Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Commentary: Movie Trailers and their evil existence

Trailers are supposed to entice the public to see the movie. Have you ever noticed that trailers are always uncredited? Often, it's not the moviemaker who creates the trailers. Sometimes they don't even have a say as to what goes in it. Yet the success, financially at least, of a movie rests in part on trailers and the buzz they generate. So the reason for a trailer's existence is to make people want to see the movie, regardless of anything else. Even if it means including scenes that never make it into the movie. Even it it means showing scene from the ending. Whatever it takes to make moviegoers want to see the move and go to see the movie. Given this nature of which trailers are born and the controversy it stirs up with the moviemakers, the trailer-makers would probably prefer to remain anonymous.

From the various DVD commentaries and interviews I've heard, what usually happens is that after principal shooting is over and the editing process begins, the marketing people look over all the raw footage and choose what "works" or what might interest people. Damn story or any sense. That's why in trailers you'd see things that either do not make it into the final cut (nor in some cases even the extended cuts) and things that are right at the end of the movie, giving it away.

Not all trailers are like that. There are teasers. These just give glimpses of what the movie will be. It may not even contain any actual part of the move. Just look at the Harry Potter movie teasers or the Terminator 3's teaser's. The best of these are Pixar's. Their teasers tell something about the movie but doesn't contain any scenes from the movies. In fact, it is accepted fact that Pixar's teaser scenes will not make it into the movie. Yet, it does what it's supposed to do: make people want to watch the movie.

I think that there is a hidden code in trailers put in by trailer-makers that goes something like this, "If the movie is bad or I don't like it, the trailer will include a scene from the end of the movie or close to it or include something that'll give the movie away." Maybe it's a way of telling other trailer makers what they think about the movie without breaking confidentiality agreements. Perhaps some trailer-makers think they are doing a public service by doing so. That way, when you get close to the ending, you go, "Hey, I've seen this already. He'll do this and she'll do this. What the..? The ending is given away in the trailers". Those who understand this will pass it along... and the result is the movie not liked and watched by few.

But this has become a trend in trailers that even good movies suffer. I have watched movies and liked it while watching it only to be disappointed to see that the ending was shown already in the trailers. I understand it if the movie was a 'ride' movie, something that you get on and know what the end of the ride is going to be. However, this 'format' of trailer making is the norm now. It has come to a point that I don't even watch trailers anymore, fearing it might spoil my movie-going experience.

So the thing that was created to garner interest has done exactly the opposite. What a shame. I used to really enjoy trailers. The movie might be months away but by the time it comes, I really want to watch it, having watched the trailer for the upteenth time. Now, I don't bother. And I am not alone. If those marketing types have detected this trend, they are not flinching. They keep on following the same format. Doing otherwise would be an admission of guilt.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Commentary: Changing Screens

I realise that I've been watching more TV than movies recently. So from I'm adding my comments on those. A lot of real TV, cable and when I can Internet TV. Nothing is as hilarious as watching Angel in some other language... with sub-titles in English!
I'm not particular but not not too much reality TV. Enjoyed Bo Bice on American Idol. Should have won but we'll see what happens in the real world. He reminds me of Joshua Kadison and Curtis Stigers. Bo should cover "I wonder why", it's a good mix of soul and blues and suits his voice.
Like my movies, I love a good story. Not in any particular order, I've been watching Gilmore Girls, Joan of Arcadia, CSI (all of them), wonderfully, Friends, even some Buffy. Reruns don't turn me off. Then there are the rare gems, like Cupid. Eight series only. Shame on those TV execs.