In a world… where trailers can be filled with all kinds of spoilers and false promises, one man sets out on a journey to discover why he feels the still have an important place in the cinema-going experience. Brace yourself as he goes head to head with Geek Speak‘s dark overlord herself – a wordsmith who openly admits to missing portions of the film she’s gone to see to prevent seeing scenes from other films (!) – in one of this year’s most anticipated Geek vs. Geek titles.
Okay, full disclosure: when I was initially asked where I stand on the topic of movie trailers, I quickly realized that, actually, I hadn’t paid much attention to them in the past either way. Not really. Some were great and some were bad, but whatever the outcome, trailers were simply part and parcel of the movie-going experience for me – snippets of future releases, which served to compliment the film I intended to see – and made me all the giddier for it.
Having lent it a bit more thought, I’ve come to realize that there’s a process involved here, a certain kind of anticipation that builds up that serves only to add to my excitement of the feature I’m about to watch. Take horror films, for example; watching a slew of scary trailers right before your intended fright fest sets the dreaded tone immediately, putting you in the perfect mood to be scared out of my wits. When it comes to superhero flicks, however; well, that’s an entire spectacle in and of itself! This year alone I have died, resurrected, and died again over the fact we have finally gotten to the stage in film where a Batman V Superman preview can play back to back with an Avengers film that teases Spiderman, as well as an X-Men story that finally tackles
Ivan Ooze Apocalypse. How could anybody not want to see that unfold before their very eyes?
It could be argued that I’m diluting my cinema experience as a result of watching these trailers, but I just don’t see it that way. It’s exciting being teased about certain films that have only just finished post-production, it serves to energize my interest in the project, and I would much prefer to experience the trailer for myself rather than having the information slowly trickle down to me as the months push forward – from social media posts and various movie sites covering on-set visits, to casual conversation between like-minded friends – it would be too tall of an order to avoid any and all spoilers.
Er, as a quick aside, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that I have been burned quite recently by the flames of spoilers, however, particularly for Batman V Superman (cos they went ahead and showed absolutely every bloody surprise the film had going for it!) and Suicide Squad (which I touched upon last week – a case of the trailer outshining the film), so I am willing to advise caution when it comes to trailers, especially for blockbusters. (And most definitely if it’s for a franchise that you adore!) I usually bank on the fact that, typically, I will have forgotten almost everything about the trailer by the time the film hits the cinema, but with these two DC titles, I just couldn’t resist temptation, the hype was just too real, and so I lapped up any and all media relating to them: teasers for teasers, teasers for trailers, actual trailers, TV spots, TV spot compilations, people reacting to teasers for trailers – I was a fiend! I definitely have learned a lesson that less is more, and that I shouldn’t watch trailers over and over (and over!) closer to the film’s release date. My bad.
Trailers do have purpose beyond the obvious marketing opportunities, though. They are there to keep you informed, keep you in the loop. I most definitely always know what’s going on down the pipeline when it comes to my mainstay genres (thanks, in part, to Marvel’s pissing contest with DC as to who has the longer release schedule), but when I venture outside of my comfort zone, outside of the realm of sci-fi and fantasy, that’s where trailers for me become an essential part of my itinerary. I don’t think I ever would have even known about Rust & Bone, now one of my favorite films, had it not been for a trailer I caught when I went to see The Hunt. More recently, though, I hadn’t heard a lick about Eye in the Sky, a film with an intriguing premise but one I would have happily passed on had it not been for such a compelling trailer. And I’m totally glad I went to see it because it is one of the stronger thrillers released this year. So there’s definite advantages to checking out movie previews—they can provide a great opportunity to expand your horizons when it comes to cinema.
As well as giving me goose bumps and chills and squee-inducing moments, I think that, practically speaking, there are many uses for them, too. Because in an idyllic world, more people would utilise the time allowed by trailers to tear open ALL of their paper wrappings for their sweets and crisps and various other loud confectionery that they managed to sneak into the screening. They would cherish this time and use it to nip to the loo, or check a last-minute text, or settle down overly curious kids, or chat softly with friends, or get all of that pesky sneezing and coughing out of the way. I don’t ask for much, I just politely ask that people get their shit together before the film starts. Trailers allow people to breathe and get settled in for main event.
Spoilers are just the worst, and I think that we can safely agree that trailers that detail more than they should need to be stopped. But I find that the majority of trailers made nowadays to be extremely polished, with most of them capably balancing the fine act of enticing an audience yet remaining mysterious. With blockbusters, it’s easier to expect a higher risk of being spoiled, cos execs want to lure audiences by revealing some of the biggest treats within the film, but overall, I find that the execution behind most other trailers keeps me engaged, and excited for the movie’s release, and will keep getting me into the cinema on time, because I don’t want to miss a thing.