Zia Hassan

Movie Trailers Soften The Blow

+++ title = “01” date = 2019 +++

I used to love movie trailers as a kid.

So much that I’d be upset if I was late and missed even one of them. There was something magical to me about the telling of these mini-stories. I loved following up by seeing the movie advertised and would get excited when I’d notice a scene from the trailer and how it fit into the film.

Until it all changed one day, when I saw the movie Room. I won’t say what it’s about to avoid spoilers and also because it doesn’t matter what it was about. What made the experience of Room different for me was that I didnt see the trailer. In fact, I hadn’t heard or watched anything about it, despite the fact that it was based on a book.

If you’ve seen the film, then you know just how jarring that must have been. It was the most unbelievable experience. I was literally on the edge of my seat. I had zero idea what I was in for. If I had, the blow would’ve been softened. And I don’t want soft blows when it comes to movies.

Since then, I’ve realized that all trailers do essentially the same thing: they tell the story of the movie, with most of the key scenes, and leave out the ending. Good thing, because otherwise there’d be no need to see the film.

But if a movie requires 2 hours to tell a story and previews are able to condense the story into 2 mins to entice viewers to see it, then aren’t we being exposed to elements of s story without the details? And doesn’t that affect how we receive the movie when we watch it for the first time?

I’m not saying we should do away with trailers. One great trailer was for the Man on Wire movie, which simply showed the character high up on a skyscraper, about to walk across a tightrope. But then, that was a bio pic, so not much “story” was needed to entice viewers. Imagine doing the same idea but for a rom com. Not as effective.

It would make more sense, perhaps, to just share a one min scene from the movie. This is maybe less enticing, but with a good movie, this could be effective in drawing in viewers and not give it all away. Imagine seeing just the first scene of Up for instance. It’s enough to make you want to stay for the rest. It’s a radical idea, but the current style of movie trailers can ruin the experience of a truly good film by laying out the story structure in your mind before you actually see the movie.

We changed the style of previews once before by ditching narration. I say let’s do it again.