If trailer viewing counted as a hobby, I would list in on my CV. I am addicted to trailers and always keep up with the latest. For me, it’s like getting a peek at a Christmas present. If what I see looks good, I keep having to peek over and over again. Sometimes, what I see is a disappointment and I end up never opening the damn thing.
A trailer is something a bit like the cover and blurb of a book. It’s meant to whet your appetite and set the tone for the movie viewing experience. But the trailer you’re watching can end up being nothing like the movie you watch months later. It’s all too easy to make an exciting trailer even if you don’t have enough material to make a decent movie. We all know those trailers for comedies where all the actual jokes worth even the shortest of chortles are in the trailer. The movie itself is left scraping the barrel of laughs, so to speak.
More often than not, I have been excited by a trailer only to be let down by the actual movie. I’m not going to lie, when it comes to trailers I am probably easily amused. I seem to remember watching the Troy trailer on repeat back in 2004. And the movie, well, we all know how that went.
Sometimes, though, a trailer can leave you going “meh” when the the movie is actually wonderful. I find this a really puzzling phenomenon. I have been thinking about it lately after the release of The Gift. I watched the trailer when it came out a few months ago and just found the trailer so underwhelming. I felt like I knew the whole story already and there was no need to see the movie.
But the reviews are out and are overwhelmingly positive. What I have heard so far is that the trailer almost deliberately misleads you so that you can be surprised by what you see in the movie. This is hard to pull off and an intriguing strategy, so now I am of course desperate to see the movie. And it’s made me wonder how many other movies I have missed out on, because the trailer didn’t catch my attention.
Do you have any examples of a rubbish trailer coming before an amazing movie? And what does make a bad trailer and a good trailer anyway? I hope to explore trailers often on this blog and I’d love your feedback.