It’s now mere hours until the release of Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows: Part 2 but, just in case you need a help to get you through this final bit of waiting, we thought we'd take a look back at the final trailers for each of the eight films to date. What approach did each one take? What's been consistent and what has changed? Which one looks most bombastic and impressive? And how young do they look in the first one! Read on for a trip down memory lane, and Privet Drive...
Aww, will you wook at da widdle movie stars? How tiny! How adorable! How did they make Emma Watson's hair that enormous? This final trailer for the first film is a decent summary of what you can expect: boy goes to wizard school, faces a mystery there, lots of magic and flying along the way. There's lots there to relieve fans: all the characters are clearly identifiable, the incidents portrayed are all familiar from the book (reassuring them that the filmmakers haven't gone rogue) and there's Quidditch brought to life, and Hagrid, and all the monsters. This doesn't rely on any background knowledge and doesn't expect you to have read the books, which is always key even with something as mega-popular as Potter. Sensibly, the trailer also gets rid of almost all the exposition and mythology (no discussion of anyone who Must Not Be Named here), relying instead on lots of shots of Alan Rickman casting sinister glances from behind Snape's lank hair. And in fairness, if you need a red herring to stand in for your major villain, you could hardly do better than Rickman.
Overall, a trailer that may be on the nose but which does exactly what it needs to, and has a three-headed dog and a baby dragon as a bonus.
Following the first film's mega-success, this trailer relaxes a little and has some fun. It's still hitting all the bases for those who don't have a clue what's going on - "You're a wizard, Harry" - and discussing the new dangers awaiting at Hogwarts in second year, but there' time for a little more humour as well. So we get owls in the cereal, pixies in the hair and Ron's mother yelling at him via a magical postcard. It's also nice to see some of the smaller characters get a moment of trailer glory: Crabbe and Goyle, Filch and Lucius Malfoy (fabulously key-lit and deliciously evil) all make an appearance.
Our main quibble? We'd like more of Kenneth Branagh's dim-witted berk Gilderoy Lockhart, and of course there's no such thing as enough Snape. Still, nice little last line there, and well done them for keeping all the big spoilery action bits out of the trailer.
The third film is, of course, darker. This trailer is too, mentioning the word "danger" twice in the first ten seconds or so and doing away with the twiddly prelude to Hedwig's Theme that had kicked things off previously. It's also a less linear, more atmospheric and at times very funny effort. Also, is anyone else a bit scared or is that just us? You can instantly see that director Alfonso Cuaron has moved away from Chris Columbus' clear, bright style to something a little grungier, although the magic and flying is still all present and correct. If you're after a theme for this trailer, it might be People Pointing Wands Or Throwing Their Hands In The Air. It could also be People Screaming.
The best bit, of course, is that final shot, which became maybe the most famous image in Potter history and certainly the most quoted Potter line in the Empire office. Harry yelling "Expecto patronum" somehow sends shivers down the spine, even if you don't have a clue what's going on around that moment or what the heck a patronus is or why he's expecto-ing it. Now that's some good movie-makin'.
Well, it's still getting darker - just check out those opening gravestones and rain-swept hills and sinister figures approaching Hogwarts as lightning strikes. But the main impression this trailer leaves is the sense that they really, really wanted to get their money's worth from all the effects shots. So moments from the Quidditch World Cup are intercut (and voiced over) with the Tri-Wizard Tournament, nicely confusing the two but saving us from any exposition about which is which, and all the major action sequences get a bit of a look in.
The leads are noticeable chiefly for their shaggy hair this time around, after incoming director Mike Newell just suggested that they forego haircuts over the break between films, and there's a sense of teenage hormones beginning to bloom as the characters grow a little older and decide that maybe the opposite sex isn't yucky after all. Oh, and there are dragons. It's never a bad idea to end a trailer with a dragon breathing fire towards camera - look at Reign of Fire or, basically, any movie that ever had a dragon in it.
For maybe the first time in the series, the trailer plays more like a full-on thriller than a kid's movie or a fantasy. There's a sense of paranoia, of conspiracy, and of dark forces gathering that's more effective than any of the trailers previously released, and the music's very much at the big, bombastic end of the scale. It's just as well, really: this is one of the weaker books in the series, one that's slow to get anywhere for a good 300 pages, and incoming director David Yates had everything to prove in his first major motion picture.
Happily for Yates - and us - this is arguably the best trailer in the entire series, packed with action beats but driven by the immediately hateful Dolores Umbridge, from the wonderful Imelda Staunton. It's also the first trailer to benefit from the physical presence of Big Bad Lord Voldemort, in the nose-lacking, wand-cracking shape of Ralph Fiennes. It can't have hurt Yates' options to have a baddie to play with at last. Cracking stuff.
"Times like these, dark times, can bring people together. Or they can tear them apart." This is maybe the most bombastic trailer of the bunch, with explosions and spell-casting galore and a martial score that makes even the Pensieve effect look like sinister magic. It's also, if you know what you're in for, massively spoilerific, in that loads of the shots come from the last act. Those students raising their wands in the air, tips lit? Harry and Hermione standing on the Astronomy Tower? Bellatrix Lestrange dancing through Hogwarts' Great Hall? Snape casting that spell?! Half the trailer comes from the last act, and it's a credit to the trailer cutters that it still gives away relatively little.
If the previous film saw the tension rising everywhere, this one is made to look like the dam bursting and full-on war beginning. That's not strictly representative of the final film, of course, but it's an effective approach nevertheless, and helped to make this the series' second-highest grossing film (after Philosopher's Stone).
This is, much as we love it, a bit of a cheat. Lots of the most jaw-dropping moments here don't actually appear in Part One, and in fact an entirely unscientific analysis suggests that about 70% of this comes from Part Two. Still, perhaps that's inevitable. Part One, for all its strengths in character focus and plot development and exposition, largely lacked explosions or giant CG beasties - and since those are the things that seem to fuel trailers these days (as you've seen in the preceding six here) a few bits have been borrowed from the real finale. After all, it's two parts of the same film really! It makes sense! And as trailers go it's a pretty spectacular result, making it clear that There Will Be Blood*.
From that opening encounter with Voldemort, who draws in his breath and begins to shout the killing curse at his teen nemesis, this trailer teases destruction on a scale that this franchise has never seen - and even if almost none of it appears in Part One, it'll get you buying tickets and that's the main thing. Frankly, it's pretty darn exciting stuff - even if it is misleading. And it's not a patch on what follows...
*Although not much because, hey, PG-13.
We defy anyone to watch this trailer and not fancy a bit of what it's selling. Let's make a list. There's high drama (Harry vs. Dumbledore, to the Pain death!). There's heartbreak (Harry's deceased mother, a flashback to little first-year Harry). There's a double helping of Snape ("We've kept him alive so he can die at the proper moment."). There are spectacular and chilling images: Hogwarts' protective spells failing, the Quidditch pitch on fire, the courtyard rent by explosions. And there are multiple clips from the battle between Harry and Voldemort.
There's even a dragon, and Gary Oldman, and Lucius Malfoy, and giant fireballs that chase people, and Julie Walters looking worried/sad, and Jim Broadbent, and a bridge blowing up, and Helena Bonham-Carter letting loose as Bellatrix again, and shockwaves and I killed a guy with a trident and OMG WHAT MORE DO YOU NEED?!