Confession time: I love watching movie trailers. If I spent anywhere near the amount of time on homework as I do watching trailers on Front Row, I’m pretty sure I would have cured cancer by now. Perhaps not cancer, but I totally would have actually read The Sun Also Rises. Anyway, this blog post thus created that awkward situation where you have to analyze something that you love instead of just loving it, and the over-thinking ruins that something that you love and destroys your happiness forever. Luckily, this didn’t happen to me. My trailer-love still thrives. If anything, it’s even stronger after paying closer attention to the trailers. Weirdly enough, I might have even learned a couple things that will help with the video project.
First things first, Hollywood is super into fade transitions these days. Nearly all of the trailers I watched did some fade transitions. Lincoln, a new biopic starring Daniel Day-Lewis as our nation’s 16th president that looks phenomenal, was particularly fond of the fade. Overall, the trailers would start with fade transitions and longer shots and pacing that remained relatively slow. However, as the action of the movie sped up, the shots shortened and the fading stopped. A Good Day to Die Hard, the latest Die Hard film (I know, I’m as surprised/horrified as you that this is still going on.), was a perfect example of this organizational strategy. It utilized slow pacing and longer shots for the first 30 seconds and then broke out the choppy explosion scenes for the last minute of the preview. The style worked well for a ridiculous action movie.
At 1:36 seconds, A Good Day to Die Hard was the shortest trailer that I watched. It also had the least amount of dialogue (but, for a movie where the tagline is “Yippee Ki-Yay Mother Russia,” that’s probably for the best) and instead had the loudest background music. All of the other trailers clocked it at an average of 2:20, and had audible background music but focused on the narration or audio synchronization. The background music varied from an original score as was the case in The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey to the hip classic rock featured in Not Fade Away, a movie about a group of teenagers in the ‘60s who start a band and try to make it big that has a title that I, for whatever reason, keep confusing with the 2007 film about Bob Dylan, I’m Not There. The longest trailer I watched was for a film about the famed horror director Alfred Hitchcock aptly titled Hitchcock (the theatre is starting to feel like some sort of locker room with all these last names). At 2:40 it felt too long. You have to keep some scenes a mystery.
Typography was standard throughout the trailers. Believe it or not, the studios were hot to put their names on their films. In the incredibly scary-looking horror film trailer that I watched, the typography was used to say unpleasant things that will haunt my dreams.
As for the recut trailers, YouTube seems to have a fascination with turning Disney princess movies into horror films. I watched one for Beauty and the Beast, Sleeping Beauty, and Cinderella. Beauty and the Beast made sense because it was pretty much the story told backwards. Quite horrifying. Cinderella, however, was not a very good recut trailer. I found that a lot of people decided to have a shaky camera when recutting to a horror film. I suppose they’re going for a Blair Witch-inspired trailer, but it kind of makes me dizzy. I also watched recut trailers that turned Shawshank Redemption into a romance between Red and Andy, and a trailer that turned Forrest Gump into a gangster flick. These recuts relied heavily on music and narration to tell the stories. In the handful that I watched, I felt like the editing could have been a little sharper. But hey, I guess I’m about to find out how difficult it is to perfectly recut a movie trailer.
Lincoln, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, A Good Day to Die Hard, Not Fade Away, Hitchcock, Mama, Barrymore, Struck by Lightning, Quartet, The Great Gatsby.
Beauty and the Beast Recut (children’s movie into horror), Shawshank Redemption Recut (drama into romance), Forrest Gump Recut (drama into gangster).