This was a rough week for everybody, Malaysians and non-Malaysians alike. As the date we all marked in our calendars drew closer and closer, the nail-biting tension was almost too much to bear. With suspense at an all-time high and reaching its critical limits, it finally happened – Iron Man 3 was finally released.
I am not going to reveal any spoilers or any of the sort, but I’ll tell you this much; it was way better than what the trailers made it out to be. But then again, aren’t they usually?
The name ‘trailer’ dates back to 1912; when they actually did follow the feature. After a documentary called “Coming Attractions” was shown, the first trailer entitled “What Happened to Mary?” was released as a follow-up. After each instalment, a black card with white text would appear to inform the audience the next incident in the series. It was no Tarantino, but it did the trick back in 1912.
Fast-forward to 100 years in the future and you see a whole different ball game.
They have now grown into one of the most popular forms of advertising in the world. Some believe that they spoil the movies (famously Gene Siskel) – but for the rest of us, they’re a treasured part of the movie-going experience, acting as a delicious theatrical appetizer to prepare us for the main course.
But by taking a step back and excusing the pun, trailers seem to be trailing behind these days, lacking in creative flair and failing to really grab the attention of the audience. Maybe it’s our jaded nature, but it does seem like whether it is a historical romance, action flick or another fairly-tale remake with a dark Tim Burton-esque twist to it, they stick to the same equation when teasing our taste buds.
The use of fade-aways, epilepsy inducing flash imagery and dubstep has gotten so overly done, all trailers seem to gel into one, not being memorable or tantalising in the slightest.
I am writing this to fight and stand up for an endangered pastime and to bring back that feeling of urgency of reaching the theatre 15 minutes earlier, just to be wowed and bedazzled by what’s coming up onscreen.
Remember the trailer for Ridley Scott’s “Alien”? Where not a single word of dialogue was used, the high-pitched alarm that unnerved audiences throughout the rest of the clip, and the impact of that end copy that just read, “In space, no one can hear your scream”?
Or the trailer for “Cloverfield”, that expertly played up its film’s reality-caught-on-tape conceit, where the majority of it was a home movie footage of a Manhattan loft party that could just as easily be the set–up for an indie rom-com or serial killer thriller, but ended with a mysterious roar and explosion. The name of the movie was not even mentioned in the entire trailer, because the creators seemed perfectly confident that a release date was all that was necessary.
Just like trailers, there are many ways to measure an ad’s quality, from the persuasiveness of its salesmanship to the cleverness of its copywriting. What deemed most effective were ones that combined art and commerce, being able to sell and entertain with equal skill.
Never underestimate the people’s desire to be told a good story.
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