I love movie trailers. I’m fascinated by their construction and their variety, from trailers created by the directors themselves to those made by clueless ad departments who don’t give a crap about the movie. A fantastic example of the former is this brilliant trailer made by David Fincher:
I love this trailer, it’s driven by the music and gives you so many tantalizing glimpses at the movie without ever making narrative connections between them. The key here was to excite and intrigue without telling you about the story.
Unfortunately a lot of movies are not lucky enough to have the trailer made by the director or at least someone who knows the story and you get trailers like this:
SPOILER WARNING I guess but this movie is shit anyway. The revelation in the trailer that Daniel Craig’s character realizes he’s not who he thought he was is the major plot twist of the movie. Stupid! Then you get trailers that completely misrepresent the movie in question, a great example is the trailer for the movie Drive, a movie I loved but a movie loathed by many due to the movie barely representing what was show in the trailer.
People thought they were getting a The Fast and the Furious-type movie with car chases and action when it’s really more of an “art film” with acting and stuff like that and a couple of car scenes. One woman actually tried to sue, so disappointed with the movie vs. what the trailer suggested.
Of course creating of good trailers can be used for evil sometimes too, such as Ridley Scott’s beautiful trailers for his sci-fi extravaganza Prometheus:
An amazing trailer put together by a director famed for his visual attention to detail, not to mention that he cut his teeth in the advertising world before making movies.
So I love trailers, partly because I love movies and want to be made to feel that passion and excitement that only cinema can provide. I’m also very interested in the way these are basically just advertisements that due to their lofty position as what gets us fired up for whatever cinematic experience we’re about to see that they are incredibly important and not viewed in the same cynical fashion as most other types of commercials. People storm out of screenings of Drive or The American but we take for granted that Bounty kitchen towels absorb more than the leading competitor and that Gain leaves your clothes smelling better than Tide. I try not to judge movies based on their trailers but what often strikes me is when I see a trailer that is either very good or very bad, I often ponder what the trailer-makers were thinking when it comes to selling their film.
I do not have the answers for why this is because I’m not that smart, I just know that I love watching trailers and perhaps together we can figure it out. So here’s a few trailers that stuck out to me this week, try and watch them in HD or as high a bitrate as you can.
A British production that just came out in old Blighty and is getting a limited release this coming weekend. Three things jumped out at me in this trailer: I like James McAvoy and he looks cool with the scruffy beard, Mark Strong is one of the most stoic and super cool actors working today, and DAMN this movie looks pretty. So much of this trailer is so shiny and expensive-looking. Like excellent production on a song, it’s difficult not to get caught up in the way a film looks and the gloss on display here is what is most striking. Is it hiding a rather shallow story? but as a fan of both McAvoy and Strong I’m certainly interested.
Watch out, this is is a red band trailer so it’s a bit gory and maybe NSFW
I love Danny Boyle so coming into this movie I am already biased, but this is a marvelous trailer that shows you a rather abstract selection of scenes and just teases the crap out of you. This is absolutely the goal because the less you know about the plot of this movie the better as there are numerous twists and turns and possible narrative trickery. We have James McAvoy again, the excellent Vincent Cassel and Rosario Dawson who I feel is quite underrated and my understanding is she gets lots to do in this movie. I can’t wait for Trance
Finally I had to include a pair of trailers for the same movie:
Paramount is hitting it out of the park with the promotion for Star Trek Into Darkness, between the speculation over whether Benedict Cumberbatch is playing Khan or not (I’m not convinced no) but the trailers have been absolutely spectacular. There’s a fine line between teasing cool action and actually giving away all of your cool shit in the trailer and I think these walk that line perfectly. They tease all kinds of awesome stuff but never show enough of anything to give you context, you know the Enterprise is going to crash into a body of water but you have no idea why or what the aftermath is or whereabouts it happens in the movie. These trailers are masterful and I’m almost past my fear of being Prometheus-ed by a screenplay written by Damon Lindeloff like last year. I have high hopes though, I want it to be the best movie I see all year soooo bad.
Tune in next week for more trailer action, things are going to heat up considerably with the summer movie season looming large on the horizon. Got a trailer you want to talk about? Hit me up @JawncastMart or in the comments below.