Until this year, I was getting really tired of movie trailers. I especially stopped watching them (or tried to, as much as I can with my professional responsibilities) for films I was already sold on or gung-ho about. For instance, I don't need to watch trailers for Coen brothers movies. Those just need 30 seconds with a title card stating "Another Coen Brothers Movie is Coming," and I'm down. The same applies with other dependable auteurs and also some franchises that are fairly consistent, like the Harry Potter films had been.
But Hollywood isn't okay with going by names alone. Nobody has the clout that Alfred Hitchcock had when he was hosting trailers, describing the films and sharing little footage. And they can't just have a teaser of the Hunger Games logo and be done with it. There are people who might see Inside Llewyn Davis without knowing who Joel and Ethan are. And there might be people who aren't familiar with a popular children's book series who'd be enticed to see the adaptation by seeing some action.
I've experienced both circumstances this year alone. I was never much for the Fast and Furious movies, which I'd only seen up to part two, I was wooed back in after being blown away by the Fast & Furious 6 teaser shown during the Super Bowl this year. And while I'm a rare movie geek who doesn't go gaga for Martin Scorsese, I couldn't help but get excited about The Wolf of Wall Street thanks to its first spot. Of course, I still tend to be wary. Trailers like the latter will always remind me of how dull the stunningly advertised Blow turned out to be.
And with Fast & Furious 6, I worried that it blew its load with what turned out ot be some pretty climactic material. The tank stuff grabbed me, and it was still the best part of the movie, though we didn't see all of it. And the car driving through fire from a blazing plane was the money shot for me, and thankfully that was just one part of a larger, very thrilling sequence. Anyway, I probably wouldn't have bothered with this sequel had it not been for those bits being in the trailer, and I can't complain about any of it since I completely enjoyed the movie.
Over at Vulture, Matt Patches has written "A Brief History of the Movie Trailer Money Shot," illustrating how Hollywood marketers have been getting our attention with big, explosive moments like those at the ends of trailers. Sometimes they're the movie's own money shot (or most spectacular stunt or set piece), which could be viewed as a spoiler. One of the trailers Patches highlights is for The Fugitive, which gives away the film's two most awesome bits. Is that okay if it gets us in the seat by blowing us away with action and then we enjoy the script and performances when we get there? Or did you expect more/other bits like those two -- or even better?
Patches also notes a money shot in the Pacific Rim trailer, and that new release was definitely one that needed something special. Not everyone knows who Guillermo del Toro is, and the movie isn't based on anything. Therefore tickets have to be sold on that preview footage. And it seems to have blown a lot of people away who wouldn't have bothered before seeing it. Fortunately (and I say this as someone who doesn't love the movie), it's not even the best shot. There are better action money shots to come in the whole feature. It's one thing to blow us away with a movie trailer, but you better blow us away with the movie itself, too.
As for the last one for me, it's very recent. The teaser for the IMAX doc In Saturn's Rings came out of nowhere this week and really knocked me back. And it should be just more of the same in the movie. I can't wait for it. Watch it here.
What was the last movie trailer that blew you away?
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