV spot; will the official trailer meet our expectation? If it does, this slowly intensifying campaign could blow us away. See it here!

Super Bowl Ad: Wizarding World of Harry Potter
The Good: When you combine the power of a theme park with the likes of one of the most successful film franchises in history, it’s inherently good. Getting down to specifics; the owl mail service opening is particularly effective.
The Bad: This is really just a teaser. There’s no good footage of actual park attractions.
Promotional Power: Potter power! If only I had one of those time turner things Hermione uses in The Prisoner of Azkaban to make the park open now. See it here!

UK Trailer: “Heartless”
The Good: Jim Sturgess. The guy has power to make anything intriguing.
The Bad: What have they done to Sturgess’ beautiful face? On a more serious note, the trailer is simply weak. Unless you’re familiar with the film, not enough plot information is provided leaving you without a general sense of what Heartless is really about
Promotional Power: Just as there’s something unpleasant about a guy with a heart-shaped birthmark on his face, there’s something unappealing about this trailer. See it here!

Posters: “Alice In Wonderland”
The Good: The Cheshire Cat and White Rabbit images are perfect additions to the already impressive collection of character posters. What’s most significant about these two characters as well as the rest of the “Alice” players, is that they resonate. Even without seeing them in action, it’s nearly impossible to forget anything from Helena Bonham Carter’s fiery red hair or the Cheshire Cat’s deviant smile down to Johnny Depp’s nauseatingly green fingernails.
The Bad: Is the White Rabbit’s pink eye contagious?
Promotional Power: Looks at those colors; these are as vibrant as they come. See them here!