Tuesday, February 07, 2017

Repeat After Me: Trailers Aren't Supposed to Provide Answers


It has happened again, a trailer that is designed to elicit excitement and motivate me to trek off to the theatre has instead knocked down a movie that was once pretty high on my most anticipated of the year. It isn't that Life looks worse as it still has the very appealing cast (Ryan Reynolds, Jake Gyllenhaal, and Rebecca Ferguson), the initial premise of the sci-fi horror remains intact and the visuals brew up an unsettling atmosphere. The problem is the mystery of the movie has been squeezed out.

I blame this on the Comic-Con types that pay money to watch ads for movies, or the numerous movie sites that hype trailers as breaking news, or anyone that hopes that a trailer will reveal a crucial story point or spectacular scene. Trailers first goal isn't to entertain and it sure isn't to provide answers. It should tantalize, tease, and intrigue. It should leave you with several questions and an appetite for the feast that should be the big screen feature itself. But now marketing divisions are trying to feed the social media beast and sites make their money on the traffic that movie hype provides, and there is now a need to deliver the goods weeks the release date. Real movie fans need to show a little patience and recognize less is so much better when it comes to a movie trailer.

Trailers can be art. A good one is masterfully crafted. But in the end it shouldn't harm the entertainment value of the movie it is hyping. It still just an ad. One that should get people clamouring for the real goods.

I get a feeling that the third Life trailer (and why do we need so many trailers???) just went Terminator: Genisys on us all and revealed all the big story points. Before this latest trailer, I was aware some astronaut discovered a life form on Mars, an experiment on the life form turned out badly, then it would be a tight-spaced thriller where the humans now mistrusted each other, and it was influenced by the original Alien. This was enough for me to mark it down as one of the March movies that I wanted to review.

After this trailer, I now know the guy who I expected got killed by the organism actually just got a nasty hand injury, the organism grows in a large tentacle like creature, the backstory of creature on Mars, what its intentions are for Earth, and all this information would have been better saved for the actual movie. I may be wrong and there might be some fun surprises still in store for this. Despite being deflated, I will still be giving this movie a shot. I can't shake the feeling that if they needed a third trailer that it would have been way better to just switch around some clips and play it to some trendy music instead.

Who cares if a trailer actually gets huge views from curiosity over big plot reveals because it still doesn't mean people will pay for it? Does a trailer that just restates the same things as the first really dampen excitement?

Part of me wonders if the problem was that with a month out that the movie wasn't buzzing the way Sony executive had hoped and so if they showed this was more creature feature rather than crew member paranoia that it would bump up the tweets. I'm not sure if there is any evidence that a big story reveal suddenly sparks big interest, and instead, it is more likely to annoy those that believed they would get to see a story unfold for the first time when they actually saw the movie.

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