Trailers: are they more trouble than they’re worth?
How many times have you watched a comedy film and realised you’ve heard the best jokes before you went in?
Before everyone was asking each other if they had seen Avengers Assemble, the hot topic amongst movie-goers was Joss Whedon’s other project, The Cabin in the Woods. While Avengers surely needs no other introduction than “it’s all your favourite superheroes being awesome” the same cannot be said for Cabin. “What is it about?” is our first question in deciding whether to see a film, but to say what Cabin in the Woods is about is to take a lot away from the experience of finding it out. It’s such an original film that it almost must be seen completely cold to get the most enjoyment out of it and this is brings me to a problem that has plagued Hollywood film since the horror films of the 1980s. Trailers can ruin movies.
How many times have you watched a comedy film and realised you’ve heard the best jokes before you went in? Or the climactic showdown at the end of an action blockbuster? Or a particularly gruesome death from a horror film? As much as I loved The Muppets’ cavalcade of movie spoofs in their trailer campaign, I couldn’t help but think I had seen most of the gags a few months before the movie itself. I know several people who try their best to stay away from trailers for upcoming movies but considering you have to sit through at least five every time you go to the cinema, it can be quite challenging.
Every now and again you see just how clued in the marketers of the films are when you find one that has been totally miss-sold to you
The problem is the people who are in charge of marketing the films aren’t the ones who have been making them. All they are concerned about is taking the best footage they have and putting it on show so the most people possible will want to see the movie. This certainly fulfils the marketing quota of their job, but it has no consideration for the movie goers’ experience. Every now and again you see just how clued in the marketers of the films are when you find one that has been totally miss-sold to you. For those who have seen it (and I highly recommend that you do) one look at the trailers for Quentin Tarantino’s Inglorious Bastards sets it up to be a ruthless, violent, fast action film whereas those who have seen it know it is a slow, tense wartime drama.
It isn’t terribly hard for a trailer to sell a film and not giveaway its best moments, which is why teasers are the best solution. The internet practically went nuts when the Prometheus teaser came out. The ominous music, the text slowly pulling in and the constant cutting between short clips that gets you pumped up for the movie without explicitly telling you anything really. With viral marketing and constant internet sponsorships I kindly ask you to try and stay away from trailers for the movies you want to see and I bet you’ll get more out of them in the end. And when you finally do go see Avengers Assemble, afterwards think ‘how much of that was I expecting?’