Sometimes the best part about going to the movies is the trailers. (This is especially true if you plunked down hard-earned money for something like ''Jack & Jill.'') 2011 was no exception, thanks to a boatload of great marketing clips designed to pitch your anticipation levels right around fevered. Unfortunately for ''The Dark Knight Rises,'' ''The Amazing Spider-Man'' and ''Snow White and The Huntsman,'' not all trailers were created equal -- despite incredible amounts of hype, none of those films wowed in trailer-form the way these 11 managed to do. From the absurd (''Arena'') to the awe-inspiring (''Harry Potter''), here are the best trailers of 2011.

11. ''Arena''

The best trailer you may have never seen! ''Arena,'' a direct-to-DVD thriller featuring immortal ''Breaking Dawn'' star Kellan Lutz and Samuel L. Jackson, includes so many ZOMG LOLZ that it's hard to keep track. Personal favorites? "I'll set you freeeeeeeeee." "How. Is he. Still STANDING?" The dance Jackson does at 1:21. Sorry, all other trailers not on this list! You lose.

10. "Paranormal Activity 3"

2011 was a down year for horror no matter how you slice things, which is at least part of the reason why ''Paranormal Activity 3'' was such a huge smash back in October. (It basically singlehandedly broke the box-office "slump" in the early fall.) The first teaser for the threequel was perhaps the most terrifying: children in peril, demonic looks and a game of Bloody Mary. Feel free to hide under your desk at any time.

9. "The Avengers"

One of the most highly anticipated trailers of the year delivered on its hype. Nine Inch Nails! Tony Snark! "If we can't protect the Earth, you can be damn sure we'll avenge it." Not much Hulk, but here's guessing that 2012 will be chock-a-block with ''Avengers'' marketing and Hulk saturation.

8. Drive

"I drive," says Ryan Gosling in the trailer for ''Drive.'' Well, that was sorta true. Though ''Drive'' was more about style, soundtrack and splattering blood than driving -- which might be why at least one viewer was made enough to sue. Bonus points for using "Oh My Love" from 'Goodbye Uncle Tom,' though this trailer could have used a little more College.

7. "21 Jump Street" (Red Band Trailer)

This was the year of R-rated comedies, but none -- not ''Bridesmaids'' nor ''The Hangover Part II'' nor ''Horrible Bosses'' -- produced a trailer as ridiculous, hilarious and downright dirty as ''21 Jump Street.'' The Jonah Hill-scripted reboot might have seemed like a terrible idea on first blush, but after witnessing Hill's comic chemistry with Channing Tatum, as well as everything Dave Franco says (sample: "You look like a fucking 40-year-old man"), ''Jump Street'' can't arrive soon enough.

6. "The Hunger Games"

The best part about the full trailer for ''The Hunger Games''? That it only shows the film's first act -- the set-up of how Katniss Everdeen goes from District 12 nobody to the girl who was on fire. Lenny Kravitz and Woody Harrelson provide some needed empathy, but the sparks come courtesy of Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson and that killer countdown clock. If the film can keep this vibe going in March, the odds will certainly be in ''Hunger Games's'' favor when it comes to box-office success. (GROAN! But, no: seriously. This thing looks awesomesauce.)

5. "The Muppets"

You can keep the ''Muppets'' parody trailers that spoofed ''Green Lantern,'' ''The Hangover Part II'' and ''The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo''; the original trailer -- the one that pretends to be some anonymous Jason Segel-led romcom until it's revealed that Kermit and Miss Piggy also star -- is the bees knees. Funny, nostalgic and just the right amount of meta, the OG ''Muppets'' trailer was one of the highlights of the year.

4. "Like Crazy"

When amazing trailers happen to mediocre movies. ;'Like Crazy;' as an 89-minute feature had plenty of flaws -- chief being Anton Yelchin's over-the-top unlikable Jacob -- but the trailer was perfection. Heartbreaking and succinct, the trailer for 'Like Crazy' told the film's story in 150 seconds with the help of Stars ("Dead Hearts"), Ingrid Michaelson ("Can't Help Falling in Love") and Felicity Jones's adorkable English accent. Not as OMG-I'M-CRYING sad as the newest trailer for 'Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close,' but certainly enough to make you shed a tear or eight.

3. ''Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2''

The Voldemort screams might be overwhelming but this final final final ''Harry Potter'' trailer is epic, awesome and worthy of the chills it provides. It all ends ... with some killer marketing.

2. ''Super 8''

If you're wondering why this trailer is amazing, here are two reasons: (1) Coach Taylor; (2) the music from ''Cocoon.'' The marketing campaign for ''Super 8'' was expert in that it gave away precious little about the film's "secret" plot, while conveying everything about the nostalgia trip J.J. Abrams and producer Steven Spielberg took audiences on over the summer. Mint!

'1. 'The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo''

Whether it was leaked or "leaked," one thing is certain: the teaser trailer for 'The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo' that arrived in May -- offering a quick listen of the "Immigrant Song" cover Trent Reznor and Karen O did for the film -- was the ultimate tease. Fans of the book reveled in the details revealed; fans of director David Fincher reveled in the cool shots and mise-en-scene; and fans of Rooney Mara were born. Seven months later, 'The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo' is still at the center of controversy, which just goes to show how damn excited most people are for the "feel bad film movie of Christmas."

For more on the best of 2011, visit AOL's Best of 2011.
categories Movies