Trailers these days are getting out of control with spoilers. But don't worry, we're here to sort out whether or not you should watch a certain trailer beforehand. First, I'll see the film avoiding all trailers. I like to go in fresh. Then I'll take a look at how accurate the marketing is to a film's tone and plot, as well as warn of any spoilers it might contain.
Why so serious? That's the thing I can't figure out with this franchise. The film seems to expect us to emotionally care instead of just being titillated with action. It's silly to have Alice (Milla Jovovich) dress up in an S&M outfit and spray 2.4 million bullets at bad guys. So why can't it feel more fun? In this fifth film they actually saddle Alice with caring for a little deaf girl. It's an emotional weight the film reaches for and never hits. Besides that, it's business-thumping bass as usual. The film plays like a band's greatest-hits album, though it's hard to say Resident Evil has had a lot of hits. The trailer has you believe this is non-stop action. The film doesn't feel that way. It's stilted in its delivery. The humor you see in the trailer is the same attempted humor throughout the film. So while it doesn't work, they at least accurately portray it. The trailer also manipulates the plot, but we'll get to that in the next section. Score: 3/5
If you didn't read Rick Marshall's very helpful 'Resident Evil' Recap: Everything You Need to Know Before Seeing 'Resident Evil: Retribution', don't worry. The first five minutes are a recap of the first four films. This will be pointless filler for those familiar with the franchise, and desperately helpful for that poor girlfriend who gets dragged to her first Evil film. In Retribution Alice is captured. Now, with the help of some old friends (and enemies) she must break out of the Umbrella Corporation training facility.
The film really does play out like a video game, with Tokyo, New York, Suburbia and other locales being different "levels" Alice must get past in order to survive. Within each scenario she'll do battle with creatures and creations we've seen throughout the franchise. The trailer starts off giving us the only scare you'll possibly encounter in the film. It's a suburban life where she had it all (apparently "having it all" means serving your working husband). He gets attacked, and she realizes all of her memories were imprinted. Um... that's not what the film is about at all. The trailer spends 45 seconds creating a false plot to this film. The lies don't stop there. In watching the trailer, you have a completely different impression with who is pulling the strings and what kind of control they have. Score: 1/5
We might have to create a new category here. Something like anti-spoilers. This trailer throws you off the scent of the plot and purpose of this film. It manipulates who is good and who is bad. I almost want to applaud the trailer, but then we must realize the point of it. It's to tease and entice you to see the entire film. Creating a trailer that says Alice must travel the globe to stop the Umbrella Corporation isn't accurate. There's a few other things that aren't accurate, but I'm not trying to spoil the film for you. I will say this: there is no action sequence in the film that is not shown in the trailer. For a while it looked like the final fight in the snow was going to be left out, but it finally shows up at the end of the trailer. Think about why you might go see Resident Evil: Retribution. It's for the action, right? I mean, if you still wanted to see a scantily clad Jovovich you'd just rewatched The Fifth Element. So why watch a trailer that gives you a glimpse at every moment of action? Score: 2/5
It's so bizarre, but I would say go ahead and watch this trailer. Sure, you'll have the fight sequences spoiled, but it's laughable how much they manipulate this movie within the trailer. It's almost like the marketing team pulled writer-director Paul W.S. Anderson aside and said, "Look, we've watched your movie. It's just not good. It goes beyond bad acting. It feels like we're just watching a buddy play a video game for the hundredth time. We're just going to have fun with cutting the trailer into a completely different film. Deal with it."