Confused Views: the problem with movie trailers

Matt’s sick of having movies ruined for him by trailers that reveal too much. But can a trailer change his mind about the films he’s already dismissed?

Coming soon to a column near you: Matt makes a few jokes that are probably a bit inappropriate for this website, says that he thinks movie trailers reveal too much, suggests that he has stopped watching trailers for movies he is definitely going to see, and then pitches some trailer shocks that would make him re-evaluate his decision to either see or ignore certain movie releases this year.

I’ve never had to sell a movie that cost $50m to make. I’m sure it’s a very difficult and stressful thing to have to do. Therefore, I’m reluctant to be too critical of movie marketing departments for flinging anything and everything at us in an attempt to get us to please help them get their money back.

As a result, though, every time I sit down to watch a movie trailer I risk having the entire film spoiled by the recent trend of giving away absolutely every pissing thing that happens in the film.

In the case of Kick Ass, I think I enjoyed the trailers much more than I did the film. Not that I didn’t like Kick Ass. Rather, it’s a film where almost all the surprises and set pieces had been enjoyed for free, long before I entered the cinema. So, when I finally pried open my wallet and clattered my change across the counter, I was left with a ticket to see what was left.

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It seems the older I get, the more I have to withhold things that I want from myself. I may want to drink more than two beers in an evening, but if I have anything to do the next day I have to stop there, lest I want to spend the next day showering people with booze-flavoured sick and feeling like my brain has been sprinkled with shards of glass.

I can’t eat everything I want anymore because I’m getting fat. Now, I can’t just watch film trailers when I want to because it will ruin the movie for me.

I do find it frustrating. Why do trailers have to give so much away? What you need to show is the tone of the film, who’s in it, who it’s by, a rough idea of how it looks and when it’s coming out. Without wishing to sound like someone who spends a good deal of time barefoot in a forest clearing trying to get wild animals to eat berries from my palm, just give me the vibe, man.

There also seem to be about 80 or 90 trailers released for each film, plus exclusive scenes online and clips on TV, still images and on-set tally charts of which crew members farted the most frequently during the most exciting scenes.

I recently saw on gossip site TNZ that the key grip on Twilight Eclipse let rip 18 times during the romantic stand-off between Bella, Jacob, Edward, Marley, Titch and Wally Wally Wolf-Boy. It must be an emotional scene.

Has anyone seen the new trailer for Inception? It looks bloody brilliant! I already knew I was going to see Inception. Now I’ve had a little taste of the film as well, which is great. But that’s it for me. I’m now actively ducking anything that mentions Inception. My ticket is sold, so all that can happen now is that the film can get ruined by my finding out or seeing too much, or I could be well and truly put off.

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I recently saw the ‘red band’ trailer for Get Him To The Greek at a cinema. That was a film I’d been undecided on, and the trailer sold me entirely. I’m going. Which made me think, if I can be turned on to a film I’m unsure of, can I have my mind changed about a film I’m entirely decided on by a trailer?

I’ve come up with some trailers that could, if done right, change the space-time continuum. Or at least change whether I’m going to see them this summer.

Letters To Julia

This delightful-looking romance starring Amanda Seyfried would have me running screaming from a movie theatre clawing at my eyes as soon as the opening credits started rolling. Or so the trailer would have me believe.

But if there were to be a second trailer for this film that suggested the film climaxed with a chainsaw massacre, then I would rethink my stance on the film.

I’ll quite happily sit through sunshine-flavoured drama for an hour if I know it’s going to result in jagged metal teeth chewing through human flesh for my viewing pleasure.

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Knight And Day

This Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz action bonanza looks like a particularly banal shade of gray to me. Utterly uninteresting and uninspiring, like porridge or Fearne Cotton.

However, if the trailer revealed that midway through the film, during a sequence where an explosion chases a motorbike, Tom Cruise had a breakdown, I might be interested.

What I’m hoping for is that Tom just pulls the bike to the side of the road, the fire cloud consumes itself and disappears, and the cameras pulls in close on Tom Cruise. Tom is distraught, tears streaming down his cheeks. He gulps in air, chokes on it, and splutters at the camera, “I can’t do this shit any more. This can’t be my life.”

Then the rest of the trailer is made up of clips from the second half of the film, where a broken down Tom Cruise tells us all about his life. I would go and see that.

Scott Pilgrim

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If there’s a new trailer for Scott Pilgrim that hits the Net that reveals there were reshoots supervised by Brett Ratner, let me know, because I’m out. Well, I mean, probably not, but I’ll know to cap my expectations pretty low.

Coming next week to Confused Views, Matt strings something very thin together and turns in a seriously sub-par column because he’s busy watching the World Cup.