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Posted at 7:00 AM ET, 02/ 7/2011

SUPER BOWL ADS: From 'Rio' to 'Rango,' a Geek's Guide [UPDATED]

By Michael Cavna

Note: This post has been updated since Sunday afternoon.


The Ravens and Eagles may be ticked to be viewing the Super Bowl from their Barcaloungers, but the angriest birds this side of Ray Lewis did see some screen-promo time.

During the fourth quarter of SB-45 on Fox, Twentieth Century Fox (coincidentally enough) aired a trailer for its new animated pic, "Rio" -- director Carlos ("Ice Age') Saldanha's tale of a Brazil-bound macaw that features the voicework of such Oscars-prominent folk as Anne Hathaway, Jesse Eisenberg and Jamie Foxx. The 30-second commercial included a hidden clue for players to access a "special level" of the mobile game "Angry Birds." (AP says the level allows players to enter a trip-to-Rio sweepstakes.)

And though the Texas-set Super Bowl is lacking in Cowboys, Bears and Patriots, some of entertainment's biggest entities aim to fill that void in their own promotional way, according to Ad Age: By teasing us with trailers for, respectively, such upcoming comic-sprung or cartoon films as Jon Favreau's"Cowboys & Aliens" , Jennifer Yuh's "Kung Fu Panda 2" and Joe Johnston's "Captain America: The First Avenger."

Jack Black's martial-arts panda won't be the sole animated film critter getting a serious Super Bowl-sized push: So will the Western chameleon (sporting shades of "Fear and Loathing's" Raoul Duke) from Nickelodeon Movies' "Rango," which reteams star Johnny Depp with his "Pirates of the Caribbean" director Gore Verbinksi. (Speaking of: Depp may end up getting more Super Bowl screen time than Hines Ward or Clay Matthews: The actor will also be featured in a short spot for this summer's "Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides." -- we hear it sails for the third quarter [here's a 10-second preview.])

And while Brett Favre's Vikings couldn't get close to the Super Bowl this season, today's Global Commercialapalooza will give us the Norse superhero "Thor," starring Chris Hemsworth, Anthony Hopkins and Oscar-bound Natalie Portman.

Paramount also aired an ad for "Transformers: Dark Of The Moon," giving the smash-mouth action of Optimus Prime an optimally primed audience.

Update: Visually, one of Comic Riffs's favorite Super Bowl animations is the Brisk Tea commercial featuring a claymation Eminem -- because it spotlights the inspired Dragon stop-motion work of the guys at Mekanism, whose previous ads we've seriously dug (including its "Machete" Brisk spot).

Update:And Robert Zemecki's "Mars Needs Moms" (based on Berkeley Breathed's story) showed off its especially slick trailer..

Elsewhere, of especial interest to eager fanboys and girls: a spot for "Super 8," J.J. Abrams's secretive filmic ode to Steven Spielberg.

According to, we can also expect ads for the vampire-hunting manhwa-comic turned film "Priest" (starring Paul Bettany) and the alien-invasion film "Battle: Los Angeles."

And then -- besides all the typical talking babies and beer-hucking Clydesdales -- there's the fanboy-relevant Super Bowl commercial that's generated the warmest pre-game buzz (and mega-million views): The Volkwagen ad featuring the powers of a pint-sized Darth Vader:

Fox has sold nearly 45 minutes of ad time around the Packers-Steelers showdown (scheduled kickoff: 6:29 p.m. ET), according to the AP, as advertisers vie for an expected 100-million viewers worldwide. The price tag for 30 seconds of Super Bowl air time, says Kantar Media: a cool $3-million.

Meantime, our favorite pregame viewing so far is the little video from our friends at Slate: "What if famous filmmakers directed the Super Bowl?"

By Michael Cavna  | February 7, 2011; 7:00 AM ET
Categories:  General  | Tags:  Super Bowl commercials  
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Next: SPIDER-MAN REVIEW: 'Turn Off the Dark' a formidable contender for worst musical ever


on the rio commercial, the angry birds code is 13-12 referring to ham em high level 13-12 and shoot a white bomb bird backwards and drop the bomb on the little notch behind the sling. you should get the football shaped egg.

Posted by: pichu766 | February 6, 2011 10:53 PM | Report abuse

It's a bad sign that the Captain America trailer barely gave us any look at Cap in his mask. He must look depressingly dorky with it on.

Posted by: tomtildrum | February 7, 2011 12:48 PM | Report abuse

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