Last Updated on December 8, 2020 by ThoughtsStained
**Spoiler warning: discussion of potential plot spoilers surrounding Jurassic World, The 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.
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.