Us nerds have a love-hate relationship with trailers. It's a thrill watching the trailer for a movie you're really looking forward to and getting even more pumped about it, and it's a total downer when the trailer does one of these:
1. The 5 Second Pre-Trailer Montage
What is even going on here? Pretty much every trailer now starts with a couple of dramatic shots and the release date of the movie, before actually getting into the trailer itself. Trying to work around the 5-second Skip Ad button on YouTube, movies are stuffing all the information they can into that tiny window to make sure you can't avoid it. It's like they're trying to subliminally burn the release date into your mind. Perhaps you'll find yourself in an IMAX on 2nd June, buying tickets to Wonder Woman, not entirely sure how you ended up there.
2. The Edgy Cover of a Popular Song
The easiest way to make people notice your trailer is to throw in a song they know, and turn up the drama. Look, it's a brand new version of that song you love! This must be a good movie!The Social Network probably cemented this trend with it's choir voiced version of Radiohead's Creep, but trust movie studios to drive a good idea into the ground. How about that dramatic version of Coldplay's Don't Panic in the X-Men: Apocalypse trailer? Or the travesty of a cover of The Flaming Lips' Do You Realize?? in the travesty of a trailer for the travesty of a movie that is Transformers: The Last Knight? Variations on this trend include the on-the-nose classic rock song that ties into the movie (observe Thor: Ragnarok and Arthur: Legend of the Sword both using Led Zeppelin), and the plinky piano version of an iconic theme. I'm looking at you Jurassic World.
3. Recycling the Same Damn Sound Effects
Look, I get it, trailer houses. You need to make things exciting. You need the jump scares and the sudden sound effects to make people look up from their popcorn. But can we at least agree that you could use sounds that make sense for a movie, instead of just going to the folder on your computer marked 'Cool Trailer Sounds Summer 2017'? Five years ago it was the Inception BWAAAAH everywhere. The sound in vogue now is a bass drop that goes BOOOOW, usually followed by complete silence and a dramatic line.
4. Giving Away Too Much
Sigh. This one's a classic. Trailers giving away too much of the plot has been a problem for so long, you'd think they'd have figure it out by now. But nope, here we are, watching what feels like way too much of Spiderman: Homecoming, months before the movie will be out. And of course, there was the shadow that the Batman V. Superman trailers cast over the movie. When the only thing your movie has going for it are set-piece visuals, and you give all of them away in the trailer, you're ruining the movie. And my life. 'Cause I care about this stuff.
5. Showing Scenes That Aren't In The Film
Ah, another classic. This one has a fairly simple explanation. Trailers are cut by third-party editing houses that are working from rushes, with little idea of what the final film will look like. Fair enough. That doesn't make it any less annoying. And of course, sometimes it's a plain bait-and-switch. Rogue One was a particularly egregious example from recent times, with more than 12 scenes or shots in trailers that didn't end up in the movie (probably because of the re-shoots). Or look at Baywatch, which changed The Rock's catchphrase from "I'm Baywatch, motherfuckers" to "I'm Oceanic, motherfuckers" between trailers 1 and 2. And yes, both those lines are equally meaningless. Go figure.
This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to annoying trailer tropes. We haven't even talked about the fact that trailers have teasers that have 'first looks' that have 'poster reveals' and who knows what else. Make your marketing campaigns as long as you want, Hollywood, because honestly, we enjoy building anticipation. We love getting hyped before a big release. But come on, do it with some originality, and don't cookie cutter the same template onto every movie.
Scribe: Dinkar Dwivedi
Captain's Log: Dinkar Dwivedi doesn't rant this much on his Twitter, so feel free to talk to him there.