Friday, January 30, 2009

Trailer Analysis

Film trailers can be either good or bad. Good if they create a sense of intrigue and excitement--the technical term is buzz--for a particular film. Bad if they give away the entire plot of the film before you see it. Take this upcoming film for example:

I don't need to see this now.  You don't either. You know absolutely everything that happens. You know that a selfish womanizer sees his true love again, gets moved through time by three ghosts, Dickens-style, then realizes that he's really in love with the girl and they end up together. You know the comedic moments. You know the romantic moments. You even know little details like the character's last names, occupations, and best friends. And let's say the film throws you for a loop and they don't end up together in the end after all. That was two hours setting up a punch line that didn't happen, which is disappointing and depressing. Not good.

Now here's a similar film with a far better trailer:

Lots of different characters with intertwining romantic stories. There is comedy, but you get the impression that this isn't the totality of the laughs. You can relate to the characters' relational woes, but you're not sure how it's all going to play out in the end. I laughed at some jokes, I like the soundtrack choice, and I enjoy a number of the actors involved. The relationships appear more complex than a womanizer deciding that he's in love. I'm intrigued.

Trailers that are intriguing don't mean the film will be great (Recent examples: The Happening and Seven Pounds). But they're far better than 2 minute film summaries that leave little to the imagination. 

Allows Imagination + Creates Intrigue - Major Plot Spoilers = Good Trailer

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