Trailer Trash For Cash

I went to see Baby Driver today. A good film I really enjoyed it. I won’t be reviewing it as I am sure there are ample reviews of it already and I don’t feel I have anything different to add. If you want a review you can go here.
The cinema was pretty busy for a Monday afternoon, a time usually reserved for film geeks and the retired. As the film has been out for at least a week and is directed by the not at all a household name Edgar Wright, it was definitely odd to see a semi-full theatre. After ejecting somebody from my seat – again not a Monday afternoon thing – I sat down to the trailers.
For awhile now I have felt that movie trailers are all a bit rubbish. They are especially bad for event, tentpole films that have a ready, eager audience, barely bothering to do much more than string together a few ‘exciting’ set pieces that sometimes, like in the last Fantastic Four offering, do not even end up in the film.
Even worse is when the trailer editor – it is usually a different company, unrelated to the film production that does the trailer – decides to basically show the entire plot in the trailer. It is not the worse offence of trailer making though no, the worse offence perpetrated by a trailer is when the trailer’s promise is better than the film it is promoting. There is nothing worse than getting pumped up for a film, watching all the promotional material, not just the trailers but the interviews with cast members, the director, b-roll clips and all the hullabaloo that can surround a big film, especially in the case of a franchise, for the film to then turn out to be a turd.
Generally, I have a sort of loose rules surrounding big movies, if the stars of the film are doing too much press, appearing on multiple chat shows, doing radio interviews, going crazy on social media. If Jai Courtney is in it, if the poster is lazy and kind of rubbish – Baby Driver actually bucks the trend, terrible poster, great film. I ignored my rules when it came to Terminator Genisys and ended up walking out of the film forty minutes in.
I believed James Cameron – even though he came up with one of the worse fake mineral names in movie history in the over hyped Avatar, with the evil humans looking to steal ‘Unobtainium’! – he did, however, make the masterpiece that is The Terminator and follow it with one of the best sequels I have ever seen in T2. When he endorsed Genisys, I thought; okay, it’s probably worth a look. It didn’t matter that every sequel, after the second one, had been pretty rubbish or that Jai Courtney was in it – he was also in the worse Die Hard film, didn’t catch me out with Suicide Squad though! DC and Jai Courtney? No chance! – All the previews looked good, the beautiful Emilia Clarke was one of the stars. Admittedly she has never been any good in anything outside of Game Of Thrones and I’ve only watched two episodes of that (gasp!). So I ignored the overly busy poster – a sure sign that they are not confident – the extravagant press junket, Arnie going full politician level, charm offensive. I got bamboozled and sucked in. Never again.
The trailer for the Tom Cruise starrer, The Mummy, was seven minutes – seven! – long. That is longer than my last two short films! If you have to release a seven minute trailer in an effort to persuade people to see your film, it is probably time to get back in the editing suite.
I have gone off on somewhat of a tangent with this blog, ranting as oppose to contrasting, which is what I had planned to do, the trailer topic having been prompted by a trailer I saw for a film called 6 Days, based on the Iranian hostage siege in London in the eighties. I watched it initially thinking, this looks boring, even with the ever excellent Mark Strong as one of the leads. Then the trailer just builds, the hostage negotiator (Strong) trying to resolve an impossible situation, the SAS, lead by Jamie Bell, planning to breach the embassy and the British government wanting to be seen as strong and resourceful in dealing with a terrorist threat. All of this is conveyed in a less than three minute trailer. This is a film I want to see and, as it is based on a true story, I already know how it ends. That is the power of a good trailer, promising a good and engaging story, not endless explosions and shaky camera movements.

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