Wednesday, October 21, 2009
How often do we make up our minds on films before we even see them?
I have to admit it, I do this on occasion; I'll go as far as to say every filmgoer falls victim to this crime. We see a trailer and we automatically decide in our minds whether or not the movie will be good or bad, whether it's worth seeing, renting, or completely skipping altogether.
How can we do this? We're judging a film based off of a two-minute montage of clips from the film edited in quick succession in an attempt to sell the movie. What does this say about the film as a whole? Nothing.
Trailers are given too much precedence nowadays. Back in the day, we as moviegoers saw movies not because of an awesome trailer, but because of positive word of mouth, who directed it, or simply because the title really captured your imagination. A trailer is just a two-minute tease of the barebones of a film.
When trying to subject a two-hour story into only two-minutes, obviously much gets lost in translation. Many movies may have great heart, and at the core are terrific films, but because none of this could be conveyed in two minutes, no one went to see it; where as a trailer filled with amazing visuals and countless explosions will surely pull the audience into the theater when that film is released, and then that same audience will be disappointed because the trailer was in actuality way better than the movie itself.
I have seen my fair share of movies over the years where the marketing campaign made the movie look five times better than it actually was, case and point, Spider-man 3. Then I've also seen many marketing campaigns that were very weak and didn't even scratch the surface of what the movie was even about, and then when I finally saw the movie I was simply blown away; perfect example is a film like Hot Fuzz, saw the trailers but wasn't impressed till I heard some positive word of mouth. Then there are the other occasions where the trailer completely misrepresents the movie you're going to see, making it look like it is something other than what it actually is, even if what it is, is truly spectacular (i.e. Superman Returns). So what am I getting at here?
I believe that we as filmgoers need to be more open-minded whenever we see a new trailer. If we're going to think the entire movie is as cheesy as the trailer, then that movie will never get a chance to possibly win you over. On the other side, if you're going to equate the entire experience to that two-minute extravaganza of explosions and sound, how can the movie live up to that experience? No movie can truly be as action-packed as a two-minute trailer for an action film, where it is solely taking shots from all the major action sequences to sell the movie.
I think as time wears on we need to stop focusing on the marketing involved in movie-making, and start simply focusing on the films themselves. Isn't that what really matters?