Movie Trailers: Stop Unloading Spoilers in My Eyes

By Michael Casey

 

If you haven’t seen the latest trailer for the most recent Jurassic World movie, warning: spoilers ahead. It starts with Chris Pratt’s character whose name I don’t care enough about to Google being trapped in a cage with a tranquilized T-Rex. The T-Rex’s eye opens, sees Pratt, and then he narrowly escapes by jumping through the T-Rex’s jaw. This would have been a slow building, suspenseful scene in the movie had I not already known the outcome. Sure, it’s kind of obvious what will happen, but knowing every step just makes it so that you’re waiting for something totally unsurprising.

After this scene the trailer shows all (and I mean all) of the major plot points in chronological order. It’s basically a cheat sheet for the movie. If the movie were a book and you were a high school student who had to do a book report, you could just watch the trailer and blag your way through.

  • We see the scene where it’s mentioned that there will be a rescue mission to save the Dinosaurs from an Island that’s going to have its volcano erupt.
  • We see that ‘Blue’ (the cold-blooded raptor with a heart of gold) will confront Pratt and then get shot in the neck with a tranq dart (another potentially suspenseful scene ruined).
  • We also see that Pratt and his female counterpart, whose name I’m also not going to google, are betrayed and left on the island while the dinosaurs are transported away to be sold in an auction and then weaponized.

After all this, the audience is treated with a montage of all the choicest scenes crammed together. Every part of the film that is memorable is in this montage. Watching the movie afterwards, you’re just waiting for them to come along so that you can tick them off the list. Dinosaurs running away from the erupting volcano, check. New hybrid Raptor running amok, check. Surfers being eaten by the awesome Crocodile-like dinosaur, whose actual appellation I’m not going to check, check.
It becomes pretty obvious that the dinosaurs won’t be auctioned off, and that they’ll escape to roam the world. The whole trailer robs the actual movie of any sort of novelty.

Watching the film after watching the trailer is like seeing it for a second time. It’s like those annoying people who see a movie and then give you an unwanted synopsis. You tell them not to ruin it for you and then they say they won’t, but then they go right ahead and tell you a series of key points right after.

When I went to see Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, other trailers for movies preceded it, which of course is pretty much the norm for most cinemas around the world. I used to enjoy watching trailers back in the day, but now I have to look away. The people making them are no longer taking random cuts and jumbling them together. It’s like they’re sitting in the editing suites, cutting out huge chunks of the movies and then quickly sending the leftovers through before rushing off to lunch.

Trailers used to be more cryptic, like pieces of a jigsaw puzzle spread haphazardly across the screen. Now, the people putting them together are too lazy to stir them all up. The pieces are all lined up for us in order of appearance. Everything is put in place and spelled out: road signs for the journey.

terminator.jpg

If you’re a filmmaker big enough to even warrant a trailer and your movie has a twist, you can forget about the audience being surprised. There are so many trailers out there that have blatantly ruined guarded secrets. Probably the worst one for me was the Terminator 2: Judgment day trailer. I was a kid at the time and it didn’t really bug me back then but looking back now the thought of it just shits me. If you haven’t seen the trailer, basically Arnie’s Terminator, the T- I’m not going to Google the actual number of this version, is shown to be John Connor’s protector, not a terminating terminator. What could have been a surprising reveal becomes an unsurprising expectation.
Imagine if M. Night Shy…not Googling how to spell his name, had his twists revealed in the trailers. There would be no point in watching them at all. Actually, some might even argue that in recent years there hasn’t been much of a point in watching them even with the surprise twists.

1
The twist is that this movie doesn’t suck

In recent history, films like Batman V Superman (or was it Superman Vs Batman)? I’m definitely not going to Google that. Anyway, they have done exactly the same thing as Jurassic World. The character Doomsday had no place in that DC movie, but I would have liked to have realized that whilst watching the flick, not before it. It probably wouldn’t have made a difference. That film was going to suck no matter what they revealed in the trailer.

Solution to DC films sucking: make separate live action versions of these two comics instead of mashing them together.

So here’s a crazy idea that these trailer makers should, but won’t, take heed of. Instead of using scenes from the movies in the trailers, use deleted scenes instead. That way the audience gets a sense of the film, but they’ll go in fresh having seen none of the actual content.

It would make for a much nicer viewing experience.

Michael Casey has written a couple of books, which you can check out on Amazon. Don’t read their blurbs though because they contain too many spoilers.

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3 Comments

  1. I used to work at O! Entertainment, which was owned by Steve Oedekerk. At the time, I was a receptionist and ended up taking him to the airport one day because his ride flaked on him. So we started having a conversation and he asked if I had seen the current trailer for his latest movie that he wrote, Evan Almighty. I said yes. He then asked for my honest opinion of what I thought of it. So my first answer was I would possibly see it because I liked Bruce Almighty, but when he pushed further in terms of what it showed, I admitted the trailer kind of spoilered some of the ending or at least what was a possibility for the ending.

    He understood and he mentioned that it was a general consensus from people he asked that there was too many plot points spilled around in the trailer. He has asked to edit the trailer himself even though he didn’t direct the film because he had a feeling this would happen. There are too many movie trailers that just give too much away.

    Liked by 2 people

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