Movie trailers have existed for nearly as long as movies themselves. We have grown accustomed to the buzz of new teasers and previews before blockbuster releases. Some of us even go to the cinema just to watch the trailers before the movie. They have become an ingrained part of our movie experience. Unfortunately though, more often than not, trailers ruin movies.
Reason one for my trailer vendetta is that they are more often than not misleading. At their very core, trailers are advertising. They are made to promote the film, raising awareness and excitement. And like all advertising, it isn’t the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.
Trailers will show you the very best of what the film has to offer: the funniest jokes, the coolest fights, the best looking actors.
The consequence of this is, when we actually sit down to watch the movie after months of trailer-fuelled excitement, the product is very rarely what we ordered.
Take Suicide Squad as an example. Admittedly there were many contributers to the anti-climax I felt after watching the DC flop (what is actually going on in those headquarters?). But after watching the trailers, I felt sure this was a film that would actually deliver, and maybe, maybe even redeem the DC name.
The trailers had everything. The Joker looked like he was going to wreak havoc; Margot Robbie looked awesome as Harley Quinn, delivering a few funny jokes; there were explosions that made me think, ‘wow, that’s a cool explosion’. Plus the whole thing was backdropped by Bohemian Rhapsody. Bohemian Rhapsody! They had the greatest song ever made – surely this was going to be the greatest movie?
I don’t want to talk about the outcome – the trauma is still too raw.
If you do want the official Digital Fox take on Suicide Squad, you can find our review here.
The crazy thing is, we are all well aware that trailers ruin movies.
We all acknowledge that they usually include all the film’s half-decent jokes, and we all know they aren’t the fairest representation of the film. But each time a cool new trailer gets released, we still get excited. And as if we can’t learn our lesson, more often than not, we get let down.
A second way trailers ruin movies is their increasing tendency to spoil the entire plot.
This one I don’t understand. If trailers are supposed to encourage people to pay to see the movie, why show us everything that happens in a free two minutes?
A good trailer should create excitement through intrigue. We should watch a trailer and think, I need to pay to watch this movie because now I need to know what happens. The reality is however that we see the film’s beginning, middle and end in the trailer, and all that’s left of the actual movie are the boring bits in between.
Think about Rom-Coms. How many times do their trailers reveal the final kiss between the two protagonists?
Sure we go in with the expectation that the guy and girl will end up together, but isn’t a lot of the joy the anticipation and the faint concern that they won’t? It is inherently illogical to reveal the end of the film before anyone has even sat down to watch its beginning.
As a result of my shrinking patience for previews, I recently started a trailer diet.
It’s pretty simple: I don’t watch trailers. But it hasn’t been that easy. My issue is, I like getting a sense of the film before paying to see it. I like knowing its tone, the feel of the humour, the extensiveness of the action. I also love watching the previews before movies.
So I am proposing an alternative. Instead of mini movies, trailers should consist of a single select scene.
The scene can be from the film’s beginning, middle or end; it really doesn’t matter (although preferably not the climax). This would give us everything we need to know, without spoiling a thing.
And the studios should like it as well. Scrapping traditional trailers would save loads of money on editing – they would literally just need to choose an entertaining two minute sequence.
Here are some examples: For Rocky, we would see the famous Sylvester Stallone training montage. For Whiplash, we see Miles Teller drumming his bum off while J.K Simmons screams at him. For The Wolf of Wall Street, we would see… well, take your pick.
I don’t want to brag, but I think I may have just changed the future of cinema for the better.
So what do you think? Do you agree that trailers ruin movies? Should trailers be limited to one scene? We vote yes.