I am sure many of you are pumped about the new ‘James Bond: No Time to Die’ and ‘Fast and Furious 9’ trailers that just released recently. I am excited that the trailers were released, but I am not excited about the trailers themselves. Let me explain. A trailer being released sets up awareness (in some cases hype) for a movie and gives us information on when the movie is releasing so we can mark our calendars. And this is all good. The problem though, lies with the trailers themselves. They are far too long nowadays! They are not trailers anymore, they are spoilers. They show you the best scenes from the movie straight up. I know of comedy movies where if you saw the trailer you would have been convinced that it was going to be a hilarious ride, but you walk out of the theater with the realization that all the jokes were actually embedded in the trailer and the movie had nothing new to offer. I saw a trailer of a romantic movie (I forget which one), wherein they show how the romance starts, i.e., how the couple met together, the magical times they share, the surprising conflict that ensues and drives them apart and finally the denouement where they get back together. I thought the movie looked good and had I not known exactly how things are going to play out I may have seen it.
From what I remember, the trailers being made more than a decade ago had it right. They were shorter and smarter. They intrigued me without revealing everything the movie has to offer. Unfortunately, that is not the case anymore. The trailers of yesterday are the teasers of today. The reason could perhaps be the increased competition movies face against each other (heck even a great TV show rivals a movie nowadays) or that budgets have gotten bigger. So, the primary goal becomes to sell the movie, not the audience satisfaction. Hence the need to dump every good thing within the trailer in the hopes that people buy a ticket. But it can be counterproductive too – just like what happened with me and the romantic movie.
In any case the way I deal with this now is quite simple. It takes me about 20-30 seconds while watching a trailer to understand if this is a movie I am going to watch. If the answer is yes, I shut down the trailer. If I am in a movie hall, I simply stop paying attention and look away from the screen. If I realize after the 20-30 seconds that this is not a movie I am going to watch, I continue watching the trailer. I might as well use all the reveal to my advantage and enjoy an entire movie in 3 minutes while I can!
I am going to keep this article short – just like how our trailers should be.