So a guy was hanging out in the hallway waiting for the previews on the movie he was about to watch to end. He said “once you’ve seen the trailer you’ve seen half the movie.” More cases than not that is too true. I’ve actually been thinking about trailers lately, so I thought I’d blog about it.
**I’m going to be posting YouTube links to some movie trailers. They are not my videos.**
The trailer for 1976’s Carrie [uploaded by thatboyfromutube] literally gives you everything up front. I, having not read the book, only knew that it was about a girl who ended up covered in blood at her prom, after which all hell broke loose. Now, I saw the movie before looking up the trailer, but was surprised that there was nothing left of the movie after seeing the trailer. If I had seen the trailer first there would have been absolutely no surprises for me during the movie. You never want to give the entire movie away right off the bat.
Personally I think we need to use teaser trailers more often. Having four different two-and-a-half-minute trailers is sure to give away too many surprises. I’m tired of having all the best scenes in the trailer and none left for the actual movie-going experience. This is why I absolutely love the teaser for the 2011 film The Hangover Part 2. [uploaded by trailers] That, and the song is cool. 🙂 It starts off with critics’ reviews, and proceeds to reveal absolutely nothing about the plot! These leaves the viewer with a curiosity about the film, maybe even enough to go see it.
I’m not entirely sure if this trailer is technically a teaser, or just a normal trailer. 2009’s Paranormal Activity definitely earned some ticket sales due to this ad. I don’t think I’ve seen any other movie make a trailer that is half audience-reaction. This trailer definitely sold the truth. (If you haven’t read my post on this movie yet, check it out from my index page.) Horror movie trailers always give away the basics of what the movie is about, and at that point it’s definitely as though you’ve seen half the movie. Maybe this movie’s just different. Even though they did give up the basics, you still don’t know what’s coming next.
On a slightly different note, there is such a thing as overload for a trailer. Take this trailer for the 2001 Lara Croft Tomb Raider. [uploaded by hanumanfilms] I’d venture a guess that around 80% of the scenes in this trailer are in fact not in the actual movie at all. Not only that, but it seems as though someone was a little too happy to play with the special effects. I just hate it when I fall in love with a line, or a scene from a trailer and then it’s either different or has been cut from the film. I just thought this was an interesting example because I have never seen a trailer that had more deleted scenes than movie scenes in it.
Here’s one everyone has seen. 2008’s The Dark Knight [uploaded by darkavm] had at least three different trailers but I’m only going to focus on one. There are how many Batman movies out now? Well, the draw to each new film Hollywood produces in a franchise such as Batman, is the villain. It’s never the same villain twice in a row. And Heath Ledger’s Joker is an entity all his own. What gives this trailer the edge is that you don’t actually see the Joker until halfway through the trailer. Up until that point it’s a set up to reveal this character. And he just looks scary. I’m glad they didn’t just give him to us willy nilly.
Now here is a trailer that is good. This one is for the upcoming 2011 Three Musketeers. [uploaded by IGNentertainment] Now, this topic is familiar in some form to just about everyone, so a literal outline of this particular film is not necessary. I’m not too sure about the matrix-y scene, but other than that my interest is aroused. Classic tale, new take; it works.
So just a bit of a recap: longer trailers tend to give too much away. Let me give you a side by side comparison. Short version of 2011’s Warrior [uploaded by LionsgateLIVE], long version of 2011’s Warrior. [uploaded by trailers] There’s actually a shorter version I was looking for, but I couldn’t find it on YouTube. I know people always want to see more, and studios want to give out more so that they can sell tickets, but there needs to be a balance. I haven’t been blown away by a movie in a long time, and I believe it’s because all the surprises are showing up in the trailers. It’s called a cliff hanger. People who make the trailers, please re-learn the term. Thank you.