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Are Trailers ruining films?

CarTrailer.jpgI've been growing more and more tired of trailers, and indeed all marketing materials of late, particularly trailers though as they seem to be giving away more and more of the main feature.

There seems to have been a real drop in the intelligence of the creation of trailers, and now the companies who make them and the studios who commission them are plundering the films for all the shocking, surprising and best moments they can find, leaving little for the final film.

The Ruins (Filmstalker review) is the latest that I've seen that gives too much away, basically every strong beat in the film is shown and a the first character death, which should be a strong surprise and turn in the story, is shown.

It seems that trailers these days are just pulling out every visually exciting moment from the film and any cleverly spoken line of dialogue to throw at the camera.

Even the endings are no longer sacred as we're seeing more and more that scenes from the endings of the films are being dropped in the trailer.

Often this doesn't give away the ending of the film there and then, but while you're viewing the film and start to understand the story, your memory is clouded by the one scene from the trailer and if your mind makes the connection it can totally ruin it for you.

Hancock and I Am Legend (Filmstalker review) are two fine examples of the same thing. Although we're still waiting to see the film it does feel as though we've seen a couple of big plot turns already for Hancock, and with I Am Legend we saw a final scene in the trailer itself.

What trailers have ruined a film or a key scene for you, and is the art of trailer making just turned into a rape of the film for all biggest and best moments?



I can't think of a specific film that has been ruined by a trailer, but I do agree they aren't as good as they used to be.

The main thing that bugs me is that a film can have three or four trailers before it's released. All of it is footage I'd rather see for myself in a cinema or at home on DVD.

Even more annoying than that is the clips they release, seeing clips from a film that are shown out of context does nothing for me. I'd rather see the whole thing for myself.

I do remember going to see Night Watch without knowing too much about it, and it was all the better for it. Maybe if they cut it down to one trailer per film it would help, but like you say keep the big spoilers out of them.

As stellar as 'The Dark Knight' trailers have been, I have no doubt that the film will far exceed the expectation level set by its marketing. Every once in a great while the stars align and this happens.

However, I would agree that the marketing of some films these days is definitely disingenuous. Only not in that they pillage the film of all its great moments, but that they set a level of expectation that some films can never possibly deliver on.

Example: 3:10 To Yuma. All the trailers for this were spectacular. Literally spectacular. But James Mangold has never been spectacular. Never once. And upon seeing the film we are only painfully reminded of this yet again.

So why make the trailer so unbelievably awesome?

When the marketing dept. behind a film is better at their job than the director, there's a very serious problem.

I don't know if trailers ever ruin films, but they certainly can keep good films from being great. The one that always comes to mind for me is Collateral. How much better could the movie have been if I hadn't known the plot or been able to figure out from some of the images in the trailer how it would end?

Hancock is probably going to be another great example. The early trailers were great just showing Hancock being a drunk, annoying guy with Superman-like powers. Why did they have to go further and show us so much more of the plot? Will it really get the film anymore viewers than Will Smith on July 4th weekend in a Superhero flick?

Another problem trailer movie was 300. I still enjoyed it immensely, and arguably, we already knew how it would end, but they showed us so much footage that there wasn't much left to surprise in the theater.

I actually try to avoid trailers. I look for the teaser or initial trailer, watch that and then avoid them. I hate red band trailers as they tend to give a way a lot more.

I can't remember which film(s) it was, but there were a couple last year that just showed the first four minutes or so of the movie (I think Spriderman 1 did this as did TDK). I like that approach a lot.

I also now hate trailers in the theater. 1) because I've already seen them online and 2) They run TOO DAMN MANY OF THEM! At Hancock last night there were 22 minutes of trailers and garbage. 22 minutes! Gah!

I like seeing the opening to films, it does give you a feel for everything much better than a straight trailer.

Speaking of which I'm just about to post Sixty Six's opening five minutes.

Roman has a good point, the trailer often beats the film, especially easy when it's just pilfering all the good scenes from the entire running time.


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