Movie trailers set up the mood and generate hype for the upcoming movie release. Some will try a new style of trailer, but in most cases there is a very stereotypical movie trailer for each different genre of movie. However, there is a big difference in movie trailers among the different genres. These differences are noticeable in everything from shots, transitions, background music, effects, and lengths of the trailers. Action movies such as Iron Man 3, Skyfall, The Hobbit, and The Dark Knight Rises rely heavily on dramatic background music that builds continuously throughout the trailer. A specific example of this is the trailer for The Dark Knight Rises. In it, the young boy at the football game is singing the national anthem, and all the while the chaos that “Bane” has created is coming to its climax at the height of the song. The music then builds to a crescendo while cutting quickly to different action shots. As the music builds, so does the action in the trailer. This differs dramatically from music used in trailers for romantic movies like 500 Days of Summer. These trailers generally offer happier, more upbeat music than that used in action movies. This music sets a hopeful, feel-good tone for the movie and lets audiences know what to expect.
These general types of background music as they correlate to specific genres of movies occur in all three of the recut movie trailers I watched. In the It recut trailer, an upbeat and inspirational song plays over the actual audio from the movie. It plays over various scenes of the evil clown and people in the movie smiling and laughing to give the misleading idea that It is in fact a family friendly comedy rather than an intense horror film by Stephen King. In Scary Mary there are a few effects used to make Mary Poppins appear as a witch from a horror movie; these effects include glowing eyes and making the lighting in the clips more shadowy than the original. The Wicker Man recut trailer transforms the admittedly horrible horror movie into a surprisingly decent looking family friendly comedy. It accomplishes this by utilizing the tools of a corny narrator, a silly soundtrack, and by editing the many ridiculous scenes all together:
There is much more narration in all of the recut trailers in order to convey the new genre of the trailer; this differs from most actual movie trailers. Since the original movies can use the real dialogue from the movie, they don’t need to rely on such narrative devices. In Iron Man 3, the trailer shows “Tony Stark” saying he was depressed and couldn’t sleep, then shows him in many extreme situations. It does not need to use narration simply because it looks better when it can accomplish the same effect using scenes instead of words. In movie recut trailers like The Wicker Man a corny narrator voice and clips from the movie that could be seen as funny are strewn together in a manner that is meant to be ridiculous. In the Iron Man 3 trailer, every scene ends with a fade-out and begins with a fade-in; this technique builds the intrigue and drama that the trailer portrays up to its climax where Tony Stark is under attack.
In The Dark Knight Rises there is a close-up of Bane from a looking up angle; this gives the impression that Bane is a larger than life villain– this shot angle makes Bane seem unstoppable. Because of this, Bane frightens the audience before they even had see the full movie. In movie trailers there is a distinct difference in the types of shots used, action movies feature many simultaneous jarring shots, which, if done correctly, give the impression of intense action. Trailers for comedies and family movies move at a slower pace and contain many more close-ups.
One thing that is relatively constant among all movie trailers however, is the length. Almost every movie trailer I watched ran about two and a half minutes– both Skyfall and Cloud Atlas were 2:34 minutes, which was the longest running time of all the movie trailers. The shortest trailer was Iron Man 3 at 2:01 minutes, this shows that the largest range among eight different movie trailers was about 30 seconds. However, almost every trailer I watched other than Iron Man 3 was about two and a half minutes. Even the movie recut trailers I viewed were about two and a half minutes long.
Movie Trailers watched: Iron Man 3, Cloud Atlas, The Great Gatsby, The Dark Knight Rises, John Dies at the End, Skyfall, The Hobbit, 500 Days of Summer
Recut Movie Trailers: It (From horror to family movie), Scary Mary (Family comedy to horror), The Wicker Man (From a “horror” movie to a family comedy).