C'MON HOLLYWOOD: Stop giving away too much in trailers!

...stop giving away too much in trailers!
by J.A. Hamilton

Movie trailers are the main reason I started surfing the net for websites like JoBlo.com, and have always been a source of excitement for me as I got to gaze and marvel at coming attractions (hell, I used to get angry if I got to the theatre late and missed the trailers as sometimes they turned out to be better than the movie I was there to see). Needless to say, trailers and advertising in general have changed a lot over the years, a fact that hit home rather hard when I started reviewing films and got the chance to revisit old trailers and compare them to now. One thing that’s always drove me nuts though, is a trailer that gives away too much of the damn film.

I would have rather been surprised.

Now I get the whole advertising end of things and will admit that proper advertising can be key, but once a film hits and people see that it’s good, word of mouth is just as powerful. That said, what the hell happened to the good old days when we got a teaser and then a trailer!? These days we get both of those (sometimes two teasers), an international trailer, a red band trailer, a half dozen TV spots, making of featurettes and then another half a dozen “clips” that hit the net all before opening day. In some cases you almost don’t even need to see the movie after all this because you already have seen most of what it has to offer as well as any or all the highlights.

I was disappointed in the trailer, but the movie kicked ass.

Sure, this alone isn’t enough to dismiss the movie going process but what about giving away big secrets? Take TERMINATOR SALVATION for example, I was unimpressed by the way they gave away Arnie’s cameo in a TV spot. Yeah, we all knew it was coming, but did they have to show it? This next one’s a bit personal as I was pumped to see the remake of RED DRAGON (MANHUNTER was the first go around if you didn’t know), and having read the books I was blown away by how they reveal a key plot point in the trailer (Lecter gives the killer Will Graham’s home address, a secret code the FBI was trying to break). That was a big deal in the book, one you didn’t see coming and should have remained a secret and not a selling point.

I highly recomment this flick, just don't watch the trailer.

The worst examples of blatant giveaways come from the straight to DVD trailers. Sweet Jesus, you all know what I’m saying and are no doubt shaking your heads if you’ve ever been standing in Blockbuster (or whatever local movie store) and found yourself watching the trailers they have streaming all day long. I can’t count how many times I’ve started watching one of these trailers and had my interest turn to anger by the end of it (I’m still rather unimpressed with the CARRIERS trailer giveaways, though I won’t repeat them in case you haven’t watched this awesome film). I still watch the movies, but am deeply angered when the plot or story’s tension is ruined by a dead giveaway I saw in the trailer.

I dug the poster, hated the trailer.

Trailers will always be one of my favourite things about movies, and in cases like X-MEN: THE LAST STAND and SPIDERMAN 3, the trailers even outshined the films, which isn’t exactly a good thing but it proves that a phenomenal trailer can sell us instantly on even a mediocre flick. But too much of a good thing is still a rule of thumb, and though I hate to sound too much like a cliché, less is more when it comes to trailers. Curiosity is also to blame, as most times we feel compelled to watch any and all clips available to us, but most of us complain that we’re no longer surprised at the movies and though not a cure for this situation, seeing less of the final product in trailers and advertisements is a good start.
Extra Tidbit: I'd hoped I was wrong, but as it turns out I'd managed to guess who the killer was in SURVEILLANCE after watching the trailer...despite the fact he wearing a mask.
Source: JoBlo.com



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