Trailers aren’t Like a Box of Chocolate… You Pretty Much Know What You’re Gonna Get

For this assignment I watched four comedy trailers and four action/ thriller trailers, along with three recuts, and I noticed peculiar nuances amongst these trailers. Whether it is the music, length, narration, sound effects, typography or dialogue, all of them used the best parts of the movie to draw the viewer in. To me, the point of a movie trailer is for the viewer in the audience to turn to his or her friend to the right and say “that will be good,” or “I NEED to see that!” For me, the trailers are what I go see movies for. What comedy is coming out on Christmas? What thriller is coming out on Thanksgiving? All of these questions are answered before the movie that I actually go see is even playing and by that point I already am already halfway through my Redvines and my $7 ICEE is at its last sip.

Thriller trailers barely use music, and when they did, they were songs from the film. The Departed (Martin Scorsese, 2006) used the main theme song from the DVD menu and the song they use at the beginning and end of the movie, “I’m Shipping Up To Boston” by the Dropkick Murphy’s, as the main song in the trailer. Gravity’s (Alfonso Cauron, 2013) trailer lacked music, instead, they used the panic, destruction, and the voices from the characters to try and draw the audience in. Comedies, on the other hand, placed a different mood into the reader’s mind. Pitch Perfect (Jason Moore, 2012) and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (John Hughes, 1986) used music to portray the mood of the film. Music plays an important part in how a movie is watched. Dramas and thrillers use dark tones while chick- flicks and romantic comedies use pop and hip- hop. If the songs were to change, the movie would be watched completely differently.

All these trailers were roughly cut at the 2-minute mark until just above 2.5 minutes. Too many cuts were made to where it became overwhelming to the eye. They were cut without transition and switched from scene to scene, mainly from person to person, and most importantly, close up to close up. The purpose of this is to make the emotion of the characters more evident without using dialogue or narration. After analyzing these trailers, I noticed about that they used cuts from the entire movie! The recut trailers, more than the originals, used all parts of the movie, without giving away the major plot points. Doing this is very difficult, mainly because the sound would drastically be different from cut to cut. In regards to sound, the recuts did a horrible job with how the sound was used and to an extent, the voices seemed unfit with the type of movie it was being cut to. Ted (Seth MacFarlane, 2012) a slapstick comedy to the fullest extent can not be made as a horror film because their voice inflection throughout the  movie was different than that of a regular horror film. The camera angles were different and the way the actors interacted were different than that of a horror film as well.

The chronological order of the recuts was important because you can’t just change the music in a recut trailer, the job is to rewrite the story, and for that it creates a whole new environment. The recut trailer I enjoyed the most was the Forrest Gump (Robert Zemeckis, 1994), an AMC trailer that changed the greatest movie in the history of film into a gangster thriller. They changed the order of the scene cuts and completely redid the whole idea of the movie by doing this. Also, what made this recut amazing was the recuts of the voice to make it seem as though this movie was actually made. Forrest saying “He got f%cking shot” in the trailer made me fall on the floor laughing.

Narration spoon-feeds the information from the movie to the audience in a very unappealing monotonous voice. I enjoyed the trailers without narration more than their narration filled counterparts mainly due to the ability to focus on the voice of the characters and the action in the scene. With a narrator I felt forced to watch and focus on what they wanted me to watch. The Other Guys (Adam McKay, 2010) used a narrator to set up the trailer and tell us who the characters are we will be following and why. Even with the recut trailers there was a narrator describing what they wanted me to hear and type portraying what they wanted to get across. Type’s job is to take the main parts of the trailer and portray it in a manner that is easy to remember. They will give you a slogan and a name, but to me they were black screens with words on them.

Trailers: Pitch Perfect, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, The Other Guys, Office Space, The Departed, The Bourne Identity, Gravity, Catch Me If You Can

Recut Trailers:  Jurassic Park (horror to romantic comedy), Ted (comedy to horror), Forrest Gump (action/ comedy to gangster)

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