Why is that everyone hates commercials, yet loves movie trailers? Aren’t movie trailers essentially a two minute long commercial advertising a different movie? The answer lies in the elements of a condensed plot summary, music, special effects, and face pacing. Each of these elements adds to the excitement of a new movie trailer. Each movie trailer that I viewed had each of these elements; they all had different uses of each element but each was utilized dramatically. All the movie trailers I viewed were all extremely similar and extremely different at the same time.
The average movie trailer length was around two minutes and ten seconds. However the longest trailer I watched was The Hobbit: An Unexpected Adventure. This trailer had to be longer because of the more extensive plot and strong fan base from the previous trilogy, The Lord of the Rings. However, a strong fan base did not directly correlate to a longer trailer. I also watched the trailer for Despicable Me 2, which was the shortest of them all. The movie trailer was completely different from anything I had viewed. It featured the ever popular minions singing a song. The trailer was all one shot and was playing off the cuteness of the minions. The trailer gave no hint as to what Despicable Me 2 would be about, however that almost added to the excitement of the trailer. I believe that because the first movie was a such a hit, the producers realized that they could draw in another audience based off of the pure success of the previous movie.
Most of the movies watched started out with started out with a shot that set the scene of the movie. Then, they would flash to some typography, usually in theme with the movie, stating something that helped frame the plot of the movie. For example, the Knocked Up trailer starts out with a scene of Katherine Hiegl’s life as a normal typical business woman. Then the shot changes to a screen that says, “This is Allison’s Life” in large font. The movie trailer then changes to a scene of Seth Rogen doing beer bongs and doing more ridiculous things. Then the shot changes to a screen that says, “This is Ben’s life”. The movie trailer continues to explain more of the plot via lines from the movie that emphasize important aspects of the plot. The scene shots were short, around 1-4 seconds. This was similar to almost all of the movie trailers I watched. They all included a shot to set the scene and then they almost all included some sort of type and words to help the reader catch on to the plot. However, in the more “action” movie trailers that I watched, they were more focused on the action and shorter shot lengths with more dramatic music and sound effects. Also, almost all movie trailers I watched included continuing dialogue while the shots switched.
As for the recut trailers, almost all of them used type to help tell their story. Most notably, the Rat Race recut trailer relied almost completely on type. Starting with “13 people..”, shot, “six tokens…”, shot, “one chance…”, shot, “to keep their lives…”. The typography continued and used it over 7 different times. The Mrs. Doubtfire recut trailer, however, did not use type. It relied on narration from the characters and many face paced shots showing different scary faces of Mrs. Doubtfire.