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Sarah's Cinema Musings: Trailer TMI

August 10th, 2009 10:43am EDT
Inglourious BasterdsWe all have experienced the aggravation of pre-feature film stuffing in the movie theater. With increased ticket prices and over inflated concession items, a theater-goer can only wish for a decrease in the ten minutes of commercials and ten to sometimes thirteen minutes of movie trailers before viewing the reason they came. The commercials have become the eccentric or just plain weird uncle we all put up with at family events and holidays; we don't really like dealing with them, but chalk it up to the experience of the main event.

The trailers, on the other hand, are increasingly becoming Aunt Gertrude; the aunt who will tell you the history behind each and every doctor's visit and mole. While you want to see Aunt Gert, because she really is a congenial person, you don't need to know everything. The film trailer has reached the level of Auntie Gert.

This problem, the long summation of the entire film's plot, is occurring on a multi-genre level. The days of the short teaser acting as the single marketing moving image for a film is over. Blockbusters, more commonly now associated with 'Harry Potter', do begin with a teaser, usually a year before the release. Teasers now act as more of a 'Save the Date' invitation instead of the bulk of the visual advertising. The trailer and teaser are both meant as a form of cinematic pep rally, getting a wide audience excited for a film.

Now, with all of the various long trailers, some films can be cast off as video rentals, since the major plot has been revealed. Other films, which viewers will see no matter what, still take the awe out of the full viewing. 'Inglourious Basterds' for example, has released a trailer, the international trailer, a teaser, a TV teaser, TV trailer #1, TV trailer #2, the 'Nation's Pride' viral trailer, a TV spot, the 'Interrogation' film clip, 'The Vet' film clip, film clip #4, film clip #5, the extended 'Interrogation' clip, film clip #6, and a Behind the Scenes Featurette. Some may think that this is typical marketing of a Tarantino film (which is woefully incorrect: see 'Pulp Fiction's' trailer) and no other film would succumb to this.

'District 9', a film that I recently raved about for their marketing campaign, has also made the too much information mistake. A film that depends on the suspense and surprise of its narrative to a paying audience, it has a trailer, teaser, 'Alien Revealed' teaser 2, TV Spot #1, TV Spot #2, TV Spot #3, TV Spot #4, TV Spot #5, TV Spot #6, TV Spot #7, Promo Spot #1, Promo Spot #2, and a Featurette.



The largest grievance is the loss of artistic editing. Placing narrative content aside, there once was an art to a film trailer that is now an endangered species. The trailer for 'Little Children' was gorgeous and worth a watch whether a spectator was interested in the film or not. The same can also be said for just about all of Stanley Kubrick's films. Trailers are meant to sell the film to even the most un-sellable audience member. The preeminent trailer of the year, so enchanting that I immediately decided to see instead of skip, is for 'Where the Wild Things Are'. It not only seamlessly tied in the narrative, but also fully captured the feel of the iconic book in just less than two minutes.


Where do you stand on the massive amount of trailer footage? What are your most memorable, favorite, or least favorite trailers?

Sarah Lafferty
Story by Sarah Lafferty
Starpulse contributing writer

Follow Sarah on twitter at starbuckscout.