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Movie trailers have a very specific purpose: they’re designed to make you want to see a movie. A perfect trailer shows you just enough to make you excited without giving too much away. It gives you a clear picture of what the plot of the movie is without making you think it’s something it isn’t.
If you want to see some trailers that get it right, take a look at our list of things that make a good movie trailer.
Unfortunately, there are far too many instances of trailers that miss the mark. And in many cases, it’s not the content is bad—the creators are screwing up some very basic things that could have easily been avoided.
That’s why we’re going to look at four things movie trailers do way too often. In some cases, not only will these ruin the trailer itself but they can actually ruin the movie before you’ve even had a chance to see it.
1. Ruining Key Plot Points and Twists
This is 100% the most annoying thing trailer creators do, and not only does it make for a bad trailer, but it can actually ruin the entire movie. When making a trailer, you want to let the viewer know the plot of the movie, and you want to show them some scenes that’ll whet their appetite. But you don’t want to reveal any key plot points or twists that will happen in the movie.
To me, a perfect example of this Quarantine. It’s literally the end of the movie in the trailer. Let that sink in for a second. An executive somewhere approved of a trailer that shows the end of the movie in it. It’s crazy! If you want some other trailers that’ll ruin films for you, check out the trailers for Terminator Genisys, Cast Away, and Shutter Island.
2. Intentionally Misleading Fans
On the other side things, there are trailers that don’t give fans enough information. These trailers make you think a movie is one thing when in reality it ends up being something else entirely. This can lead to wasting on a movie that you think fits within your tastes but actually doesn’t. This can really affect fans who try to avoid spoilers, thus meaning they see the initial trailer and decide to see a movie based on that, without reading reviews or watching multiple trailers.
The best example of this and one that actually tricked me into going to the theater was Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street. The initial trailer features only a small snippet of music, and it gives the viewer almost no indication that film is a musical. I thought it was a typical Tim Burton film starring Johnny Depp, but I ended up with something completely different (and in this case, I wasn’t happy with what I got, as I don’t enjoy musicals). Another great example is the first trailer for Frozen, which made the movie look like something completely different than it was (though it still ended up being great).
3. Trailers With Unfinished CGI
A movie trailer is designed to showcase the film in a positive light. A trailer has about two minutes to convince potential moviegoers that the movie they’re selling is worth their limited time and hard-earned money. How companies can release a trailer with CGI that looks like it was made in the 90s is beyond me!
The best recent example of this is the Jurassic World trailers. The CGI in the first batch of trailers looked about as bad the effects from the original movie. For a movie that’s all about cool looking dinosaurs, releasing a trailer where the dinosaurs don’t look great seems like a terrible decision.
4. Scenes That Aren’t in the Final Movie
Sometimes, there’s a particular scene in a trailer that really catches your attention. You see this scene and you’re like, “Okay, I want to see how that fits into the context of the film.” Then, you watch the movie, and the scene in question is nowhere to be found. Obviously, it was cut for one reason or another, but now you’ll never get to find out how that scene fits into the movie, and that’s just upsetting. There must be a lack of communication between the company cutting the trailer and company editing the final film.
Star Wars: Rogue One is packed with shots that didn’t make the cut, including a cool shot of Jyn turning around in a very dramatic fashion in an Imperial corridor as the lights come up. There’s an entire inspiration speech from Bruce Willis in Armageddon that didn’t make the final film. In The Transporter, there’s an incredible scene where Jason Statham’s character fights off a bazooka with a metal tray. If that sounds incredibly badass, that’s because it is! The list goes on, but suffice to say, this happens way too often!
It’s Time for a Trailer Revolution!
Trailers are a great way to get you excited to see a movie, but all too often, they’re done incorrectly! Let’s #maketrailersgreatagain. What are your worst movie trailer pet peeves and complaints?