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Just Not My Hype of Thing: Countdown to Teaser Trailers, Hype Build-Up and Other Pre-Release Concerns…

There is a tendency to romanticise the past, to engage in nostalgia for an era that never really was. Still, I can’t help but wonder if the internet has been a bit of a mixed blessing for movie fans looking forward to the next big Hollywood release. Sure, it’s full of commentaries and interviews and trailers. Occasionally, a film like Tron: Legacy or The Dark Knight will do something utterly wonderful to grab the attention of various film fans. However, it also feels, sometimes, that there’s a conscious attempt to push the hype machine into overdrive. I have no problem with anticipation, but I think making a teaser trailer for an actual trailer or even staging a countdown to a release date of a trailer might be a bit much, even to me.

I should start by confessing that I am curious about both of the movies used in the above examples. I’m actually one of the very few people on-line who really loved the trailer for Tim Burton’s Dark Shadows and I was impressed when given a chance to see footage from the Total Recall remake last August at Movie Fest. (Although I am skeptical about the idea of remaking Paul Verhoeven films for more mainstream audiences, given that remaking them removes that delightfully off-kilter perspective which made them unique in the first place.) So it isn’t that I’m objecting to too much hype around films I’m not interested in.

I just find it a little overwhelming when it seems like the release of a trailer is an event that merits a trailer itself, or build up, or an unveiling. I say that as a big movie fan, and an internet blogger. I am a film nerd, and I’m proud of it. I’m probably the target market for these sorts of publicity campaigns. I freely concede that some trailers are events. I have been amazed at both domestic trailers (and the international trailer) for Prometheus, as well as some of its shrewd viral marketing. If it’s on-line, I will search for it and watch it.

Warner Brothers have been sure to include the trailer and teaser for The Dark Knight Rises in front of every preview screening I’ve attended in the past few weeks. And you know what? I am not tired of it. I love. I could watch it again right now, maybe I will. Hell, I was even a bit disappointed when we didn’t get a teaser for the film in front of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part II. I’m honestly disappointed that Ireland doesn’t have a true Imax, because I didn’t get a chance to see the preview. The trailers make me anticipate the movie even more, and get me even more excited about the looming release date that seems like it is never going to arrive. More than that, it offers me a hint of what I am going see when I get a chance to see the film.

However, I think there is a line at which the publicity just becomes empty hype. There is a point where it seems like all this talk of “teasers for a trailer” and “preview of a preview” seems like just background noise. It’s hard to really get too excited about the trailer, because I’ve been numbed by stories about how the trailer is coming down the line. If a trailer is a prime cut of the film, to offer us a sampling of the movie in store, is the trailer for the trailer a cut of a cut? Surely there comes a time when you are actually cutting nothing but air? When there’s actually nothing of substance about the movie of question in the material you’re causing a fuss about releasing?

Part of me wonders if this drowns out other films without those sorts of marketing budgets. A twenty-second snippet of a two-minute-trailer for a huge-budget blockbuster would seem to distract from a full trailer for a lower-budget indie film that could probably use the support. If all we’re hearing is about the publicity for The Avengers and Skyfall, does Safety Not Guaranteed get lost in the crossfire? If I want to find a trailer for those mega-blockbusters, odds are that I know about enough about them to search for them. However, it’s hard to pick out a news story about a film I haven’t heard mention of when all the film sites are filled with the countdowns to the next trailer for the next film.

There is a point at which the hype and publicity actually seems so divorced from the film itself that it seems almost futile, reduced to white noise. A short preview of a trailer to The Amazing Spider-Man might cross my geek radar, but it means nothing to my brother. On the other hand, he’ll love the opportunity to see the full trailer to get a taste for the film. The same is true of friends and co-workers and colleagues. I can’t imagine any of them getting hyped for a trailer by a teaser for that trailer, while I can see them getting hyped for the film by the trailer itself.

It just seems a little frustrating to be honest, and I freely concede that I’m a big fan of movie trailers and of anticipation. I could probably list twenty more releases between now and the end of next year that I am dying to see. It just seems like there’s a point when it’s too much, when you pull back so far that you can’t actually see anything of the object you were originally looking at. It just feels a bit much at times.

6 Responses

  1. I hate it when they over-hype movies because for me one of two things will happen, I wont go and see it because it has been hyped up so much it has put me off or I will go and see it and will have such high expectations that cant possibly be met and will leave disappointed. I am happy to see the trailer for the movie in the cinema before a movie I am about to watch starts and I do miss it when I see previews and they don’t show trailers.

    • I hate that too! I know the Coke exists and is for sale! If I want to watch advertisements for car insurance, I’ll turn on the telly! I’m in the cinema, show me proper two-minute-long trailers to let me know what I should be keeping an eye out for!

  2. Reblogged this on sky's stalker!.

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