A movie trailer has a big job. In a very short span of time, somewhere between 30 and150 seconds, a trailer conveys the heart of a film to the audience in a way that makes the movie absolutely irresistible. The trailer builds anticipation.
The audience must connect with the characters onscreen almost instantly, and care deeply, if the trailer is to be effective.
If you happen to be a movie fan like me, it doesn’t take much to create a bad case of anticipation. A favorite star, an incredible director, characters with an accent…I’m hooked. When does that film come out? Do you think there’ll be a sequel? I’m ridiculous.
My birthday is in November, a month marked with lots of family features to kick off the holiday season. It is also the traditional release month for James Bond films. Each spring I begin scanning the internet for Bond production rumors or news. By June I’m hunting for trailers. I’m an addict. No Bond this year—maybe 2012. I’m enjoying my anticipation, because I know that if it’s James Bond, I will love it.
But what about the trailers that spin you into a frenzy of anticipation and then leave you deflated when the movie disappoints. I hate when that happens.
One such trailer was for the 2004 M. Night Shyamalan film, The Village. First let me say that I didn’t dislike the movie. I liked the characters and the relationships and the twist at the end very much. The one thing that I didn’t like, though, was that when I watched the trailers, I expected a good fright from the tale. I waited and waited.
There were two parts that startled me a bit, but nothing scared me. And now my friends and family jokingly rate films by, “Is it as scary as The Village?” I believe Shyamalan is a talented writer and director, and I’m sure the film is exactly as he wished it to be. It just wasn’t scary, like I thought it would be, based on the trailers.
I learned my lesson. Don’t get too excited. It’s just a trailer. It’s just a movie. Hah!
I attempt to steel myself against let-downs. I try not to listen to what critics say. I think some of them aren’t happy if they can’t point out flaws. I avoid reading things that might give away a plot point or twist. I watch the trailers, anyway. I can’t help it!
IMDb is on my favorites list on my computer and on my phone. I spend way too much time watching trailers and looking up expected release dates. The anticipation intoxicates.
Once again I find myself planning a night at the theatre to see a movie I’ve anticipated for months. What will I wear? Will we arrive early enough to get good seats? Will the leading man’s accent be right? Will the special effects look hokey? Will there be a happy ending? What about a sequel? (I told you that I was addicted.)
Based on the trailers, Cowboys and Aliens will be amazing. But trailers have led me down that primrose path before—I’m wiser these days. The critics have been kind, but what do they know? No, I’m basing my excitement on the actors’ and director’s track record.
Jon Favreau turned the far-fetched tale of a human who believes he’s an Elf into a contemporary Christmas classic.
Daniel Craig won my heart as the new James Bond. This is a big deal to me, because after hearing that he’d been cast as the iconic spy, the next detail I heard about him was that he couldn’t drive a stick shift. I was skeptical, to say the least.
Harrison Ford is one of my favorites from way back. If he’s in it, I watch it.
Finally, Olivia Wilde is talented and stunning. Period.
So, I’m excited. I dance in anticipation until I see those credits begin. I’ll worry about the characters until they are all safe again. I’ll hold my breath at the stunts and effects. It will be great! Just a movie? Yeah, right.
That’s a wrap for this Toast to Cinema! Thanks for reading!