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Peter Mountain, Universal Studios
Julie Walters, Meryl Streep and Christine Baranski in the musical romantic comedy "Mamma Mia!"

Appearances can be deceiving. First appearances in particular.

I've already shared my misgivings about the first teasers for the Batman sequel "The Dark Knight." The original trailer showed next to nothing, except for a crumbling Bat-symbol, with selected snippets of dialogue and character voices.

And I wasn't the only one who was disappointed by the original "Dark Knight" trailer. An audience I saw it with in December actually booed it.

Fortunately, all the follow-up spots have shown more action and look pretty neat. (I even have female friends who have been "ooo-ing" and "ahhh-ing" just at the sight of heart-throb Christian Bale.)

Speaking of trailers, I'm surprised there's not more "buzz" for another comic book-based movie, "Hellboy II: The Golden Army."

The TV spots and other promos feature cool creatures and imagery that look eerily similar to things from filmmaker Guillermo Del Toro's fantasy "Pan's Labyrinth."

And while I'm at it, here are my appraisal of a few more trailers for upcoming summer movies:

THE X-FILES: I WANT TO BELIEVE (July 25). Despite my misgivings about following up a television series that's been defunct for nearly 10 years, the ads for this big-screen spin-off are very promising. *** 1/2

MAMMA MIA (July 18). The only sour note in the trailers for this movie musical is the credit-snubbing of talented co-star Stellan Skarsgard. ***

STEP BROTHERS (July 25). I may be a little tired of Will Ferrell, but almost everything John C. Reilly does these days cracks me up. ***

TROPIC THUNDER (Aug. 15). I would have never known that was co-star Robert Downey Jr. under the makeup if they didn't reveal that fact. ***

THE MUMMY: TOMB OF THE DRAGON EMPEROR (Aug. 1). I wasn't the biggest fan of the first two "Mummy" movies, but am marginally more interested in this one, especially if it means we get to see a Jet Li-Michelle Yeoh duel. ** 1/2

SPACE CHIMPS (July 18). This one suffered by comparison. The Century Theatre showing the trailer also promoted the video game version. The action in the game looked better, to be honest. **

STAR WARS: THE CLONE WARS (Aug. 15). As disappointing as George Lucas's "prequels" were, at least the computer-generated action looked good. The digital animation here appears to be awful. * 1/2

DISASTER MOVIE (Aug. 29). To get me to laugh at a spoof, you need to offer more than just pop-culture references ("Enchanted," "Juno" and "Superbad" anyone?). You need actual jokes. *

MEET DAVE (July 11). Yawn! Eddie Murphy playing multiple characters. Haven't we seen all of this before? *

THE MIDNIGHT MEAT TRAIN (Aug. 1). I suspect the makers of this horror film were going for scares, not for laughs. *


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