So I'm currently writing a story that's essentially about movie trailers. For "research", I spent the first day of my Spring Break looking for my favorite, which I thought I'd share. But first, my thoughts on movie trailers (or previews if you prefer). Trailers are, to me, an unsung art of the film industry; there should seriously be an Oscar for Best Trailer. Think about it. A good film trailer can make the masses go see a movie; that's an incredible power! It doesn't have to be a genre you're interested in, an actor you're familiar with, or even a good movie; in fact, some of my picks are trailers for movies that aren't that great. Further, a good trailer can make you want to see that movie again. While a bad movie trailer, and the film it touts, are simply forgotten.
So this two-part series is also a salute to movie trailer makers everywhere! I love what you do! I show up to a movie theatre 30 minutes early just to make sure I can get popcorn, a good seat, and not miss the trailers. Keep it up! And without any further ado,
I have a vivid memory of standing in line at a Hollywood video as a pre-teen, staring at a cardboard stand-up for a film where a man with chainsaw for a hand stands atop a pile of corpses with a beautiful woman wrapped around his leg. It would be years later before I finally saw Army of Darkness and was introduced to the work of Sam Raimi, but the trailer for this film still stood out as a parody in itself. It's hilarious! And it breaks the forth wall with Raimi's Oldsmobile, which is in just about every one of his films :-)
I live in a small town with one movie theatre converted from an old stage theatre an hour away from a multiplex. There's no stadium seating, only one screen, they actually pop their own popcorn, and they use a real projector. The college kids who run it also choose which trailers they want to spool before each show, and if they find one they like, it will show before every movie they feature. By the time The Dark Knight came out, they'd been showing the teaser for so long that it had long scratches on the film. They also did this with the Kung Fu Panda 2 teaser, and I still laughed at every "kung fu staring contest."
I don't care what you think about this movie, this trailer is not only epic, it's classic in its execution. To see what I mean, go watch the original 1954 trailer for Seven Samurai. I'll wait, since it's 5 minutes long, which is kind of why it didn't make the cut...Done? Notice the similarities in the over-dramatization? Character establishing shots? Even the horsemen riding over the hill (a shot introduced by Kurosawa in Seven Samurai)? Hell, you even know how both are going to end! Sure the 300 trailer's been glossed with Hollywood and modern trailer-making trends, but they're both trailers for essentially the same kind of film, cut in the same way. And I think that's awesome.
This was one of my most anticipated movies of 2011 simply because it looked so much like one of my favorite novels, The Wars by Timothy Findley. And sure, it's arguably a shameless animal-friendship story coming out on Christmas, but that's sort of why I loved it. The preview does everything but put, "This movie will make you cry," in big letters under the title to let you know its intentions. And if your a sensitive movie-goer like me, yes it is a tear jerker. But that the trailer, even after I've seen the movie, can get me a little misty-eyed, makes it awesome in my book. It also helps the film and score are just beautiful.
If my wife (a social media junky/professional) had said, "Hey, let's go see this movie about the making of Facebook!" I'd have said, "Pass." But from the first time I saw the trailer for this film, I wanted to see it. This is what I mean about a preview making you step outside your comfort zone and try something new. It's also an example of a trailer you can watch after the fact and say, "That was a great film." Not to mention that the opening and song selection is excellent.
I'll continue in a day or so with #5-#1!
Questions? Quibbles? Controversies?