Let’s Calm Down With The Film Trailers

**Spoiler warning: discussion of potential plot spoilers surrounding Jurassic WorldThe Huntsman: Winter’s War and Guardians of the Galaxy 2 follow below. Watch trailers Read at your own peril.**

I have a film minor, but in no way, shape or form am I a justified critic. Or even that harsh of a critic in general. I’m the type of person who will probably love the film that everyone else hated or not understand why a film that won all the awards was so grand in the first place. Though I love to write quirky reviews from time to time, I’m not going to dive into the nuances of a film as a reflex. I just watch them with the hopes of feeling something and escaping for a while.

That being said, I do have a tad bit of an issue with the current trend of cinematic trailers.

A trailer, in this context, is defined as “an excerpt or series of excerpts from a movie or program used to advertise it in advance; a preview.” It is not defined as “a series of chopped up segments of the film that come out every couple of weeks before the release of the film, a new trailer being released until you’ve seen the entire film in three-minute increments across a period of four months.” Because that is definitely what trailers have become. And in my opinion, pointlessly and almost to their own peril.

Image result for jurassic world poster

The first series of trailers that made me pause and think, “Wait a second. Isn’t this a bit much to show already?” were the Jurassic World trailers. A trailer that revealed Chris Pratt’s character riding alongside velociraptors, spoiling what was meant to be a major twist in the film. Criticism abounded, both surrounding this reveal and potential sexist themes. Even the director, Colin Trevorrow, claimed that his marketing team showed “far more of this movie than I ever would have wanted” with the raptor-human bond reveal–a twist so major, it even became the focus for one of the major advertising posters.

Yet wouldn’t that twist have been so much more effective if it were revealed in film, catching the audience completely off-guard? I understand marketing companies choosing to reveal major aspects of a plot for a film that will have questionable audience attendance or sales (yet even then, I think those marketing teams should consider the pros and cons of how much to reveal). But Jurassic World? You could have released a poster that was completely blacked out, with white text in the center of it revealing the release date for the film underneath the title and done nothing else, marketing wise, and people still would have flocked to the theatre. Considering the franchise (granted, this includes Jurassic World) has grossed an average of $923,748,044 in boxes offices worldwide, I don’t think revealing the main aspect (aside from a hybrid dinosaur) that made Jurassic World unique from the previous films was truly necessary.

Obviously, for Jurassic World, the reveal didn’t hurt its box office numbers. And I don’t think I can necessarily claim, without doing a lot more research than this opinionated post is going to do, that revealing too much too early could hurt you in the long run (though I certainly think it’s possible). But ever since hearing Trevorrow’s criticisms of too much being revealed too soon, I’ve noticed that’s become the trend in cinema. And I certainly don’t like it.

I was really excited about The Huntman: Winter’s War exactly because of the trailer, which reflected some kickass cinematography and effects. Yet it was also a film that, when I finally watched it, I got pulled out of due to what was already shown in the trailer. Jessica Chastain’s character, Sara, was “killed” early on in the film. Yet I felt no fear at her supposed death. Sure, the plot they were following pointed at the higher chance that she wasn’t actually dead regardless of what the trailer showed, but even the most minuscule chance of her death was removed by having action scenes in the trailer that hadn’t been shown yet in the film before she died. While I do recognize that occasionally, material that was originally meant to make it into the film but was cut, yet was used in the trailer, does happen, there were enough scenes with Sara in the trailer that were after her return that ruined any chance of mystery, even if, in this example, the chance for mystery was already slim.

The most recent–and last–example I’ll point out is for another film I’m absolutely jazzed to see in May: Guardians of the Galaxy 2. It’s a film that I think has a similar situation as Jurassic World. The first film grossed $356,185,900, which is ranked fifth amongst the Marvel films. I don’t think there is going to be a problem getting people to show up to theatres to see the sequel. Yet the amount of trailers that have been released to promote it–each revealing more and more new scenes not previously seen than the last–does nothing but make me feel like I’ve already seen the entire film for free. According to the IMDB page, there have been five trailers so far: the promo, the teaser trailer, first official trailer, the second official trailer and a sneak peek. All for a film that will attract millions with ease. If that’s what’s expected for guaranteed blockblusters, what are smaller films supposed to do?

I’m just ranting, at this point. It’s honestly not that big of a deal. So far, no trailer has revealed so much that I won’t go see the film it advertised. I just wonder what the marketing departments in charge of creating trailers are actually thinking, logically. Because this trend doesn’t make sense and I think it will have a negative impact, if it continues. So, naturally, I blogged about it because I could. I would love to hear your thoughts, especially about any films that you felt were particularly spoiled by a trailer; or, better yet, a film that was so encapsulated and teasing because of its trailer that you had to go see it.

Thanks for nerding out with me, friends.

Cheers.

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About Nicole Evans

Nicole Evans is a writer of fantasy and science fiction. She is currently unpublished and is working fervently to get the “un” removed from that statement. She has five completed manuscripts: a trilogy about destined heroes that fail anyway, a science fiction standalone that pits the natural desire to love against the natural instinct to kill during the extinction of the human race and a new series about a writer who can't get published and gets the chance to live a life that all writers dream. She also has two scripts done. Currently, she is about to start writing the second of a nine book series while planning two more. (If you can tell, she really likes this whole writing thing.) Considering she has run out of space for putting rejections letters up on her wall, Nicole now uses her spare time doing the typical things that nerds do: blogging, dying repeatedly during video games (which she believes is retribution for the characters’ she’s killed), wishing she was the character she is currently reading about and trying to fight off the real world by living in her own head, with varying degrees of success. Nicole has a degree in Creative Writing and a minor in Film and Media Studies, and works part-time as a supervisor in a library at the University of Kansas. View all posts by Nicole Evans

9 responses to “Let’s Calm Down With The Film Trailers

  • Jo

    I think the most egregious trend right now is the phenomena of the “trailer for the trailer.” Like, why so many?

    • Nicole Evans

      Oh gosh, Jo, that’s such a great point that I completely missed, but you’re right. “Stay tuned for the teaser trailer of the trailer for Harry Potter and the Ticking Pipe Bomb.” It’s kinda ridiculous (and even worse because I still get hyped over those :30 teasers).

  • Adam

    I think there’s a lot of merit to what you’re saying. I think part of the problem is that there is so much media, and there’s this theory/idea that a product needs to keep releasing new information in small increments to keep people excited and interested.
    Personally I avoid trailers at this point.

    I think one of my favorite experiences with a film trailer was seeing a trailer for the Matrix. Clips were cut together so tight that all I knew was that there was some kind of creature with a red laser, some futuristic tech, and yet some scenes looked like a contemporary city, but with super powers?
    I honestly had no idea what the film was about, but I knew that I wanted to see it, and that was perfect for me. Later I looked at the back cover, and was thoroughly grateful that I hadn’t read it before watching the film.

    • Nicole Evans

      Dude, I totally agree. And I think it is a bit silly to believe that you must constantly release new content to keep interest in regards to films or video games. Oh man, I didn’t even get into video game trailers. I’ve been avoiding Andromeda’s trailers like the plague, because I don’t want everything to be ruined for me or knowing everything about the game/film I get to experience it myself.

      • Adam

        My philosophy is “tell me enough for me to decide that this is for me, and then I’ll stop looking/listening.” It’s only if I’m uncertain that I keep looking. And who knows, maybe that’s part of their strategy.
        A person can always choose to look away, but you can’t very well watch or read something that they haven’t released.

  • justbmoreblog

    I completely agree with you on this! Luckily I now watch very little actual TV, Netflix doesn’t do trailer and I don’t search them out -sooooo I don’t get too much spoiled. BUT I also have no idea what movies are out LOL!

    • Nicole Evans

      Haha, yeah, I don’t get up watching too much TV or movies (if I ever get any free time, I definitely spend it playing video games). But I do like to try and stay up to date on what films are coming out, so I do set myself up for this kind of spoilery-nonsense. 😛

      PS: I got your awesome card and will respond ASAP! I need to get some stationary/envelopes.

  • Nichole McGhie

    Oh my goodness. Yes!!! I just watched the recent guardians trailer and I couldn’t believe the major plot point that they revealed. Motivation for watching it has been diminished now.

    • Nicole Evans

      I couldn’t believe it, either! It actually really ticked me off. I’m still super jazzed for the film, because I really love that franchise, but I do agree it was a horrible move on the marketing teams’ part.

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