The terrible trailers today

Anthony Sherratt has a problem with the modern marketing of movies today. Have we lost the art of making a quality trailer?

What is wrong with people making movie trailers nowadays? They appear to have lost sight of the fact that their job is to entice people to the screening of that film.

Instead of teasing us or piquing our interest, the trailers of the past few years seem intent on summarising the movie for us.

I used to love being early to the cinema and sitting back to enjoy tantalising glimpses of pleasures to come. It was storytelling foreplay.

But now I’m finding myself with my fingers in my ears singing “lalala I can’t hear you” as trailer after trailer shows what’s going to happen. Or the best lines. Or the best stunts.

And don’t even start me on trailers that show things that don’t end up in the movie (that’s a rant for another day).

It’s not a difficult concept guys – the trailer should show us the general concept (ie what the film is about) in an interesting way. Not give us an entire summary. Not give away the twists. Not show us things close to the ending.

It’s not rocket science.

The best trailer of recent times? And perhaps ever? Easy. Taken (2008). Trailer. Alternate trailer.

Why is so good? They show you the concept – young girl being abducted while the father listens on the phone. Then the father provides a chilling monologue to one of the kidnappers in which we discover he’s a man of “special skills” (black ops is implied). His monologue ends with an ultimatum of “I will find you. I will kill you.” The kidnapper wishes him good luck.

The second I saw this trailer I was excited. I couldn’t wait for the movie to come out. I knew what it was about but knew nothing past the early stages of the film. My anticipation was through the roof.

THAT’S what good trailers are about.

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