The Eternal Trailer Discussion (Griping) thread

Jason Seaver

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First, let's give a hand to trailers which don't suck:
The Royal Tenenbaums - Lays out the basic premise of the movie, gives off a quirky vibe, and really works to create curiosity.
40 Days And 40 Nights - I really like this one. It works like a good poster, showing you the star, and encapsulating the story in one simple image. Amazing, considering it's from Miramax (see below).
Iron Monkey - Sure, it's a "good lord, don't let the figure out they're not speaking English" trailer. But... zounds. Just jumped up my priority list for the Boston Film Festival.
No Such Thing - Sarah Polley in an adult role? Things that look bizarre. Hal Hartley apparently getting studio distribution. You know, between this, The Claim, Ghost World, and the good buzz on Jeepers Creepers, it looks like Francis Ford Coppola is doing something I thought would be impossible a year ago, and somehow getting quality, original movies out of MGM/UA by making UA their boutique label.
However, Miramax's marketing department should burn in hell for Serendipity. Why not just hand out scripts?
And, Sony is starting a practice which is out-and-out deceptive - I saw the trailer for Time And Tide after the movie, and could have sworn that the trailer contained English-language dialogue for scenes where the spoken language was Cantonese. But, since there were multiple languages in that one, I wasn't sure. I've got similar hazy memories of the trailer for The Princess And The Warrior.
But the trailer for The Crimson Rivers... As with the others, it's only single words or brief snatches of dialogue. But it's enough to make me pretty sure Sony is trying for a bait-and-switch here - audience that wouldn't go to movie en francais on a bet sees a pretty mainstream-looking trailer, comes to see it, and hopefully doesn't demand their money back. Understand, The Crimson Rivers looks like a great movie, but isn't the kind of deceptive?
 

Alex Spindler

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Hear hear about Serendipity. Did they think that the trailer for What Lies Beneath was a little too ambiguous? I wish they would at least try to leave some of the basic plot structure out of it.
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Sam Hatch

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I'm on the other side of the fence regarding the trailer for
'Forty Days and Forty Nights'. My girlfriend and I immediately wrote that one off. She enjoys sex comedies a la 'American Pie', but we both turned to each other and said 'That's gonna suck' at the end of the trailer.
The problem being that the only thing they give you is a)the concept and b)a look at the hunky young lead and some actress who may/may not be in the actual film. The concept is pretty uninteresting - 'The Contest' was funny on Seinfeld, but that was merely thirty minutes, not ninety. A shot of the actor doesn't work for me, so the only thing that can save it is to show scenes and other characters from the film.
I'm sure that this was just a 'teaser' trailer and that a longer one will follow, but on its own it didn't do the job.
Movie posters are easy to write off - often when I see a bit of the finished project in a trailer, it can change my mind on something I had poo-poohed because of the poster.
'Zoolander' on the other hand, had me hook line and sinker!
Is it true that they're not going to dub 'Iron Monkey'? I assumed it being Disneymax they would be showing a dub, and the lack of dialogue in the trailer was hiding the mediocre
voiceovers, not Cantonese voices. Either way, that trailer worked on my girlfriend - so I told her we would watch it tonight. 'Iron Monkey' rocks!
Oh yeah, I also think the trailer for 'The Musketeer' was well done. Not too much information spilled, reasonable amount of eye candy. Whether or not it will be any good remains to be seen.
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Jason Seaver

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Don't know how I missed mentioning Zoolander, seeing as it seems joined to The Royal Tenenbaums at the hip. That is one funny two minutes of film, looking like it might be a funny ninety.
 

Sam Hatch

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Yeah, I'm looking forward to seeing Ben Stiller unleashed. It's nice to see that someone let him get behind the camera again.
*looks around sheepishly* Don't tell anyone, but I saw 'The Cable Guy' FOUR times in the theaters!
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Derek Miner

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Iron Monkey - Sure, it's a "good lord, don't let the figure out they're not speaking English" trailer. But... zounds. Just jumped up my priority list for the Boston Film Festival.
Yeah, but it's called Iron Monkey! At the sneak preview for Jay & Silent Bob Strike Back, people were laughing at the trailer because the approach of the trailer and the title together seem like a joke, until you realize half-way through that oh, this is real!
= Derek =
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Chauncey_G

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One that really annoyed me was "Ransom"... (SPOILER AHEAD!)
THE big plot twist, his decision to offer the ransom as a bounty, gets shown in all it's glory on the trailer. This movie was OK, I think I would have liked it better had the twist come out of nowhere.
 

Jason Whyte

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The latest laughable trailer is the teeny-bopper "On The Line" featuring one of the guys from N'Sync and the lovely Emanuelle Chiquri in a goofy looking story about a guy who falls for a girl on a Chicago L-train but they part without getting contact info, then the guy spends the rest of the movie searching for her by posting up ads
This 2.5 minute trailer shows basically the entire film, from the setup, the story arc, shows every step in the storyline then gives away the entire ending, where (spoilers), N'Sync boy finds Chiquri and they kiss over the L-train. So, basically I've seen the film in a short form, I hate it, and may just add it to my 2001 Film List without even seeing the expanded 90 minute version of the trailer.
My trailer of the moment, agreeing with Mr. Seaver, is The Royal Tennebaums. Wonderful setup, music, and one of the best cast listings I've seen in a while. I almost wanted to applaud when I saw Owen Wilson's credit come up the way it did.

Jason
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Kristian

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Since the following trailer hardly deserves its own thread, I thought I'd gripe about it here:
Paparazzi
I saw this in front of I, Robot and I was absolutely shocked by how horrible it was. This has to be the worst idea for a thriller in years. It doesn't look like a film ready to be released in theaters, it looks like a film destined for late-night HBO hell. And to add to the horror, the trailer spoils the entire movie! I had hoped the studios had learned their lesson, since it had been awhile since the last super-spoiler trailer.
I wish I could think of a really good trailer to offset this, but there aren't that many memorable ones out there right now.
 

Scott Weinberg

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Cool thread.
I also saw the Paparazzi trailer and it had me snorting nasally and uncontrollably. Funny stuff!
 

Kristian

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Some more trailer comments:
Exorcist: The Beginning
You know, with all the bad buzz about this movie, I expected this trailer to be laughable. But it's not that bad. Kudos to the people who cut this trailer for using dialog and brief shots from the original Exorcist to set the mood.
A Sound of Thunder
I had never even heard of this movie before seeing the trailer in front of Catwoman. Doesn't look too good. That T-Rex looks like something out of The Lost World... the cheesy TV show, not the movie. And Ben Kingsley doesn't look like he's enjoying himself much here.
Superbabies: Baby Geniuses 2
I actually haven't seen this trailer, but can you blame me? Who the hell asked for this movie?
 

Kristian

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I saw the Paparazzi trailer again in front of The Bourne Supremacy and I noticed one thing that made me hate the trailer even more: the absolutely unnecessary shots of strippers dancing. Now, don't get me wrong, I love beautiful women. But nothing feels more cheap and desperate than when they resort to random shots of strippers in a trailer to get people interested in the movie. It's even worse in Paparazzi because it has nothing to do with anything else shown in the trailer.
Does anyone else want to comment on any new trailers? I agree with Scott that this is a cool thread, but one that continues to be overlooked.
 

Scott Weinberg

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The Sound of Thunder trailer is pretty solid...although it reminds me of Timeline and The Core - and that's not an entirely good thing.
 

Kristian

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Yeah, Timeline came to mind instantly when I saw that trailer. Also, those futuristic helicopters at the beginning reminded of the similar-looking gunships from the Terminator films.
Now to another round of trailer comments:
Alfie - Never seen the original, but hey, Jude Law surrounded by beautiful women sounds good to me.
On a side note, Jude Law sure is going to be in a lot of movies this Fall (see the next two trailers).
Closer - For some reason, I feel uncomfortable seeing Natalie Portman as a stripper in this trailer. I guess I'm used to seeing her in a more wholesome light. Still, it does look interesting, with great use of music to set the tone (does anyone know what that song is, btw?).
I Heart Huckabees - Superb cast and it looks really funny. Almost as funny as...
The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou - Just about the funniest, most original trailer I've seen all year. I wasn't really looking forward to any movies this December, but that's all changed now.

Sideways - This is the new film from Alexander Payne. The trailer left me cold, though, and I'm someone who really enjoyed his last two films.
Wicker Park - Pretty generic thriller stuff, with some unintentional humor thrown in. Bleh.
A Dirty Shame - This trailer made me feel ill. Absolutely disgusting stuff. I guess that makes me one of those who doesn't "get" John Waters.
 

Andrew 'Ange Hamm' Hamm

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It's well after the fact, but I'm still royally ticked off at how much was given away by the trailer for Spider-Man 2. Spoiler after spoiler after spoiler. Why? This movie sold itself! All we needed was a few cool-ass effects shots, not huge plot-point revelations.
 

Kristian

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As exciting a trailer as the second Spider-Man 2 trailer was, I do agree that it shouldn't have spoiled so much. It would've been nice to not now that Harry Osborn was teaming up with Doc Ock or that Peter was temporarily giving up on being Spider-Man until the movie came out.
 

Andy Anderson

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I'm torn with trailers. I love to watch them, but don't ever want to see too much about the movie being advertised. When I hear buzz about a movie coming out that I know would benefit from seeing and hearing less about it (The Village, Manchurian Candidate, etc.) I try to avoid watching the trailers in the theater (usually avert my eyes and try not to listen), and watching the TV spots (switch the channel). I like to go into a movie cold, and to experience the plot developments, not anticipate them.
I remember years ago when I went to go see the Matrix, I went with friends based on recommendation only--I don't think I'd seen very many trailers at all (don't know what rock I was living under at the time). I just knew that it was to be a slick action movie. I was blown away by a real SCI-FI movie--something that we'd been missing for some time. The unexpected genre shift was very refreshing.
Mild "Terminator 2" spoilers ahead in the next paragraph--but if you haven't seen that movie already, what's wrong with you?!?.
In contrast: the first time I saw Terminator 2, I had already seen tons of trailers and commercials. I knew that Arnold was sent back to protect young John Connor from the evil new Terminator. My cousins who were visiting from their farm in Minnesota had only seen one early teaser. The only thing they knew about the story was that there were two Terminators this time around. The scene in the mall hallway when both Terminators draw their weapons and Arnold protects John surprised the heck out of them. I was witness to this again recently as my girlfrliend and I watched Terminator 1 and 2 before seeing 3 in the theaters last year. She didn't know anything about the movies except the line, "I'll be back" and the fact that Arnold is a "robot bad-guy" (her words). She enjoyed the movies, and again was surprised when Arnold's Terminator turned out to be John's protector.
"Italian Job" spoilers ahead in the next paragraph.
How about the Italian Job? The trailer was the ENTIRE movie. I thought to myself--no, there's got to be more: some other twist, more to the plot, they'll go another way, there'll be another double cross, etc. Nope, the whole movie is there. Maybe I have a more photographic memory than others, but I knew exactly when each story beat in the trailer was coming up. "Ah, this is where Ed Norton double crosses them," "This is where they make the armored car disappear, and Ed Norton gets pissed." "Ah, this is where Charlize punches Ed Norton," etc.
"Trailer" spoilers for "The Forgotten" in the next paragraph.
I thought though, that trailers had improved a bit. Then I saw the trailer for the upcoming Julianne Moore thriller called "The Forgotten". Now, this seems like an interesting movie. Julianne Moore's character wakes up and "discovers" that the child she'd been raising for 5 or 6 six years never existed. All photographs are missing, or different than she remembers, etc, etc. It seems from the trailer that this is may be a story about a woman with a delusionary mental condition. Maybe not, though. Maybe someone is setting her up? At any rate--it seems like an interesting story. Then, the trailer takes it too far. We see Julianne Moore peel back the wallpaper at another man's house (the father of a former playmate of Moore's son) to reveal evidence of a child's room. At this point, we the audience now know that there is a setup. Fine. Now we're treated to some quick cut action footage until the final, craptastic scene in the trailer. A man in a chair says to Julianne Moore that "They're listening," at which point the entire roof of the house blows upward and outward. Well, now they've just given away a supernatural element to the story. Ho, hum. I can only imagine how exciting (or disappointing, depending on the film, I suppose) it would have been if that scene wasn't in the trailer, and the story beat was revealed in the film. Imagine how exciting it would have been if "The Italian Job" wasn't marketed as a double-cross/revenge heist film, and the double-cross (which did occur early enough in the film to warrant the trailer reveal) was left for audiences to discover as the plot unfolded.
As I said before--these days when I hear about a movie I'd like to see, unless I know the story (Lord of the Rings), I don't like to watch or study the trailer too closely, as I find it really does spoil the film for me. Having said that, I do dig teaser trailers...

Hey, maybe I'm wrong about "The Forgotten", and I'll be pleasently surprised. Maybe some will say that I actually enjoy being misled and surprised by trailers. That's just me, I guess.
 

Andrew 'Ange Hamm' Hamm

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When The Fellowship of the Ring was coming out, I closed my eyes and hummed to myself to avoid learning anything during the trailers. I changed the channel when a TV commercial came along. The whole point was to make sure it would be fresh when I saw the movie.

The result was the single most magical movie experience of my life.

To be fair, Spider-Man still managed to surprise and delight me. But a lot of moments were entirely spoiled for me by the gratuitous nature of the trailer.
 

ThomasC

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I remember years ago when I went to go see the Matrix, I went with friends based on recommendation only--I don't think I'd seen very many trailers at all (don't know what rock I was living under at the time). I just knew that it was to be a slick action movie. I was blown away by a real SCI-FI movie--something that we'd been missing for some time. The unexpected genre shift was very refreshing.
I don't think the previews for The Matrix were done that well, they didn't captivate me at all. I saw it on word of mouth, and the fact that Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me was sold out.
 

Adam_ME

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I don't think the previews for The Matrix were done that well, they didn't captivate me at all. I saw it on word of mouth, and the fact that Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me was sold out.
Really? I thought the trailer for The Matrix was incredible, and I loved the inclusion of Enigma's "The Eyes of Truth"(even though it had been used previously to market The Long Kiss Goodnight).

What's most interesting about the Matrix trailer is that it shows just about every money shot in the movie, but since it doesn't give you the context of any of those clips, you're still able to go into the theater knowing virtually nothing about the plot.
 

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